Friday, May 17, 2013

Science Friday: Should I do Strength & Aerobic Training on Different Days?

We’ve previously looked at a study showing concurrent training (i.e. resistance + aerobic training) as being superior to aerobic training alone. This week I’ll review a study that tries to answer which style or protocol of concurrent training is superior. For example, is it better to separate your strength and aerobic training into completely different days or will performing both on the same day give equal or superior results? According to the study entitled “Effects of Concurrent Exercise Protocols on Strength, Aerobic Power, Flexibility and Body Composition”, the answer is “it depends”. In this study the researchers split the participants into two groups:

Concurrent Distinct Endurance-Resistance (CDER) – 2 strength & 2 aerobic sessions each week performed on different days (i.e. 4d/wk)
Concurrent Parallel Endurance-Resistance (CPER) – 2 strength & 2 aerobic sessions with strength & aerobic on the same day (i.e. 2d/wk)

Each group was tested in numerous categories and the results are shown the table below. In nearly every category both groups showed significant improvement from pre to post tests. However the CPER showed better improvement relative to the control group in nearly every measurement except aerobic power and 60m sprint. And the CPER group showed a statistically significant improvement in body fat percentage compared to CDER.

Conclusion: Concurrent strength and aerobic training will improve performance and body composition. Unless you are a competitive track & field athlete looking to do every last thing you can to maximize aerobic power then you should perform your strength and aerobic training on the same day. This same-day approach will yield better strength and overall fitness when compared to doing strength and aerobic training on different days.  This is yet another reason (here are some more) why at CrossFit 316 we do strength AND metabolic conditioning every day…

Originally posted by Jeff Pruitt, owner of CrossFit 316