Training for Endurance and Strength

Thirty years ago, scientists determined that simultaneously training for strength and endurance interfered with muscle hypertrophy and strength. Researchers have argued about this since then. Riki Ogasawara from the University of Tokyo and colleagues, in a study on rats, determined that endurance and strength exercise activate different biochemical pathways in the cells. Strength training activates the mTOR pathway, which promotes muscle protein synthesis. Endurance training turns on the AMPK pathway, which increases the activity of mitochondria— the powerhouses of the cell. The researchers found that when doing endurance and strength training in the same workout, signaling for the second type of exercise would predominate. So, if your goal is to build muscle and strength, practice strength training after endurance training. If your goal is to build endurance, practice endurance exercise second. This study has important implications for all athletes. (American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology Metabolism, published online April 1, 2014)

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