For Top Athletes, Strength and Endurance Training May Clash
WebMD News Archive
Leveritt says that most of this advice applies to trained, high-performance
athletes and does not mean that average, everyday people should not try to
improve their strength and endurance. "While this may be a big issue for a
finely tuned athlete needing to have maximum levels of both strength and
endurance," Leveritt tells WebMD, "it may not be of great consequence
to an average member of the public seeking to improve general health and
well-being by undertaking an exercise program involving both strength and
The American College of Sports Medicine agrees. According to a recent
position paper they published, it's important that individuals do both
cardiovascular (endurance) training to improve the heart and lungs and
resistance training to improve muscular strength. No expert would disagree that
both muscular development and cardiovascular health are important.
"Resistance and endurance training both improve physical capacity and
health ... depending on the goals of the person, but current guidelines for
exercise prescription suggest that both be done to improve physical
capacity," Donna Terbizan, PhD, tells WebMD. Terbizan is a research
scientist in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department at North
Dakota State University in Fargo.
According to Terbizan, endurance training improves the functions of the
heart and lungs and decreases a person's risk for heart disease, stroke,
diabetes, and death.
Resistance training helps make improvements such as increased skeletal
muscle bulk, increased connective tissue amount and strength, increased bone
density, and increased muscle attachment size. Strength training can also
increase fat-free weight and decrease body-fat levels. Having additional muscle
mass may increase resting metabolism, which plays an important role in
increasing energy expenditure. All of these changes are beneficial in
decreasing the chance for obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular
disease, and, in older people, the number of falls.
- The muscles adapt to strength and endurance training differently.
- The most effective method of developing strength or endurance is to train
for one or the other, but not both.
- At less than maximum levels of performance, people can engage in both
strength and endurance training without negative effects.
- Don't train at high levels for both strength and endurance at the same