Monday, October 14, 2013

How To Train For Strength & Endurance At The Same Time

By Poliquin

Endurance is often thought of as the enemy of strength. Meanwhile, building muscle and strength are assumed to cause detriment to endurance performance.
Training for strength and endurance at the same time is a delicate balance, but doing it properly will improve your athletic performance and give you a physique to be proud of.
Yeah, we’ve written a lot about the importance of prioritizing anaerobic exercise if your goal is fat loss. And if you just want to get as strong as possible or be totally shredded, heavy lifting and sprints are the best way to get there.
But the reality is that a lot of people just want to be moderately strong, sexy lean, and have the ability to get into a pick up game or play tag with their kids without embarrassing themselves. In fact, many people prefer training for endurance goals rather than for strength.
The difficulty with training for strength and endurance simultaneously is that there’s a well documented “interference” phenomenon in which people who lift weights and do endurance exercise simply don’t see the strength or muscle gains they’d expect.  
Sports scientists have been looking for ways to get better concurrent training results. Here are a few conclusions they came to in a recent review of what happens when people train for strength and endurance at the same time:

•    Concurrent training doesn’t compromise endurance performance—rather, it tends to improve speed and work capacity—but it blunts the development of muscle, strength, and power.
•    A high-intensity of concurrent training (heavy loads and sprint intervals) is most effective for reducing body fat in both endurance and strength athletes. Sprints increase activity of an enzyme that enhances the rate of fat burning.
•    Sprint-endurance training doesn’t lead to a decrease in muscle mass but they do increase metabolic rate after exercise to a degree that corresponds with the intensity of the training.
•    Muscle mass is compromised when endurance training is performed more than three times a week for more than 20 minutes. In the short-term hypertrophy is blunted. In the long-term, muscle is lost if strength training is not performed or if nutrition is poor.
•    Concurrent training leads to a very significant decrease in power output that corresponds to the length of the endurance exercise.
•    Power is the performance variable that is compromised the MOST by endurance exercise—much more than strength or hypertrophy are.
•    Women recover faster than men (one study found maximal strength was recovered within 4 hours in women and it took 48 in men!). However, the majority of concurrent training studies have been done on men, indicating that much is still unknown about the optimal concurrent training guidelines for females.
Despite the suboptimal strength and power results that come with concurrent training programs, there are strategies you can use to maximize the benefits. This article will look at three concurrent training models to guide your pursuit of the best body and optimal performance.

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