LOW RATHER THAN HEAVY WEIGHTS INFLUENCE ENDURANCE DEVELOPMENT
Mathis, S. L., Kim, Y., & Kang, M. (2011). Effect of strength training on cycling endurance performance: A meta-analysis. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 2946.
A meta-analysis was performed to determine the effectiveness of strength training for enhancing endurance cycling performance and to determine if moderator variables influenced the effect of dynamic endurance cycling performance. Studies were identified by using the following online databases: Medline, Pubmed, Google Scholar, and Proquest. Keywords were "strength training" or "resistance training", with endurance and one of cyclist, cycling, bicycle, or bicycling. Reference lists on research articles were cross-checked to extend the search. The search produced 28 published research articles, three dissertations, and one thesis. After a preliminary review, 16 studies fit the inclusion criteria and a total of 20 effect sizes (ESs) were extracted to estimate weighted ES. The cycling performance measure was based on average power in a time-trial, time-to-exhaustion, or maximum power output in an incremental test. Three moderator variables were analyzed: Participant experience (trained cyclist vs. healthy individual), type of strength training protocol ("low" or <80% one repetition maximum weight vs. "heavy" or >80% one repetition maximum weight), duration of strength training protocol (<10 weeks vs. >10 weeks).
The quantitative integration of the effects (N = 20) yielded a moderate and positive weighted mean ES of.48 (95% CI = .23, .71). The type of weight training was a significant moderator. There was a larger effect from using low weight (<80% one repetition maximum) than heavy weight (>80% one repetition maximum).
Implication. Strength training was determined to be a moderately useful training tool to enhance endurance cycling performance with a greater effect from using low weights. If resistance training must be used, lighter weights are preferable.
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