Strength v Endurance timing

  • Creator
  • #49581

    A few years ago a coach gave me some advice, but now I’m afraid I’m mis-remembering it. I think he told me that strength was slow to build but slow to lose, and that endurance was quick to build but quick to lose. Is this correct?

  • Participant
    Reed on #49593

    You’re probably remembering right, but it’s incomplete advice. Both strength and endurance take a long time to build, especially the structural changes that lead to large improvements. Things like stronger bones, stronger tendons, increased capillary density, increased mitochondrial density – those take a long time for the body to build.

    There are some adaptations that are quicker to take effect, and are lost quickly as well. A few sprint workouts can get your nervous system to recruit more of your muscles, and build up some enzymes that will make energy available more rapidly. Those are useful and important – but aren’t a shortcut.

    I’m reminded of Lon Kilgore’s book “Fit,” which has a bunch of great ideas about looking at fitness through the lenses of strength, endurance, and mobility. A good balance – but he defines endurance as the ability to run 3-5 miles without stopping. That’s a very, very different approach to “endurance” than you’ll find discussed in “Training for the Uphill Athlete” and on the various articles on this site. Three miles is just a warmup – the aerobic (i.e., endurance) system is just starting to get switched on.

    Anonymous on #49942

    What Reed said!

    “3-5 miles without stopping” is… funny. But it’s also more than three times the distance that Greg Glassman described as “endurance” in my first Crossfit Level 1 seminar in 2003… ?

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