Rønnestad BR, Mujika I.

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports. 2013 Aug 5. doi: 10.1111/sms.12104.

Here we report on the effect of combining endurance training with heavy or explosive strength training on endurance performance in endurance-trained runners and cyclists. Running economy is improved by performing combined endurance training with either heavy or explosive strength training. However, heavy strength training is recommended for improving cycling economy. Equivocal findings exist regarding the effects on power output or velocity at the lactate threshold. Concurrent endurance and heavy strength training can increase running speed and power output at VO2max (Vmax and Wmax , respectively) or time to exhaustion at Vmax and Wmax. Combining endurance training with either explosive or heavy strength training can improve running performance, while there is most compelling evidence of an additive effect on cycling performance when heavy strength training is used. It is suggested that the 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.

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  1. Chris

    Hi Inigo! I found this article and strength training for cycling is something that’s always fascinated me. Based on this article, what would your practical recommendations be for a concurrent strength/endurance program be? Most cyclists I know that weight train do it in the winter only, whereas it seems like the value of this concurrent program would necessitate continuing with heavy weights during the season. From weight lifting in the past I can see how heavy weights would NOT put on muscle if done right, especially while also undertaking heavy endurance training. I also think if the weight was dropped to the correct maintenance weight it wouldn’t greatly change fatigue levels or recovery. From a practical point of view, does it make sense to continue with, say, squats, lunges, and related leg workouts 2-3x per week during the year? Using a few sets in the 5 or so rep range? Thank you!

    January 28, 2015
  2. Hi Chris. I think that the best answers to your questions, besides those already provided in the review article that you mention, can be found in the following papers by my friend Bent Rønnestad:

    January 29, 2015
  3. Chris

    This is fantastic! Thank you. Excited to see how strength and conditioning in cycling changes in the coming years.

    January 30, 2015