In one of my previous posts we looked at why so may athletes (especially endurance athletes), are not overly keen on getting into a Resistance training program.

I think one of the biggest problems is a lack of understanding about the differences between the types of resistance training out there.

For example, what is Muscle endurance training compared to Strength and Power training compared to Hypertrophy focused training.

Let's have a quick look at the differences between the 4 types of resistance training mentioned above.

1: Muscle endurance training.

Resistance training focused on improving Muscle endurance, aims to increase the time it takes to fatigue a muscles, and increase the amount of work a muscle can do in a given time before fatigue sets in.

Sound familiar?

Very similar to Long Slow Distance training in the swim, bike or the run, the key is to keep the INTENSITY low and VOLUME high.

In the Resistance training paradigm, we use low to moderate resistance (weight), and high sets and reps.

This will develop the muscles resistance to fatigue (similar to the Long Slow Distance training).

Is the training utilized by Body Builders to attain a larger muscle size (Cross sectional area), and does not translate into improved muscle endurance or even increased ability to generate power.
It just looks impressive.

As Endurance athletes, we are not to concerned about using this pathway - it requires moderate to high resistance (weight), and a moderate to high number of sets and reps.

3: Strength training :

Strength is defined as the maximal amount of force a muscle or group of muscles can produce at a specific speed.

is defined as amount of time it takes to complete a certain amount of work.

From the definition of Power, we can see how it correlates it a little more closely to what we as Endurance athletes are trying to achieve in our racing - getting from point A to point B (work), in the shortest time possible (time).

Power training, however, requires a good foundation of Muscle Endurance training and Strength training, so don't g jumping into Power training just yet - we will get to the "Hows" later on.

Strength training uses a low to moderate repetition count, and a high set count, with a high resistance.

Power training requires very low Repetitions, moderate set counts, and very high resistances.

It is important to keep in mind, that the generation of Power outputs, does not rely on a muscles with a large CSA (Cross Sectional Area), but more on Neuro-Muscular adpatations.

Just think of the wattages Elite cyclists put out in the Time Trials - they have very small CSA, but are able to put out and hold very high wattages (exceeding 500watts at times).

Next week I will discuss what we should be doing through the winter months.

James Greenwood is a competitive tri and multisport athlete currently training for Ironman Canada 2009. A level 1 Triathlon Coach, he holds a post graduate degree in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. James is also currently the resident health and fitness programs expert at, and has starred in a number of multisport specific fitness videos.
blog comments powered by Disqus