How are your workout routines planned? Are you the sort of person who warms up with a light jog before moving into resistance training, or do you add the cardio training after your weightlifting? Do you alternate cardio and resistance training days to maximize the effects of both? Or, do you hit one or the other while only occasionally spending time rounding out your fitness overall?
According to a new study from the James Cook University (JCU), there may be a specific way to plan your workouts. The researchers were examining the effects of concurrent training or doing resistance training and cardio/endurance training on the same or different days. Their study was conducted after previous studies discovered that resistance training could reduce endurance and athletic performance for up to several days after the training session.
The results of this new study uncovered a startling truth: just 40 to 60 minutes of resistance training can cause physiological stress (muscle damage) that can continue for several days after completing your workout. On the flip side, your body usually recovers from endurance training (running, jogging, cycling, etc.) within 24 hours of finishing the workout.
What this study indicates is that concurrent training may not be as effective as previously believed. Many athletes engage in concurrent training (mixing in a jog or cycling session after resistance training) to maximize endurance and activate fatty acids for fat burning. However, if your goal is to improve your performance, concurrent training might not be the best solution.
The problem is that there’s no way to determine exactly how long your body needs to recover after an intense resistance training session. Recovery time depends entirely on your condition, the intensity of the workout, where you are in your training cycle, and many other factors. It’s impossible to say, “Give yourself 12, 24, or 72 hours between sessions for maximum results.”
However, it is enough to know that resistance training can decrease endurance training performance. If your goal is burning fat, concurrent training can be highly effective. After all, resistance training burns through the energy stored in your bloodstream and liver. When you hit the treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical machine for your endurance workout, all that’s left is for your body to activate stored fats. Ergo, better fat burning.
“We want to increase the awareness of resistance training-induced fatigue in the hope of encouraging coaches to think about aspects such as the order of the training, the recovery period, training intensity, etc. We’re trying to limit the carry-over effects of fatigue from resistance to endurance training sessions,” confirmed JCU’s Dr. Kenji Doma.
Dr. Doma said the group was not saying that concurrent training should be discontinued.
“There are great benefits to it, but there can be some hidden dangers too. What we want to see is fatigue from resistance sessions minimized so there can be even more benefits gained.”
He said the group could not tell athletes a specific recovery time as that was dependent on the individual, the code, and where the athlete was in the training cycle.
1. Kenji Doma, Glen B. Deakin, David J. Bentley. “Implications of Impaired Endurance Performance following Single Bouts of Resistance Training: An Alternate Concurrent Training Perspective.” Sports Medicine, 2017.