Balancing Endurance and Strength
Just a little short story: I've been doing a lot more endurance type work over the last few weeks (Around 15-20 hours/week worth) and only about 1-2 sessions a week dealing with strength. I was wondering how could I keep my strength or even increase it whilst doing so much endurance type work, or if it is even possible.
I usually do about 3-4 (sets usually 5-10, reps 2-5) lifts during my sessions in the gym, mainly: front squats, back squats, push press, overhead press, bench press, 1-arm deadlifts (for now at least), light cleans, and overhead squats.
Over the past month or so I made little to no gains on all of my lifts, and I'm still new to lifting (only have been doing it for about 6 months regularly), so I was wondering how much is the endurance work affecting my overall strength or should I just give in and accept that my strength will not go up even with high endurance outputs.
Should I have more sessions in the gym, or perhaps more lifts during those sessions. I have a injury in my right hand preventing me from doing heavy deadlifts or heavy olympic lifts in general. Or should I learn some other lifts that could help?
In about a month and half I will be leaving the gym totally and focusing primarily ice climbing for the next 4-5 months. I would love to get as much strength as I can before I leave, but I don't want to compromise my endurance at all. That's about the jist of it
Thanks for any input.
You should probably do some pulling exercises.... pullups, rowing, etc. as you WILL get some nice shoulder imbalances and pain if you keep it up without any upper body pulling work.
Are you training for endurance races like running or something? If that's your priority you can try adding some more strength work BUT if it makes you regress (overreaching) then you'll have to back off.
Otherwise, I mean I don't know why you're doing so much endurance work when you could do something like CF or some type of hybrid program and still have a fair amount of endurance with good increases in strength.
What are your lift numbers anyway?
That's a massive amount of endurance work which WILL DEFINITELY WORK MASSIVELY AGAINST YOUR STRENGTH DEVELOPMENT. There's no doubt about it.
Do you have a specific goal with all the endurance work?
Also, like Steven said, there's going to be major imbalances there, with all that pressing and no pulling.
You say you're going to be doing some climbing, soon? The best climbers have massive pulling strength and most of them have very low pressing and lower body strength. Why aren't you preparing for your climbing by doing pull-ups, weighted pull-ups, towel pull-ups, muscle-ups, et cetera. Is the arm injury preventing you from doing that? If so, will it not also prevent you from climbing?
Yes, I have a few tendons in my hand that are very weak and still injured. It hurts to grab a 30# KB and hold it. I have been doing a lot of therapy work with theraputty and hot/cold baths to help it heal but it's been about 50 days and still not ready yet.
I don't know if this will affect the climbing, by then it might be good or it might not be. I think the best thing to do now is to back off on nearly everything that requires you to hold something, which is all pulling exercises, and even olympic lifts.
Just my stats, 164#, 6'2"
Lifts are not all max but what I've gathered up so far.
Power Clean: 115x5
Deadlift (Over 2 months ago): 205x5
1-Arm Deadlift: 170x2
Overhead Press 100x5
Push Press 140x1
Overhead Squat 95x1
Front Squat 150x1
The thing is with endurance is that I need to get a lot, and I mean a lot of time out there so I can recover quickly for ice climbing. I don't want to end up going hard for 12 hours on one day and be stuck in a bed for the next 3 days due to fatigue. I want to recover as fast as possible and to do this you need a lot of endurance work, many miles run, many miles carrying a pack up a mountain, and also some rowing and airdyne work for variety. It's all about recovery, I'm not doing one event and that's it, it's more like a marathon of events for 4 months and I need to get the most I can get out of those 4 months rather than resting every other day because I can't recover from an 8-12 hour day in the mountains.
I'd cut out some endurance work (we don't even know what endurance work you're doing? running?) and add in a couple metcons and some more strength. Depending on how heavy your pack is you're probably going to be struggling because your strength isn't all that high compared to your bodyweight. The better the strength, the easier it is to build endurance/conditioning level.
I suppose you could start simulating carrying a pack all day by wearing a weight vest all day.
Sucks about your tendons/grip though. I'd stay away from too much pushing until you can do some good pulling work though.
I do some running, around 6-12 miles a week. But mostly it's fast hiking (usually in the 80-90% MHR range) for several hours on the weekend. And also a few hours here an there on the C2 and airdyne.
I was thinking about doing some maybe 1 or 2 met-cons a week with some strength as well. Would you recommend doing strength first or second, or just focus on one day a week just a short 20 minute or less met-con?
Do one or two lifts before your metcons. Depending on the day I'd alternate short and long metcons. Long metcons are good for pain tolerance and will power.. although the shorter ones are better for strength and higher power output. So that's why I'd have you do both.
The longer "hike" runs are a good idea... try to do them over uneven terrain if you can.
Going to have to draw up some met-cons of my own since I know nearly all of the crossfit met-cons involve pull ups or something of the sort, and also I don't do sit-ups as I believe them to be more harmful than good at least for me.
All the fast hikes I do are in the mountains, I probably won't make it this weekend due to the fact that schoolwork is catching up to me right now so I need to take care of that first. So I will probably just make this week mostly strength or met-con, with some running and rowing
Thanks for the advice, I particularly don't enjoy met-cons, not because of the high heart rates or puking aspect (I still fear running up and down the roads near me the most, I've hit 100% MHR many times on those hills), but because I fear they are not as good they're cracked up to be. I never could justify doing 15 minutes of a high intensity circuit for preparation to a multi-hour/day event, maybe three or four times a month but never as much as people are doing them. I still don't buy into it at all because you can't do 15 minutes of high intensity work go out for 8 hours and expect to recover overnight, but doing a lot of endurance has crippled my strength too far I believe. Or I am not balancing it correctly, this still has me questioning some beliefs.
2. If your situps are giving you back pain or stressing the area, you are probably overusing your hip flexors in the movement instead of your abs.
I have experienced some all day construction work and having a "high" level of strength really does help.. but that's up to you whether to believe that or not. Maybe someone else will chime in. But as I said, easier to get conditioning after you get the strength... endurance without strength is just meh.
I agree wholeheartedly with the needing of strength, but not at the vast expense of endurance and the recovery from long efforts. I see met-cons as more of a tool to get you used to working at high intensities rather than replace full endurance. Sure I've heard people only doing circuits and met-cons and doing well at endurance type events, but how did they feel the next day? They probably didn't recover as well as the seasoned endurance athlete. That's why it's hard to believe in such an alternative so hastily.
It's not that sit-ups give me any sort of pain (which they never have and I've done over 300 in one sitting) but I've just heard so many bad things about them regarding the stress on your back that I've sought out different ways of strengthening your core, mainly get-ups, overhead squats, front squats, windmills, L-sits, halfmoons, etc.
Also, I'm not sure how much this helps but I do a lot of rowing, I'm not sure if this is helping to complement my pressing, but it should help out those imbalances. Or should I do some low weight Bent Over Rows (I can handle around 115-125# before my hand begins to show signs of pain which is never a good things with tendons I believe). What other exercises involve the muscles of pulling to complement a lot of pressing but don't involve gripping to a large extent? Although I might start doing ring pull ups with a false grip since that doesn't hurt my hand at all, and I used to be able to do quite a few deadhang pull ups from rings before this injury.
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