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While some sports primarily use one energy system (such as a cross-country athlete who primarily uses her/his aerobic system), others, such as American soccer, require excellent aerobic and anaerobic conditioning in order to maximize performance. While professionals working in sports requiring equal aerobic and anaerobic training seem to incorporate training that taxes both systems on a regular basis, I am curious about professionals working with athletes who primarily use their aerobic systems during competition.

Studies (such as Hickson, R.C., B.A. Dvorak, E.M. Gorostiaga, T.T. Kurowski, and C. Foster. 1988. Potential for strength and endurance training to amplify endurance performance. Journal of Applied Physiology. 65:2285-2290 and Hickson, R.C., M.A. Rosenkoetter, and M.M. Brown. 1980. Strength training effects on aerobic power and short-term endurance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Journal of Anatomy. 116:57-65 have shown that if properly implemented strength training an athlete primarily utilizing her/his aerobic energy system during competition does not hinder performance. Moreover, when implemented correctly and supplemented with appropriate rest the added strength actually improves performance and reduces the risk of injury.

Nevertheless, despite findings from studies such as those noted above which support supplementing aerobic training with strength/resistance training there are coaches out there who feel that such supplementation can hinder the performance of athletes primarily utilizing her/his aerobic energy system during competition.

So, I'm interested in the opinion of others out there: Do you believe it's ok to supplement strength training with aerobic training for athletes primarily utilizing their aerobic energy source? If so, how often do you supplement aerobic training with strength/resistance training? If not, what are your concerns?

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Comment by Keith on January 18, 2009 at 7:31pm
Concurrent strength and endurance training is performed by numerous athletes in various sports in an effort to achieve adaptations specific to both forms of training. Literature findings to date, investigating the neuromuscular adaptations and performance improvements associated with concurrent strength and endurance training have produced inconsistent results. Some studies have shown that concurrent training inhibits the development of strength and power, but does not effect the development of aerobic fitness when compared to either mode of training alone. Other studies have shown that concurrent training has no inhibitory effect on the development of strength and endurance.

The effect endurance training has on strength development when associated with concurrent training programs is unclear. However, it has been demonstrated that endurance running combined with resistance training appears to inhibit isokinetic strength development when compared with isokinetic strength training alone. It has also been indicated that subjects with a history of endurance training may be less susceptible to any negative effects of concurrent training on strength development.

Concurrent strength and endurance training appears to inhibit strength development when compared with strength training alone. At present there are a few hypotheses including overtraining, conflicting physiological adaptations, muscle fiber type hypertrophy, endocrine changes or acute fatigue as the proposed mechanisms for lack of strength development associated with concurrent training. However, there is lack of conclusive evidence in this region as many of the concurrent training studies are single study investigations which examine adaptations to specific forms of strength and endurance training.

Hey David, you may already know this, but just thought it may help. - Keith C. -

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