by Lyle McDonald

Ok, let's talk about possible ways to avoid the interference of combined
strength and endurance training. Let me state right now that most of this
will be my opinion and theories without a lot of hard facts to back them
up. If you have better ideas on how to sucessfully combine the two
types of training, I'd love to hear them.

Periodization. I've written at length about this concept and it has sort
of become the training buzz word of the 90's. However, if you've read
my previous articles about periodization, I've only ever dealt with
one type of training (strength or endurance) at any given time. So, how
does one go about combining the two into a periodized routine.

Well, from the study I quoted, a couple of interesting facts came out.
Strength training (at least for 8 weeks) maintained endurance levels
while improving strength, speed, and jumping ability. Endurance training
improved endurance while maintaining vertical jump, sprint time, and
strength (again, at least over eight weeks). Whether this would remain
the case for time periods over 8 weeks is questionable. (As an item of
trivia, have you ever wondered why most training studies are 8 or 10
weeks in length? Usually, the studies are done in collegiate settings
and have to correspond with the length of the quarter or semester as
many of the subjects would leave during the break between semesters.
I thought it was kind of interesting in any case).

The simplest way to periodize workouts might be to spend 8 weeks
concentrating on strength while omitting endurance followed by
eight weeks concentrating on endurance while omitting strength
training (at least lower body strength training if the endurance
training utilizes the legs only, most activities except perhaps swimming
or cross-country skiing). This would be similar to the bodybuilding
practice of spending the bulk of the pre-season with no aerobic work
then switching to endurance training and strength maintenance pre-contest
to lose bodyfat.

Another option would be to stick with very low-intensity endurance
training. As previously mentioned, strength training tend to cause
adaptation primarily in the Type II fibers (although Type I are stressed
to some degree). High intensity endurance training (intervals) and
race-pace workouts also tend to stress both the Type I and II fibers
to some degree. However, low-intensity endurance training generally
stresses only the Type I fibers. It doesn't result in as good of adaptations
in performance, though. Again, for body-builders, longer periods of
low-intensity aerobic training (50-60% of Max heart rate perhaps) might
provide a way to maintain cardiovascular fitness and burn calories
without sacrificing muscle mass or lower body strength. I have a
strong feeling that this idea may be presented in the Health for Life
course called "Max O2". I don't list it as a reference as I haven't read
it. (I only mention this so people don't think I steal my info without
giving due credit) In any cae, this doesn't really help competitive
strength/endurance athletes like football players, rugby players
(who were used in the study I outlined) or athletes like sprinters and

In part 4, I'll outline another possible method of periodization, based
on my own training, which is a little more complex than 8 weeks of
strength followed by 8 weeks of endurance.


source: newsgroup, posted May 28, 1994.

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