Living a healthy lifestyle will require us to find activities that we love to do and that challenges us to continue improving and becoming better. For me those activities are cycling, trail running, sprinting, dancing, and various forms of weight training. My love for endurance based fitness and resistance based fitness can seem like an oxymoron to die hard endurance enthusiasts that swear off the weight room because of the “perceived” bulk that comes with heavy resistance training, while hardcore lifters wouldn’t dream of spending a ton of time working on increasing their cardiovascular fitness because of the precious muscle that is lost when you undergo strenuous endurance based training. Yet what if there was indeed a way to include both fantastic training styles into your workout regimen to reap the benefits of both styles of training.
The Difference Between Endurance & Resistance Training
As related to fitness endurance can be defined as the act of exercising to increase the technique, skill, and specific demands placed on the body through repetitive movements for a specific activity, over a prolonged period. For example, an endurance runner increases their physical and mental stamina by focusing on training their body to adapt to increasing the distance and the time it takes them to achieve that distance. Resistance training is primarily concerned with increasing strength or building muscle. When most people think of resistance training or weight training the image of a bodybuilder comes to mind but that is only one aspect or variation of resistance training, you can also use resistance training to increase strength and become stronger by increasing the amount of weight you are able to lift for a move such as becoming stronger for the bench press, overhead press, squat or deadlift.
Why Should You Combine Endurance & Resistance Training?
Combining these two styles of training has a positive impact on performance as well as creating an overall balanced fitness regimen. The runner that is weak and lacks strength will not be able to move efficiently and effectively and could potentially face injury due to repetitive use of those same muscles without training or utilizing other muscles that help to stabilize and assist the primary muscles used during running. The lifter that lacks cardiovascular strength can lack the endurance needed to withstand tougher longer training sessions. The combination of endurance and resistance training leads to increases in performance by assisting with neuromuscular efficiency, core stabilization, and increasing movement efficiency. This can help to decrease muscle imbalances, strengthen the core muscles, improve coordination, improve energy transfer, and decrease the likelihood of injury.
How to Combine These Two Styles of Training
The best way of implementing resistance and endurance training into your workout program is to know your goal. Knowing your goal will help you in creating a workout regimen that works with your schedule as well as leads you to achieving your goals. Creating a balanced plan is also important because you want to avoid overtraining which can lead to decreased performance. Your ideal plan should have an equal focus on endurance based cardio workouts that you enjoy such as running, cycling, dancing, kickboxing etc. and you will also include resistance training sessions that align with your overall fitness goals. For instance if your goal is to increase your performance and strength for distance cycling, you will want to focus your cardio workouts on working on cycling for longer distances and including various terrain that have hills to work on increasing your performance for climbs, as for your resistance training your goal will be to build strength and endurance on the muscles that you use for cycling while also strengthening the core muscles to increase energy transfer and stabilization while you’re on the bike. Your weight training sessions will include light to moderate loads and high reps performed in a circuit fashion. Whereas if your goal is to focus on building strength your workout regimen will be focused on heavy resistance training with low reps and high loads while your endurance training will consist of medium to high intensity cardio such as interval training, or H.I.I.T cardio; this style of training will work your cardiovascular system increasing endurance, burning fat, preserving lean muscle, and increase workout efficiency and performance.
Sample Workout Plan
Just to give you an idea of what the ideal workout plan should look like here is my current workout split while I’m training for my first 5k. I work out 6 days per week; and alternate days where I run and days that I focus on resistance/weight training. Dividing my workouts this way has helped me stay on track and maintain muscle and increase performance and endurance for my runs.
|Upper Body Resistance Training||Run||Lower Body Resistance Training||Run||Strength Training||Run|