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Mixed Maximal and Explosive Strength Training in Recreational Endurance Runners

Taipale, Ritva S.1; Mikkola, Jussi2; Salo, Tiina1; Hokka, Laura1; Vesterinen, Ville2; Kraemer, William J.3; Nummela, Ari2; Häkkinen, Keijo1

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 3 - p 689–699
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a16d73
Original Research

Taipale, RS, Mikkola, J, Salo, T, Hokka, L, Vesterinen, V, Kraemer, WJ, Nummela, A, and Häkkinen, K. Mixed maximal and explosive strength training in recreational endurance runners. J Strength Cond Res 28(3): 689–699, 2014—Supervised periodized mixed maximal and explosive strength training added to endurance training in recreational endurance runners was examined during an 8-week intervention preceded by an 8-week preparatory strength training period. Thirty-four subjects (21–45 years) were divided into experimental groups: men (M, n = 9), women (W, n = 9), and control groups: men (MC, n = 7), women (WC, n = 9). The experimental groups performed mixed maximal and explosive exercises, whereas control subjects performed circuit training with body weight. Endurance training included running at an intensity below lactate threshold. Strength, power, endurance performance characteristics, and hormones were monitored throughout the study. Significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. Increases were observed in both experimental groups that were more systematic than in the control groups in explosive strength (12 and 13% in men and women, respectively), muscle activation, maximal strength (6 and 13%), and peak running speed (14.9 ± 1.2 to 15.6 ± 1.2 and 12.9 ± 0.9 to 13.5 ± 0.8 km Ł h−1). The control groups showed significant improvements in maximal and explosive strength, but Speak increased only in MC. Submaximal running characteristics (blood lactate and heart rate) improved in all groups. Serum hormones fluctuated significantly in men (testosterone) and in women (thyroid stimulating hormone) but returned to baseline by the end of the study. Mixed strength training combined with endurance training may be more effective than circuit training in recreational endurance runners to benefit overall fitness that may be important for other adaptive processes and larger training loads associated with, e.g., marathon training.

1Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland;

2KIHU - Research Institute for Olympic Sports, Jyväskylä, Finland; and

3Department of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Address correspondence to Ritva S. Taipale,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.