Monday, May 5, 2008

To Avoid the Wall Joe Friel Says Hit the Gym

It's that time of year again when the debate on whether or not endurance athletes should lift weights begins. Both sides will toss out research and personal experience as evidence that it does or doesn't do the endurance athlete any good. I tend to come down on the side that it is beneficial, but with limitations.Most of the research indicates that weight lifting does improve aerobic endurance performance, primarily by boosting economy rather than aerobic capacity/VO2max [1-5]. Not all research finds benefits, however [6,7]. I should point that while my 20-year research archive only includes two studies that found no benefit from strength training for endurance athletes, journals are less likely to publish research that reports no positive change in the conclusion. So while the research appears to be tilted toward lifting weights as a way of racing faster we may not be seeing the whole picture.

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