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Abstract

Here we report on the effect of combining endurance training with heavy or explosive strength training on endurance performance in endurance-trained runners and cyclists. Running economy is improved by performing combined endurance training with either heavy or explosive strength training. However, heavy strength training is recommended for improving cycling economy. Equivocal findings exist regarding the effects on power output or velocity at the lactate threshold. Concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can increase running speed and power output at VO2max (Vmax and Wmax , respectively) or time to exhaustion at Vmax and Wmax . Combining endurance training with either explosive or heavy strength training can improve running performance, while there is most compelling evidence of an additive effect on cycling performance when heavy strength training is used. It is suggested that the improved endurance performance may relate to delayed activation of less efficient type II fibers, improved neuromuscular efficiency, conversion of fast-twitch type IIX fibers into more fatigue-resistant type IIA fibers, or improved musculo-tendinous stiffness.
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Optimizing strength training for running and cycling endurance
performance – a review
Running head: “Strength training and endurance performance
Bent R. Rønnestad1, Iñigo Mujika2,3
1 Lillehammer University College, Section for Sport Science, Lillehammer, Norway
2 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Odontology, University of the Basque Country,
Leioa, Basque Country
3 School of Kinesiology and Health Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Finis Terrae University,
Santiago, Chile.
Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2013 Aug 5. doi: 10.1111/sms.12104.
Corresponding author:
Bent R. Rønnestad
Lillehammer University College
PB. 952, 2604 Lillehammer
Norway
E-mail: bent.ronnestad@hil.no Phone: +47 61288193 Fax: +47 61288200
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Summary
Here we report on the effect of combining endurance training with heavy or explosive
strength training on endurance performance in endurance-trained runners and cyclists.
Running economy is improved by performing combined endurance training with either heavy
or explosive strength training. However, heavy strength training is recommended for
improving cycling economy. Equivocal findings exist regarding the effects on power output
or velocity at the lactate threshold.Concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can
increase running speed and power output at VO2max (Vmax and Wmax, respectively) or time to
exhaustion at Vmax and Wmax. Combining endurance training with either explosive or heavy
strength training can improve running performance, while there is most compelling evidence
of an additive effect on cycling performance when heavy strength training is used. It is
suggested that the improved endurance performance may relate to delayed activation of less
efficient type II fibres, improved neuromuscular efficiency, conversion of fast-twitch type IIX
fibres into more fatigue resistant type IIA fibres, or improved musculotendinous stiffness.
Key words: Aerobic capacity, concurrent training adaptions, exercise economy, neuromuscular
function, cycling, running
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The effects of strength training on endurance athletic performance have long been the subject
of debate among athletes, coaches and sport scientists. Strength training includes both
explosive strength training and heavy strength training that promote different training
adaptations. Heavy strength training can be defined as “all training aiming to increase or
maintain a muscle or a muscle group’s ability to generate maximum force” (Knuttgen &
Kraemer, 1987) and is here equal to training with a load that allows between 1 repetition
maximum (RM) and 15 RM. Explosive strength training is here defined as exercises with
external loading of 0–60% of 1RM and maximal mobilization in the concentric phase (0% of
1RM equals body weight). Performance in most endurance events is mainly determined by
the maximal sustained power production for a given competition distance, and the energy cost
of maintaining a given competition speed. In shorter endurance events and during
accelerations and sprint situations, anaerobic capacity and maximal speed may also contribute
to performance. Strength training contributes to enhance endurance performance by
improving the economy of movement, delaying fatigue, improving anaerobic capacity and
enhancing maximal speed.
Some of the early studies that investigated the effect of combining endurance and strength
training in endurance-trained athletes did not identify any additive effect on endurance
performance (Jensen, 1963; Paavolainen et al., 1991; Tanaka et al., 1993). However, recent
evidence contradicts the findings of those early studies and points towards an additive effect
of combining the endurance and strength training on running and cycling performance
(Tanaka & Swensen, 1998). At the time of this review there was a lack of good studies on
already well-trained endurance athletes, especially in cycling. The purpose of this review is to
provide an updated synopsis on the effect of combining endurance training with heavy or
explosive strength training on endurance performance in endurance-trained runners and
cyclists.
The effects of strength training on factors determining endurance performance
Maximal oxygen consumption
Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) has long been associated with success in
endurance sports (Saltin & Åstrand, 1967; Costill et al., 1973; Bassett & Howley, 2000)
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and is one of the major characteristics that determine endurance performance (di
Prampero, 2003; Levine, 2008). Importantly, the highest VO2max value does not
necessarily equate to the best endurance performance, but the best endurance
performance typically demands high VO2max values (Saltin & Åstrand, 1967; Costill et
al., 1973; Lucia et al., 1998; Bassett & Howley, 2000; Impellizzeri et al., 2005). In
addition, VO2max sets the upper limit of intensity for prolonged steady-state exercise.
There is little evidence that strength training should be the primary training mode to
improve VO2max, and only a trivial effect of concurrent strength and endurance training
on VO2max compared to endurance training alone in trained cyclists (Hickson et al.,
1988; Bishop et al., 1999; Bastiaans et al., 2001; Levin et al., 2009; Rønnestad et al.,
2010a, 2010b; Sunde et al., 2010; Aagaard et al., 2011), long distance runners
(Paavolainen et al., 1999; Johnston et al., 1997; Spurrs et al., 2003; Turner et al., 2003;
Saunders et al., 2006; Mikkola et al., 2007a, 2011; Storen et al., 2008; Taipale et al.,
2010), cross country skiers (Hoff et al., 1999, 2002; Osteras et al., 2002; Mikkola et al.,
2007b; Losnegard et al., 2011; Rønnestad et al., 2012), or triathletes (Millet et al., 2002).
However, the majority of the training interventions investigating the effects of
concurrent training lasted only 8 to 12 weeks. Caution should be used when long-term
effects of concurrent training are considered.
Exercise economy
Exercise economy has been defined as the oxygen consumption required at a given absolute
submaximal exercise intensity (Jones & Carter, 2000; Saunders et al., 2004). There is
substantial interindividual variability in exercise economy in both running and cycling despite
a similar VO2max (Conley & Krahenbuhl, 1980; Horowitz et al., 1994). The importance of
exercise economy is underlined by the close relationship with endurance performance in
trained individuals with homogenous VO2max (Costill, 1967; Conley & Krahenbuhl, 1980;
Horowitz et al., 1994). Accordingly, it is likely that any improvement in exercise economy
will be associated with improved long-term endurance performance.
Numerous studies have reported improved running economy after 8-14 weeks of concurrent
heavy strength and endurance training, while no substantial changes were observed in the
control groups (Johnston et al., 1997; Hoff & Helgerud, 2002; Millet et al., 2002; Storen et al.,
2008; Guglielmo et al., 2009; Taipale et al., 2010). Improved running economy is also evident
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after 6-12 weeks of combined explosive strength and endurance training in runners
(Paavolainen et al., 1999; Spurrs et al., 2003; Turner et al., 2003; Saunders et al., 2006;
Taipale et al., 2010). Mikkola et al. (2007a) replaced some of the endurance training of young
distance runners with only one session a week of explosive strength training and did not find
changes in running economy. Given that running economy can be improved by 2-3 strength
training sessions per week, it seems a threshold of (explosive) strength training volume and
frequency has to be overcome to achieve improved running economy. When cycling economy
is measured by the same traditional method used in running (i.e. short, 3-5 min, submaximal
bouts of exercise), it appears there is little change after combining heavy strength or explosive
strength training with endurance training (Bastiaans et al., 2001; Rønnestad et al., 2010a,
2010b; Aagaard et al., 2011). However, adding heavy strength training to endurance training
can improve cycling economy after only 8 weeks (Sunde et al. 2010). The reasons for this
discrepancy remain unclear, but the lower performance level of the cyclists in the latter study
may have affected the outcome of strength training. On the other hand, by using a non-
traditional protocol to measure cycling economy during 5-min periods every half hour
throughout 3 hours of submaximal cycling, a superior improvement was observed during the
last hour after a period of concurrent heavy strength and endurance training (Rønnestad et al.
2011). Lowered heart rate at the end of 2 hours of submaximal cycling has also been observed
after 5 weeks of heavy strength training in triathletes (Hausswirth et al., 2010). Thus,
divergent findings are evident on whether performing heavy strength training together with
ordinary endurance training improves cycling economy. This shortcoming may relate in part
to methodological differences between studies. Nevertheless, there are no reports of a
negative effect of heavy strength- and explosive strength training on either cycling or running
economy.
Lactate threshold
The fraction of VO2max which can be sustained during a performance bout (performance VO2)
is associated with the degree of blood lactate accumulation during exercise (Farrell et al.,
1979; LaFontaine et al., 1981; Tanaka & Seals, 2008). Several methods have been devised to
express the relationship between blood lactate concentration ([la-]) and fraction of VO2max
(Bentley et al., 2007; Faude et al., 2009). A common term is lactate threshold, which
describes an estimation of a breakpoint on the [la-] curve as a function of exercise intensity
(Tokmakidis et al., 1998). Lactate threshold expressed as a percentage of VO2max is largely
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unaffected by exercise economy and VO2max, which might explain the small correlation
between lactate threshold expressed as % VO2max and time trial cycling performance in
cyclists (Støren et al. 2012). There are numerous ways to determine the power output or speed
at the lactate threshold, resulting in diverse “thresholds” on the [la-] vs. power/speed curve
which all seem to correlate well with long-term endurance performance (Tokmakidis et al.,
1998). Any rightward movement of the [la-] curve results in improved power output/velocity
at the lactate threshold regardless of how the lactate threshold has been determined
(Tokmakidis et al., 1998). A higher velocity/power output at the lactate threshold theoretically
means that an athlete can maintain a higher velocity/power output during extended exercise.
Numerous studies report a high relationship between long-term performance and
velocity/power output at the lactate threshold in both cycling and running, and the latter is
useful for predicting endurance performance in both runners and cyclists (e.g. Farrell et al.,
1979; Coyle et al., 1988, 1991; Grant et al., 1997; Bishop et al., 1998; Lucia et al., 1998;
Impellizzeri et al., 2005; Slattery et al., 2006).
Since the majority of studies reported improved running economy in response to a period of
concurrent strength and endurance training in endurance-trained individuals, it would be
reasonable to expect an improvement in the exercise velocity or intensity associated with the
lactate threshold. This expectation is based on the assumption that the main determinants of
the lactate threshold velocity are VO2max and exercise economy (di Prampero et al., 1986), and
that VO2max is not compromised while concurrently performing strength and endurance
training. However, the endurance training literature comprises equivocal findings: some
studies report little change in the lactate threshold of runners (Paavolainen et al., 1999; Hoff
& Helgerud, 2002; Støren et al., 2008; Mikkola et al., 2011), while others observed
substantial improvements in velocity at the lactate threshold (Mikkola et al., 2007a, 2011;
Guglielmo et al., 2009; Taipale et al., 2013). Some studies report improved power output at a
certain [la-] (Koninckx et al., 2010; Rønnestad et al., 2010a, 2010b), while others report no
additional effect of performing strength training (Bishop et al., 1999; Sunde et al., 2010;
Aagaard et al., 2011). Importantly, none of the studies on long-distance runners and cyclists
report a negative effect of strength training on velocity or power output at the lactate
threshold.
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Other factors important for endurance performance
The key performance and physiological measures of VO2max, lactate threshold and
exercise economy explain >70% of the between-subject variance in long-duration
endurance performances (di Prampero et al. 1986).Other factors contribute to endurance
performance including running speed and power output at VO2max (Vmax and Wmax,
respectively) predict endurance performance in endurance-trained runners and cyclists,
respectively (Morgan et al., 1989; Noakes et al., 1990; Hawley & Noakes, 1992;
Yoshida et al., 1993; Billat & Koralsztein, 1996; Bentley et al., 1998; Lucia et al., 1998;
Balmer et al., 2000; Stratton et al., 2009). Both Wmax and Vmax distinguish the endurance
performance in well-trained cyclists and long distance runners, making them a useful
marker of endurance performance (Noakes et al., 1990; Lucia et al., 1998). Wmax and
Vmax are influenced by VO2max and exercise economy, but also incorporate anaerobic
capacity and neuromuscular characteristics (Jones & Carter, 2000). Anaerobic power
and neuromuscular characteristics are also involved in long-duration endurance
performance, especially when athletes are matched for aerobic capacity(Bulbulian et al.
1986; Houmar et al., 1991; Paavolainen et al., 1999b; Baumann et al., 2012).
Concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can increase Wmax/Vmax or time to
exhaustion at Wmax/Vmax (Hickson et al., 1988; Millet et al., 2002; Støren et al., 2008;
Sunde et al., 2010; Rønnestad et al., 2010a, 2010b; Taipale et al., 2010, 2013; Mikkola et
al., 2011). However, this positive effect in cyclists was not observed by using explosive
strength training (Bastiaans et al., 2001) nor after short-term (6 weeks) strength training
(Levin et al. 2009).
Another related factor important for endurance performance is the ability to generate
high power output over a short period of time to get a good position at the start of a race,
close a gap, make a critical pass, break away from the pack, or win a final sprint. Peak
power output is markedly affected by muscle cross-sectional area (Izquierdo et al. 2004)
- increased cross-sectional area of the quadriceps muscle was associated with increased
peak power output after combined heavy strength training and endurance training in
well-trained cyclists (Rønnestad et al. 2010a). Similarly, anaerobic running power can
increase substantially after a period of added explosive strength training (Paavolainen et
al., 1999; Mikkola et al., 2007a).
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Endurance performance
The traditional way of measuring cycling performance is time trialling lasting between 30 and
60 minutes. However the effects of strength training are contradictory with studies variously
showing either improvements (Hickson et al., 1988; Koninckx et al., 2010; Rønnestad et al.,
2010b; Aagaard et al., 2011) or a trivial effect (Bishop et al., 1999; Bastiaans et al., 2001;
Levin et al., 2009). When positive effects are reported, heavy strength training is performed
with multiple leg exercises. In contrast studies failing to show much improvement were
typically short-term in duration, with a low volume of strength training or using explosive
strength training. In contrast, adding both explosive and heavy strength training to endurance
training can improve running performance, while no change was observed in the control
groups performing endurance training only (Paavolainen et al., 1999; Spurrs et al., 2003;
Støren et al., 2008).
Combining heavy strength training and regular endurance training increased mean power
output production during a final 5-min all-out sprint after 3 hours of submaximal cycling by 7
%, while no changes occurred in the endurance training group (Rønnestad et al., 2011).
Not all studies, however, have reported that concurrent training results in superior endurance
performance, especially in males (Kraemer et al., 2004, Barnes et al. 2013). Nevertheless,
there are no reports of negative impacts of concurrent training on endurance performance.
Potential mechanisms
A likely mechanism for improved performance after combined strength and endurance
training is (altered) muscle fibre type recruitment pattern. When measuring cycling
economy the traditional way, by measuring oxygen consumption during a short period of
time at steady state exercise intensities below the lactate threshold, mainly type I fibres
that are activated. In this setting may the effect of increasing the maximum strength of
type I fibres and postponing the activation of the less economical type II fibres be trivial
or small. This effect might explain why the literature seems is equivocal on
improvements in cycling economy in well-trained cyclists measured the traditional way.
Altered muscle fibre recruitment may also explain why improvement of cycling
economy in well-trained cyclists after a period of concurrent training is detected first
after about two hours of submaximal cycling (Rønnestad et al., 2011) It is likely that
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after prolonged cycling will some of the type I fibres be exhausted and the less
economical type II fibres gradually increases their contribution to the exercise. It might
be suggested that the strength training increases the maximum strength of type I fibres
and postpones their time to exhaustion and thereby delaying the activation of type II
fibres. Strength training increases maximal force, and therefore peak force or muscle-
fibre tension developed in each movement cycle at the same absolute exercise intensity
decreases to a lower percentage of the maximal values. A cross-sectional study of
cyclists with similar VO2max and Wmax, reported lower EMG activity in the cyclists with
higher compared with lower maximal strength (Bieuzen et al. 2007).
Another potentially contributing factor to improved endurance performance is an
increased proportion of type IIA fibres and reduced proportion of type IIX fibres. A 16
week study in top-level cyclists combining heavy strength training and endurance
training in top-level cyclists examined the proportional redistribution in type II muscle
fibres (Aagaard et al., 2011). The increase in the more fatigue resistant, yet high
capability of power output, type IIA fibres may contribute to improved endurance
performance. However, there have also been reported no changes in fibre composition in
endurance athletes after a period of concurrent strength and endurance training (Bishop
et al., 1999). The different findings might be related to differences in initial percentages
of type IIX fibres (Bishop et al., 1999).
According to the size principle of motor unit recruitment (Henneman et al., 1965), the
following mechanism may be hypothesized: a reduced reliance on the less efficient type
II muscle fibres and thus improved exercise economy; slower emptying of glycogen
stores; reduced overall muscle fatigue; and a potentially increased capacity for high-
intensity performance following prolonged exercise or an increased ability by the athlete
to exercise longer until exhaustion (Hickson et al., 1988; Coyle et al., 1992; Horowitz et
al., 1994). A 12 week program of heavy strength training resulted in higher
phosphocreatine and glycogen content and lower [la-] at the end of 30 min cycling at
72% of VO2max, despite no change in VO2max (Goreham et al. 1999). The performed
strength training program was almost identical to the strength training performed in the
studies reporting a superior effect of concurrent training in long-term endurance
performance, despite the observation of no change in the traditional way of measuring
cycling economy (Aagaard et al., 2011; Rønnestad et al., 2011). The studies in which no
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additive performance effect of concurrent training in cyclists was found performed either
explosive strength training with low external load (Bastiaans et al., 2001), low volume of
heavy strength training (Bishop et al. 1999), or lasted for a short duration (Levin et al.,
2009). Thus, it seems that differences in a strength training program can explain the
different findings. Explosive strength training and low-volume heavy strength training
can induce inferior strength- and hypertrophic responses compared to higher volume of
heavy strength (Rønnestad et al. 2007; Holm et al., 2008). Unfortunately, no
performance measurements were obtained in the study of Goreham et al. (1999), but the
improved aerobic metabolism and conservation of limited glycogen stores are important
for long-term endurance performance. Interestingly, they did not observe any change in
cycling economy.
Another putative mechanism explaining improvement in endurance-related
measurements after concurrent training is increased maximum force, and/or increased
rate of force development (RFD) facilitating better blood flow to exercising muscles
(Hoff et al., 1999, 2002; Støren et al., 2008; Sunde et al., 2010; Aagaard et al., 2011).
Increases in RFD is often caused by increased neural activation and both heavy strength
training with maximal velocity in the concentric phase of the lift and explosive strength
training can increase neural activation (Mikkola et al. 2011). Superior improvement in
maximum force and RFD was accompanied by superior improvement in exercise
economy (Heggelund et al., 2013). Improvement in maximum force and/or RFD might
lower the relative exercise intensity and induce less constriction of the blood flow.
Alternatively, improved RFD may reduce time to reach the desired force in each
movement cycle. A shorter contraction time or shorter time with relative high force
production in working muscles may increase blood flow to the muscles by reducing time
where blood flow is restricted. Whether blood flow is enhanced after a period of
concurrent training has not been thoroughly investigated, but in theory an increase in
blood flow will increase delivery of O2 and substrates to the working muscles-
contributing to enhanced endurance performance (but not necessarily improved exercise
economy).On the other hand, a recent study on moderately trained cyclists by Barrett-
O`Keefe et al. (2012), showed that 8 weeks of heavy strength training improved work
economy at a cadence of 60 rpm, reduced muscular blood flow, while maintaining
muscular arterial-venous oxygen difference. The latter indicates that improvement in
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muscular efficiency is an important mechanism behind improved work economy and
improved endurance performance.
Magnetic resonance imaging indicates that increased maximum strength reduces the
amount of activated muscle mass to generate the same absolute submaximal power
(Ploutz et al., 1994). If less muscle mass generates the same power after increased
maximum strength, metabolic strain is concentrated on fewer fibres and obviates the
effect of increased maximum strength. In the opposite direction, activated muscle fibres
might exercise at the same relative intensity due to the increase in maximum strength. If
that is the case, then the strength training would presumably not affect exercise economy
directly, measured as oxygen consumption, but potentially increase the endurance
performance via increasing the quantity of fresh muscle mass available when the final
sprint is approaching. In a time-trial setting, where the objective is to cover a certain
distance as fast as possible, this adaptation could theoretically result in superior
performance, due to increased power output per unit muscle mass.
One of the distinct differences between cycling and running is the stretch-shortening
cycle in running, while the leg movements in cycling are mainly composed of concentric
muscle actions. Thus, cyclists are not able to store energy during an eccentric phase and
utilize it in the subsequent concentric phase to the same extent as runners. It is estimated
that storage and return of elastic energy during running approximates about half of the
mechanical work performed during the eccentric phase of a running stride (Cavagna et
al., 1964).In accordance with the latter assertion, stiffness of the musculoskeletal system
in the lower-body is associated with enhanced running economy in a wide range of
runners (Craib et al., 1996; Jones, 2002; Trehearn & Buresh, 2009). Muscle-tendon
system is able to increase its stiffness through both explosive strength training (Foure et
al., 2011) and heavy strength training (Kubo et al., 2001, 2002). Furthermore, stiffness
increases in the muscle-tendon system of the lower-body after adding both heavy
strength training (Millet et al., 2002) and explosive strength training (Spurrs et al., 2003)
to the ongoing endurance training. Importantly, it is likely that there may be an
individual optimal stiffness in the muscle-tendon system. There are apparent advantages
of stiff tendons in some cases and compliant tendons in other cases (Fletcher et al.,
2010). Improved utilization of elastic energy in the muscle-tendon system in the lower-
body would reduce the demand of ATP production even at low submaximal running
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intensities, thus improving running economy as observed in the majority of the presented
studies. This mechanism is unlikely to be equally important when cycling, due to the
lack of pronounced eccentric phase from which the elastic energy can be utilized.
Potential negative outcomes
A potential counterproductive outcome of strength training is that muscle hypertrophy
could have a negative impact on weight-bearing endurance events. An increase in
myofiber cross-sectional area could reduce capillary to muscle fibre cross-sectional area
ratio, thus increasing diffusion distance. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that 8-16
weeks of supplemental strength training failed to increase total body mass nor
compromise the development of VO2max in endurance athletes including cyclists (Bishop
et al., 1999; Bastiaans et al., 2001; Levin et al., 2009; Rønnestad et al., 20010a, 2010b;
Sunde et al., 2010; Aagaard et al., 2011), runners (Johnston et al., 1997; Paavolainen et
al., 1999; Spurrs et al., 2003; Turner et al., 2003; Saunders et al., 2006; Mikkola et al.,
2007a, 2011; Storen et al., 2008;), duathletes and triathletes (Hickson et al., 1988; Millet
et al., 2002) and cross-country skiers (Hoff et al., 1999, 2002; Osteras et al., 2002;
Mikkola et al., 2007b; Losnegard et al., 2011; Rønnestad et al., 2012).
Even though strength training can be added to endurance training without a concomitant
increase in total body mass, there seems to be a small, ~3-6%, increase in measurements
of muscle hypertrophy of the main target muscles (Rønnestad et al., 2010a, 2012;
Taipale et al., 2010; Losnegard et al., 2011; Aagaard et al., 2011). An impaired
hypertrophic response to strength training is likely explained by recent developments
within molecular sports science. Endurance exercise may negatively affect intracellular
pathways important for myofibrillar protein synthesis (reviewed in Hawley 2009).
Activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) by endurance
exercise may inhibit mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling and suppress
strength exercise-induced myofibrillar protein synthesis (Nader, 2006; Hawley, 2009).
Consequently, acute intracellular signalling response to concurrent strength and
endurance training does not promote ideal activation of pathways responsible for muscle
hypertrophy (Coffey et al., 2009). Observations of disparate mRNA response to
concurrent strength and endurance training underline the importance of local factors in
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explaining compromised strength training adaptations to a large volume of concurrent
training (Coffey et al., 2009).
The observed impaired or absence of whole muscle or muscle fibre hypertrophy after
combining strength training with large volumes of endurance training (Hickson et al.,
1988; Bishop et al., 1999; Rønnestad et al. 2010a, 2012, 2012b; Losnegard et al., 2011;
Aagaard et al. 2011) greatly reduces the risk of impaired capillary to muscle fibre ratio.
In untrained subjects, strength training alone can increase some aspects of the capillaries
perfusing skeletal muscle fibres (Hather et al., 1991; McCall et al., 1996; Green et al.,
1999). In moderate trained students an increase in capillary to fibre ratio has been
observed after concurrent strength and endurance training, while no change was evident
after strength or endurance training alone (Bell et al., 2000). The only study performed
on top-level endurance athletes did not observe a negative effect after 16 weeks of
concurrent heavy strength training and endurance training on muscle capillarization
(Aagaard et al., 2011). In addition, after a period of concurrent strength and endurance
training there is no impairment of the oxidative enzyme activity in endurance-trained
athletes (Hickson et al., 1988; Bishop et al., 1999; Bell et al., 2000). Thus, with regard to
muscle vascularization and oxidative potential, there seems to be no indications of
negative effect of strength training.
Practical recommendations
To increase the probability of improved endurance performance subsequent to a strength
training period, the strength training exercises should involve similar muscle groups and
imitate the sports specific movements. This advice is underpinned by adaptations in the
neural system (like optimal activation of the involved muscles) as well as structural
adaptations (like optimising the number of active cross-bridges in that particular range of
motion). An intended rather than the actual velocity appears to determine the velocity-
specific training response (Behm & Sale, 1993; Heggelund et al., 2013). This scenario
means that even though the actual movement velocity is quite low, RFD might be
increased if the athlete focuses on performing the concentric phase of the lift as quick as
possible. Superior adaptations in maximal strength and RFD are achievable after 8
weeks of heavy strength training with maximal velocity in the concentric phase
compared to moderate velocity in the concentric phase (Heggelund et al., 2013). This
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superiority was accompanied by superior improvement in exercise economy during
single leg knee-extension in untrained to moderate trained persons. Athletes are advised
to build up maximal strength in the important muscles during the preparatory period.
Two strength training sessions per week, designed as a ‘‘daily undulating periodized
program’’ is typically enough to achieve a sufficient increase in strength during a 12-
week period. Athletes are advised to perform between 4RM and 10RM and 2-3 sets with
approximately 2-3 min of rest between sets. Before endurance athletes start lifting heavy
loads they must ensure that they have first developed a proper lifting technique with
lighter loads. Note that in the beginning of a strength training period, it is common to get
“heavy” and “sore” legs in the first days after the strength training session. Therefore, it
is important to commence at low level with the concurrent endurance training during the
first two to three weeks of a strength-training program. One approach to overcome this
initial strength training adaptation phase is to conduct it just after the end of a
competition season, when endurance training has a lower priority. During the
competitive season or in training periods development of strength is not prioritized,
approximately one strength training session per week (low volume) with high intensity
seems to maintain the previous strength training adaptations (Rønnestad et al., 2010b;
2011b).
Both explosive and maximal strength training have positive influences on endurance
running performance and/or running economy in endurance athletes (e.g. Paavolainen et
al., 1999; Millet et al., 2002; Spurrs et al., 2003; Støren et al., 2008). Recently, the
enhancing effects of combining endurance training with either heavy or explosive
strength training on running performance have been investigated. The studies that report
a difference in adaptations after heavy or explosive strength training point towards more
favorable adaptations as a result of heavy strength training (Guglielmo et al., 2009;
Mikkola et al., 2011, Barnes et al. 2013).
Conclusion
Recent research on highly trained athletes indicates that strength training can be
successfully prescribed to enhance endurance performance (Table I). For cycling
performance, heavy strength training with maximal velocity during the concentric phase
is preferred, while both heavy strength training with maximal velocity during the
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concentric phase and explosive strength training have additive effects on running
performance. The primary explanation for improved endurance performance is most
likely adaptations within the strength trained muscle including postponed activation of
less efficient type II fibres, improved neuromuscular efficiency, conversion of fast-
twitch type IIX fibres into more fatigue resistant type IIA fibres, and improved
musculotendinous stiffness. Importantly, no negative effects of adding strength training
to an endurance training program have been reported.
Perspectives
The effects of strength training on endurance athletic performance have been the subject
of a long debate among athletes, coaches and sport scientists. Incorporation of strength
training in endurance athletes’ preparation has gradually received more attention during
the last two decades with studies showing divergent findings. Some of this discrepancy
seems to be related to the mode of strength training. In general a coach and athlete can
employ with confidence concurrent endurance and strength training to improve athletic
endurance performance. To optimize the effect of added strength training to cycling
performance, athletes should undertake heavy strength training with maximal velocity
during the concentric phase should be the training mode to recommend (instead of
explosive strength training), while both explosive- and heavy strength training with
maximal velocity during the concentric phase appear to have an additive effect on
running performance.
Acknowledgements
The authors gratefully acknowledge the editorial comments and suggestions made by Prof.
David Pyne (Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport) in the preparation of this manuscript. No
sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article. The authors have no
conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.
16
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Table I. Effects of heavy and explosive strength training on endurance performance.
Potential positive
physiological and
performance effect
Evidence of
benefit Potential negative
physiological and
performance effect
Evidence of
negative outcome
Improved VO2max No Increased body
mass No
Improved exercise
economy Yes Compromised
relative VO2max No
Improved anaerobic
capacity Yes Increased diffusion
distance No
Improved lactate
threshold Yes Reduced
capillarisation No
Reduced or delayed
fatigue Yes Reduced oxidative
enzyme activity No
Improved maximal
strength Yes
Improved rate of
force development Yes
Improved maximal
speed Yes
Improved endurance
performance Yes
... In this way, specific scientific evidence indicates that combining endurance and strength training generates additional benefits in terms of athletic performance improvement and injury prevention [8]. These improvements could be related to the following mechanisms [8][9][10][11][12][13]: ...
... In this regard, some studies have revealed a certain degree of incompatibility between endurance and strength training [9,18,19]. Thus, maximum voluntary contraction, rate of force development and some adaptations such as maximal strength and VO2max can be attenuated [20]. Similarly, time to exhaustion and mitochondrial density can be reduced [14]. ...
... The improvements obtained in RE14 by CTG and RSSTG were significantly higher than those achieved by ETG. In RSSTG, the improvements in RE could be related to the attainment of certain adaptations [9,10,32,50]: (a) improved musculotendinous stiffness of the lower extremities; (b) improved motor unit recruitment and synchronization patterns; (c) improved intermuscular coordination and neural inhibition; (d) delayed activation of less-efficient type II muscle fibers; (e) conversion of type IIx fibers into fatigue-resistant IIa fibers; (f) facilitation of the optimal application of strength throughout the entire training or competition; (g) reduction of the relative intensity that each particular cycle of effort or sports technique represents for one athlete when overcoming the same resistance; (g) improved ability to perform the same effort with lower oxygen consumption; (h) improved ability to apply the same strength with less muscle mass; (i) improved reuse of elastic energy in each stride. Therefore, attaining all of these physiological adaptations could be the reason why RSSTG obtained significant improvements over ETG in RE14. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: The present study aimed to verify the effects of running-specific strength training alone, endurance training alone, and concurrent training on recreational endurance athletes' performance and selected anthropometric parameters. Method: Thirty male recreational endurance runners were randomly assigned using a blocking technique to either a running-specific strength training group (RSSTG), an endurance training group (ETG), or a concurrent training group (CTG). RSSTG performed three strength-training sessions per week orientated to running, ETG underwent three endurance sessions per week, and CTG underwent a 3-day-per-week concurrent training program performed on non-consecutive days, alternating the strength and endurance training sessions applied to RSSTG and ETG. The training protocol lasted 12 weeks and was designed using the ATR (Accumulation, Transmutation, Realization) block periodization system. The following assessments were conducted before and after the training protocol: body mass (BM), body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BFP), lean mass (LM), countermovement jump (CMJ), 1RM (one-repetition maximum) squat, running economy at 12 and 14 km/h (RE12 and RE14), maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max), and anaerobic threshold (AnT). Results: RSSTG significantly improved the results in CMJ, 1RM squat, RE12, and RE14. ETG significantly improved in RE12, RE14, VO2max, and AnT. Finally, CTG, obtained significant improvements in BFP, LM, CMJ, 1RM squat, RE12, RE14, VO2max, and AnT. RSSTG obtained improvements significantly higher than ETG in CMJ, 1RM squat, and RE14. ETG results were significantly better than those attained by RSSTG in AnT. Moreover, CTG marks were significantly higher than those obtained by ETG in CMJ and RE14. Conclusion: Performing a 12-week concurrent training program integrated into the ATR periodization system effectively improves body composition and performance variables that can be obtained with exclusive running-specific strength and endurance training in recreational runners aged 30 to 40. Running-specific strength training enhances maximum and explosive strength and RE, whereas exclusive endurance training improves VO2max, AnT, and RE. Performing concurrent training on non-consecutive days effectively prevents the strength and endurance adaptations attained with single-mode exercise from being attenuated. The ATR periodization system is useful in improving recreational endurance athletes' performance parameters, especially when performing concurrent training programs.
... In this sense, strength training (ST) is commonly used to improve neuromuscular adaptation [6,7] in order to increase anaerobic and speed capacity. Contemporarily, ST is recommended in association with running, parallel to cardiopulmonary training [8]. ...
... Even though reviews and meta-analyses have already been carried out concerning the chronic adaptations of ST in running economics and runners' performance [5,8,9,15], a systematic review of studies that evaluated the acute response (i.e., immediately after, and at 24 or 48 h a single ST) in indirect and direct variables related to the performance of runners has not been performed and is necessary, since runners and coaches perform acute ST routines without conclusive scientific evidence. We hypothesized that session protocols that require higher training load, higher density and proximity to Fig. 1 Acute effects of resistance training include increased muscle damage, kinematic alteration, greater energy expenditure, greater neural fatigue, reduced muscle glycogen supply; which lead to worse recovery, less submaximal muscle contractility and less available energy substrate; resulting in a loss of quality of the running session. ...
... [1,[38][39][40]. In addition, ST and its neuromuscular and mechanical adaptations already present consolidated knowledge about the benefits in the performance of aerobic modalities [5,8]. On the other hand, knowledge of the immediate and short-term effects of a ST session on the indirect and directly related variables to running performance is necessary and should be part of the combined training intersection planning. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Strength training (ST) is commonly used to improve muscle strength, power, and neuromuscular adaptations and is recommended combined with runner training. It is possible that the acute effects of the strength training session lead to deleterious effects in the subsequent running. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to verify the acute effects of ST session on the neuromuscular, physiological and performance variables of runners. Methods Studies evaluating running performance after resistance exercise in runners in the PubMed and Scopus databases were selected. From 6532 initial references, 19 were selected for qualitative analysis and 13 for meta-analysis. The variables of peak torque (P T ), creatine kinase (CK), delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), countermovement jump (CMJ), ventilation (VE), oxygen consumption (VO 2 ), lactate (La) and heart rate (HR) were evaluated. Results The methodological quality of the included studies was considered reasonable; the meta-analysis indicated that the variables P T ( p = 0.003), DOMS ( p < 0.0001), CK ( p < 0.0001), RPE ( p < 0.0001) had a deleterious effect for the experimental group; for CMJ, VE, VO 2 , La, FC there was no difference. By qualitative synthesis, running performance showed a reduction in speed for the experimental group in two studies and in all that assessed time to exhaustion. Conclusion The evidence indicated that acute strength training was associated with a decrease in P T , increases in DOMS, CK, RPE and had a low impact on the acute responses of CMJ, VE, VO 2 , La, HR and submaximal running sessions.
... Therefore, it has been suggested that inter-individual differences in exercise economy might be related to differences in training with regard to maximal strength training and speed training [9]. 2 of 12 In this context, different types of strength training have been studied in relation to endurance sports. According to Rønnestad and Mujika [10], maximal strength training can be effective for improving endurance performance. This is in line with the metaanalysis by Ambrosini et al. [11], who found that strength training was useful for increasing performance in different endurance sports, including cross-country skiing. ...
... Some studies indicated that improved work economy could lead to significant improvements in cross-country skiing performance [7,8]. This is in line with research con-ducted in other endurance sports, which found significant improvements in both economy and performance [10,12]. In general, most studies found that after several weeks of maximal strength training, the performance of cross-country skiers increased significantly [13][14][15][16]24,25]. ...
... Although several studies found significant improvements in double poling economy, most of the studies found no significant differences in aerobic parameters such as VO 2 max and VO 2 peak after a period of additional strength training [13][14][15]17,18,24]. This lack of change in VO 2 max and VO 2 peak after additional strength training has been previously observed in studies conducted in running, cycling and swimming [10,12]. The only study which found significant differences in VO 2 max during skate roller skiing was Losnegard et al. [16]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Traditionally, cross-country skiing has been known for having a strong endurance component; however, strength demands have significantly increased in recent years. Given this importance, several studies have assessed the effects of strength training in cross-country skiing. Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to analyze the results of those studies. A detailed search of four databases (Pubmed, Scopus, Web of Science and Cochrane Library) was conducted until February 2022, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. Ten eligible studies were selected from the 212 records identified, all of them including young well-trained skiers and interventions of 6-12 weeks. Results showed that maximal strength training may improve some important variables: for instance, performance, double-poling economy and maximal strength. However, this type of training failed to change other indicators such as peak oxygen consumption. Concurrent training, which combines endurance and maximal strength training, seems to be effective to improve performance. The mechanisms responsible for the improved economy of double poling might be due to a lower percentage of maximal strength during double poling at a given workload, which could increase performance. Future studies should include longer interventions which analyze a more varied sample.
... There is growing evidence that 8-12 weeks of heavy strength training (HST) is beneficial for endurance performance in different Olympic endurance sports like running and cycling (e.g., Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014;Mujika et al., 2016;Blagrove et al., 2018). Endurance performance is, of course, affected by numerous variables, and in this big picture, HST is likely to play a minor role and is of less importance than, for example, endurance training (Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014). ...
... There is growing evidence that 8-12 weeks of heavy strength training (HST) is beneficial for endurance performance in different Olympic endurance sports like running and cycling (e.g., Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014;Mujika et al., 2016;Blagrove et al., 2018). Endurance performance is, of course, affected by numerous variables, and in this big picture, HST is likely to play a minor role and is of less importance than, for example, endurance training (Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014). That being said, sprint performance and anaerobic capacity can be crucial for endurance performance, like during the final sprint toward the finish line or during a race in sports characterized by stochastic changes in exercise intensity and multiple accelerations like during an Olympic game of road race with a closed-circuit criterium style (Babault et al., 2018;Etxebarria et al., 2019), a cross-country Olympic mountain bike (XCO MTB) race (Granier et al., 2018), or cross-country skiing (Losnegard, 2019). ...
... E&S1 and E&S2 started with HST training in the beginning of the preparatory period in combination with endurance training. The HST followed the recommendations from previous studies on cyclists aiming at 2 weekly sessions for the development of muscular strength and one session every 7-10 days for maintenance with the strength training load adjusted according to the repetition maximum (RM) principle with a systematic variation between 4 and 12 RMs and 3 sets with ∼2 min set pauses (Rønnestad and Mujika, 2014;Rønnestad et al., 2016). The strength exercises were focused on the lower-body and included half-squats in a Smith machine, leg presses with one foot at a time, one-legged hip flexions, and toe raises (Rønnestad et al., 2010b). ...
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Sprint performance is critical for endurance performance in sports characterized by multiple accelerations like a cross-country Olympic mountain bike (XCO MTB) race. There are indications that 10–25 weeks of heavy strength training (HST) can improve cycling sprint power in cyclists. However, there is a lack of data on the effect of continuing HST across several seasons. In the first part of this case report, two elite cyclists performed HST across two preparatory periods (i.e., 1.5 years), while two others continued with endurance training only. HST induced a mean increase in leg press force and cycling sprint power of 16% after the first preparatory period (November to April), which was maintained during the competition period. After the next preparatory period a further increase from the first test was achieved (22 and 19%, respectively). The two cyclists with no HST had no changes in leg press force and cycling sprint power. The second part contains data from two of the cyclists from the first part. One of them continued with HST for 2 more years and achieved a continuous increase in leg press force during all four preparatory periods, ending up with a total increase of 44% after 3.5 years, while the development of cycling sprint power had more variation with an apparent plateau from the third to fourth preparatory periods, ending up with an improvement of 25%. The other cyclist did not perform HST in the first part but started with HST and performed this across the last two preparatory periods. After two preparatory periods with HST (i.e., 1.5 years), the increased leg press force and cycling sprint power were 24 and 22%, respectively, which was in the same range as the improvement observed after 1.5 years of HST in the first part of this case report. The present data extend previous short-term studies indicating that HST can give reasonable muscle strength improvements in elite cyclists across multiple preparatory periods. Furthermore, the present data indicate that HST adaptations can be maintained across multiple competition periods. Cycling sprint power seems to approximately follow the development of leg press performance.
... Furthermore, San Emeterio et al. [20] found that in elite female cyclists, intense cycling training induced significant alterations in lumbopelvic movement. The specificity of training also includes mainly endurance exercise and general strengthening exercise, usually not focused on lumbo-pelvic stability and on hip mobility [21][22][23]. However, there are not many studies in which the impact of road cycling training on neuromuscular control and movement quality is addressed using movement-competency base tests such as the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and/or the Lower Quarter Y-balance test (YBT-LQ). ...
... Therefore, it may be probable that spending significant time in cycling position, which requires extreme trunk horizontal flattening and hip flexion achieved through excessive anterior pelvis tilt [16] in combination with a high level of physical effort [20], may overload tissues and lead to some deficits in the mobility (mainly in hip extension) and stability of the lumbo-pelvis complex and/or trunk. Furthermore, the potential reason for functional movement deficits observed in evaluated cyclists may be related to overall training specificity, which is mainly focused on endurance exercises and on general strength training [21][22][23]. However, specific functional exercises focused on lumbo-pelvic complex mobility and stability are very rarely performed by cyclists. ...
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The aim of this study was to assess whether cycling training may influence quality of functional movement patterns and dynamic postural control. We also sought to determine if the Functional Movement Screen and Lower Quarter Y-balance tests could be predictive of injury risk among adolescent road cyclists. Twenty-three male road cyclists, aged 15–18 years, were involved in the study. Quality of functional movement patterns was assessed using the Functional Movement Screen test (FMS). Dynamic postural control was evaluated using the Lower Quarter Y-balance test (YBT-LQ). Information on injury occurrence was collected through a retrospective survey. The results showed the highest percentage of scores equalling 0 and 1 (>30% in total) in two FMS component tests: the hurdle step and trunk stability push-up. The results also demonstrated a low injury predictive value of the Functional Movement Screen (cut-off <14/21 composite score) and the Lower Quarter Y-balance test (cut-off <94% composite score and >4 cm reach distance asymmetry) in adolescent road cyclists. The most important information obtained from this study is that youth road cyclists may have functional deficits within the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and the trunk, while neither the FMS nor the YBT-LQ test are not recommended for injury risk screening in cyclists.
... The aim of this study was to investigate the differences between eight-week TRT and HIPT on the explosive force of the upper and lower limbs and anaerobic power. Previous studies have proven that resistance exercise can significantly increase muscle strength, local muscle endurance, and anaerobic ability [3,4,[13][14][15][16]. The variables that modulate training include (1) muscle movements, (2) load and quantity, (3) movement selection and order, (4) resting time, (5) repeated speed, and (6) frequency. ...
... Strength training was reported to improve cyclists' peak power output and mean power output on a 30 s Wingate test, as well as the explosive power with maximum speed [16,30]. In our study, the mean power output only improved in the HIPT group after 8nweeks of training. ...
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Background: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) features short, repeated bursts of relatively vigorous exercise with intermittent periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. High-intensity power training (HIPT), in combination with HIIT and traditional resistance training (TRT), is characterized as multijoint high-intensity resistance exercises with low interset rest periods. HIPT requires people to finish the exercise as fast as possible, which increases acute physiological demands. The aim of the study was to investigate the differences between eight-week HIPT or TRT on exercise performance. Methods: Twenty-four college students were recruited and randomly assigned to either the HIPT or TRT group in a counterbalanced order. The power of upper and lower limbs (50% 1RM bench press and vertical jump) and anaerobic power were tested before and after the training (weeks 0 and 9). The results were analyzed by two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) or Friedman's test with a significance level of α = 0.05 to compare the effects of the intervention on exercise performance. Results: There were significant differences in the explosive force of the upper and lower limbs between the pretest and post-test in both the HIPT and TRT groups (p < 0.05). However, only the HIPT group showed a significant difference in the mean power on the Wingate anaerobic test between the pretest and post-test (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Both HIPT and TRT can improve upper and lower limb explosive force. HIPT is an efficient training protocol, which took less time and produced a better improvement in mean anaerobic power.
... Practicing agility training will greatly help athletes perform extensive movements during the game on the field (Husein, M, Akbar, 2020;Unnithan et al., 2012). Cardiopulmonary endurance is an endurance exercise related to blood circulation and breathing, while muscle endurance is an exercise related to muscle mass and muscle strength (Rønnestad & Mujika, 2014) that physical condition is a requirement to improve student achievement. It can even be said to be a basic need that cannot be delayed anymore. ...
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Monitoring the preparations in the sparring test shows the physical condition of athletes and basic techniques that have decreased. This is necessary to know the quality of physical conditions and basic techniques owned by the Sangkuriang Club sepak takraw team to prepare for participating in the 2022 national competition. This study aims to find out about the quality of physical conditions and basic techniques possessed by Sangkuriang sepak takraw club athletes so that they are used as a basis for evaluating the coaching team in determining team preparation. The research uses quantitative descriptive research methods that use a research approach in the form of test surveys, physical shaving conditions, and basic techniques. The instruments used for the physical condition are the dominant test items in sepak takraw athletes, while the basic techniques of test items are in the form of basic techniques in sepak takraw. The sample in this study was 12 male athletes from the Sangkuriang club. Physical condition; the most numerous category is the good category of 5 people (41.67%). In basic engineering, the most numerous category is moderate five people (41.67%). In the future, it is necessary to know the physical qualities and basic techniques of sepak takraw athletes, aiming that coaches can understand their athletes' abilities.
... However, BCT does not reflect actual functional movements compared to dynamic running-based sports, and stimulation of the muscles is relatively limited [15]. Moreover, BCT is a beneficial aerobic exercise that can be performed during the early stage, but it requires more effort and time to reach the target exercise intensity because the load and fatigue are concentrated on the lower body [16]. Several previous studies have emphasized the importance of BCT in parallel with muscle strength and proprioception training for symptom improvement and functional recovery in the early rehabilitation stage following MAT [9,17]. ...
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Meniscal allograft transplantation (MAT) is a treatment modality for restoring knee function in patients with irreversible meniscal injury. Strengthening programs to promote functional recovery are treated with caution during the intermediate rehabilitation phase following MAT. This study analyzed the effects of aquatic training (AQT) and bicycling training (BCT) during the intermediate stage of rehabilitation in amateur athletes that underwent MAT. Participants (n = 60) were divided into AQT (n = 30) and BCT (n = 30) groups. Both groups performed training three times per week from 6 to 24 weeks following surgery. International Knee Documentation Committee Subjective Knee Evaluation Form (IKDC) score, knee joint range of motion (ROM), isokinetic knee strength, and Y-balance test (YBT) performance were evaluated. All measured variables for the AQT and BCT groups improved significantly after training compared with pre-training values. The IKDC score and YBT were significantly higher for AQT than for BCT. The knee flexion ROM and isokinetic muscle strength were significantly improved in the BCT group compared to those in the AQT group. The AQT group exhibited greater improvement in dynamic balance, whereas BCT provided greater improvement in isokinetic muscle strength. AQT and BCT were effective in reducing discomfort and improving knee symptoms and functions during intermediate-stage rehabilitation following MAT in amateur athletes.
... This is in contrast with previous studies which showed superior physiological and performance improvements in well-trained and elite road cyclists after 10-25 weeks of heavy strength training. 41 The reason why strength training was not performed was that the three cyclists were unwilling to perform strength training despite the coaches' indications. Whether a better persuasion's method could have led to a better race result remains unknown given the descriptive nature of this study. ...
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The aim of this study was to describe individual training strategies in preparation to Giro d’Italia of three world class road cyclists who achieved a top 5 in the general classification. Day‐to‐day power meter training and racing data of three road cyclists (age: 26, 27, 25 years; relative maximum oxygen consumption: 81, 82, 80 mL·min‐1·kg‐1; relative 20‐min record power output: 6.6, 6.6, 6.4 W·kg‐1) of the 22 weeks (December‐May) leading up to the top 5 in Giro d’Italia general classification were retrospectively analyzed. Weekly volume and intensity distribution were considered. Cyclists completed 17, 22, 29 races, trained averagely for 19.7 (7.9), 16.2 (7.0), 14.7 (6.2) hours per week, with a training intensity distribution of 91.3‐6.5‐2.2, 83.6‐10.6‐5.8, 86.7‐8.9‐4.4 in zone 1‐zone 2‐zone 3 before the Giro d’Italia. Two cyclists spent 55 and 39 days at altitude, one did not attend any altitude camp. Cyclists adopted an overall pyramidal intensity distribution with a relevant increase in high‐intensity volume and polarization index in races weeks. Tapering phases seem to be dictated by race schedule instead of literature prescription, with no strength training performed by the three cyclists throughout the entire periodization.
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Purpose and methods: To test whether heat training performed as 5x50 min sessions/week for 5 weeks in a heat chamber (CHAMBER) or while wearing a heat suit (SUIT), in temperate conditions, increases haemoglobin mass (Hbmass) and endurance performance in elite cyclists, compared to a control group (CON-1). Furthermore, after the 5-week intervention, we tested whether 3 sessions/week for 3 weeks with heat suit (SUITmain) would maintain Hbmass elevated compared to athletes who returned to normal training (HEATstop) or who continued to be control group CON-2). Results: During the initial 5-wks, SUIT and CHAMBER increased Hbmass (2.6% and 2.4%) to a greater extent than CON-1 (-0.7%; both p < 0.01). The power output at 4 mmol·L-1 blood lactate and 1-min power output (Wmax) improved more in SUIT (3.6% and 7.3%, respectively) than CON-1 (-0.6%, p < 0.05; and 0.2%, p < 0.01), while this was not the case for CHAMBER (1.4%, p = 0.24; 3.4%, p = 0.29). However, when SUIT and CHAMBER was pooled this revealed a greater improvement in a performance index (composed of power output at 4 mmol·L-1 blood lactate, Wmax and 15-min power output) than CON-1 (4.9 ± 3.2% vs. 1.7 ± 1.1%, respectively, p < 0.05). During the 3 weeks maintenance period, SUITmain induced a larger increase in Hbmass than HEATstop (3.3% vs. 0.8%; p < 0.05) which was not different from control (CON-2; 1.6%; p = 0.19), with no differences between HEATstop and CON-2 (p = 0.52). Conclusions: Both SUIT and CHAMBER can increase Hbmass and pooling SUIT and CHAMBER demonstrates that heat training can increase performance. Furthermore, compared to cessation of heat training, a sustained increase in Hbmass was observed during a subsequent 3-week maintenance period although the number of weekly heat training sessions were reduced to 3.
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Physiological variables, such as maximum work rate or maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), together with other submaximal metabolic inflection points (e.g. the lactate threshold [LT], the onset of blood lactate accumulation and the pulmonary ventilation threshold [VT]), are regularly quantified by sports scientists during an incremental exercise test to exhaustion. These variables have been shown to correlate with endurance performance, have been used to prescribe exercise training loads and are useful to monitor adaptation to training. However, an incremental exercise test can be modified in terms of starting and subsequent work rates, increments and duration of each stage. At the same time, the analysis of the blood lactate/ventilatory response to incremental exercise may vary due to the medium of blood analysed and the treatment (or mathematical modelling) of data following the test to model the metabolic inflection points. Modification of the stage duration during an incremental exercise test may influence the submaximal and maximal physiological variables. In particular, the peak power output is reduced in incremental exercise tests that have stages of longer duration. Furthermore, the VT or LT may also occur at higher absolute exercise work rate in incremental tests comprising shorter stages. These effects may influence the relationship of the variables to endurance performance or potentially influence the sensitivity of these results to endurance training. A difference in maximum work rate with modification of incremental exercise test design may change the validity of using these results for predicting performance, and prescribing or monitoring training. Sports scientists and coaches should consider these factors when conducting incremental exercise testing for the purposes of performance diagnostics.
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In 1923, Hill and Lupton pointed out that for Hill himself, ‘the rate of oxygen intake due to exercise increases as speed increases, reaching a maximum for the speeds beyond about 256 m/min. At this particular speed, for which no further increases in O2 intake can occur, the heart, lungs, circulation, and the diffusion of oxygen to the active muscle-fibres have attained their maximum activity. At higher speeds the requirement of the body for oxygen is far higher but cannot be satisfied, and the oxygen debt continuously increases’. In 1975, this minimal velocity which elicits maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) was called ‘critical speed’ and was used to measure the maximal aerobic capacity (max Eox), i.e. the total oxygen consumed at V̇O2max. This should not be confused with the term ‘critical power’ which is closest to the power output at the ‘lactate threshold’. In 1984, the term ‘velocity at V̇O2max’ and the abbreviation ‘vV̇O2max’ was introduced. It was reported that vV̇O2max is a useful variable that combines V̇O2max and economy into a single factor which can identify aerobic differences between various runners or categories of runners. vV̇O2max explained individual differences in performance that V̇O2max or running economy alone did not. Following that, the concept of a maximal aerobic running velocity (Vamax in m/sec) was formulated. This was a running velocity at which V̇O2max occurred and was calculated as the ratio between V̇O2max (ml/kg/min) minus oxygen consumption at rest, and the energy cost of running (ml/kg/sec). There are many ways to determine the velocity associated with V̇O2max making it difficult to compare maintenance times. In fact, the time to exhaustion (tlim) at vV̇O2max is reproducible in an individual, however, there is a great variability among individuals with a low coefficient of variation for vV̇O2max. For an average value of about 6 minutes, the coefficient of variation is about 25%. It seems that the lactate threshold which is correlated with the tlim at vV̇O2max can explain this difference among individuals, the role of the anaerobic contribution being significant. An inverse relationship has been found between tlim at vV̇O2max and V̇O2max and a positive one between vV̇O2max and the velocity at the lactate threshold expressed as a fraction of vV̇O2max. These results are similar for different sports (e.g. running, cycling, kayaking, swimming). It seems that the real time spent at V̇O2max is significantly different from an exhaustive run at a velocity close to vV̇O2max (105% vV̇O2max). However, the minimal velocity which elicits V̇O2maxand the tlim at this velocity appear to convey valuable information when analysing a runner’s performance over 1500m to a marathon.
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TANAKA, H., D. L. COSTILL, R. THOMAS, W. J. FINK, and J. J. WIDRICK. Dry-land resistance training for competitive swimming. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 25, No. 8, pp. 952-959, 1993. To determine the value of dry-land resistance training on front crawl swimming performance, two groups of 12 intercollegiate male swimmers were equated based upon preswimming performance, swim power values, and stroke specialities. Throughout the 14 wk of their competitve swimming season, both swim training group (SWIM, N = 12) and combined swim and resistance training group (COMBO, N = 12) swam together 6 d a week. In addition, the COMBO engaged in a 8-wk resistance training program 3 d a week. The resistance training was intended to simulate the muscle and swimming actions employed during front crawl swimming. Both COMBO and SWIM had significant (P < 0.05) but similar power gains as measured on the biokinetic swim bench and during a tethered swim over the 14-wk period. No change in distance per stroke was observed throughout the course of this investigation. No significant differences were found between the groups in any of the swim power and swimming performance tests. In this investigation, dry-land resistance training did not improve swimming performance despite the fact that the COMBO was able to increase the resistance used during strength training by 25-35%. The lack of a positive transfer between dry-land strength gains and swimming propulsive force may be due to the specificity of training. (C)1993The American College of Sports Medicine
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To investigate the effects of simultaneous explosive-strength and endurance training on physical performance characteristics, 10 experimental (E) and 8 control (C) endurance athletes trained for 9 wk. The total training volume was kept the same in both groups, but 32% of training in E and 3% in C was replaced by explosive-type strength training. A 5-km time trial (5K), running economy (RE), maximal 20-m speed ( V 20 m ), and 5-jump (5J) tests were measured on a track. Maximal anaerobic (MART) and aerobic treadmill running tests were used to determine maximal velocity in the MART ( V MART ) and maximal oxygen uptake (V˙o 2 max ). The 5K time, RE, and V MART improved ( P < 0.05) in E, but no changes were observed in C. V 20 m and 5J increased in E ( P < 0.01) and decreased in C ( P < 0.05).V˙o 2 max increased in C ( P < 0.05), but no changes were observed in E. In the pooled data, the changes in the 5K velocity during 9 wk of training correlated ( P< 0.05) with the changes in RE [O 2 uptake ( r = −0.54)] and V MART ( r = 0.55). In conclusion, the present simultaneous explosive-strength and endurance training improved the 5K time in well-trained endurance athletes without changes in theirV˙o 2 max . This improvement was due to improved neuromuscular characteristics that were transferred into improved V MART and running economy.
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McCall, G. E., W. C. Byrnes, A. Dickinson, P. M. Pattany, and S. J. Fleck. Muscle fiber hypertrophy, hyperplasia, and capillary density in college men after resistance training. J. Appl. Physiol. 81(5): 2004–2012, 1996.—Twelve male subjects with recreational resistance training backgrounds completed 12 wk of intensified resistance training (3 sessions/wk; 8 exercises/session; 3 sets/exercise; 10 repetitions maximum/set). All major muscle groups were trained, with four exercises emphasizing the forearm flexors. After training, strength (1-repetition maximum preacher curl) increased by 25% ( P < 0.05). Magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed an increase in the biceps brachii muscle cross-sectional area (CSA) (from 11.8 ± 2.7 to 13.3 ± 2.6 cm ² ; n = 8; P < 0.05). Muscle biopsies of the biceps brachii revealed increases ( P < 0.05) in fiber areas for type I (from 4,196 ± 859 to 4,617 ± 1,116 μm ² ; n = 11) and II fibers (from 6,378 ± 1,552 to 7,474 ± 2,017 μm ² ; n = 11). Fiber number estimated from the above measurements did not change after training (293.2 ± 61.5 × 10 ³ pretraining; 297.5 ± 69.5 × 10 ³ posttraining; n = 8). However, the magnitude of muscle fiber hypertrophy may influence this response because those subjects with less relative muscle fiber hypertrophy, but similar increases in muscle CSA, showed evidence of an increase in fiber number. Capillaries per fiber increased significantly ( P < 0.05) for both type I (from 4.9 ± 0.6 to 5.5 ± 0.7; n = 10) and II fibers (from 5.1 ± 0.8 to 6.2 ± 0.7; n = 10). No changes occurred in capillaries per fiber area or muscle area. In conclusion, resistance training resulted in hypertrophy of the total muscle CSA and fiber areas with no change in estimated fiber number, whereas capillary changes were proportional to muscle fiber growth.
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The five different training methods used in this study consisted of various proportions of swimming and of weight training exercises. Sixty subjects were divided into five equated groups. Each group was exposed to a different treatment over a period of six weeks. Tests of swimming speed were administered at the beginning of the experiment, and at the end of each week. All five treatments resulted in significant swimming improvements, but none of the treatments were significantly more effective than the other treatments.