Year in and year out, coaches are challenged with developing a training and practice schedule that accommodates all players and coaching personnel. Two important factors must be considered in doing this:
- Availability of the team: This includes class schedules of athletes and work schedules of coaches depending on sport and level. This also depends on accessibility and availability of training and practice facilities.
- The optimal arrangement of practices, training sessions and competitions that maximizes improvements in performance while permitting adequate recovery.
The issues outlined in #1 are the primary factors that effects the training program. Once it has been established when and where everyone can be on a regular basis, the next most important factor is determining the optimal set-up of workouts and practices. To determine this, it’s important to consult the available literature that has investigated the various training configurations and their effects on performance. Specifically, many coaches have to deal with the issue of training opposing physical qualities such as speed strength and power at the same time as cardiovascular conditioning. We need to program training to maximize each category of performance while limiting the interference effect.
A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the effects of 4 different training configurations on performance outcomes in 58 amateur rugby players. The players were randomly divided into a control group, a strength only group and groups that performed both strength training and conditioning with the following rest intervals between strength sessions and conditioning sessions: 0 h (i.e., 0 hours of rest between sessions), 6 h (i.e., 6 hours of rest between strength and conditioning sessions) and 24 h (1 day of rest between strength and conditioning sessions). The groups trained for a total of 7 weeks and performed 2 strength sessions and 2 conditioning sessions (with the exception of the strength only group). Before and after the training interventions, performance measures were obtained including 1RM’s for bench press, bench row, squat and countermovement jump. In addition, fitness was assessed via VO2 max testing.
The results showed that improvements in 1RM strength and countermovement jumps were lowest in the control group followed by the 0 h group while improvements were similar in the Strength, 6 h and 24 h groups. Though VO2 max improved in all groups except Control and Strength, 24 h showed the largest improvements. Collectively, these results suggest that resting at least 6 h between sessions may limit the interference effect from concurrent training. Waiting up to 24 h between sessions however may be superior to 6 h. Therefore, combining workouts that aim to develop both strength/power/speed and aerobic conditioning qualities may not be ideal and will limit improvements of both qualities.
Robineau, J., Babault, N., Piscione, J., Lacome, M., & Bigard, A. X. (2016). The specific training effects of concurrent aerobic and strength exercises depends on recovery duration. J Strength Cond Res. 30(3): 672-83.