Does Strength Training Hurt or Help Endurance Sports Performance? with Dr. Bent Rønnestad

We’re joined by Dr. Bent R. Rønnestad to explore concurrent strength and endurance training. Do they interfere with each other? Should endurance athletes strength train?

athlete lifting weights
Low section of unrecognizable male athlete lifting huge heavy barbell from floor, leg muscles straining with effort

A lot of preconceptions and myths surround the concept of strength training for endurance athletes: 

“You’ll put on too much weight.”

“It’ll make you a better time trialer.”

“You’ll make your legs sore.”

“You’ll increase your VO2max.”

“Strength training doesn’t help at all.”

Some coaches and athletes swear by strength training while others wouldn’t get within 10 feet of a gym, much less a dumbbell.  

We don’t blame coaches and athletes for having different opinions. Even the research over the last few decades has been mixed. In fact, the research on concurrent training – doing endurance and strength training at the same time – is a surprisingly new field.  

Leading the charge over the last decade has been a highly respected Norwegian researcher named Bent R. Rønnestad from the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. There is hardly a subject in endurance sports training where Dr. Rønnestad hasn’t published a respected study. But, his numerous studies and reviews have had a lot of impact on the question of concurrent strength and endurance training.  

We talk with Dr. Rønnestad about the debate over a concept called the Interference Effect – that strength training can interfere with endurance gains and vice versa. And because this is Fast Talk we focus on whether strength training can improve endurance performance and explore the physiology behind why it does or does not help.  

Joining this episode for the coach’s perspective is Coach Joe Friel. Does he recommend strength training to athletes?

Strength and conditioning coach Jess Elliot, founder of TAG Performance, explores the potential benefits of strength training with endurance athletes.

Finally, we ask Trek-Segafredo pro rider Toms Skujins if he incorporates strength training into his routine.  


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