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Research: Noncompatibility of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players

Rhea M, Oliverson J, Marshall G, Peterson M, Kenn J, Ayllón FN , Noncompatibility of Power and Endurance Training Among College Baseball Players, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:Volume 22(1)January 2008pp 230-234

Purpose: Exercise professionals seeking to develop evidence-based training programs rely on several training principles demonstrated through research and professional experience. In an effort to further research examining these principles, an investigation was designed and completed to evaluate the compatibility of cardiovascular endurance and neuromuscular power training.

Methods: Sixteen Division-I collegiate baseball players were divided into two training groups with lower body power measured before and after their college playing season. The two groups differed in training in that one group performed moderate- to high-intense cardiovascular endurance training 3-4 days per week throughout the season, while the other group participated in speed/speed endurance training.

Results: A significant difference between groups (P < .05) was identified in the change in lower body power during the baseball season. During the season, the endurance training group decreased an average of 39.50 ± 128.03 watts while the speed group improved an average of 210.63 ± 168.96 watts.

Conclusions: These data demonstrate that moderate- to high-intense cardiovascular endurance and neuromuscular power training do not appear to be compatible when performed simultaneously. For baseball players, athletes who rely heavily on power and speed, conventional baseball conditioning involving significant amounts of cardiovascular endurance training should be altered to include more speed/power interval training.

My Comments:

Basically another study looking at the potential effects that aerobic exercise can have on a training program for athletes in power sports.
Both of the groups performed their regular periodized weight-lifting routines (2-3x’s a week), which consisted of compound free weight movements (squats, power cleans, step ups, lunges, etc.), as well as plyometric movements like resisted jumps, hurdle jumps and bounding). The only area that the two groups different was in their metabolic conditioning program; one group performing moderate to high intensity jogging (12-18 on the Borg RPE scale) 3-4x’s a week for 20-60min. (the average being 45 minutes); while the other performed a sprint protocol of 10-30 sprints, 15-60 meters in length, with 10-60 seconds rest between sets, performed 3x’s a week.
As the results say, the group that performed the more endurance based program tested lower in power output when compared to the group that performed the more anaerobic sprint program at the end of their 18-week season.
I don’t think aerobic exercise is bad. I think that it has its place in a program, and during an 18-week competitive season is probably not the best place to emphasize it (ie 3-4x’s a week/20-60min). I think that aerobic exercise can be helpful for recovery, following intense training or competition; as well as in the off-season when the athlete is trying to raise work capacity and reach a higher level of fitness (and all the adaptations that go along with increasing aerobic capacity).

I don’t particularly like jogging and lean more towards tempo runs and/or circuit training (body weight circuits or calisthenics) as a means of conditioning in the off-season (Although some jogging isn’t going to kill you. Would I do it 3-4x’s week….probably not).

Over the next couple entries, I will post some more research that I have been reading, and talk more about cardiovascular work and using it within your overall training program. I will give some ideas as to how I have been using it (for myself and others) on days in-between my main training days and hopefully it will give you some ideas for your own training or those you are working with.

In Other News….

I am currently on spring break for two weeks before my next semester begins. I have been in school what seems like forever, and I have to say, every-time I go on spring break, I am always disappointed because it is not like my first spring break. You know, that spring break where you head out to some hot, sunny, beach like destination with your friends, get drunk and hit on girls. Now it is more like, “Spring Break. Work more, study more, etc.” Well, it isn’t all that bad. I do get to exercise more (and I am well-rested when I do it, which is great!!). The thing that I learned today as I went in to do my conditioning was that stretching after your workout feels pretty damn good! I advocate it to my clients all the time and we stretch after our training sessions, but rarely do I take the time to do it for myself; “Do as I say, not as I do.” Today I took the time, and it felt great! So, lesson of the day: Stretch, It Feels Good.

Patrick