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Doing Cardio This Way Won’t Diminish Your Gains, Say Researchers 

“Make sure your concurrent training routine is ‘on point’ before blaming those bagels you scoffed last weekend for this morning’s slovenly performance.”

Curvaceous… calves. Corpulent quads. Glistening glutes. Hot hamstrings. When you get psyched up after an intense lower-body gym session, it’s tempting to finish it off with a triumphant run home, Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ blasting in your ears.

Or is that just us?

Either way, scientists have bad news for those masochists who like to do resistance and cardio training one after the other. The headline is this: don’t do it on the same day. Or if you are going to do so, follow the following guidelines to keep your gains intact.

  • Irrespective of the intensity of either, always do endurance training prior to resistance training, if undertaking them both on the same day is unavoidable.
  • Always leave at least half a day of recovery in between training sessions.
  • Pay attention to the intensity, volume and speed at which you are training, and adjust them accordingly (i.e. consult a qualified personal trainer or the handy flow chart included in this scientific review before relying on your gut and ‘laissez-faire’ attitude…).

James Cook University scientists came up with these guidelines in their review paper, Training Considerations for Optimising Endurance Development: An Alternate Concurrent Training Perspective,’ published in the latest issue of the Sports Medicine journal.

The study built upon existing scientific literature, which had already established that resistance training, such as weight lifting, may harm performance in endurance training when the two are combined in close proximity.

 

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“Based on previous evidence, we suspect that if appropriate recovery is not accounted for between each training mode, it may impair endurance development,” JCU’s Dr Kenji Doma wrote in the review paper.

Dr Doma then said that the physiological stress caused by a standard resistance training session of 40 to 60 minutes can last for several days post-exercise (a marked difference to a typical endurance training bout, after which a full recovery is expected within 24 hours).

“We wanted to increase the awareness of resistance training-induced fatigue in the hope of encouraging coaches to think about aspects such as the order of the training, the recovery period, training intensity, etc. With this new work, we think we now have a roadmap for them to follow,” (Dr Doma).

His review paper found several training variables that may influence how resistance training affects the quality of your overall endurance performance.

As we mentioned earlier, these variables include intensity, volume, speed and recovery, as well as the order in which the workouts are completed (as mentioned above, the review found that it’s better to do your endurance workout first if you are going to do it on the same day as a resistance session).

“By understanding the influence these variables have, it means that both resistance and endurance training can be prescribed in such a way that minimises fatigue between modes of training, which could optimise the quality of endurance training sessions,” (Dr Doma).

As reported by Science Daily, “The researchers have (also) produced flowcharts providing practical guides for improving concurrent training and optimising endurance development.”

Particularly important, Dr Doma reportedly said, is that fatigue is monitored when dabbling in ‘concurrent training’ and—crucially—that different periods of rest are enforced after different levels of either endurance or resistance training.

“One of the easiest recommendations to follow is that if the performance of resistance and endurance training sessions on the same day is unavoidable, endurance training sessions should be done prior to resistance training irrespective of the intensity of either, with at least half a day of recovery in-between training sessions,” (Dr Doma).

So, whether you like to run to and from the gym and aren’t seeing those gains, or you’re a bona fide athlete looking to improve your endurance potential, make sure your concurrent training routine is ‘on point’ before blaming those bagels you scoffed last weekend for this morning’s slovenly performance…

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