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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998 Feb;30(2):294-300.

Cross training: indices of training stress and performance.

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Wastl Human Performance Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


Twenty well-trained runners (VO2max 4.6+/-0.5 L x min[-1]) were age and ability matched and assigned to either a cross training (CT) or run only group (RT). All subjects maintained normal running distance and intensity for 6 wk and reported for three additional training sessions per week. These workouts were performed outdoors on a 400-m track or measured road course (RT) or on a bicycle ergometer (CT). The sessions were as follows: (work x rest(-1) ratio = 1): 5 x 5 min at >95% VO2max/peak (Monday), 50-60 min at 70% VO2max/peak (Wednesday), and 3 x 2.5 min at >105% VO2max/peak, plus 6 x 1.25 min at >115% VO2max/peak (Friday). Subjects were tested before (PRE), after 3 wk (MID), and after 6 wk (POST) of intensified training. Blood samples were obtained from RT, CT, and ten controls (CON) at each time point (0600 h). Runners also completed a 10-min submaximal run at the same absolute intensity (velocity to elicit 75% of initial V02max) during which heart rate, RPE, and VO2 were measured. Each runner then completed a simulated 5-km race (time trial) on a treadmill. Total testosterone (TT), free testosterone (FT), cortisol (C), and creatine kinase activity (CK) were determined. Running economy was similar between RT and CT; however, RPE decreased significantly at MID and POST compared with that at PRE (P < 0.05; time effect). There were no significant differences among groups for TT, FT, or CK, but C was significantly lower in CON than in RT and CT. Performance was significantly faster (P < 0.05; time effect) in the 5-km race at MID (1076.1+/-81.4 s) and POST (1068.6+/-83.9) compared with PRE (1096.6+/-79.5) but was not different between CT and RT. In conclusion, RT and CT responded similarly to 6 wk of increased training, and both groups improved 5-km performance to a similar extent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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