Concurrent Training

Maximize Your Strength and Aerobic Potential at the Same time
Concurrent Training

The performance of activities aimed at developing both physical and aerobic capacity, performed within the same or different training sessions is often referred to as concurrent training (CT) (Sousa et al., 2020).  Nevertheless, can strength training and aerobic training co-exist successfully?  Early research indicated that performance was compromised when an individual participated in both strength and aerobic training.  The major pitfalls of early research show that intensity may be a key variable to programming CT; after all, many sports require both strength and endurance.  How can coaches program CT to achieve strength and endurance goals?  Sousa et al. (2020) suggest pairing low-intensity aerobic training with low-intensity resistance training, employing sport-specific movement, for at least six weeks to realize gains in strength, power, and aerobic performance.  In CT, resistance training should:  use high-velocity movements; exercises with external loads should be combined with ballistic movements; ballistic movements should be introduced at the beginning of the training;  training should be low repetition (less than eight repetitions per set) with large rest intervals; progression should increase the number of sets instead of repetitions; and finally, external loads should be moderate-high, greater than 55% 1-RM.  Aerobic training should follow the resistance training, at an intensity less than 75% maximal aerobic capacity, or at a high intensity for cardiorespiratory gains (as in HIIT) and employ a polarized model.  According to Sousa et al. (2020), these elements are essential for the successful implementation of CT.

CT is frequently implemented in various demographics.  Given that an individual has no contraindications to exercise, CT is safe for use in youth, overweight/sedentary, and healthy middle-aged populations.  However, to maximize CT efficacy, the guidelines above should be implemented.  The potential for overtraining seems more likely when an individual participates in CT.  Indeed, early CT studies found that aerobic training caused fatigue that degraded resistance training performance and compromised muscular adaptations (Sousa et al., 2020).  Careful CT administration is critical, and in many cases may even augment performance. 


Sousa, A. C., Neiva, H. P., Izquierdo, M., Alves, A. R., Ramalho, A. G., Marques, M. C., … Duarte-mendes, P. (2020). Concurrent training intensities: A practical approach for program design. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 42(2), 38–44.

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Posted 2 years ago by Aspen Streetman


John Patterson 2 years ago

This is interesting but I’m interested in more specific examples of the paired exercises and movements. It is a very tech article but not the tech I understand. If low reps and ballistic movements are required how is form impacted?

Aspen Streetman 2 years ago

Hi JP -- Thanks for your comment. Concurrent training (CT) is a concept that makes a lot of sense for sports-specific athletes. These sports are usually endurance based, like distance runners or triathletes, but not always, like soccer or basketball players. But, for the average guy or gal who wants to make the most of their strength and cardiovascular training, CT is more nuanced. For example, a CT day may include back squats for three sets of eight reps at 75% 1-RM paired with medicine ball slams for three sets of 20 reps. In this example, the squat intensity is kept low through lower reps, and ball slams work the upper body ballistically. Alternatively, CT can mean pairing strength training with low-intensity cardio. It's important to remember that CT will vary based on your fitness level and goals.


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