Endurance and power training can be combined without problems when athletes ensure adequate rest between the workouts. Athletes, who want to improve their endurance and their maximum strength, can best keep at least 6 hours of rest between training sessions.
During a match footballers run more than 10 kilometers, but must also be able to sprint and shoot explosively. Like many athletes, they need to train both their endurance and their strength. If they do this in one training session, it is also called “concurrent training”. The authors of this article use the term in a broader sense and mean by this performing both endurance and strength training during one week. In this review they answer the question of how to combine endurance and power training best. This is particularly important for professional athletes who train more than once a day.
IMPACT OF TRAINING
Power training can make muscles thicker and stronger. Certain proteins are more active after training and ensure the production of new muscle fibers. Something different happens after endurance training. Then proteins are active which provide improved power efficiency. These processes within the muscle cells appear to last for about 3 hours. A popular assumption is that they can hinder each other. This seems a problem to power athletes. They appear to become less strong when they perform endurance training as well.
However, there is no evidence that this is due to the processes at the muscle cell level. Murach and Bagley noted that athletes who have trained both training forms are taxed much more heavily than those who only performed one form of training. Because they often had to do a power training just after a heavy endurance training. And the fatigue after endurance training could ensure that they lifted less weight during power training than those who had not done any endurance training. For this reason, this power training had probably less effect for them.
The authors therefore believe that many power athletes who did endurance training were overtired or overtrained. According to the authors, because of the too high total training load. That was the main reason that power athletes who also did endurance training, were less strong than those who only did power training.
After endurance training an athlete needs time to recover. How long this is, depends on the type of endurance training. When a person is running, his leg muscles stretch at every step while contracting (eccentric contraction). This damages the muscles more than, for example during cycling. After about 6 hours athletes are most likely to have recovered from that again completely.
The optimal combined training consists according Murach and Bagley of 2 endurance workouts of up to 40 minutes, and two power training sessions on two other days in the week. The best an athlete runner can do is high-intensity interval sprint training. They also recommend doing heavy weight training with a small number of series (4 to 8) and fast movements. For a cyclist it is better to do power training with high resistance and not the high-intensive interval sprint training. See article number 094.
Athletes can safely combine endurance training with power training. This need not have negative consequences if they take enough rest between workouts to recover sufficiently, and if the total training loads does not cause fatigue.