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Concurrent Training: The Best Approach for Optimal Fitness and Performance




I grew up in the late 80s/early 90s. Back then, you could only be one of two types of athletes: strength or endurance. You were a "gym bro" or a crazy marathoner. It was believed that one type of training would stop the gainz train of the other. Well, I am here to tell you that science has proven that you can be both.


I have been training with Garage Gym Athlete for over 6-7 years now. This is the central belief of their training and I have adopted it into my own mindset as well as how I train others.

When it comes to fitness and performance enhancement, finding the most effective training approach is crucial. Concurrent training, a combination of both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise, has gained significant popularity in recent years. In this comprehensive blog post, I will delve into the concept of concurrent training, its benefits, and why it is considered the best way to train for achieving optimal fitness and performance levels.


Understanding Concurrent Training:


Concurrent training involves integrating resistance training and cardiovascular exercise into a comprehensive training program. Traditionally, these two types of exercise were often performed separately, with individuals focusing primarily on either strength or endurance. However, concurrent training capitalizes on the synergistic effects of both modalities, resulting in enhanced fitness, improved body composition, and increased performance across various athletic endeavors.


Benefits of Concurrent Training:


  1. Improved Cardiovascular Fitness: Engaging in cardiovascular exercise alongside resistance training promotes cardiovascular health and enhances aerobic capacity. This leads to better endurance, increased oxygen delivery to working muscles, and improved overall cardiovascular fitness.

  2. Increased Strength and Power: While cardiovascular exercise primarily targets endurance and cardiovascular health, the addition of resistance training in concurrent training provides numerous benefits for strength and power development. Resistance training stimulates muscle hypertrophy, increases strength, and improves power output, enabling individuals to perform at higher levels in their chosen activities.

  3. Enhanced Body Composition: Concurrent training is highly effective for body composition changes, as it combines the muscle-building benefits of resistance training with the calorie-burning effects of cardiovascular exercise. This leads to improved muscle definition, reduced body fat percentage, and a more aesthetically pleasing physique.

  4. Metabolic Adaptations: Combining resistance and cardiovascular training elicits favorable metabolic adaptations. The increased muscle mass resulting from resistance training boosts resting metabolic rate, leading to improved energy expenditure and fat utilization. Additionally, cardiovascular exercise enhances aerobic metabolism, supporting fat oxidation and cardiovascular efficiency.

  5. Sports Performance Enhancement: Many sports and athletic activities require a combination of strength, power, and endurance. Concurrent training allows individuals to develop a well-rounded fitness foundation, improving performance across a wide range of athletic pursuits.


Why Concurrent Training is the Best Way to Train:


  1. Time Efficiency: One of the major advantages of concurrent training is its time efficiency. By integrating both resistance and cardiovascular exercises into a single training session, individuals can maximize their workout time and achieve comprehensive fitness benefits.

  2. Versatility and Adaptability: Concurrent training can be tailored to individual needs, goals, and preferences. It allows for flexibility in exercise selection, intensity, duration, and frequency, making it suitable for a variety of individuals, from general fitness enthusiasts to competitive athletes.

  3. Long-Term Sustainability: Concurrent training promotes a balanced approach to fitness, emphasizing both strength and cardiovascular health. This balanced approach can be sustained over the long term, reducing the risk of overuse injuries, burnout, and plateaus commonly associated with single-modality training programs.

  4. Health Benefits: Concurrent training provides a multitude of health benefits beyond physical fitness. Regular exercise has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, and enhanced mental well-being.

  5. Scientific Evidence and Expert Opinion: a. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research by Wilson et al. (2012) concluded that concurrent training resulted in greater improvements in lean body mass and maximal strength compared to either resistance training or aerobic training alone. b. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) supports the efficacy of concurrent training, stating that it is an appropriate and effective approach for overall health and fitness improvement. c. According to the International Olympic Committee Consensus Statement on Training the Elite Child Athlete, concurrent training has been shown to optimize the development of various physical attributes necessary for high-performance sports.


Conclusion:


Concurrent training, the integration of resistance training and cardiovascular exercise, offers a multifaceted approach to fitness and performance enhancement. By combining the benefits of both modalities, concurrent training leads to improved cardiovascular fitness, increased strength and power, enhanced body composition, favorable metabolic adaptations, and enhanced sports performance. It is time-efficient, versatile, and sustainable in the long term, making it an ideal choice for individuals seeking optimal fitness and performance levels. Incorporating concurrent training into your workout routine can revolutionize your approach to training, enabling you to achieve comprehensive fitness goals and experience the numerous benefits it offers.


Please note that while concurrent training has been widely studied and supported, individual differences and specific goals should be considered. It is advisable to consult with a qualified fitness professional or healthcare provider to design a tailored training program based on your unique needs and circumstances.


References:


  1. Wilson, J. M., Marin, P. J., Rhea, M. R., Wilson, S. M., Loenneke, J. P., & Anderson, J. C. (2012). Concurrent training: A meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(8), 2293-2307.

  2. American College of Sports Medicine. (2018). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  3. Faigenbaum, A. D., Kraemer, W. J., Blimkie, C. J., Jeffreys, I., Micheli, L. J., Nitka, M., ... & Rowland, T. W. (2009). Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the national strength and conditioning association. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 23(5), S60-S79.



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