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Neuromuscular adaptations during combined strength and endurance training in endurance runners: maximal versus explosive strength training or a mix of both

Abstract

This study compared the effects of mixed maximal strength and explosive strength training with maximal strength training and explosive strength training combined with endurance training over an 8-week training intervention. Male subjects (age 21–45 years) were divided into three strength training groups, maximal (MAX, n = 11), explosive (EXP, 10) and mixed maximal and explosive (MIX, 9), and a circuit training control group, (CON, 7). Strength training one to two times a week was performed concurrently with endurance training three to four times a week. Significant increases in maximal dynamic strength (1RM), countermovement jump (CMJ), maximal muscle activation during 1RM in MAX and during CMJ in EXP, peak running speed (S peak) and running speed at respiratory compensation threshold (RCTspeed) were observed in MAX, EXP and MIX. Maximal isometric strength and muscle activation, rate of force development (RFD), maximal oxygen uptake \( \left( {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2\max } } \right) \) and running economy (RE) at 10 and 12 km hr−1 did not change significantly. No significant changes were observed in CON in maximal isometric strength, RFD, CMJ or muscle activation, and a significant decrease in 1RM was observed in the final 4 weeks of training. RE in CON did not change significantly, but significant increases were observed in S peak, RCTspeed and \( \left( {\dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2\max } } \right). \) Low volume MAX, EXP and MIX strength training combined with higher volume endurance training over an 8-week intervention produced significant gains in strength, power and endurance performance measures of S peak and RCTspeed, but no significant changes were observed between groups.

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Acknowledgments

This study was a cooperative effort between KIHU–Research Institute for Olympic Sport and the Department of Biology of Physical Activity at the University of Jyväskylä. Funding was provided by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (TEKES), KIHU–the Research Institute for Olympic Sport, the Department of Biology of Physical Activity and the Foundation of Sports. The authors wish to thank the technical staff at KIHU–Research Institute for Olympic Sport (Esa Hynynen and Sirpa Vänttinen) and the Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä’s technical staff (Pirkko Puttonen, Risto Puurtinen, Sirpa Roivas and Markku Ruuskanen).

Conflict of interest

None of the authors declare any professional relationships with companies or manufacturers that would benefit from the results of the present study.

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Correspondence to R. S. Taipale.

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Communicated by Toshio Moritani.

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Taipale, R.S., Mikkola, J., Vesterinen, V. et al. Neuromuscular adaptations during combined strength and endurance training in endurance runners: maximal versus explosive strength training or a mix of both. Eur J Appl Physiol 113, 325–335 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-012-2440-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-012-2440-7

Keywords

  • Concurrent training
  • Neuromuscular performance
  • Endurance performance
  • Running economy
  • Strength