Concurrent endurance and strength training not to failure optimizes performance gains

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1191-9. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c67eec.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of 8 wk of resistance training to failure versus not to failure training regimens at both moderate and low volumes for increasing upper-body strength and power as well as cardiovascular parameters into a combined resistance and endurance periodized training scheme.

Methods: Forty-three trained male rowers were matched and then randomly assigned to four groups that performed the same endurance training but differed on their resistance training regimen: four exercises leading to repetition failure (4RF; n = 14), four exercises not leading to failure (4NRF; n = 15), two exercises not to failure (2NRF; n = 6), and control group (C; n = 8). One-repetition maximum strength and maximal muscle power output during prone bench pull (BP), average power during a 20-min all-out row test (W 20 min), average row power output eliciting a blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol x L(-1) (W 4 mmol x L(-1)), and power output in 10 maximal strokes (W 10 strokes) were assessed before and after 8 wk of periodized training.

Results: 4NRF group experienced larger gains in one- repetition maximum strength and muscle power output (4.6% and 6.4%, respectively) in BP compared with both 4RF (2.1% and j1.2%) and 2NRF (0.6% and -0.6%). 4NRF and 2NRF groups experienced larger gains in W 10 strokes (3.6% and 5%) and in W 20 min (7.6% and 9%) compared with those found after 4RF (-0.1% and 4.6%), whereas no significant differences between groups were observed in the magnitude of changes in W 4 mmol x L(-1) (4NRF = 6.2%, 4RF = 5.3%, 2NRF = 6.8%, and C = 4.5%).

Conclusions: An 8-wk linear periodized concurrent strength and endurance training program using a moderate number of repetitions not to failure (4NRF group) provides a favorable environment for achieving greater enhancements in strength, muscle power, and rowing performance when compared with higher training volumes of repetitions to failure in experienced highly trained rowers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Young Adult