Concurrent Endurance and Resistance Exercise

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Concurrent Endurance and Resistance Exercise

Combining aerobic and resistance training is common in swimming. This combination is termed concurrent training. Sometimes this type of training is used in dry-land, but it often occurs as swimmers swim prior to weight training.

Concurrent training is believed to improve strength, but the combination of endurance and strength training causes diminished increases in strength compared to strength training alone.

This inability to maximize strength during concurrent training is termed interference. Interference is theorized to occur secondary to: specificity of training/differential adaptation (endocrine and neuromuscular responses cell signaling in the form of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) and the acute fatigue theory.

The intent of this study was to compare how an acute fatiguing bout of cycle ergometry affects the metabolic and neuromuscular systems and subsequent upper (bench press) or lower body (back squat) resistance exercise performance.

What was done:
Fifteen males were recruited for participation and at the initial visit performed 1-repetition maximum (RM) for back squat and bench. The next visit consisted of a graded exercise test on the cycle ergometer to determine maximal heart rate. Subsequent visits consisted of the following testing criteria:

  • 45-minute bout of cycle ergometry at 75% maximum heart rate
  • bench press at 80% 1-RM for six sets to voluntary failure
  • 45-minute bout of cycle ergometry at 75% maximum heart rate
  • back squat at 80% 1-RM for six sets to voluntary failure

To track the metabolic and neuromuscular system, the researchers took blood lactate, electromyography (EMG), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC).

Amount of repetitions in the bench press was not different with or without the 45-minute bout of cycle ergometry. However, the back squat and 45-minute bout of cycle ergometry resulted in fewer repetitions. Lactate was significantly higher in the cycle ergometry trials. Triceps EMG and MVC was higher in the bench press only trial.

This study found moderate intensity lower extremity exercise prior to resistance training reduces impacts physical performance in the lower extremities. This is believed to occur due to fatigue and decreased glycogen content. The decrease in triceps EMG, but no change in the volume of repetitions suggests acute neuromuscular fatigue.

Practical Implication:
In swimming, pool training is the most correlated for success. Therefore, decreases in strength gains outside the pool should not cause drastic changes in training. Moreover, out of water strength translating to pool success is questionable.

However, if the goal is to maximize out of water strength, then performing swimming (aerobic exercise) before weights may decrease strength gains.



Written By:

Dr. GJohn Mullen


Dr. GJohn Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on swimming biomechanics and lung adaptations in swimming training. Dr. GJohn has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.

His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. GJohn has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, USA Swimming, USA Triathlon, Swimming Science, and much more.

He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. GJohn swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Dr. GJohn was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.

Dr. GJohn was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. GJohn is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.

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