Concurrent Training & How to Avoid the Interference Effect

By Jonathan Davenport, CSCS, TSAC-F, CCC, CPT
Ensure you do not jeopardize your results by understanding how to properly integrate a concurrent training model.

What is Concurrent Training?

Concurrent training is a method of training that involves incorporating multiple types of exercises, or methods, into a training cycle. At its most basic form, concurrent training is training strength and cardiovascular fitness at the same time. It’s designed to help mitigate the interference effect by allowing you to train multiple facets of fitness simultaneously. For example, if you want to improve your strength, endurance, and flexibility, you can incorporate resistance training, aerobic conditioning, and mobility into your routine.

Contrary to popular belief, concurrent training will help individuals to increase both strength and cardiovascular fitness at the same time. Some will say, you cannot make significant increases in both disciplines; however, this is far from the truth. More and more research is coming out and providing more evidence that combining strength and cardiovascular training will improve strength, hypertrophy, body-fat percentages, and individuals will be in overall better shape. Concurrent training has also been shown to improve internal health markers such as improved metabolic rate, insulin sensitivity, and carbohydrate & fat metabolism.  

Now certainly, there are factors that will effect the training outcomes such as, nutrition, training volume, sleep/recovery, and genetic differences. With that being said, properly adhering to a program by a professional is a necessity in order to avoid decreases in strength, muscular development, and cardiovascular fitness. This is due to an increase likelihood to overtrain and the mismanagement of recovery and program design.

What are the benefits of a Concurrent Training Approach?

  • Tremendous progressions are made in both strength and cardiovascular disciplines
  • Develop strength, lean muscle mass, decreased body-fat percentage
  • Improved metabolic rate and breakdown of fats and carbohydrates
  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Do not have to follow a typical block periodization model

Limitations of Concurrent Training

However, it’s worth noting that concurrent training does have its limitations. For example, if you’re looking to specialize in a particular area of fitness, such as powerlifting or weightlifting, concurrent training might not be the best option. Additionally, if you’re already highly trained in a particular area of fitness, adding more training to your routine might not lead to significant improvements. In these cases, it’s best to work with a qualified trainer or coach to develop a more targeted training plan.

What is the Interference Effect?

The Interference Effect, also known as the Interference Phenomenon or Concurrent Training Effect, is a common problem in the world of strength and conditioning. It occurs when the adaptation to one type of training hinders the ability to adapt to another type of training. For example, if you focus solely on weightlifting for an extended period, your ability to improve your endurance might suffer. Similarly, if you focus only on endurance training, your ability to increase hypertrophy or develop lean muscle mass might suffer. In this case, we will be looking to prevent diminishing returns on strength due to an unbalanced conditioning volume load.

To the people who would argue that research has concluded that combining the two disciplines has shown a clear interference effect, I would say, YES, it has…. BUT. The research was intended to do just that, show an interference effect. The research conducted used high levels of volume to intentionally show that the volume had an impact on training results.

As stated earlier within the benefits section and supported by more recent research, strength, hypertrophy, and cardiovascular fitness can be trained simultaneously with success. The main takeaway is that it depends on the programming design and the proper dose of exercise to elicit the desired adaptation.

How Do You Prevent Your Conditioning From Diminishing Your Strength and Hypertrophy Gains?

  1. The conditioning and training volume needs to be closely monitored
    • Optimal training dose (conditioning volume): 2-3x / wk x 30-50 min
  2. The level of intensity needs to be closely monitored as well
    • Conditioning should be below 80% of one’s maximal heart rate

Lacking the discipline to closely monitor volume and intensity can result in a frustrating roadblock for people looking to achieve a well-rounded fitness routine and continue to progress. However, the roadblock can be avoided by some attention to detail. More on this below…

Other Factors to Consider When Programming Aerobic Conditioning with Strength

  • Method: form of exercise
  • Intensity: effort level
  • Duration: how long
  • Timing: when

Programming these variables in a matter that is appropriate is going to be the deciding factor of whether the program will be successful or not.

Guidelines for Concurrent Programming to Avoid Interference

  • Do not perform a max effort strength day and a high-intensity conditioning session in the same day
  • Keep 6 hours between training sessions, if in the same day. 8 hours if the first session is a maximal effort day or high-intensity training
  • Make sure to replenish glycogen storages within muscles between same day training sessions (eat carbs and lots of them)
  • Recommended that you train strength first, then cardiovascular training in order to reduce potential interference effect
  • If running is not your main goal, then use low impact conditioning means (cycle, row, ski erg, carries, sled pushes/pulls, rucking…)
  • Rarely go to complete muscular failure or exhaustion because this will interfere with results by causing a ton of peripheral and central nervous system fatigue resulting in an inhibition of recovery
  • Cardiovascular Goal: 3:1 Ratio Aerobic to Strength Training
  • Strength/Hypertrophy Goal: 3:1 Ratio Strength to Aerobic Training
  • Aerobic Training seems to have more of an interference effect on strength and hypertrophy, rather than, Strength Training having an ill-effect on Aerobic Training


If programming strength and aerobic conditioning is done correctly, then one can expect to see significant results in both fields of discipline. A Concurrent Training model is my preferred training model for most of general strength and conditioning clients, and it works! However, if one does not manage and monitor their programming closely (methods, intensity, duration, timing..), then the risk of having an interference effect increases greatly. Overall, I would highly recommend this method to any individual ready to get into the best shape of their lives.

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  • Bell, G. J., Petersen, S. R., Wessel, J., Bagnall, K. M., & Quinney, H. A. (2000). Physiological adaptations to concurrent endurance training and low velocity resistance training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 21(6), 417-424. doi: 10.1055/s-2000-7867
  • Kraemer, W. J., Patton, J. F., Gordon, S. E., Harman, E. A., Deschenes, M. R., Reynolds, K., … & Triplett, N. T. (1995). Compatibility of high-intensity strength and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations. Journal of Applied Physiology, 78(3), 976-989. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1995.78.3.976
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  • Baechle, T. R., & Earle, R. W. (2008). Essentials of strength training and conditioning (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Brown, Jason. “Programming Playbook.” Jason Brown Coaching, 12 Jan. 2023,