For the most part, athletes will include both endurance and strength training in their regimes. However, there is no conclusive research to indicate that there is much benefit in strength training, when it comes to endurance athletes. On the other hand, several studies have tentatively indicated that endurance athletes might be able to increase their strength through the addition of sport specific weight training to their training regime. It must be pointed out, however, that strength gains made in such a manner generally do not lead to an improved endurance capability.
Endurance and strength training
A study that was undertaken in 1993 showed that strength training was not conducive to an improvement in sprint swimming. This was the case even though those examined were able to increase their strength by twenty five to thirty five per cent. Thus it was concluded that strength training will not create an improvement in stroke mechanics.
Something similar was discovered with regard to rowers in 1989. One group of rowers was asked to add a high velocity, low rep strength training regime to their normal training routine. Another group was required to perform low velocity, high resistance repetitions. This study concluded that training effects were specific to the type of resistance training. The study also stated that resistance training programs could even serve to cause unecessary fatigue and thus restriction of benefits gained through sport specific training.
Cross country skiers were also asked to undergo strength training regimes in addition to their normal aerobic workouts. They were asked to undergo plyometric exercise and heavy resistance. The skiers improved their jumping time and the time it took for them to reach maximal isometric force. However, no difference with regard to oxygen intake or anaerobic or aerobic thresholds were discovered to have occurred.
Another group of athletes, professional cyclists, were also tested in this regard. Their strength training focused on building up the leg muscles. Exercises undertaken included hamstring curls, quadriceps extensions, and the leg press. The athletes were discovered to gain about twenty five per cent of strength. However, this did not result in improved cycling performance, and in fact only served to reduce the speed and endurance capabilities of the cyclists. Many of the cyclists also complained about feeling fatigued, tired and heavy as a result of the strength training. In conclusion, no real correlation between strength training and an improvement in endurance capabilites has been discovered.