Strength and endurance are important components of physical fitness. Classic knowledge suggests that simultaneous training for strength and endurance will diminish adaptations. However, these studies have been in normal, healthy subjects and not elite athletes. Besides that the reality is that both training modes are usually incorporated in the modern training programs. What is the truth?
Another issue is related on the effect of training without ball on physical performance in elite players. There is always the question on how we can improve physical fitness in a short, limited time. What is the most effective method in elite football players?
A nice study was published few days ago that addressed these questions in elite football players (Helgerud et al., 2011). One of the co-author was Dr Rodas from Barcelona FC Medical department. In this study, elite Champion League players performed strength training (4x4 reps maximum, only half-squat) and endurance training (4X4min running at 90-95% of maximal heart rate). Training was performed twice a week in the mornings over the 8-weeks pre-season period. As you realize no control group was included in this study due to its nature.
The results showed almost 9% increase in maximal oxygen uptake (from 60.5 to 67 ml/kg/min). Maximal strength, in half-squat, increased 52% following training.