Combining strength and endurance training is often deemed as impossible. This also seems logical if you look at the top athletes in endurance or strength sports. Nevertheless, there are a few athletes who try to combine these two training approaches. Almost 2 years ago, I took up the challenge and started to train for a triathlon. At the same time I did not want to lose any muscle mass or lose strength.
It was clear to me that I would not achieve top performances in triathlon and would not exploit my maximum potential in terms of power. But that was not my goal. I just wanted to achieve satisfactory performance in both areas and expand my training into new areas. In this blogpost, I will introduce my workout routine for this endeavour.
If you have not read the series for my triathlon training yet, you should definitely catch up: #RoadTo: Triathlon – The Beginning.
If you want to combine strength and endurance training in your training week, you are sure to go for a higher training volume. That’s why regeneration is a very important factor. Especially at the beginning your body will have to get used to the new strain. In this phase, you may need to skip some training sessions.
In terms of strength training, I am going for a full body routine with 3 workouts a week. During the individual sessions I focus on different aspects.
This has the advantage that I achieve a high training volume for the individual muscle groups. In addition, it is not as bad if you miss any sessions compared to a split.
I usually try to do the cardio training on separate training days. If that is not possible for you, that is not a problem either. It is also possible that you perform one session in the morning and another session in the evening. With enough rest between the two sessions, this approach works well too. Just try to find out for yourself what works best for you.
If you are interested in the combination of strength and endurance training, I recommend the following article by Ross Edgley: Strength and Stamina – Can you train for both? His book – The Worlds Fittest Book – also provides very interesting insights!
This routine is suitable for anyone who wants to incorporate more endurance training into their current training routine. You do not necessarily need to train for a triathlon, but with this plan you can certainly can.
Otherwise, you can either reduce the stamina sessions or replace them with the cardio you prefer.
The routine that I am presenting to you is the one with which I prepared for my first triathlon. I still use this for my training.
- Monday: running in the morning, strength training in the evening
- Tuesday: Cycling
- Wednesday: Strength Training
- Thursday: Swimming
- Friday: Strength Training
Since cycling sessions take much longer than a long run, I like to put them on a separate day. Swimming is, especially as a beginner, technically very demanding and also represents a new kind of strain for your body. That’s why I like to put this on a separate training day as well.
As already noted, you can of course easily replace the corresponding cardio units with a sport of your choice!
One comment I would like to make to this plan: At the beginning I minimized my leg training and sometimes even completely skipped it. However, I would recommend any athlete not to neglect your legs when working out. One exercise per training session is already sufficient and complements the cardio training very well!
Even if I did not train for a triathlon, I would still workout that way. In my opinion, strength and cardio training complements each other very well. I feel physically great and powerful, no matter in which area. I can only recommend to every athlete to integrate at least some cardio into their workout routine!
Do you also combine strength and cardio training? What are your training goals?