Optimizing Strength Training for Running and Cycling Endurance Performance
Date: Nov. 4, 2013
Many runners and cyclists recognize the important role strength training and flexibility play in maintaining elevated performance and avoiding injury. Surprisingly, an equally high number of runners and cyclists do not engage in adjunct work to support their endurance endeavors.
Researchers from Lillehammer University College in Norway analyzed the effect of combining endurance training with heavy or explosive strength training on endurance performance. Using endurance-trained runners and cyclists, researchers analyzed the outcomes from specific training regimens on running and cycling economy.
Interestingly, running economy is improved by performing combined endurance training with either heavy or explosive strength training. However, heavy strength training demonstrated a more effective measure for improving cycling economy.
Additionally, researchers suggest concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can increase running speed and power output at VO2max. According to the authors, improved endurance performance may relate to delayed activation of less efficient type II fibers, improved neuromuscular efficiency, conversion of fast-twitch type IIX fibers into more fatigue-resistant type IIA fibers, or improved musculo-tendinous stiffness. Regardless of the specific adaptation, endurance athletes should employ resistance training as a complement to their running and/or cycling regimens.