Friday, October 1, 2010

Training for Intense Exercise Performance

Training for Intense Exercise Performance: High Intensity or High Volume Training

By Paul Laursen
New Zealand Academy of Sport North Island

Performance in intense exercise events, such as Olympic rowing, kayak, track running and track cycling events, involves a mix of energy system contributions from aerobic and anaerobic sources. Aerobic energy supply however dominates the total energy requirements of these events after ~75 s of near maximal effort. As the aerobic energy system has the greatest potential for improvement with training, and intense exercise events generally persist for longer than 75 s, training methods for these events are generally aimed at increasing aerobic metabolic capacity. A short-term period (2-4 wk) of high-intensity interval training (HIT; consisting of repeated exercise bouts ranging in intensity from 80-175% of peak power) can elicit increases in intense exercise performance of 2-4% in well trained athletes. While the influence of high volume training (HVT) is less discussed, its importance should not be downplayed, as it may develop the aerobic base needed to support recovery and adaptation from HIT by promoting autonomic balance and athlete health. Indeed, when HIT is performed without a background of HVT, performance can be maintained, but is generally not improved. While the aerobic metabolic adaptations that occur with HVT and HIT are similar, the molecular events that signal for these adaptations may be different. The high levels of intramuscular calcium associated with HVT may signal for metabolic adaptations that improve muscle efficiency through the calcium-calmodulin pathway, while the brief low energy state created with HIT may elicit its effects through the adenosine monophosphate kinase pathway. These distinct molecular signaling pathways, which have similar downstream targets (i.e., mitochondrial biogenesis), may help to explain the potent effect that combined HVT and HIT has on aerobic energy system upregulation and intense exercise performance.

Rigging for the Adaptive Rower

By Volker Nolte & Allison Sheard

Now What?

Now What?

By Vern Gambetta
You have max heart rate, resting heart rate, and heart rate variability. You have total distance moved in a practice. You have blood lactate during and post workout. So you have pages of spreadsheets filled with numbers, now what do you do with this data? How can you translate all these random numbers into useable information? This is the million-dollar question. It is not a matter of what you can monitor, it is what you can use and interpret. There is an explosion of technologies available today that enable us to monitor virtually any parameter we want to, but before we go further down this path we need to take a step back and ask why? On one level it is very straightforward 1) We need to get accurate feedback to guide and shape the training process and 2) We need to understand individual response and adaptation to various types, volumes and intensities of training.

On the next level we need to determine the absolute need to know information that will help us accomplish those two objectives. Monitoring more parameters is not the answer, just because it measureable does not mean it is meaningful. You need to ask yourself is the data helping to make your athletes better? Can you translate the numbers into actions that will significantly impact the athletes training? If you find yourself inundated with random numbers without context then you need to step back and ask yourself why?

I love data, it is interesting and challenging to find meaning in data you gather. But and there is a big but here – have you lost sight of the forest for the trees. You can get caught up in generating random numbers that you take your eye off the ball. You need to watch the athlete as a person, as an individual, how they handle the stress of training and competition. Closely observe body language. Ask them how they feel. Educate them to read their bodies and how they react to training stress. Put the focus squarely back on Hu, the human element, not the technologies and the subsequent numbers.

Don't be a mad scientist, be a coach. Use technology to measure what is meaningful and appropriate. Less is more. Focus on the need to know and stop there. Look closely at the tools available to help you do this. How much time do you have? How much help do you have? Then carefully choose how and what you are going to monitor. Then have a plan to turn that data into information that you can use to modify or change your training. Remember just because it is measurable does not mean it is meaningful.

Exploring the Mysteries of Exercise

Exploring the Mysteries of Exercise 12

By Len Kravitz, Ph.D.
Although the benefits of exercise are espoused daily in classes, newspapers, journals and on TV, less information has been dispersed regarding the underlying mechanisms causing these physiological changes. The responsibility of fitness instructors and personal trainers to their clients has grown vastly in the last few years. Being able to explain why and how certain physiological phenomena occur, from the regular participation in exercise, has become more of a daily necessity. This article will examine and explain some of the mechanisms how exercise may influence several bodily processes.