The old paradigm: for endurance athletes, strength training will add mass and make you slower, and, for strength athletes, endurance training will destroy your gains and make you frail.
The new paradigm: you can have it all—concurrent training. In extremes, i.e., a 3-hour marathon or a 900 lb. bench press, the old paradigm holds (you can’t have both of those things). However, there are several processes at play that tell your body how to adapt to training—and, according to the research, you can combine strength and endurance training without compromising results in either area, but you must execute properly. But to what extent?
I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the idea of stronger AND faster. The idea of being strong but also having the ability to run for miles on end is likened to the idea of a super-soldier ready for tomorrow’s conflict. The topic is quite polarizing amongst coaches, as some say ‘of course you can’ while others say ‘Lies!.’ In 1980, Robert C. Hickson published a landmark study showing that the addition of resistance training to a predominantly aerobic program could lead to impaired leg-strength in comparison with a resistance-only training regimen. There’s been a lot of research done since 1980, but today, I only want to focus on the Hickson study. However, how you interpret the study has everything to do with your goals and leads me to introduce you to “the other guy/gal.”
If an elite powerlifter were to read the 1980 Hickson study, they would conclude they should only train strength. Since the inclusion of endurance training does limit the upper end of strength. The Other Guy is the guy who wants to be strong and fit. That’s it. This guy doesn’t care about an elite marathon time or setting a powerlifting record.
I’ll leave you with a few questions. What are you chasing? What is your goal?