I hope everybody had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving break, but now it’s time to get back into the gym or onto the track.  I wanted to take some time today to discuss the difference in these two exercise routines.   Generally speaking, there is a strong schism between how people view resistance training as opposed to cardiovascular or endurance training.  These are two innately different training routines; however, they are not mutually exclusive and can even benefit one another.

Let’s say that you like to lift weights but continue to get fatigued around your 5th exercise.  Wouldn’t it benefit you to engage in some endurance training?  Don’t fret that this will hinder your muscular gains.  A baseline level of cardiovascular fitness is necessary to make it through a well-developed weight training routine.  Try working in some cardio circuits towards the end of your routine or even on your rest days to help improve your performance.

On the flip side, could weight training help increase the performance of endurance athletes?  Researchers from Lillehammer University College in Norway would answer with a resounding “yes!” Following a strict exercise protocol, endurance runners and cyclists both showed improved performance.  The study concluded that running economy is improved by performing endurance training in conjunction with heavy or explosive strength training.  Cycling economy was shown to improve with heavy strength training.  There are many possible explanations for this improvement; however, they all result in increased running speed and power output at VO2 max.  Scientists suggest that improved neuromuscular efficiency, improved musculo-tendinous stiffness, and/or a conversion to more fatigue-resistant muscle fibers could be the cause.

In conclusion, it is important to engage in both resistance AND endurance training.   Whether you are a developing adolescent, weekend warrior, or trained endurance athlete your body needs to be stressed both ways.  In this manner, you can train to make improvements that will help you down the road.