|Who would have thought that? After dozens of contradictory and highly inconclusive studies, this could finally be the one study designed to yield the answers to many of our questions about the effects of concomitant endurance and strength training.|
For the whole seven-week training period, the volunteers were randomly assigned to one of the five experimental groups with three concurrent strength and endurance training groups, one strength-training group and one control group.
The entire experiment was performed during the summer off-season. Therefore, subjects performed only one of the five training programs. They were asked to restrict fatiguing efforts at least two days before each test session and were also advised to maintain their normal dietary intake throughout the study. No food supplement was administered during all the protocol duration.
Speaking of which, the experiment itself was 10 weeks long with the first week dedicated to familiarization with all equipment and testing procedures, the second week involved the initial tests, the next seven weeks the training programs and the last week the final tests. The independent variable was the treatment effect of five different 7-week training programs with one control group (CONT), one strength only training group (STR) and three concurrent strength and endurance training groups. The latter consisted of two sequences a week of each quality.
- Aerobic Training: Aerobic exercises included three 6-min sets of high intensity 15 s/15 s interval training on a
field. Subjects, wearing cleats, alternated 15 s runs at 120% of their individual MAV with 15 s
of passive recovery.
A 5-min warm-up, consisting of moderate to cruising runs, preceded each aerobic training session. Subjects wore an individual heart rate monitor (Polar Electro Oy, Kempele, Finland) during each session in order to assess the cardiac workload and to regulate the distance to cover during the 15 s efforts.
Distance to cover for the next sessions was higher if heart rate was lower than the rate of 90% of the maximal heart rate.
- Strength training: Every session began with a warm-up focused on abdominals/core training. Strength-training
sessions consisted of 3-4 sets of 3-10 RM of the lower limbs (half squat - HS and leg press . LP) and
upper limbs (bench press BP and BR).
Concomitant Training: Cardio Before or After Weights? Cardio First Triggers 916% Increase in Growth Hormone. Plus: 7x Higher Testosterone & 3x Higher IGFBP-3 Peaks | read more
The 1RM was checked each week in order to regulate strength workload. Each set of HS, done on a guided machine, was immediately followed by plyometric jumps. Also, sets of LP were combined with eccentric exercises on hamstring muscles. Rest between sets ranged from 2 to 3 min according to strength-training recommendations (hypertrophic vs. maximal strength),
All contractions during upper limbs exercises were performed in isoinertial conditions with free weights. The ones done during lower limbs exercises were performed with specific Cybex guided machines (Medway, USA). Exercises were randomized during each training session, alternating lower- and upper body tasks.
- C-0h - cardio training was done immediately after resistance training - 0h rest,
- C-6h - strength in the AM, cardio training in the PM - 6h rest or
- C-24h - strength on day 1, cardio training on day 2 - 24h rest
|Figure 1: Rel. changes (%) from baseline for the strength parameters maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs), test exercises and counter-movement jumps (CMJ | Robineau. 2014)|
Before you are asking about body fat and lean mass data: The scientists did not measure the effects on the body composition of their subjects. Quite a pity, because I suspect that this could well have tipped the scale in favor of the concomitant training. Sillanpää, et al. (2009), for example, found that a combined resistance + endurance training protocol lead to 110% more body fat loss in middle-aged and older women. Similar improvements in body fat loss were observed in middle-aged women on a endurance + resistance training protocol that would resemble the C-24h regimen in the study at hand (Park. 2003). Without at least some body impedance data from the study at hand, it's yet just an educated guess that we would have seen improvements in body composition - specifically increased fat loss - in all of the C-groups.
Moroever, the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) during isokinetic knee extension at 60°·s-1 was likely higher for C-24h compared with C-0h, and the changes in maximal voluntary contractile force (MVC) at 180°·s-1 were likely higher in C-24h and STR than in C-0h and C-6h.
In that, it is interesting to observe that the long(er) rest periods between endurance and strength training in the C-24 group lead to significantly greater increases in VO2peak in the subjects in said group compared to those who had been randomized to the C-0h and C-6h (AM, PM) group. With respect to the mean strength gains, on the other bench, the half-squat and the bench row, though, the AM-PM, i.e. the C-6h protocol appears to offer a non-significant advantage that stands in contrast to the ameliorated gains in maximum voluntary contractile force in this group. This part of the results is thus in fact "unclear" (Robineau. 2014).
- Park, Sang-Kab, et al. "The effect of combined aerobic and resistance exercise training on abdominal fat in obese middle-aged women." Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science 22.3 (2003): 129-135.
- Robineau, Julien; Babault, Nicolas; Piscione, Julien; Lacome, Mathieu; Bigard, André-Xavier. "The specific training effects of concurrent aerobic and strength exercises depends on recovery duration." Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: Post Acceptance: December 24, 2014.
- Sillanpää, Elina, et al. "Body composition, fitness, and metabolic health during strength and endurance training and their combination in middle-aged and older women." European journal of applied physiology 106.2 (2009): 285-296.