Running: one in five will never improve and may even get worse

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Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
I would respectfully request some evidence for these two very strong statements. To wit:
- strength training induced maladaptive left ventricular hypertrophy, and;
- stiffening of heart muscle leading to diastolic disfunction and early death.
Cardiac remodelling: concentric versus eccentric hypertrophy in strength and endurance athletes (2008) -> The part "Remodeling: endurance vs. strength training" ("Figure 1" in that part and the explanations around it).
Regarding strength/resistance training: "...As a consequence, the wall thickness increases. This pathological condition is called concentric hypertrophy (figure 1).Combined with a reduced compliance due to increased stiffness of the ventricle, this leads to diastolic dysfunction."

Effects of Resistance Training on Ventricular Function and Hypertrophy in a Rat Model (2007)-> "Although diastolic function was not completely investigated, we cannot exclude the possibility that resistance training results in diastolic dysfunction."

Resistance training and cardiac hypertrophy: unravelling the training effect. - PubMed - NCBI (2002)-> States that there are no negative effects to the left ventricule. Oldest study, so maybe outdated by the newer ones.
Included it nonetheless to show that there's still a debate going on.

Also the book (and referenced studys in there) "The Cardio Code", which is the main thing that raised my awareness about this.

I should have phrased everything I wrote in my original post as "can lead to". It's not like every powerlifter out there dies by the age of 50 through a heart attack caused by diastolic dysfunction...
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
does the title and premise of this thread bother anyone else? To me, (and it's just my reaction to it, not necessarily what OP or anyone meant by it) it reads like looking for a reason to be weak. Everyone should try to do the best they can with what they've got, not look for a reason to sit on the sidelines. I'm on my way to a park in a minute, and I also believe my time is better spent moving than reading a lot of studies. That's just me, though. I'm not going to be at any extreme position to worry about those types of details. Power to those who are!
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
does the title and premise of this thread bother anyone else? To me, (and it's just my reaction to it, not necessarily what OP or anyone meant by it) it reads like looking for a reason to be weak.
Original poster here. :)

The title is an excerpt from the body of article. The third paragraph of the article says:

For most people training helps increase stamina, but for one in five, no matter how hard they push themselves they will never improve and may even get worse.

I posted this thread to stimulate discussion among people who likely know a lot more about running and fitness than I do. I was curious what they had to say.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
The take-away from my perspective is the researchers never took this to the street and used it to predict from a sample who would or wouldn't improve.

I realize some will adapt to certain training strategies better then others but to say someone might actually get worse from doing an established regimen?

To me that is an extraordinary statement and therefore requires extraordinary proof.
 

Bill Been

Level 6 Valued Member
Cardiac remodelling: concentric versus eccentric hypertrophy in strength and endurance athletes (2008) -> The part "Remodeling: endurance vs. strength training" ("Figure 1" in that part and the explanations around it).
Regarding strength/resistance training: "...As a consequence, the wall thickness increases. This pathological condition is called concentric hypertrophy (figure 1).Combined with a reduced compliance due to increased stiffness of the ventricle, this leads to diastolic dysfunction."

Effects of Resistance Training on Ventricular Function and Hypertrophy in a Rat Model (2007)-> "Although diastolic function was not completely investigated, we cannot exclude the possibility that resistance training results in diastolic dysfunction."

Resistance training and cardiac hypertrophy: unravelling the training effect. - PubMed - NCBI (2002)-> States that there are no negative effects to the left ventricule. Oldest study, so maybe outdated by the newer ones.
Included it nonetheless to show that there's still a debate going on.

Also the book (and referenced studys in there) "The Cardio Code", which is the main thing that raised my awareness about this.

I should have phrased everything I wrote in my original post as "can lead to". It's not like every powerlifter out there dies by the age of 50 through a heart attack caused by diastolic dysfunction...
Good work. Seriously. Most people would've pointed me at a blog post by Time Ferriss or The Food Babe.

The first study conflates left ventricular HCM caused by disease processes (unhealthy) with the much, much milder form of left ventricular hypertrophy seen in resistance training which is perfectly healthy and causes no adverse cardiac performance at all. The later studies in his review confirm this, but you have to tease out which studies are describing athletic hearts and which are describing HCM, as he's less than careful about clarifying that.

The rat study showed the rats got strong as hell, had zero adverse cardiac function, had bigger left ventricles, and no diastolic dysfunction. No earthly idea how the statement your posted was related to what their experiment actually showed. These researchers seem at pains to insert some sort of maladaptive response in there, but their data doesn't show one, unless you've already decided a larger left ventricle is "bad" by definition.

And as you said, the last study was equivocal. As for Mr. Jay's work, I have previously chased down all the studies he cites on his site as supportive of his flatly-wrong assertions about weight training being dangerous because of left ventricular hypertrophy. He makes the same error (or imports it) that the first author makes - baselessly conflating a disease process with ginormous detrimental effects with an athletic adaptation that is beneficial. He also cites research that directly contradicts what he says. I'd not speculate as to why.

For a better synthesis of the current literature on heart health and heavy lifting and "what it all means"written by two actual strength coaches, one of whom is an MD the other a part time researcher of such questions, see:

Heavy Lifting and Heart Health | CJ Gotcher & Austin Baraki

Best to you.
 

bencrush

Level 5 Valued Member
Darren,

Thanks for posting this. I've been practising Maffetone zone 'running' with a similar emphasis on technique and I'm relieved to learn that my slow pace is (or was) shared by others!
Every time I begin MAF running it is a lot more walking than running. I haven't managed to buckle down for more than a few months of it before I inevitably go back to "faster" running.
 

mprevost

Level 6 Valued Member
Every time I begin MAF running it is a lot more walking than running. I haven't managed to buckle down for more than a few months of it before I inevitably go back to "faster" running.
Maybe your heart rate zones are not correct. MAF method assumes that you are average but there is a ton of individual variation in maximum heart rate. For some, the MAF calculation will be too high and for others too low. This article is relevant and discusses more of the details: https://www.asep.org/asep/asep/Robergs2.pdf
 

NoahMarek

Level 5 Valued Member
@Bill Been Just finished the article, and it is great! Thanks for posting it! It was interesting to see that rowers were included in the group that had a greater heart thickness on average than weightlifters.

I think this article really puts it into perspective. Is there the possibility of increased risks associated with solely strength training? Yes. Is the evidence strong and clear and concrete? Definitely not. And as they mentioned, with all the benefits of strength training, it seems silly to get hung up on something this small. Being afraid of doing something can sometimes be worse than doing it (fear avoidance beliefs in pain science being a case in point). I could go farther down this trail but, well, that is for another thread.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
@Bill Been Just finished the article, and it is great! Thanks for posting it! It was interesting to see that rowers were included in the group that had a greater heart thickness on average than weightlifters.

I think this article really puts it into perspective. Is there the possibility of increased risks associated with solely strength training? Yes. Is the evidence strong and clear and concrete? Definitely not. And as they mentioned, with all the benefits of strength training, it seems silly to get hung up on something this small. Being afraid of doing something can sometimes be worse than doing it (fear avoidance beliefs in pain science being a case in point). I could go farther down this trail but, well, that is for another thread.
Too be clear it's not about being afraid of strength training or avoiding it. It's about doing your conditioning in addition to your strength training.
Like I said before, there are tons of benefits in doing strength training and concentric heart hypertrophy + stiffening might be the only downside to it, but both are easily countered by adding a bit of endurance work to your routine.
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
A really good history of the strength v cardio debate..... .

In chapter 5, we dive headfirst into the strength vs cardiovascular training debate. Andy sets the stage by telling the story of Bob Hoffman’s showdown with Dr. Peter Karpovich over this divide in 1940. Following the aftermath, we address our own biases, contextualize the role of adaptation in human performance, and provide some general recommendations.

Here: 1.5 Biases Collide - The Body Of Knowledge (podcast)

Fits very nicely with this thread, very interesting earful.
 

NoahMarek

Level 5 Valued Member
Too be clear it's not about being afraid of strength training or avoiding it. It's about doing your conditioning in addition to your strength training.
Like I said before, there are tons of benefits in doing strength training and concentric heart hypertrophy + stiffening might be the only downside to it, but both are easily countered by adding a bit of endurance work to your routine.
@Kettlebelephant Did you read the article I Bill linked to? It says that both L ventricle hypertrophy and improved stroke volume are improved by strength training. It's by the authors who just came out with the Barbell Prescription. Basically, strength training is good for heart health from the research that they synthesized. As the article states, the whole stiff heart with a thick L ventricle and low stroke volume hasn't really been shown to the extent Kenneth Jay and some others have us thinking. (At least from what I have read).

So is it any more beneficial for heart health to train aerobically in addition to strength training? Most likely. But it seems that great overall health can be achieved just fine without it since as the authors state, the aerobic and anaerobic systems are still both trained through strength training.

I just feel like the ROI from a health perspective is far too low to start telling people they need to do LSD so their heart doesn't give out when in actuality the evidence isn't there. It seems that they are confusing fitness with health.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
@Kettlebelephant Did you read the article I Bill linked to? It says that both L ventricle hypertrophy and improved stroke volume are improved by strength training. It's by the authors who just came out with the Barbell Prescription. Basically, strength training is good for heart health from the research that they synthesized. As the article states, the whole stiff heart with a thick L ventricle and low stroke volume hasn't really been shown to the extent Kenneth Jay and some others have us thinking. (At least from what I have read).

So is it any more beneficial for heart health to train aerobically in addition to strength training? Most likely. But it seems that great overall health can be achieved just fine without it since as the authors state, the aerobic and anaerobic systems are still both trained through strength training.

I just feel like the ROI from a health perspective is far too low to start telling people they need to do LSD so their heart doesn't give out when in actuality the evidence isn't there. It seems that they are confusing fitness with health.
I'm not arguing against you.
Have you read the studies I posted or the ones mentioned in KJs book?
I read the article, but the article is just another article/study claiming something. I posted one study "proving" that strength training leads to the mentioned sideeffects and one that doesn't rule them out. I found those within 5min searching on the internet. Why would I believe that the authors of the article posted by @Bill Been are right?
I bet when I put in the time and search for a couple of hours I can find 10 studies "proving" the concentric heart hypertrophy + stiffness claim and another 10 "proving" the opposite...
I don't really believe in studies. In the field of exercise science and nutrition there are so many flaws in setting up and execute studies and often with hidden agendas behind them (supplement companies etc.).
I only actually "use" them when they support something that I think is common sense and when someone demands proof like Bill did.
For me it's common sense that a mix of strength and endurance training is better for health than only strength or only endurance training. It is strength + endurance > strength or endurance > sitting on your butt doing nothing.
I come to this conclusion by lookin back at what our ancestors had to do for hundreds of thousands of years -> a lot of walking, a bit of running/sprinting and some strength/power work (in the form of throwing spears, moving stones, shouldering + carrying prey etc.)

It's by the authors who just came out with the Barbell Prescription.
See? That's exactly what I'm talking about.
The authors that release a book about barbell (strength) training, which they obviously want to sell and make profit, come up with an article/study about how beneficial strength training is to so many things, including claims of improved aerobic capacity.
And when was this book released? In the 21st century (2016), a time where everyone wants have maximum results in minimum time and where everyone wants to hear that all they need to do is 30mins in the gym to get it all (strength, endurance, aesthetics etc.)...
Obviously KJ is not any different. He could have said that not all of the studies out there support what he's writing in his book, but that wouldn't be a convincing sell strategy, right?

People come to this forum to ask about training and most of the time about strength training. All I want to do is remind them that there's more to fitness and health than strength work and that endurance is also important and very beneficial, even if it's just walking a lot in your daily life.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
What I took away from ALL the studies were that whether one was comparing aerobic or anaerobic adapted individuals, both groups and everything in between had both greater heart hypertrophy AND increased stroke volume compared to the controls.

If you want the worst outcome just have a seat on the couch and stay there. Pretty much any exercise regimen is a big improvement over baseline.
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
What I took away from ALL the studies were that whether one was comparing aerobic or anaerobic adapted individuals, both groups and everything in between had both greater heart hypertrophy AND increased stroke volume compared to the controls.

If you want the worst outcome just have a seat on the couch and stay there. Pretty much any exercise regimen is a big improvement over baseline.
Yes.

No study "proves" anything. A bunch of agreeing studies can only "more strongly suggest" that a theory is "not yet false", no more, no less.

Take into account that every study has human involvement in generating it's conclusions; data is just data, and statistics can be wildly played with for effect.
 
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