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J Sports Sci. 2011 Aug 22. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of resistance training regimens on treadmill running and neuromuscular performance in recreational endurance runners.

Mikkola J, Vesterinen V, Taipale R, Capostagno B, Häkkinen K, Nummela A.

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of heavy resistance, explosive resistance, and muscle endurance training on neuromuscular, endurance, and high-intensity running performance in recreational endurance runners.

Twenty-seven male runners were divided into one of three groups: heavy resistance, explosive resistance or muscle endurance training. After 6 weeks of preparatory training, the groups underwent an 8-week resistance training programme as a supplement to endurance training. Before and after the 8-week training period, maximal strength (one-repetition maximum), electromyographic activity of the leg extensors, countermovement jump height, maximal speed in the maximal anaerobic running test, maximal endurance performance, maximal oxygen uptake ([Vdot]O(2max)), and running economy were assessed.

Maximal strength improved in the heavy (P = 0.034, effect size ES = 0.38) and explosive resistance training groups (P = 0.003, ES = 0.67) with increases in leg muscle activation (heavy: P = 0.032, ES = 0.38; explosive: P = 0.002, ES = 0.77).

Only the heavy resistance training group improved maximal running speed in the maximal anaerobic running test (P = 0.012, ES = 0.52) and jump height (P = 0.006, ES = 0.59).

Maximal endurance running performance was improved in all groups (heavy: P = 0.005, ES = 0.56; explosive: P = 0.034, ES = 0.39; muscle endurance: P = 0.001, ES = 0.94), with small though not statistically significant improvements in [Vdot]O(2max) (heavy: ES = 0.08; explosive: ES = 0.29; muscle endurance: ES = 0.65) and running economy (ES in all groups < 0.08).

All three modes of strength training used concurrently with endurance training were effective in improving treadmill running endurance performance. However, both heavy and explosive strength training were beneficial in improving neuromuscular characteristics, and heavy resistance training in particular contributed to improvements in high-intensity running characteristics. Thus, endurance runners should include heavy resistance training in their training programmes to enhance endurance performance, such as improving sprinting ability at the end of a race.

 

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