Aagaard, P., Bennekou, M., Larsson, B., Andersen, J. L., Olesen, J., Crameri, R., Magnusson, P. S., & Kjaer, M. (2007). Resistance training leads to altered muscle fiber type composition and enhanced long-term cycling performance in elite competitive cyclists. ACSM Annual Meeting New Orleans, Presentation Number, 2416.

“The effect of concurrent strength and endurance training has never been examined in elite level (national team) endurance athletes.” This study evaluated the effect of concurrent strength-endurance training on maximal muscle strength (maximal voluntary contraction), rate of force development, muscle fiber morphology and composition, capillarization, aerobic capacity (VO2max), economy (VO2 at 75% VO2max), and short/long term endurance capacity in Danish national team cyclists. Ss were divided into endurance (N = 7) and strength-endurance (N = 7) training groups. The investigation lasted 16 weeks.

Post-training maximal voluntary contraction and rate of force development increased significantly in the strength-endurance group but not the endurance group. Short-term endurance performance increased in both groups, while long-term endurance only increased in the strength-endurance group. Muscle fiber area and capillarization remained unchanged in both groups. Type IIA fiber proportions increased significantly from 26% to 34% in the strength-endurance group.

Implication. Strength-endurance and endurance training improved short-term endurance capacity, but only the combined strength-endurance training improved the long-term endurance capacity in elite level endurance athletes. The change was accompanied by an increased proportion of type IIA fibers and an enhanced capacity for rapid muscle force generation.

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