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Strength & Endurance Workouts

Most people believe that incorporating strength and endurance training into their exercise routine will mean mediocre strength and endurance gains since one form of exercise will interfere with the other.

Typically, this is because strength and endurance training are considered two separate pursuits. Someone is either committed to cardio training or a dedicated weight-lifter, and those two exercise philosophies are rarely combined.

But, maybe they should be.

Training to develop both greater endurance and more strength can be a tricky undertaking, but the benefits can include better all-around athletic performance, increased fat loss and an impressive physique.

Strength Training and Endurance Workout #1

According to a study of elite duathletes (running and cycling) published in the March 2017 Physiological Reports, the group assigned strength training significantly improved running and cycling times compared to those who only practiced endurance training.

Barbell Squats

To perform the barbell squat place the weight at chest height on the squat rack before positioning the bar high behind the neck on the back of the shoulders.

HOW TO DO IT: Lift the weight off the rack and step back one or two feet. Keeping the back straight, and face forward, drop slowly into a sitting position, stopping when the thighs are parallel to the ground. Rise back to the standing position.

Make sure that the knees point in the same direction as both feet and the hips move to the rear as the body descends into the squat. Five sets at a weight that allows between five and eight reps can build up lower body strength.

Leg press

The leg press machine also develops lower body strength.

HOW TO DO IT: Sit in the machine and place your feet about shoulder-width apart. Move the safety bar (if any) and push the weight until legs are extended (don’t lock the knees.) Repeat the movement.

Five sets of eight to ten reps will improve leg strength for endurance training.

Strength Training and Endurance Workout #2

A June 2012 article in the International Journal of General Medicine explains how crucial aerobic exercise can be to prevent cardiovascular disease as well as chronic diseases like diabetes. Strength athletes shouldn’t miss out on the health benefits of cardio training.

Walking Lunges

Try walking lunges to get a cardio workout while improving leg strength.

HOW TO DO IT: Begin by standing, back straight and feet hip-width apart. Next, take a large step forward with the right leg, then drop the body down so that the rear leg touches the ground. Finally, push down on the front foot to stand back up. Repeat this motion with the other leg.

Do five to eight sets of 20 to 30 lunges for each leg.

Push-ups

Sure, it may be easy to bench 200 pounds, but is it easy to do fifty push-ups? Many weight-lifters are surprised when they can’t do more than 10 or 15 straight.

HOW TO DO IT: Lie flat on the belly and chest, then push up into a plank position supported by toes and hands. Next, lower the chest down until it touches the floor. Finally, push back up into the plank position.

Build upper body endurance while maintaining strength by doing five to six sets of about 20 reps.

Rowing machine

The rowing ergometer provides a whole-body strength and cardio workout. Arms and legs work together to get the blood pumping. Two to three 15- to 20-minute rowing sessions per week stimulate muscles and the cardiovascular system for strength and stamina.

Strength Training and Endurance Workout #3

Endurance and strength athletes can both benefit from combining the benefits of resistance and endurance training. One activity that mixes both of these training philosophies into one workout is sprinting.

Whether you want a faster long-distance run or improved squat strength, sprinting builds the leg power needed. A March 2014 study in Clinical Rehabilitation concluded that sprint training was more effective than steady state cardio in reducing body fat levels and it significantly improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Do sprint intervals to reap the benefits of this exercise.

HOW TO DO IT: Sprint all-out for 30 to 45 seconds and then rest for the same amount of time. Use a treadmill or a running track.

Three or four sprints done this way two or three times per week is all it should take.

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About the Author

George W. Citroner is a freelance journalist covering science, medicine, and health.

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