Concurrent Training: Balancing Strength and Endurance for Optimal Performance

In the world of canoe and kayaking, a concept that holds immense potential is ‘concurrent training.’ This innovative approach combines strength and endurance training within the same regimen, offering a promising path to enhanced performance.

Scientific literature suggests that concurrent training can enhance both strength and endurance. However, it also indicates that combining these two components can be more challenging than training them separately [1]. When implementing concurrent training, it is crucial to consider several factors and limitations:

  1. Interference Effect: Concurrent training can lead to an interference effect between the two types of training. This means that training both strength and endurance simultaneously might inhibit the adaptations typically seen when training each component alone. Research by Robineau et al. (2016) found that the specific effects of concurrent aerobic and strength training depend on the recovery time between exercises. Longer recovery times resulted in better strength performance; a finding supported by multiple studies [2].
  2. Time and Recovery Demands: Concurrent training can be time-consuming and may require more recovery time compared to training exclusively for strength or endurance. This can be a limitation for individuals with busy schedules or limited training time. Additionally, the increased load on the body can lead to greater fatigue, making careful recovery planning essential [1].
  3. Specificity to Goals: Concurrent training might not be as specific to individual goals as exclusive strength or endurance training. For instance, a kayaker training for a marathon may not experience the same endurance improvements with concurrent training as they would with a program specifically designed for endurance [1].
  4. Program Design: Successful concurrent training requires a well-designed program that considers the individual’s goals, current fitness level, and potential for interference. This approach is not suitable for everyone and demands a tailored strategy for each individual [1].

Coaches should avoid scheduling strength and endurance sessions with less than 6 hours of recovery in between. A 24-hour recovery period is recommended before important on-water training or tests for full neuromuscular and oxidative adaptations.

Overall, concurrent training can be an effective way to enhance both strength and endurance, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Designing a program that considers an individual’s goals, fitness level, and potential for interference is crucial. Beginners, those with limited time, or individuals at high risk of injury should be cautious when considering concurrent training. By understanding these nuances and carefully planning their training schedules, paddlers can effectively integrate strength and endurance training, leading to improved performance on the water [1,3-4].

Handling Different Types of Training: Practical Tips

Effectively managing concurrent training involves a strategic approach to balancing strength, aerobic, and anaerobic training. Below, you can see what training types you can mix and what you don’t mix. 

A well-structured weekly plan that balances strength, aerobic, and anaerobic training is essential. Here’s a sample schedule to guide your concurrent training:

Monday: AM – Strength Training, PM – Aerobic Training (Steady-State Paddle)

Tuesday: Aerobic Paddle

Wednesday: AM – Aerobic Training (Intervals), PM – Strength Training 

Thursday: Rest or active recovery (e.g., easy paddle, mobility work)

Friday: AM – Strength Training (Maximal Strength), PM – Anaerobic Training (Sprints)

Saturday: Long Aerobic Paddle

Sunday: Rest or active recovery (e.g., easy paddle, mobility work)


Concurrent training offers a powerful way to enhance both strength and endurance for kayaking. You can optimize your performance on the water by strategically planning and balancing your strength, aerobic, and anaerobic sessions. Remember to consider individual goals, recovery needs, and the potential for interference when designing your program. With careful planning and execution, concurrent training can lead to significant improvements in your kayaking performance.


1:  Wilson, Jacob, Pedro Marin, Matthew Rhea, Stephanie Wilson, Jeremy Loenneke, and Jody Anderson. 2012. “Concurrent Training: A Meta-Analysis Examining Interference of Aerobic and Resistance Exercises.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26 (8): 2293-2307. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823a3e2d.

2: Robineau, J., Babault, N., Piscione, J., Lacome, M., & Bigard, A. X. (2016). Specific Training Effects of Concurrent Aerobic and Strength Exercises Depend on Recovery Duration. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(3), 672–683.

3: Methenitis, Spyridon. 2018. “A Brief Review on Concurrent Training: From Laboratory to the Field.” Sports 6 (4): 127. doi:10.3390/sports6040127.

4: Doma, Kenji, Glen B. Deakin, Mortiz Schumann, and David J. Bentley. 2019. “Training Considerations for Optimising Endurance Development: An Alternate Concurrent Training Perspective.” Sports Medicine (Auckland) 49 (5): 669-682. doi:10.1007/s40279-019-01072-2.

5: Smith, James. Applied Sprint Training. Vervanté, 2014

About the author – Dr. Kent Klitgaard

Dr. Klitgaard holds a PhD in biomechanics with a specialization in sprint kayaking. He has a solid background in sports science and is currently doing research and coaching. Dr. Klitgaard collaborates with Team Danmark and the Danish national kayaking team. With extensive experience as a coach, he also enjoys sprinting on the water whenever possible. For those seeking personalized guidance, Dr. Klitgaard offers online coaching through Instagram @Kayak_Kent, feel free to reach out to him.

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