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Concurrent Training: Definition, Uses, and How to Apply

What is Concurrent Training?

Concurrent training combines resistance and endurance exercise in a periodized plan. The goal is to improve multiple athletic characteristics, such as strength, power, hypertrophy, and endurance. This mixed approach to training is highly beneficial for most athletes because sports generally rely on several energy systems.

When Does Concurrent Training Make Sense?

Apart from some very technical and skill-based sports, concurrent training will benefit most trainees, competitors, and athletes.

For instance, even endurance athletes, such as runners, swimmers, and cyclists, will benefit from strength training because it can positively impact movement mechanics, stability, and power output. 

In contrast, athletes who primarily focus on resistance training, such as bodybuilders, powerlifters, and Strongmen, can benefit significantly from cardiovascular exercise. 

Such training improves endurance and positively impacts work capacity, allowing trainees to do more training volume and recover more quickly between exercise bouts and individual workouts.

How to Manage Concurrent Training Effectively?

The first step to effectively managing concurrent training as a trainee or coach is to clarify the primary goals

That could be to cover the longest possible distance in as little time as possible for an endurance athlete and to lift as much weight as possible on critical lifts for someone who wants to build strength.

Training should continue to revolve around that primary goal because the body adapts to imposed demands. 

However, endurance or strength training can make up a portion of the workout plan (depending on the athlete and their goals). For instance, an endurance athlete can do 80% endurance-based activities and dedicate 20% of their time to strength training.

Balancing the two modalities comes down to controlling:

  • Total amount of time spent training. It can’t go beyond the athlete’s ability to recover.
  • Intensity. Controlling effort is vital for fatigue management.
  • Type of activities. If certain activities generate too much fatigue, swap them. For example, if jogging leads to too much lower body fatigue, perhaps cycling would be better.
  • Timing. It’s generally best to separate the two types of workouts to reduce the risk that one affects the other’s performance.

    For example, a strength trainee would ideally do cardio on rest days. If that’s impossible, they should do the two workouts a few hours apart. Finally, if that also doesn’t work, the trainee should strength train first and finish the session with cardio.

FAQ

1. What is a simple example of concurrent training?

A simple example of concurrent training is when an athlete does three strength and two cardio sessions per week.

2. How is concurrent training different from block periodization?

In block periodization, individual blocks of time (mesocycle) are dedicated to developing specific characteristics, such as strength, power, or endurance. In contrast, concurrent training aims to develop several things simultaneously.

Related Terms in Training Modalities Category