Some Thoughts on Lifting in the Morning


I know a lot of you are regulars of the 5 or 6am classes. I assume most of you attend these classes because life (work, school, family, etc.) doesn’t afford you the opportunity to attend the afternoon or evening classes. I was reading an article today regarding whether lifting heavy first thing in the morning is as beneficial as in the evening and thought I would pass along some of the information.

First, our body temperature is lowest when we wake in the morning (for approximately 1-3 hours). This contributes to that stiffness and difficulty moving when we first wake up. This can lead to injuries if you don’t warm up properly. If you wake up 30 minutes before class, jump in your car and speed to the gym, be sure to really focus during the warm up. Make sure you get your body temperature elevated and all your joints lubed up and moving properly.

Second, your cortisol levels are high and your testosterone levels tend to be low in the morning. High levels of cortisol are not beneficial for making gains when it comes to heavy lifting. If your cortisol levels are high already, high intensity exercise will likely raise them even further. Longer aerobic activity is not affected by cortisol as much, so if you are looking for an early morning activity, a long run, row, or swim wouldn’t be a bad choice.

Third, the discs between your vertebrae tend to be most full with fluid early in the morning. They fill with fluid during sleep and stay that way for approximately an hour after waking. This can negatively influence your lifts, and possibly make you more susceptible to a slipped or herniated disc.

Now, all this being said, I am not trying to make you change your routine and work out at a different time. I just thought all this information was interesting and wanted to pass it along. If you are a die hard 5 or 6am regular I applaud you for your dedication. However, be sure you really hammer that warm up and be sure to pay extra attention to your spine on heavy lifting days. If your schedule allows it, maybe try working out in the afternoon or evening and see how your body responds. Bottom line is I want you all to be safe and achieve as much as possible from your training.



Lift Big Eat Big: “Do You Need to Stop Lifting in the Morning”

2 Responses

  1. Bobby says:

    Clearly, I am less of a man before 10 am.
    Just another reason to sleep in.
    The flip side, research has also shown that working out in the early morning dramatically increases the chances that a person will stick to the workout plan.
    Thanks for the info!

  2. Emily says:

    Great post! Our 5 and 6 am classes are already beasts, imagine if they were able to work out later in the day!

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