McCARTHY, J. P., M. A. POZNIAK, and J. C. AGRE. Neuromuscular adaptations to concurrent strength and endurance training. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 511–519, 2002.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine muscle morphological and neural activation adaptations resulting from the interaction between concurrent strength and endurance training.
Methods: Thirty sedentary healthy male subjects were randomly assigned to one of three training groups that performed 10 wk of 3-d·wk−1 high-intensity strength training (S), cycle endurance training (E), or concurrent strength and endurance training (CC). Strength, quadriceps-muscle biopsies, computed tomography scans at mid-thigh, and surface electromyogram (EMG) assessments were made before and after training.
Results: S and CC groups demonstrated similar increases (P < 0.0001) in both thigh extensor (12 and 14%) and flexor/adductor (7 and 6%) muscle areas. Type II myofiber areas similarly increased (P < 0.002) in both S (24%) and CC (28%) groups, whereas the increase (P < 0.004) in Type I area with S training (19%) was also similar to the nonsignificant (P = 0.041) increase with CC training (13%). Significant increases (P < 0.005) in maximal isometric knee-extension torque were accompanied by nonsignificant (P ≤ 0.07) increases in root mean squared EMG amplitude of the quadriceps musculature for both S and C groups. No changes (P > 0.38) in the EMG/torque relation across 20 to 100% maximal voluntary contractions occurred in any group. A small 3% increase (P < 0.01) in thigh extensor area was the only change in any of the above variables with E training.
Conclusions: Findings indicate 3-d·wk−1 concurrent performance of both strength and endurance training does not impair adaptations in strength, muscle hypertrophy, and neural activation induced by strength training alone. Results provide a physiological basis to support several performance studies that consistently indicate 3-d·wk−1 concurrent training does not impair strength development over the short term.
Departments of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, Kinesiology, and Radiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Submitted for publication January 2001.
Accepted for publication July 2001.