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More Training Info > Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Strength

Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Strength Performance Following Various Periods of Recovery

Summary of original research from Sporer, Ben C. and Wenger, Howard A. “Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Strength Performance Following Various Periods of Recovery.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003 Nov. 17(4): 638-644.

Sixteen male collegiate athletes experienced with strength training, submaximal aerobic training and high intensity anaerobic interval training were recruited for a research study to see if the type and intensity of aerobic training affects performance in concurrent strength training after 4, 8 and 24 hours of recovery. The athletes performed the same volume of cardiovascular training (one group at 70% of MHR and one doing intervals with recovery at 40% MHR and effort at 95-100% MHR) followed by one repetition maximum strength testing on both the bench press and leg press.

The Results

  1. When strength training follows either aerobic or anaerobic training, the volume of work that can be successfully completed in a strength session is compromised unless the trainee has sufficient recovery time.
  2. The effect of recovery on strength performance is nearly identical for both aerobic and anaerobic training.
  3. Furthermore, the study looked at the specific muscles that were worked in the aerobic session (i.e. leg strength was compromised, bench press strength was not for all three testing protocols.

Body Results Suggests
Unless you are facing a sport-specific situation where you MUST perform submaximal or anaerobic training preceding strength training (i.e. biathlons If you are trying to improve your upper or lower body strength and to save time you need to combine strength and aerobic workouts in one session, this study suggests that you will get better results (less fatigue, more complete recovery, and hence greater volume and added strength gains) by trying one of the following.

  1. Include aerobic training AFTER your strength training in a concurrent workout session.
  2. Put at least 8 hours between aerobic training and strength training in one day; in other words, try performing aerobic work early in the morning and strength training in the evening if you must do both workouts on one day.
  3. Perform lower body strength training on a different day than days you do any of your aerobic training. Or,
  4. On days when you perform aerobic or anaerobic training, perform any upper body strength training (either before or after the cardiovascular workout.)
  5. Completing a swimming workout (upper body cardiovascular training) before doing a lower body strength workout may not give the same test results and was not looked at in this study.

Bottom Line
Give some thought to your recovery needs and try to split your workouts up in such a way to allow maximum increase in both strength and aerobic training.


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