Strength _and_ endurance training at the same time?

I read that if I want to do strength training, I need to use weights that allow for just 1-6 reps per set, and that if I want to do endurance training, I need to use weights that allow for about 15 reps per set.

What if I want to do both?

Should I do one for some number of weeks, then the other?

Or can I in one session do strength sets, then endurance sets?

Or switch daily?

How’s this work?

One important factor is how much recovery time a muscle gets after a session. With no recovery time and therefore constantly being challenged beyond its capacity, a muscle breaks down instead of getting stronger. The recovery time needed between challenges is measured in days - not just hours, but not weeks either.

Whatever you come up with, that will have to be part of it.

What worked for me was to mix the two in each set. 3 sets /8-4-12 reps with a variety of movements for each muscle group.
You will need to experiment to find what works for you.
As an example, my chest workout was:
3 sets each
Incline Fly
Flat Fly
Incline Bench Press
Flat Bench Press
High Cable Crossovers
Low Cable Crossovers
Pec Deck
I would then ride my handcycle 10/20 miles in the afternoon.
I did upper body/lower body on alternate days with longer rides on upper body days.
I also ate about 1gram protein per lb of bodyweight. Lots of sleep.
It did take a while to build to this but it resulted in a 100 mile ride and a 315 lb bench press.

That’s a good example of how everything you do works together to influence the outcome. If you sharply focus on anything, so much that you neglect other things, that won’t be sustainable.

(Example: With too little sleep, the recovery process gets broken, and progress gets erased.)

What I do is strength training on one major movement per workout. So I either go heavy (5 rep sets) on my squat, bench press, deadlift, or pull-ups. The rest of the exercises I do in higher rep sets. If you try to go heavy on multiple exercises in the same workout, you often end up too gassed to really give a good effort by the end of the workout.

One form of this kind of training is Daily Undulating Periodization, where you train for endurance one day and strength the next. Some research finds it to be less efficient in producing strength gains than block training, where you alternate strength with endurance for blocks of time. Cite, and other studies disagree(Cite).


I’m sure that your current condition also has a big impact on the kinds of things that will work for you. I’m old, fat, and have never been in good shape - so I have to exercise based on what will help someone who’s old, fat, and out of shape. If I follow the wrong kind of instructions, I will get the wrong kind of results.

Because everyone is different and studies are small, there is not a definitive answer.

Many experts suggest (and I have had good results) with several methods:

  • Compromising and doing three sets of 8-12 for some strength and some hypertrophy

  • Doing a strength block for 4-6 weeks followed by a hypertrophy block for 4-6 weeks

  • After a quick warmup, doing 1-3 reps at 90% then 3 sets at 60-70%

Strength may imply 1-3 reps at 85-100% of maximum. Hypertrophy may imply 3-10 sets of 5 reps at 60-70% for much higher total volume of weight.

Circuit training is great for endurance — basically doing all of the machines for 1-3 sets. While excellent for newbies it helps to supplement this with free weights or dumbbells for bench presses, squats and deadlifts.