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28.04.2016


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training

Wow, that was a shock. If you read the abstract of the study that sports scientists at Nippon Sport Science University in Japan will soon publish in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, it seems even just a couple of minutes of interval training can reduce strength athletes' progression. Shock horror! We, the dedicated compilers of this free webzine, quaked in our boots as we read the integral study.

Study
The researchers got six subjects to train their biceps on a Scott machine three times a week for eight weeks. The workout consisted of three sets of ten reps.

Six other subjects trained their biceps in an identical way, but after doing the workout also did some interval training. They cycled four times for thirty seconds, as fast as they could. The subjects took half a minute rest between the intervals. So in total the interval training was less than four minutes.

Results
The chance of doing overtraining with schedules like this would be nil, you'd think. But according to the researchers, the interval training blocked the positive effects of the strength training on muscle mass and strength. That's what they write in their abstract, at least. Click on the figure for a larger version.


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training



Sounds bad, you might think. But if you look closely at what exactly the Japanese measured, then you might start to wonder whether that negative effect of additional interval training on the training results actually exists...


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training



Look at the evidence above: subjects who did interval training plus strength training became fitter; the subjects who only trained their biceps did not.

Both groups developed bigger biceps. The only difference was that the effect was not quite statistically significant in the interval training + strength training group, and just statistically significant in the strength training group. Given the size of the sample, this doesn't tell us much.

The members of both groups gained strength. The increase in muscle strength, however, was not statistically significant in either group.



The figure below shows the progression of the two groups.


False alarm about combining interval training and strength training



Conclusion
We'll be continuing with interval training after strength training.

Source:
J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Dec 18. [Epub ahead of print].

More:
Interval training helps elite athletes get fitter without overtraining 12.03.2013

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