Neuromuscular adaptations to different modes of combined strength and endurance training

D Eklund, T Pulverenti, S Bankers, J Avela, R Newton, M Schumann, K Häkkinen
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2015, 36 (2): 120-9
The present study investigated neuromuscular adaptations between same-session combined strength and endurance training with 2 loading orders and different day combined training over 24 weeks. 56 subjects were divided into different day (DD) combined strength and endurance training (4-6 d·wk(-1)) and same-session combined training: endurance preceding strength (E+S) or vice versa (S+E) (2-3 d·wk(-1)). Dynamic and isometric strength, EMG, voluntary activation, muscle cross-sectional area and endurance performance were measured. All groups increased dynamic one-repetition maximum (p<0.001; DD 13±7%, E+S 12±9% and S+E 17±12%) and isometric force (p<0.05-0.01), muscle cross-sectional area (p<0.001) and maximal power output during cycling (p<0.001). DD and S+E increased voluntary activation during training (p<0.05-0.01). In E+S no increase in voluntary activation was detected after 12 or 24 weeks. E+S also showed unchanged and S+E increased maximum EMG after 24 weeks during maximal isometric muscle actions. A high correlation (p<0.001, r=0.83) between the individual changes in voluntary activation and maximal knee extension force was found for E+S during weeks 13-24. Neural adaptations showed indications of being compromised and highly individual relating to changes in isometric strength when E+S-training was performed, while gains in one-repetition maximum, endurance performance and hypertrophy did not differ between the training modes.

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