Personal tools
You are here: Home Tips and Hints Combination Training
Log in

Forgot your password?
Document Actions

Combination Training

by Carl Brewer last modified 2008-08-25 03:38

Combining Strength and power with endurance training may not be ideal for sprinters - or explaining a little about the interferance effect that aerobic training has on anaerobic development.

If you're a track sprint cyclist, how do you balance out your need for power and strength, and the expectation that you need to be aerobically 'fit' as well?

It's a good question.

It boils down to the needs of your particular track discipline.  If you're a kilo rider or longer, you need a level of aerobic fitness, but if you're concentrating on old-school track sprinting, where your effort lasts less than 30 seconds most of the time, do you need to do any aerobic work, and should you?  Does aerobic training negatively effect your anaerobic strengths?

The short answer is yes it does.

A number of studies have shown that 'combination training' can reduce gains in muscle girth, maximum strength and speed and power performance in anaerobic sports (like track sprinting).  It does not seem to hold true the other way though - it seems that enduro athletes can gain from anaerobic training, but that strength athletes can lose from aerobic training.  Ie: If you're a roady, MTB or enduro trackie, generally strength training won't do your aerobic performance any harm, but if you're a track sprinter, enduro training can impact negatively on your performance. According to "Essentials of Strength & Conditioning" 3rd ed 2008, pp 37, extensive aerobic training to enhance recovery from anaerobic events is not necessary and may be counterproductive in most strength and power sports.

Some authors call the negative effects on strength and power brought about by endurance training the 'Interferance effect'.

So what's a kilo rider to do, or a roady sprinter? Or a track sprinter who wants to keep their weight down and ride to work?

Track sprinters who want to ride their bikes for transport, social rides, weight control etc need to keep the intensity way down in E1.  High intensity aerobic work will harm their peak power production.  Some authors suggest that using other muscle groups than those being strength trained for endurance work reduces or eliminates the effect on the muscles we're using, but that's hard for a track sprinter, most aerobic exercise involves leg muscles.  Swimming and kayaking come to mind as some worthwhile aerobic conditioning sports that have minimal leg muscle use if that's to be followed by a track sprinter.

Kilo riders, track enduro sprinters and roady sprinters need to accept that they won't be able to get as much out of their strength training as a pure sprinter will (but you won't see Sean Eadie at the end of the Melbourne to Warnambool, so that doesn't matter much, you only have to beat the riders who make it to the finish) because their high intensity aerobic training that they have to do will reduce the amount they can get from strength and power training.  If you're training for kilos, you'll be doing more strength and power work than a roady sprinter, but not as much as a pure sprinter would, and because you're mixing in to the blend aerobic work, you won't get as close to your genetic potential as a pure anaerobic athlete can.


Powered by Plone CMS, the Open Source Content Management System

This site conforms to the following standards: