Concurrent training- avoid?


Original Post
Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

There is some evidence that training endurance and strength in the same session decreases strength gains.

Eric Horst mentions this in his latest post.

http://trainingforclimbing.com/energy-system-training/

As far as I can tell looking in the literature, the effect is pretty modest and is most noticeable if the endurance exercise is running. Nowhere near as powerful with cycling. No studies with climbing afaik.

Has anyone noticed this effect in their own training?
I am not that strong and maybe it's because I've never seperated the training stresses. Or maybe it doesn't matter and I'm just not that strong.

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40

I have had good success at times mixing strength, along with lots of endurance mileage, ARC training, etc. It is power endurance that tends to hurt the others, IMO.

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610
Mark E Dixon wrote:I am not that strong and maybe it's because I've never seperated the training stresses. Or maybe it doesn't matter and I'm just not that strong.
Anyone who lives in Sprezzatura is of strong character; anyone who climbs 12 at 59yo is not weak.
My concern is not with strength gains, per se; at our age (YOB '57) it is more about not loosing. Anything that gives me more enduro is a big +. OK, i admit, i spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get stronger, w/mixed results. Howz yer knees?
Wish we lived closer. I am in Denial, far from Reality.
Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

I have not read Horst's write-up but many cycling programs include both above threshold (anaerobic) and below threshold power intervals (aerobic) in the same session. The point being that the session structure has more to do with the outcome as opposed to simply avoiding the two modes concurrently.

Here is an example a cycling training session combining both elements:

a) 15 minute warm-up at upper end of recovery zone (zone 1, < 55% of threshold power)

b) 60 minutes of Tempo (zone 3, 75 - 90% of Threshold power), with 15 bursts of 20 seconds at Neuromuscular Power (zone 7, Maximal), spacing the bursts 2 to 4 minutes apart.

c) cool down 10 - 15 minutes at Recovery pace (zone 1)

This is why I am experimenting with Critical Power and establishing training zones based on the oxidative capacity of the forearm flexor muscles. With this information I will attempt to design my training routines based on the same protocols that have been established for cycling - given that "power endurance" is one of my weaknesses and I could benefit from an increase in forearm Critical Power.

Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

Another perspective on Energy Systems training is provided by Joel Jamieson a well respected Strength and Conditioning coach

http://breakingmuscle.com/train/energy-system-optimization-with-joel-jamieson

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190

The biggest problem that I could see is the threat of overtraining. Since your strength and endurance training programs will exhaust different systems, you may feel a temporary boost when you switch that could lead you to think you can go further than you should and risk injury.

When I first read the thread title, I thought you meant concurrent training within a week, which is also an interesting topic. Horst is big on periodic training cycles where you focus on one area somewhat exclusively for a given period, but I've also read conflicting programs that argue for a more balanced training program. The challenge with periodization is maintaining gains in other areas while exclusively training one. I also feel like periodization is harder to follow...I personally don't have the discipline for 4 weeks of nothing but strength training.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549

@Muscrat- climbing 12s in Boulder makes me an unknown intermediate!
My knees are fine, but tweaked my back last weekend, hate to take a break but not much choice.
I'm still getting stronger, just a lot of suffering involved. I'm no Bill Ramsey, but share his pain box.

@ Rui- thanks for videos, will review. Looking forward to your metabolic experiments.
The issue, as I understand it, isn't mixing different forms of metabolic training, it's decreasing the benefits from strength training (hypertrophy and nRM capacity) by combining it with metabolic training.

@ Ted- periodization is still somewhat controversial. Studies (in other sports of course) show an effect size of about 0.3. So not much but not zero.
Aleks Z posted a link to a scholarly anti-periodization review, I can post the reference when I'm home tomorrow if you can't find it. It reinforced my bias, so I enjoyed the paper quite a bit! tldr was that variety was key, not necessarily a strict periodization scheme. Regardless, IMHO, personalizing the program is essential.

@ Eric- laps and intervals take a lot out of me, haven't really noticed an effect on strength gains beyond not having the energy to actually do my hangboard routine.

Eric Carlos · · Chattanooga, TN · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 40
Mark E Dixon wrote:@ Eric- laps and intervals take a lot out of me, haven't really noticed an effect on strength gains beyond not having the energy to actually do my hangboard routine.
The laps are to keep me from completely losing my endurance while building strength with hangboard and maximum intensity movement.
Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130

So here is some anecdotal evidence against, in an age-specific context. Obviously, YMMV.

A compatriot friend of mine firmly believes that you should not do a single training session without some sort of strength work before heading on to the focus portion of the session. So he'd first warm up (usually by doing easy non-stop climbing) and then do a little hang-boarding session or some hard bouldering. After that he goes on to route climbing with focus on specific angles and route lengths.

While most of his climbing is endurance-oriented, he feels that limiting factor is almost always are the crux moves. His argument is that as you get older, it's harder to maintain strength and power due to degradation of recruitment. So as an older climber (he's 54), by forcing recruitment every session he maintains it way better. Seems to work for him somewhat, he's redpointing 5.12 trad these days and I think he did a 5.13b on his recent trip back home.

Myself, aged 47, I started following a similar approach. Indoors I only climb with a rope (bouldering sets are too nasty for me) while I exclusively boulder while outside. So for training, I have stick to shorter routes and I always include a hang-dog on something harder (usually 13+ or so) to work on my recruitment. This 1-2 days a week plus 4 day a week finger workouts (I split the sessions by grip and do it in the morning). It seem to produce some results - my best boulders went from v4 to v7 in a span of a year - nothing spectacular, but feels like I can keep progressing further despite the age.

Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

The lifting community has been arguing about this topic for the last 50+ years. Like about everything in training it kinda depends on the individual and the way things are combined. Google Conjugate Training by Louie Simmons and read some interesting stuff on it.

Brian Carver · · Boulder, Co · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 30

It is physiologically impossible to train both to their full potential within one training session. At one time I was able to name and explain every metabolic process and enzymatic reaction as it relates to this in full detail.

In basic, slow twitch and fast twitch fibers require two different atmospheres within your muscle to grow. You can't have both of those atmospheres at once. You may be able to switch from one training session to the next, but then you are still sacrificing full potential gains. Although, full potential gains aren't necessary for everybody all of the time, depending on your goal. Every athletic trainer seems to have their favorite type of periodization.

I know it seems like a stretch, but if we were able to effectively train endurance and strength at the same time, we would have guys that could deadlift 500lbs and run 2:30 marathons.

Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869

Climbing is clearly different from lifting alone. At some point we need to consider that route climbing at least draws from all energy systems, so if we are to consider specificity then I can see an argument to train the various systems concurrently.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17602238

Ideally someone would take these type of research findings a step further and study the effects of different training protocols (only aerobic, only anaerobic alactic or anaerobic lactic, versus concurrent all three, or two, etc.)

Training is testing and testing is training...

sle · · New York, New York · Joined Mar 2013 · Points: 0

I don't think other movement oriented sports are as convinced that periodical training is the only way. In fact, it is possible that by worrying about energy systems and purity of our training schedule we fail to bring our skill to its maximum potential.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Muscrat wrote: My concern is not with strength gains, per se; at our age (YOB '57) it is more about not loosing.
Check out this article. Average age 72 but still able to gain muscle. Admittedly, subjects were untrained, so may not be generalizable to trained older athletes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2655000/

Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Following Resistance Training Is Accompanied by a Fiber Type–Specific Increase in Satellite Cell Content in Elderly Men

Lex B. Verdijk,corresponding author1 Benjamin G. Gleeson,1 Richard A. M. Jonkers,1 Kenneth Meijer,1 Hans H. C. M. Savelberg,1 Paul Dendale,3 and Luc J. C. van Loon1,2

Abstract
We determined muscle fiber type–specific hypertrophy and changes in satellite cell (SC) content following a 12-week resistance training program in 13 healthy, elderly men (72 ± 2 years). Leg strength and body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and computed tomography) were assessed, and muscle biopsy samples were collected. Leg strength increased 25%–30% after training (p < .001). Leg lean mass and quadriceps cross-sectional area increased 6%–9% (p < .001). At baseline, mean fiber area and SC content were smaller in the Type II versus Type I muscle fibers (p < .01). Following training, Type II muscle fiber area increased from 5,438 ± 319 to 6,982 ± 503 μm2 (p < .01). Type II muscle fiber SC content increased from 0.048 ± 0.003 to 0.084 ± 0.008 SCs per fiber (p < .001). No changes were observed in the Type I muscle fibers. In older adults, skeletal muscle tissue is still capable of inducing SC proliferation and differentiation, resulting in Type II muscle fiber hypertrophy.

sle wrote:I don't think other movement oriented sports are as convinced that periodical training is the only way. In fact, it is possible that by worrying about energy systems and purity of our training schedule we fail to bring our skill to its maximum potential.
No doubt. Technique vs strength has been debated here frequently. Seems to me best to have both.

Chris Rice wrote:The lifting community has been arguing about this topic for the last 50+ years. Like about everything in training it kinda depends on the individual and the way things are combined. Google Conjugate Training by Louie Simmons and read some interesting stuff on it.
I'll take a look at that when I get a chance, thanks.

I agree with Rui, though. Lifting isn't strictly the same. High vs low reps are advanced as means to achieve muscle hypertrophy and strength.
The dichotomy I'm referring to is between strength and aerobic capacity/power. For example, doing hangboard and laps in the same session.

My working solution is do them on separate days whenever possible, or to take an hour or two between sessions if I have to do them on the same day. But I'm not convinced it matters.

BCarver wrote:It is physiologically impossible to train both to their full potential within one training session. At one time I was able to name and explain every metabolic process and enzymatic reaction as it relates to this in full detail. In basic, slow twitch and fast twitch fibers require two different atmospheres within your muscle to grow. You can't have both of those atmospheres at once. You may be able to switch from one training session to the next, but then you are still sacrificing full potential gains. Although, full potential gains aren't necessary for everybody all of the time, depending on your goal. Every athletic trainer seems to have their favorite type of periodization. I know it seems like a stretch, but if we were able to effectively train endurance and strength at the same time, we would have guys that could deadlift 500lbs and run 2:30 marathons.
I'm not sure the science is quite as settled as you suggest. There doesn't appear to be a deleterious effect on endurance gains with concurrent training, just diminished strength gains. And even that doesn't seem to occur when the endurance activity is cycling.

As for your deadlifting marathoner, I think the fact that we each possess a certain percentage of fast twitch vs slow twitch muscles in our legs is going to determine which of these extremes he/she might excel in.

@Nivel- 47 is pretty darn young. Take advantage of your youth!

The paper Rui references above is definitely worth reviewing. It may be that 'power-endurance' training isn't doing what we think it is, or maybe even isn't particularly useful compared to aerobic capacity training.
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 190
Mark E Dixon wrote: @ Ted- periodization is still somewhat controversial. Studies (in other sports of course) show an effect size of about 0.3. So not much but not zero. Aleks Z posted a link to a scholarly anti-periodization review, I can post the reference when I'm home tomorrow if you can't find it. It reinforced my bias, so I enjoyed the paper quite a bit! tldr was that variety was key, not necessarily a strict periodization scheme. Regardless, IMHO, personalizing the program is essential.
Hmm good to know. The trouble is balancing personalization with structure...I feel like when I design my own plan, it ends up being "climb." The nice thing about Horst's plan is that it is very specific in terms of what you are doing and for how long.
reboot · · . · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 125
Mark E Dixon wrote: No doubt. Technique vs strength has been debated here frequently. Seems to me best to have both.
Not only that, the 2 are inseparable a lot of times. I don't feel that movement patterns can be fully acquired at very low effort level: your intention might be to improve technique, but you'll have to put some elbow grease into it.
Stephen C · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I get the best strength results when I put all of my energy into that. Doing endurance work prior to strength decreases the quality of my strength workout and delays strength gains. If I ever do strength and endurance in the same session I'll do my strength exercises first. However, having focused workouts with a particular goal is probably best. Training everything in one session just won't be as effective.

I also don't think climbing should be compared to cycling or running as far as training goes. An actual endurance sport doesn't even have remotely the same training needs as climbing.

Nivel Egres · · New York, NY · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 130
reboot wrote: your intention might be to improve technique, but you'll have to put some elbow grease into it.
how do i "like" a post here?
Rui Ferreira · · Longmont, CO · Joined Jul 2003 · Points: 869
Stephen C wrote: I also don't think climbing should be compared to cycling or running as far as training goes. An actual endurance sport doesn't even have remotely the same training needs as climbing.
Not until you consider that cycling sprinters on a typical long tour have to sprint to the finish line at maximum power output after riding for five hours at predominantly threshold power.
Chris Rice · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 50

The skills climbers use are different from other sports. But muscles are muscles and other sports do have training knowledge to offer - we may have to do a little digging outside our comfort zone and quit thinking we are some kind of special snowflake but limiting your quest for training knowledge to just the climbing literature is just that - limiting.

Mark E Dixon · · Sprezzatura, Someday · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 549
Stephen C wrote:I get the best strength results when I put all of my energy into that. Doing endurance work prior to strength decreases the quality of my strength workout and delays strength gains. If I ever do strength and endurance in the same session I'll do my strength exercises first. However, having focused workouts with a particular goal is probably best. Training everything in one session just won't be as effective. I also don't think climbing should be compared to cycling or running as far as training goes. An actual endurance sport doesn't even have remotely the same training needs as climbing.
I believe the generally accepted order, if training multiple systems, is
technique>power>strength>power-endurance>endurance

I don't know of any evidence supporting this, but it fits with my experience and makes sense.

As for endurance training and climbing...If we were all bouldering, I might agree, but once you are sport climbing aerobic systems provide a substantial amount of the energy.
Even more than the anaerobic-lactic system in some settings.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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