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Strength and aerobic exercises together can improve performance

Strength and aerobic exercises together can improve performance

Created by Mikey Lau


4 minute read

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This blog post is a part of a series where we summarise the current literature on anything health, fitness and well-being related. These are research articles that can give you a better insight into different ways that you can train your clients to get better results - faster. Be sure to sign up to our weekly newsletter to get the latest exclusive contents and offers.

Sousa, et al. (2019)

Concurrent training involves the planning of the sessions where the focus is on multiple bio-motor abilities at the same time. The benefit of such methodology is to reduce the duration of a programme by typically combining resistance training (RT) and aerobic training (AT).

Current literature supports the use of concurrent training but with some implications of deteriorated performance. Some studies have shown that concurrent training can impair muscular endurance which can also affect overall performance. With support from multiple studies, it was found that there’s a strong association between maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and concurrent training (RT and AT). As VO2max increases, interference of performance is greater.

As established, the focus of this study was to determine the impact of concurrent training on performance. However, with little research into the effects at different intensities of concurrent training, the authors have opened a new discussion within this field. Additionally, the literature behind the repercussions of detraining following a concurrent model is lacking. Collating all of the above, the purpose of this study was now to determine the impacts of concurrent training at different AT intensities, followed by an assessment of performance after a detraining period.


  • Thirty-nine physically active male sport science students took part in the study.
  • All subjects had at least 6 months to 2 years of physical activity training experience.
  • The study consisted of 3 different groups; low-intensity (LIG), medium-intensity (MIG) and high-intensity (HIG).
  • All groups performed the same RT exercises but differed in AT intensities. LIG performed at 80% of the maximal aerobic speed (MAS) whilst MIG was at 90% of MAS and HIG was at 100%.
  • The concurrent training included both RT and AT into the same session. Subjects completed 2 sessions a week for eight weeks, with each session being separated by 48 hours.
  • Four weeks prior to the study, the participants were familiarised with the different exercises.
  • Exercises included the full squat (FS), countermovement jump (CMJ), 20-m sprints and 20-m shuttle runs.
  • The sprints were assessed at 10-m and 20-m intervals (T10 and T20, respectively).
  • The shuttle runs were completed in 16-20 minutes where the subjects are increasing the intensity to reach their assigned group MAS.
  • During the first session, the subjects were tested for the 20-m sprints and 20-m shuttle runs.
  • For the second session, the subjects were assessed for FS isoinertial strength and countermovement jump (CMJ).
  • All tests were assessed again 4 weeks after cessation of training.


There were significant improvements in performance in all groups pre and post-training; T10 (LIG: 4%; MIG: 5%; HIG: 2%), T20 (3%; 4%; 2%), CMJ (9%; 10%; 7%), 1RMest (13%; 7%; 8%), and oxygen uptake (V̇o2max; 10%; 11%; 10%). Interestingly, 1RM strength gains were significantly higher in LIG compared to the other groups.

Differences in detraining presented some interesting results. LIG demonstrated the slowest deterioration in performance by 1%.

Practical applications

To summarise, concurrent training of both strength and aerobic associated bio-motor abilities can improve performance at different intensities. To maximise strength gains with the minimal loss of performance, fitness professionals should adopt a lower intensity aerobic component. This could ensure lower interference of performance whilst reducing the time spent training on different modalities. This applies to the healthy population who wishes to improve explosiveness.


The exercises and focus of this study have revolved around the lower-body musculature. Transfering the findings to the upper-body may not yield similar results.


Sousa, A., Neiva, H., Gil, M., Izquierdo, M., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., Marques, M., and Marinho, D. (2019). Concurrent Training and Detraining. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(9), pp. 2565-2574.

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