ArticlePDF Available

Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Purpose: To quantify the impact of a polarized distribution of training intensity on performance and fatigue in elite swimmers. Methods: Twenty-two elite junior swimmers (12 males: age 17 ± 3 yrs, and 10 females: age 17 ± 3 yrs) participated in a cross-over intervention study over 28 weeks involving 2 x 6-week training periods separated by 6 weeks. Swimmers were randomly assigned to a training group for the first period: polarized (POL) (81% in zone 1: [La]b ≤ 2 mmol·L-1; 4% in zone 2: 2 mmol·L-1 < [La]b ≤ 4 mmol·L-1; 15% in zone 3: [La]b > 4 mmol·L-1) or threshold (THR) (65%/25%/10%). Before and after each period, they performed a 100 m maximal swimming test to determine performance, maximal blood lactate concentration ([La]max) and oxygen consumption (V̇O2), and an incremental swimming test to determine speed corresponding to [La]b = 4 mmol·L-1 (V4mmol·L-1). Self-reported indices of well-being were collected with a daily questionnaire. Results: POL training elicited small to moderately greater improvement than THR on 100 m performance (0.97% ± 1.02%; within-group change: ± 90% CI vs. 0.09% ± 0.94% respectively) with less fatigue and better quality of recovery. There was no substantial gender effect. No clear differences were observed in physiological adaptations between groups. Conclusion: In elite junior swimmers, a 6-week period of polarized training induced small improvements in 100 m time-trial performance, and in combination with less perceived fatigue, forms a viable option for coaches preparing this cohort of swimmers for competition.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Note. This article will be published in a forthcoming issue of the
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. The article
appears here in its accepted, peer-reviewed form, as it was provided by
the submitting author. It has not been copyedited, proofread, or formatted
by the publisher.
Section: Original Investigation
Article Title: Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance
and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers
Authors: Robin Pla1,2,3, Yann Le Meur4, Anael Aubry1, Jean-FrançoisToussaint3, and Phililppe
Hellard1
Affiliations: 1French Institute of Sport (INSEP), Research Department, Laboratory Sport,
Expertise and Performance (EA 7370), University of Paris Descartes, France. 2Research
Department, French Swimming Federation, France. 3Institut de Recherche bioMédicale et
d’Epidémiologie du Sport, France. 4AS Monaco Football Club, Monaco.
Journal: International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Acceptance Date: June 23, 2018
©2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2018-0179
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Original Investigation
Effects of a 6-week period of polarized or threshold training on performance and fatigue in
elite swimmers
Robin Pla1,2,3, Yann Le Meur4, Anael Aubry1, Jean-FrançoisToussaint3, and Phililppe Hellard1
1French Institute of Sport (INSEP), Research Department, Laboratory Sport, Expertise and
Performance (EA 7370), University of Paris Descartes. (FRANCE)
2Research Department, French Swimming Federation. (FRANCE)
3Institut de Recherche bioMédicale et d’Epidémiologie du Sport. (FRANCE)
4AS Monaco Football Club. (MONACO)
Contact details for the corresponding author:
French Institute of Sport (INSEP), Research Department, Laboratory Sport, Expertise and
Performance (EA 7370), University Paris Descartes, French Swimming Federation. 14 rue
Scandicci, 93500 Pantin, FRANCE.
E-mail: robinpla38@gmail.com Tel: +33 640532608
Preferred running head: Training intensity distribution in swimmers
Abstract: 250 words
Content: 3039 words
Number of figures and tables: 6 (4 tables and 2 figures)
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Abstract
Purpose: To quantify the impact of a polarized distribution of training intensity on performance
and fatigue in elite swimmers. Methods: Twenty-two elite junior swimmers (12 males: age 17 ± 3
yrs, and 10 females: age 17 ± 3 yrs) participated in a cross-over intervention study over 28 weeks
involving 2 x 6-week training periods separated by 6 weeks. Swimmers were randomly assigned
to a training group for the first period: polarized (POL) (81% in zone 1: [La]b ≤ 2 mmol·L-1; 4%
in zone 2: 2 mmol·L-1 < [La]b 4 mmol·L-1; 15% in zone 3: [La]b > 4 mmol·L-1) or threshold
(THR) (65%/25%/10%). Before and after each period, they performed a 100 m maximal
swimming test to determine performance, maximal blood lactate concentration ([La]max) and
oxygen consumption (V
̇O2), and an incremental swimming test to determine speed corresponding
to [La]b = 4 mmol·L-1 (V4mmol·L-1). Self-reported indices of well-being were collected with a
daily questionnaire. Results: POL training elicited small to moderately greater improvement than
THR on 100 m performance (0.97% ± 1.02%; within-group change: ± 90% CI vs. 0.09% ± 0.94%
respectively) with less fatigue and better quality of recovery. There was no substantial gender
effect. No clear differences were observed in physiological adaptations between groups.
Conclusion: In elite junior swimmers, a 6-week period of polarized training induced small
improvements in 100 m time-trial performance, and in combination with less perceived fatigue,
forms a viable option for coaches preparing this cohort of swimmers for competition.
Keywords: training zones, swimming performance, intensity distribution, training periodization
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Introduction
The training load is one of the major parameters that swimming coaches manipulate to
improve elite performance. Over the past 20 years, many observational studies and technical
reports have described the training prescribed by high-level coaches.1-4 These sources have
highlighted the training models specific to distance, middle-distance and sprint swimmers. In the
last ten years, the training of middle-distance swimmers (200400 m) has been characterized by a
predominantly aerobic distribution, with 5570% below the first lactate threshold (Zone 1; V2
mmol·L-1, blood lactate: [La]b 2 mmol·L-1) and 3040% between 2 mmol·L-1 and 4 mmol·L-1
(Zone 2; V4 mmol·L-1, [La]b 4 mmol·L-1).1,2 In sprint swimming (50100 m), there are two
primary two models employed by world-class sprinters and Olympic medalists, with the first
showing a large proportion of aerobic (Zone 1) and threshold training (Zone 2) (about 90% of the
total training time),2 and the second showing high intensity (Zone 3; above V4 mmol·L-1) that is
close to the distribution of the so-called polarized model (volume in Zone 1 higher than 70% and
volume in Zone 3 tending toward 15%).4 From an experimental point of view, Arroyo-Toledo
performed the only swimming study comparing the performance responses of regional swimmers
for different training distributions and reported improvement in the pure performances with a low
volume and a distribution (49, 33, 18%) compared with moderate-volume periodization (69, 25,
6%).5 Most other studies have compared high-volume training (aerobic and threshold) with high-
intensity training.6 It appears that progressive volume increases over several weeks or months with
stable intensity is associated with performance decreases and a possible elevation in the
concentration of biological markers of fatigue. Conversely, lower volume decreases with
maintenance or elevation of the intensity were associated with maintained or improved
performances with no loss in the physiological qualities.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
In the past 15 years, several studies have shown that many internationally-ranked
endurance athletes (cyclists,7 runners,8 rowers,9 cross-country skiers,10 orienteerers,11 and
triathletes12) use the polarized training model. With this model, the training volume under a 2
mmol·L-1 blood lactate concentration is high and accounts for approximately 75-80% of the total
volume, with 15-20% at or well above the speed (or power) corresponding to 4 mmol·L-1.
Experimental studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the polarized model, with performance
improved by 4-8% and physiological capacity improved by 5-10% (V
̇O2max, second lactate
threshold) following 6- to 52-week of training. 7,8,13-15
The two likely explanations for the greater effectiveness of the polarized model are a larger
increase in physiological capacities and the lower risk of fatigue that it engenders. In polarized
training, the high volume of training < 2 mmol·L-1 fosters development of peripheral muscle
endurance (mitochondrial genesis, lactate exchange and removal), whereas high-intensity interval
training develops the central factors of endurance (V
̇O2max and cardiac output).14,15 Training
volume reduced by 5 to 15% in mixed moderate intensities (2-4 mmol·L-1) can reduce
neurovegetative fatigue while preserving high power and velocity at submaximal intensities.10
More detailed analysis of the patterns and magnitude of performance improvements in highly
trained swimmers with a polarized organization of training are required to inform coaching
practices.
The aim of this study was to compare the changes in the 100 m swim time and an
incremental swim test on the performance and physiological adaptations, and the perceived well-
being and fatigue, in 22 elite swimmers during two 6-week cross-over periods of threshold and
polarized training. We expected that the polarized training would promote larger improvements in
performance and physiological adaptations, with less fatigue.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Methods
Participants
Thirty elite junior swimmers participated in this study (Table 1). In the 6 months preceding
the study, all participants trained 1518 hours with 8 ± 2 sessions of swimming per week.
Swimmers were excluded if they had an injury or illness requiring medical treatment or had missed
training for more than one week. The final cohort was 22 swimmers (10 women and 12 men,
comprising 9 freestyle, 5 breaststroke, 4 butterfly and 4 backstroke swimmers). The experimental
study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki. After comprehensive verbal
explanations, all participants signed an informed consent form to participate.
The study followed a cross-over design with a total duration of 28 weeks (Figure 1). To
minimize the delayed effects of prior training, a pre-experimental period was imposed, consisting
of one week of no training, one week of moderate load training, and 3 weeks of controlled training.
We conducted preliminary tests to familiarize the swimmers with the measurement procedures.
The study had two 6-week periods to which the swimmers were randomly assigned. For the initial
6-week intervention, 13 participants were assigned to the threshold (THR) group and 9 to the
polarized (POL) training group. The two groups were similar for age, level and gender. The
swimmers then crossed over to complete the other arm of the study design.
Training categorization
As Mujika, we tested the swimmers for [La]b concentration during a 5 x 200 m incremental
test in the period preceding the intervention study.3 This test consisted of 200 m swims at a
progressively increasing pace (using an audible signal), determined from each swimmer's best
competition time in that distance. Blood samples for [La]b concentration determination were taken
from a fingertip during the 1-min rest interval after each 200 m swim.3 We established three
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
training intensity levels according to the results of this test: Z1: below ~2 mmol·L-1, Z2: between
2 and 4 mmol·L-1 at the onset of blood lactate accumulation, Z3: above 4 mmol·L-1. All workouts
over the period were timed for each swimmer and the intensity was categorized according to the
three intensity levels. We presented the intensity distribution as the percentage of the volume swum
at each intensity over the total distance. We then corrected the speeds corresponding to each
intensity level to account for the swimming distance and rest intervals using Olbrecht’s method.16
The training out of the water (strength, conditioning, flexibility) apart from the prescribed POL
or THR - was the same for all participants for the 6-week periods.
Performance, physiological testing and fatigue questionnaire
The physiological and performance tests were conducted before and after each 6-week
intervention period. Prior to every test session, the swimmers were asked to maintain the same diet
for the 24 hours preceding the test. The training session the day before the pre-test was
standardized, with 90 min of light aerobic swimming. The time between the meal and testing was
identical for each test. Participants did not drink caffeine or alcohol for at least 3 hours before each
test session.
Maximal performance test
The participants performed a standardized swimming warm-up involving general, arm, and
leg work, with a progressive-intensity specialty set, finishing with some low-intensity aerobic
swimming. After 30 min of rest, they swam 100 m at maximal speed in their specialty stroke in
conditions similar to competition. When the test was finished, capillary samples for blood lactate
were collected at the finger with a Lactate Pro 2 analyzer (Arkray Factory, Inc., Japan) to measure
maximal blood lactate concentration [La]max. Gas analysis for energy expenditure was conducted
immediately using backward extrapolation and a K4b2 gas analyzer (Cosmed, Italy) connected to
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
a face mask (Hans Rudolph, Inc., USA). As soon as the swimmer’s head was out of the water, the
mask was put on the swimmer for 30 s. The first 20 sec were used for the analysis to determine
V
̇O2.17
Incremental test until exhaustion
The incremental test was conducted two hours after the 100 m performance. The active
swimming recovery between tests was controlled for each swimmer (600 m light aerobic
swimming for active recovery before ~75 min of passive recovery). The swimmers performed an
incremental test in crawl to determine the speed corresponding to 4 mmol·L-1 (V4mmol·L-1).3 This
test consisted of swimming 5 x 200 m with final 200 m swum at maximal effort, with increments
of 0.05 m.s-1 and 1 min of rest between each 200 m stage. Every 200 m, capillary samples for
blood lactate [La]b were collected with the same method described before.
Well-being and sleep assessment
The swimmers completed a short wellness questionnaire, as described by Noon,18 every
morning before breakfast for the 6 weeks of intervention. We monitored their perceptions of well-
being on seven items: motivation to train, quality of the previous night’s sleep, perceived recovery,
appetite, perceived fatigue, stress and muscle soreness. To facilitate data collection in the cohort
of young swimmers, we asked them to download a cell phone application and practice moving the
cursor on a scale of 1 to 100. The best perception for each item was 100 and the worst perception
was 1. This questionnaire was chosen because pilot trials indicated it to be practical for the
swimmers to use every morning of the study. This technique was tried by the swimmers during
the entire month prior to the first pre-test.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Statistical analyses
Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences.19 All data were log transformed
before analysis to reduce bias arising from non-uniformity of error. The magnitude of the
percentage change in time was interpreted by using values of the typical variation (coefficient of
variation, CV) between the two pre-tests as 1.6%, with values of 0.5% (small), 1.4% (moderate),
2.6% (large), 4.0% (very large) and 6.4% (extremely large) established as criterion differences in
the change in performance time between tests.20 For all the other parameters, the smallest
worthwhile change (SWC) was defined as a small standardized effect based on Cohen’s effect size
(ES) principle (0.2 x between-athlete standard deviation).21 Threshold values for ES statistics were
0.2 (trivial), > 0.2 (small), > 0.6 (moderate), > 1.2 (large), > 2.0 (very large), and > 4.0 (extremely
large).19 Quantitative chances of higher or lower differences were evaluated qualitatively as
follows: <1%, almost certainly not; 1%5%, very unlikely; 5%25%, unlikely; 25%75%,
possible; 75%95%, likely; 95%99%, very likely; and > 99%, almost certain. If the chance of
having positive/beneficial or negative/harmful performances were both > 5%, the true difference
was assessed as unclear.
Results
Polarized versus threshold training
The total volume in kilometers and the training load were similar between POL and THR
training (Table 2). The intensity distribution was 81/4/15 for POL and 65/25/10 for THR with
substantially more training undertaken in zone 2 for the THR group (large effect size).
A likely small increase in performance was observed in POL (0.97% ± 1.02%; mean ± 90%
confidence limits), while the change in performance in THR was unclear (0.09% ± 0.94%) (Figure
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
2). The improvement in performance was possibly higher after POL training than THR training
(0.89 ± 1.31 %, small). There was no substantial effect of gender.
The changes observed for [La]max were unclear for POL (12.4 ± 4.2% vs. 12.9 ± 3.7%
mmol·L-1, within-group change ± 90% CL at pre- and post-, respectively) and THR (11.8 ± 3.6%
vs. 12.5 ± 3.6%, at pre- and post-, respectively) (Table 3). No clear difference in the change in
[La]max was evident between POL and THR (2.0 ± 14.4%). We observed a possibly small larger
improvement with THR for V4mmol·L-1 (0.7 ± 1.6%) and V
̇O2 (5.8 ± 9.8%), whereas the results
were unclear with POL.
The self-reported swimmer well-being indices are shown in Table 4. The main finding is
that swimmers undertaking POL training reported that recovery was likely to very likely better
than in THR training in the final three weeks of the 6-week training intervention. No clear
difference was observed for the other well-being indices.
Discussion
In this study, we expected that POL would be associated with faster performances, greater
physiological adaptations and less fatigue. We observed larger improvements in swimming
performance after polarized training for 6 weeks compared with threshold training. However we
observed no additional physiological adaptations with POL training. Self-reported well-being
indices were better for POL than for THR in the final weeks of the training period.
The physiological and performance responses to the two training models were compared
with an incremental test of 5 x 200 m and a maximal test of 100 m performed as a swimming time-
trial. The small beneficial effect of POL on performance improvement confirms the effectiveness
of this training approach in elite swimmers. These results are in accordance with the results of
earlier studies in triathlon,8 cycling7 and rowing,9 where most of the athletes who progressed
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
trained in POL. But as opposed to the other studies, the improvements in swimming performance
were not associated with physiological adaptations. These studies reported improvements in
V
̇O2max after POL training,9,10,13,14 in V4mmol·L-1,7,9,13,14 whereas we observed no clear differences
in our study. Six weeks of polarized training with an 81/4/15% distribution yielded an 1%
improvement in performance compared with threshold training, without a change in physiological
capacities.
To our knowledge, this study is the first to systematically compare indices of well-being
and recovery in polarized and threshold training. The indices were higher in the swimmers who
trained in POL. For the THR group, the quality of recovery decreased until the fifth training week
and self-reported feelings of fatigue were higher than in POL group. Perceived fatigue generally
increases during periods of overload training and has been described as an index of an overreaching
state.22 An increase in fatigue is also correlated with overload training without overexertion.23
Chatard24 used a short fatigue questionnaire with swimmers and showed that fatigue scores were
strongly correlated with differences in performance and training load the swimmers with the
highest fatigue scores had the lowest performances. In our study, the swimmers in the THR group
may have accumulated too much fatigue to improve their performance, whereas in the POL group
most of the swimmers who improved their performance did so with less fatigue. This pattern of
responses supports the contention that polarized training is less fatiguing.
The performance improvement in POL was accompanied by more time spent in race pace
training compared with THR (15% vs 9%). A recent study also highlighted the importance of
training at or around race pace intensities.25 Pacing strategies may underpin the benefits of various
intensity distribution models in complement to the physiological adaptations. A training regime
incorporating a large proportion in high-velocity pace swimming seems to shift the stroke rate-
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
velocity relationship toward one in which the body travels greater distances per stroke, improving
maximal stroke rate, maximal aerobic power, anaerobic power and anaerobic capacity.26 Taken
together, these results provide evidence in support of evaluating and prescribing the proportion of
the race pace training in elite swimmers. Coaches should consider the potentially positive technical
and physiological impacts of race pace training.
We observed substantial differences between the two training conditions regarding their
effect on swimming 100 m time-trial performance. In elite adult swimmers who train daily, various
studies have reported magnitudes of improvement in performance, V
̇O2max and speed at 4 mmol·L-
1 lower than or equal to those observed in our study.6 It would be interesting to observe the effects
on performance with a larger increase in training load, a longer training intervention and a longer
taper period. Indeed, in most of the studies that have compared polarized and threshold training,
the increase in training load was moderate to large during the intervention period compared with
the pre-experimental training period (often the off-season period or without load). Conversely, the
training load in our study was increased by 10% over the 6 weeks. This small increase is arguably
more appropriate for elite-level swimmers, but could be one explanation why only ~55% of all the
swimmers in our study progressed during the experimental period. Most of the studies on the time
course of physiological adaptations have provided strong evidence in support of training
intervention periods lasting at least 9 weeks.8,9,13 In our study, the post-tests were performed one
week after the peak load of the macrocycle, which is likely to have induced an increase in
biological fatigue, as observed in previous studies of swimmer populations with the same
characteristics.27,28 Moreover, the taper period in our study was short (3 to 5 days), which is another
factor that may have limited improvement in performance. It is likely that at the end of a 2- to 3-
week taper, as recommended by experts2, the improvements would have been greater and the
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
effects of the two models more marked. In the present study, polarized training modality induced
substantial changes in the patterns of load, volume and intensity with regard to the usual training
routines. This variability in training should therefore be established as one of the factors of
progress.29 Our study tested a model of endurance training in swimmers who were mainly 100 to
200 m freestyle and form stroke swimmers using a short endurance test (5 x 200 m). Future
research should experimentally test this model in middle-distance, medley and distance swimmers
(400 to 1500 m). An additional limitation of this study is that we did not present and compare the
technical and kinematic responses induced by the two training distributions. Indeed, other studies
in swimming26,30 have suggested that these adaptations are strongly related to the energetic
characteristics and swimming speeds used during training.
Practical applications
The results of this study should help coaches to gain a sharper understanding of how the
training load components (load increase, intensity distribution, period duration, taper) interact to
improve performance. Polarized training may be a good option for sprinters as this type of training,
when implemented appropriately (progressive load increases, sufficient macrocycle duration, and
a well-conducted taper), should yield improvements in competition performance.
Conclusions
The current study is the first systematic evaluation of the effects of polarized training
versus threshold training on swimmers energetics, perceptions of fatigue and recovery, and time-
trial performance. Only a small positive improvement on 100 m performance was observed for the
swimmers who trained with POL compared with those who trained with THR. The performance
improvements with the polarized modality may relate to a greater proportion of the training at the
race pace, which is physiologically and technically a more specific type of training. The swimmers
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
with polarized training also reported less fatigue. For the swimmers who trained in the threshold
mode, additional fatigue may have been induced by the cumulative impacts of threshold and high-
intensity training. Swimmers should be monitored closely during periods of increased training
loads.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
References
1. Avalos, M., Hellard, P., Chatard, JC. Modeling the training-performance relationship using
a mixed model in elite swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35(5):838-46
2. Hellard, P., Scordia, C., Avalos, M., Mujika, I., Pyne, DB. Modelling of optimal training
load patterns during the 11 weeks preceding major competition in elite swimmers. Appl
Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017;26:1-12
3. Mujika, I., Chatard, J.C., Busso, T., Geyssant, A. Effects of training on performance in
competitive swimming. Can. J. Appl. Sport Sci. 1995;20:395-406.
4. Barnier, R. 2012. The training of an Olympic champion. In FINA Swimming Coaches
Golden Clinic [In line]. Available at http://speedendurance.blogspot.fr/2012/12/fina-
coaches-conference.
5. Arroyo-Toledo, JJ., Clement, VJ., Gonzalez-Ravé. The effects of ten weeks block and
reverse periodization training on swimming performance and body composition of
moderately trained female swimmers. Journal of Swimming Research. 2013;21:1
6. Nugent FJ, Comyns TM, Burrows E, Warrington GD. Effects of Low-Volume, High-
Intensity Training on Performance in Competitive Swimmers: A Systematic Review. J
Strength Cond Res. 2017;31(3):837-847.
7. Neal, CM., Hunter, AM., Brennan, L., O'Sullivan, A., Hamilton, DL., De Vito, G.,
Galloway, SD. Six weeks of a polarized training-intensity distribution leads to greater
physiological and performance adaptations than a threshold model in trained cyclists. J
Appl Physiol (985). 2013 Feb 5;4(4):46-7.
8. Muñoz, I., Cejuela, R., Seiler, S., Larumbe, E., Esteve-Lanao, J. Training-intensity
distribution during an ironman season: relationship with competition performance. Int J
Sports Physiol Perform. 2014;9(2):332-9.
9. Ingham, SA., Carter, H., Whyte, GP., Doust, JH. Physiological and performance effects of
low- versus mixed-intensity rowing training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40(3):579-84.
10. Sandbakk, Ø., Sandbakk, SB., Ettema, G., Welde, B. Effects of intensity and duration in
aerobic high-intensity interval training in highly trained junior cross-country skiers. J
Strength Cond Res. 2013;27(7):974-80.
11. Tonnessen, E., Svendsen IS., Ronnestadt BR., Hisdal, J., Haugen TA., Seiler., S. The
annual training periodization of 8 world champions in Orienteering. Int J Sports Physiol
Perform. 2015;10(1):29-38
12. Mujika, I. Olympic preparation of a world-class female triathlete. Int J Sports Physiol
Perform. 2014;9(4):727-3.
13. Stoggl, T., Sperlich B. Polarized training has greater impact on key endurance variables
than threshold, high intensity, or high volume training. Front Physiol. 2014;Feb 4;5:33.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
14. Helgerud, J., Høydal, K., Wang, E., Karlsen, T., Berg, P., Bjerkaas, M., Simonsen, T.,
Helgesen, C., Hjorth, N., Bach, R., Hoff, J. Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve
VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(4):665-71.
15. Laursen, PB., Jenkins, DG. The scientific basis for high-intensity interval training:
optimising training programmes and maximising performance in highly trained endurance
athletes. Sports Med. 2002;32(1):53-73.
16. Olbrecht, J., Madsen, Ø., Mader, A., Liesen, H., and Hollmann, W. Relationship between
swimming velocity and lactic concentration during continuous and intermittent training
exercises. Int. J. Sports Med. 1985;6(2): 7477.
17. Laffite, LP., Vilas-Boas, JP., Demarle, A., Silva, J., Fernandes, R., Billat, VL. Changes in
physiological and stroke parameters during a maximal 400-m free swimming test in elite
swimmers. Can J Appl Physiol. 2004;29 Suppl:S17-31.
18. Noon, MR., James, RS., Clarke, ND., Akubat, I., Thake, CD. Perceptions of well-being
and physical performance in English elite youth footballers across a season. J Sports Sci.
2015;33(20):2106-15.
19. Hopkins, WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J. Progressive statistics for studies in
sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1):313
20. Hopkins WG, Hawley JA, Burke LM. Design and analysis of research on sport
performance enhancement. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(3):472-85.
21. Cohen, J. Statistical Power Analysis for Behavorial Sciences. Hillsdale (NJ): Lawrence
Erlbaum Associates; 1988. p. 567.
22. González-Boto, R., Salguero, A., Tuero, C., González-Gallego, J., Márquez, S. Monitoring
the effects of training load changes on stress and recovery in swimmers. J Physiol Biochem.
2008;64(1):19-26.
23. Aubry, A., Hausswirth, C., Louis, J., Coutts, AJ., Le Meur, Y. Functional overreaching:
the key to peak performance during the taper? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014;46(9):1769-77.
24. Chatard, JC., Atlaoui, D., Pichot, V., Gourné, C., Duclos, M., Guézennec, YC. Training
follow up by questionnaire fatigue, hormones and heart rate variability measurements.
Science & Sports. 2003;18:302304.
25. Kenneally M, Casado A, Santos-Concejero J. The Effect of Periodisation and Training
Intensity Distribution on Middle- and Long-Distance Running Performance: A Systematic
Review. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;28:1-26.
26. Termin., B., Pendergast, D.R. Training using the stroke frequency-velocity relationship to
combine biomechanical and metabolic paradigms. J. Swimming Res. 2000;14:9-17.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
27. Mujika, I., Busso, T., Lacoste, L., Barale, F., Geyssant, A., and Chatard, J.C. Modeled
responses to training and taper in competitive swimmers. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc.
1996;28(2): 251258.
28. Atlaoui D, Duclos M, Gouarne C, Lacoste L, Barale F, Chatard JC. 24-hr urinary
catecholamine excretion, training and performance in elite swimmers. Int J Sports Med.
2006;27(4):314-21.
29. Shea CH, Kohl RM. Specificity and variability of practice. Res Q Exerc Sport.
1990;61(2):169-77.
30. Wakayoshi K, Yoshida T, Ikuta Y, Mutoh Y, Miyashita M. Adaptations to six months of
aerobic swim training. Changes in velocity, stroke rate, stroke length and blood lactate. Int
J Sports Med. 1993;14(7):368-72.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 1. Study design schematic detailing the timeline for each period of the study including the
testing weeks.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Figure 2. Performance time changes (pre-test 100 m vs post-test 100 m in POL and THR) classed
in decreasing order by group. Abbreviations: POL, polarized training; THR, threshold training.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Table 1: Baseline characteristics of 22 elite swimmers. Mean ± SD.
Variables
Males (n=12)
Females (n=10)
Age (years)
17 ± 3
17 ± 3
Body height (cm)
178 ± 10
170 ± 6
Body Mass (kg)
64 ± 9
59 ± 9
BMI
20.2 ± 1.4
20.5 ± 2.4
Training experience (years)
8 ± 2
8 ± 2
FINA points
485 ± 92
498 ± 75
Table 2: Total training volume completed during baseline training and six weeks of polarized and
threshold training. Mean ± SD
Base
POL
THR
Total Training Volume
37 ± 3
42 ± 4
42 ± 4
Volume in Zone 1
70 ± 6
81 ± 3
66 ± 5*
Volume in Zone 2
20 ± 4
4 ± 1
25 ± 2*
Volume in Zone 3
10 ± 2
15 ± 2
9 ± 3*
Abbreviations: Base, 3 weeks period before training intervention; POL, polarized training; THR,
threshold training.
*Substantial differences between POL vs THR
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Table 3: Performance and physiological adaptations Pre and Post Test to POL and THR including the differences in the changes between
POL and THR
Variable
Group
Pre
Post
Pre to post changes
Differences in the changes between POL
and THR
Mean ± SD
Mean ± SD
% mean ±
IC
Change
H/T/B
Outcome
Δ%mean ±
90% IC
Difference
H/T/B
Outcome for POL
100m (s)
POL
68.74 ± 7.97
68.07 ± 7.96
-0.97 ± 1.02
1/19/80
Likely small decrease
0.89 ± 1.31
4/25/70
Possibly small
positive effect
THR
68.40 ± 8.31
68.37 ± 8.58
-0.09 ± 0.90
14/64/22
Unclear
[La] max
(mmol·L-1)
POL
12.4 ± 4.2
12.9 ± 3.7
7.4 ± 10.9
1/59/46
Possibly trivial increase
2.0 ± 14.4
11/65/23
Unclear
THR
11.8 ± 3.6
12.5 ± 3.6
5.3 ± 9.5
2/62/36
Possibly trivial increase
V4mmol·L-1
(m.s-1)
POL
1.32 ± 0.07
1.33 ± 0.08
0.89 ± 1.3
1/64/35
Possibly trivial increase
-0.72 ± 1.60
38/58/5
Possibly small
negative effect
THR
1.32 ± 0.06
1.34 ± 0.06
1.61 ± 1.0
0/15/85
Likely small increase
𝐕
̇O2
(ml.min.kg)
POL
56.0 ± 11.3
55.9 ± 13.6
-0.9 ± 7.5
17/74/9
Unclear
-5.8 ± 9.8
58/39/3
Possibly small
negative effect
THR
56.4 ± 12.4
58.7 ± 9.7
5.2 ± 6.5
1/44/55
Possibly small increase
Abbreviations : Pre, pre-test; Post, post-test, POL, polarized training; THR, threshold training; Time, Time on 100 m test; [La]max, maximal blood concentration on 100 m; V4mmol•L-
1, speed corresponding at [La]b = 4 mmol•L-1 during the incremental test; V
̇O2, oxygen consumption on 100 m ; H/T/B show likelihood of changes being harmful, trivial and beneficial.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
Effects of a 6-Week Period of Polarized or Threshold Training on Performance and Fatigue in Elite Swimmers” by Pla R et al.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Table 4: Mean values (± SD) of perceived fatigue and perceived recovery for POL and THR across the 6 weeks period
Variable
Group
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Fatigue
POL
69 ± 24
65 ± 18
64 ± 27
59 ± 25
63 ± 23*
66 ± 21
THR
63 ± 26
65 ± 27
63 ± 31
59 ± 24
53 ± 27
57 ± 31
Recovery
POL
40 ± 17
42 ± 16#
44 ± 15#
41 ± 13*##
44 ± 16*##
51 ± 17*#
THR
43 ± 17
40 ± 19
41 ± 18
35 ± 17
35 ± 18
43 ± 18
Abbreviations: POL, polarized training; THR, threshold training. Between-group difference versus THR, *likely, **very likely. Between-group difference in the
changes from Week 1 versus THR, #likely, ##very likely.
Downloaded by UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON on 07/25/18, Volume ${article.issue.volume}, Article Number ${article.issue.issue}
... Intervention studies. There have been at least five reasonably well-controlled studies of polarized/pyramidal versus threshold centric training programs in well-trained, subelite, athletes (18)(19)(20)(21)(22). The percentage change in performance-based measures is on the order of 45% greater (4.2% vs 2.9%) after 6-to 12-wk preparatory training intervention periods in athletes randomized to polarized/pyramidal versus threshold centric intervention training (Fig. 1). ...
... One study (20) had the zone 1 training volume "clamped" at 93%, which hardly allows for differences in polarized versus threshold centric programs to emerge and unsurprisingly showed little difference in improved performance. This is comparable to the very small negative performance results when training was "clamped" as only high-volume training by FIGURE 1-Percent improvement in either performance or peak physiologic responses in five controlled studies (18)(19)(20)(21)(22) of polarized/pyramidal training (>70% zone 1 (solid bars)) vs threshold centric training (~50% zone 2 (hatched bars)) and in zone 3 (gray bars) in subelite runners, cyclists, rowers, or swimmers. In all five studies, the improvement over a 6-to 12-wk training intervention was~45 greater (~4.2% vs 2.4%) in the polarized training groups. ...
... In this group, the magnitude of improvement across the intervention period was remarkably low, supporting the concept that there is an obligatory need for some higher-intensity training. In the fifth study (22), the magnitude of improvement across the intervention period (crossover design) was remarkably small because the athletes were already very highly trained. ...
... After removal of duplicates and elimination of papers based on title and abstract screening, 15 manuscripts remained. Finally, four articles were included in this review [11][12][13][14]. The 11 studies that did not match the eligibility criteria based on full-text screening were discarded for one or more of the following reasons: not detailing training intensity distributions (n = 6), conducted with master swimmers (n = 2), performance trends in IM events across the years (n = 1) and pacing in 200 and 400 m IM (n = 1) (Figure 1). ...
... The training volumes are usually classified into three or five intensities zones [14]. The three training zone model is typically established using swimming velocity and blood lactate concentrations as follows: z1 ≤ 2 mmol·L -1 ; z2 2-4 mmol·L -1 , and z3 ≥ 4 mmol·L -1 [13]. However, [24,25] proposed a modification with z1 ≤ 3 mmol·L -1 and z2 between 3-4 mmol·L -1 . ...
... However, [24,25] proposed a modification with z1 ≤ 3 mmol·L -1 and z2 between 3-4 mmol·L -1 . In swimming, the most common model adopted in the sports science literature comprises five zones: z1 ≤ 2 mmol·L -1 , z2 2-4 mmol·L -1 , z3 4-6 mmol·L -1 , z4 6-10 mmol·L -1 and z5 < 10 mmol·L -1 [12,13,26]. Training zones can be categorized according ...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge in the scientific domain of individual medley (IM) swimming training over a competitive season is limited. The purpose of this study was to propose a detailed coaching framework incorporating the key elements of a periodized training regimen for a 400 m IM swimmer. This framework was based on the available coaching and scientific literature and the practical experience and expertise of the collaborating authors. The season has been divided in two or three macrocycles, further divided in three mesocycles each (six or nine mesocycles in total), in alignment with the two or three main competitions in each macrocycle. The principal training contents to develop during the season expressed in blood lactate zones are: aerobic training (~2 mmol·L−1), lactate threshold pace (~4 mmol·L−1) and VO2max (maximum oxygen uptake) (~6 mmol·L−1). Strength training should focus on maximum strength, power and speed endurance during the season. Altitude training camps can be placed strategically within the training season to promote physiological adaptation and improvements in performance. A well-constructed technical framework will permit development of training strategies for the 400 m IM swimmer to improve both training and competitive performance.
... 3 Among world-class Para swimmers, the weekly training distance is reported to be approximately half km·week -1 ) 4,5 compared to able-bodied swimmers (40-70 km·week -1 ). 2,6 In line with this, a case study on a multiple Paralympic swimming champion with cerebral palsy reported an annual training distance of 1500 km 7 , which is at the lower end of the range of what was reported in elite ablebodied swimmers. Para swimmers who sit in a wheelchair use their upper body both for daily life activities and during training, which may increase the need for recovery between sessions and thereby reduce training volumes. ...
... The few studies done on able-bodied short-and middle-distance swimmers indicate that ~80-85% of the endurance training time/ distance is performed at low-intensity (LIT; i.e. below the aerobic threshold) and ~5-15% at moderate-intensity (MIT; i.e. below the anaerobic threshold), whereas around ~5-10% are performed at high-intensity (HIT). 1,6,9,10 The high amount of LIT even in short-distance swimmers, who compete at supra-maximal intensities, enables many hours of swimming with a good technique and high propulsive efficiency, which is considered critical to swimming success. 11 Currently, no studies have reported the annual intensity distribution or use of swimming styles among Para swimmers. ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: To describe the training volume, intensity distribution, and use of swimming styles during a Paralympic cycle in a multiple swimming champion with paraplegia. Methods: The female Paralympic swimmer was 23-26 years of age and had a body mass of 60 to 62 kg and a body height of 174 cm. She has a spinal cord injury at the Th6 level, competed in the S5/SB4 Para swimming classes, and uses a wheelchair for mobility. Training time, as well as distance in the different intensity zones and swimming styles, was registered with the "workouts for swim coaches" software throughout a full Paralympic cycle. Results: The Para swimmer performed a total of 388, 524, 471, and 656 annual hours of swimming, corresponding to 1126, 1504, 1463, and 1993 km, in the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 seasons, respectively. In addition, she performed 1 to 3 weekly dry-land strength sessions and 4 to 6 weekly dry-land basic skill sessions. She conducted 91% to 94% of the swimming distance in each macrocycle at low intensity, 2% to 4% at moderate intensity, and 3% to 6% at high intensity. She performed 78% to 84% of the swimming distance in each macrocycle in the freestyle swimming technique and the remaining 16% to 22% in the backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly techniques. Conclusion: This case study exemplifies how a female Paralympic swimmer with paraplegia progressed her training in the seasons leading up to the Paralympic Games, reaching an annual training distance of 2000 km, which is similar to that of able-bodied swimmers.
... Incorporating a higher proportion of high-intensity training early in the season is thought to stimulate physiological and performance adaptations. Reverse periodization has been used in combination with a polarized intensity distribution for improving sprint events in swimming [30]. However, a small number of relevant studies in swimming have not reported any substantial differences between traditional and reverse periodization models in enhancing 50-m performance, with a modest improvement of 1% in 100-m performance in both forms [27,31]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Reverse periodization is commonly touted as a salient planning strategy to improve sport performance in athletes, but benefits have not been clearly described. Objectives We sought to identify the main characteristics of reverse periodization, and the influence of training volume and periodization models on enhancing physiological measures and sports performance. Design Systematic review. Methods The electronic databases Scopus, PubMed and Web of Science were searched using a comprehensive list of relevant terms. Results A total of 925 studies were identified, and after removal of duplicates and studies based on title and abstract screening, 17 studies remained, and 11 finally included in the systematic review. There was a total of 200 athletes in the included studies. Reverse periodization does not provide superior performance improvements in swimming, running, muscular endurance, maximum strength, or maximal oxygen uptake, compared to traditional or block periodization. The quality of evidence levels for the reverse periodization studies was 1b (individual randomized controlled trial) for two investigations, 2b (individual cohort study) for the remaining studies and a mean of 4.9 points in the PEDro scale (range 0–7). Conclusions It appears that reverse periodization is no more effective than other forms of periodization in improving sports performance. More comparative studies on this alternative version of periodization are required to verify its effectiveness and utility across a range of endurance sports.
... A similar process occurs for distance running to become experienced as less effortful: one's capacity for bringing air into the lungs, and also for the body's cells to adapt to be able to make use of more air, is also stimulated by carrying out what is known as "threshold training" [16,20,21]. This kind of work is often very demanding. ...
Preprint
This paper proposes discomfort as a new material for HCI researchers and designers to consider in any application that helps a person develop a new skill, practice or state. Discomfort is a fundamental precursor of adaptation and adaptation leads to new skill, practice or state. The way in which discomfort is perceived, and when it is experienced, is also often part of a rationale for rejecting or adopting a practice. Engaging effectively with discomfort may lead to increased personal development. We propose incorporating discomfort-as-material into our designs explicitly as a mechanism to make desired adaptations available to more of us, more effectively and more of the time. To explore this possibility, we offer an overview of the physiology and neurology of discomfort in adaptation and propose 3 issues related to incorporating discomfort into design: preparation for discomfort, need for recovery, and value of the practice. We look forward in the Workshop to exploring and developing ideas for specific Discomfortable Designs to insource discomfort as part of positive, resilient adaptation.
Article
Full-text available
Background and Purpose: Aerobic fitness is one of the factors influencing the success of rowers in rowing , which requires the use of efficient training methods. Polarized training model based on the intensity distribution of the training would be a suitable strategy in this field. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of four weeks of polarized training on aerobic fitness and performance of professional rowers. Materials and Methods: 20 athletes (10 females and 10 males) who had more than two years of professional rowing experience were divided into two groups of polarized training intensity distribution (75-80% of training volume equivalent to 18 training sessions in zone one with 55-75% of maximum heart rate, 5-10% of the training volume is equivalent to eight training sessions in zone two with 81-87% maximum heart rate and 15-20% of the training volume is equivalent to four training sessions with 88-100% maximum heart rate) and traditional training intensity distribution (20% of training volume in zone one, equivalent to seven sessions per month, 50% in zone two, including 12 sessions per month, and 30% in zone three, including five sessions) were divided and their exercises were performed over four weeks, with six sessions per week (three sessions of rowing + One session of ergometer + two sessions of running) was followed. Before and after the training period, maximal oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio, blood lactate, time of 2000 and 1000 meters were evaluated. Repeated analysis of variance with intergroup factor was used to examine the research data (P ≤ 0.05). Results: According to the results of the present study, the performance of 2000 meters in both groups improved significantly (P < 0.0001). This improvement was 5.56% more reduction in 2000 meters' record, which shows the greater effectiveness of this training method. However, the performance of 1000 m after four weeks of polarized and traditional training was similar (P = 0.37). There was no significant difference between the two groups for Maximum oxygen consumption (P = 0.14) and respiratory exchange ratio (P = 0.21). Fat percentage in both groups decreased significantly (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Despite the lack of differences in some physiological parameters, four weeks of traditional and polarized training are associated with improved performance and physiological parameters of rowers, which is greater in the performance of 2000 meters that is the main competition of these athletes with polarized training (about 6%). It seems that the polarization intensity distribution pattern can be a more effective method than traditional exercises in developing the aerobic performance characteristics of rowing athletes.
Article
Problem: Intensity in endurance training is important for improving race time; its optimal handling in amateur runners has not been extensively studied. The polarized training intensity distribution (TID) model emerges as a possibility to reduce race time; however, effect of this model remains to be demonstrated compared to other TID models. Objective: The objective of this study is to explore the current state of the evidence its the gaps, according to the effect of the polarized TID model on race time in amateur runners compared to other TID models. Method: A scoping review without date restrictions was carried out in PubMed, EBSCO, SciELO, LILACS, and Google Scholar. Randomized controlled studies, quasi-experimental studies, and case studies, which comprise polarized TID model in amateur runners on race time, were include. Results: Five studies evaluated the effect on running time using the polarized TID model compared to other models in amateur runners; four of them did not show differences between groups in the race times in two, five, and ten km. Only one study showed a significant difference in the race time at 21 km. Conclusions: The model with polarized TID did not show significant differences in race time compared to other models, except for a case report in which the polarized TID was higher by 21 km compared to the threshold TID: 1 hour. 20 min. 22 seconds and 1 hour. 26 min. 34s, respectively. The scarce evidence found, the heterogeneity in the distances in the evaluated race time, the distribution of zones in the same TID, the duration of the interventions, and the monitoring of the loads, are the main limitations found in the studies. The polarized TID could contribute to adherence, lower perception of effort, and injury prevention. However, this must be tested in future studies.
Article
Full-text available
Background & objectives: Insulin-like growth factor -1 (IGF-1) has a variety of roles, but the abundance of scientific evidence indicates that it is a metabolic biomarker associated with physical fitness and health. The present study investigates the effect of eight weeks of polarized exercise training on serum GH / IGF-1- indices in active young men. Methods: In this double-blind experimental study, 20 young males were allocated randomly into polarized training group (N=10) and a control group (N=10). The polarized training group performed 80-70% of the main workout volume (30 minutes) with light to moderate with 50-60% reserve heart rate (RHR) intensity and the remaining 20-30% at 85-95% RHR intensity; in a way that they ran two periods consisting 3 repetitions of 15-30 seconds, with 30-60 seconds of active rest after each repetition and 3 minutes of active rest after each period. Blood samples were taken from all subjects in three stages, including: pre-test stages, 24 hours before the start of the post-test, and after 12 hours overnight fasting. Post-test samples were collected, one sample immediately after the first session and the another 48 hours after the end of the last exercise session. Results: The results of the present study showed that bipolar training significantly increased growth hormone and free IGF-I levels after one training session, and after eight-week bipolar training program. However, total IGF-1 levels decreased significantly after one exercise session and after eight-week bipolar exercise program. Also, no significant change was observed in IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-5 levels after one training session and eight-week training program. Acid-labile subunit levels did not change significantly after one training session, but decreased significantly after eight weeks of bipolar training. Conclusion: Based on the results of the present study, it seems that the use of bipolar exercises, training may be a good way to improve the hormonal function and assess the level of health and physical fitness of active young men.
Article
Full-text available
We present a case study of the periodized training by a world-class 400-m Individual Medley (IM) swimmer (4th in 2019 World Championships) in the season leading to a bronze medal in the 2018 European Championship. The complexity of this IM preparation was based on the experiences, observations and innovations of an Olympic swimming coach. Over 52 weeks, a traditional periodization model was employed using three macrocycles. A total of 15 competitions were completed in the season increasing in frequency in the third macrocycle. The training intensity distribution (TID) followed the pattern of a traditional pyramidal model in general training and polarized and threshold models during specific training before competitions. Weekly training volume ranged from 25 to 79 km, 24 to 87 km, and 25 to 90 km in each of the three macrocyles. Altitude training comprised 23% of total training weeks. Haemoglobin [Hb] increased from 14.9 to 16.0 g/100 ml and haematocrit from 45.1 to 48.1% after altitude training. Heart rate (HR) and [La-] decreased at submaximal swimming intensities, while swimming velocity increased in the 8 × 100 m incremental swimming test in A2 (1.4%) and in AT (0.6%). Pull up power was increased 10% through the season.
Article
Full-text available
This review aimed to examine the current evidence for three primary training intensity distribution types; 1) Pyramidal Training, 2) Polarised Training and 3) Threshold Training. Where possible, we calculated training intensity zones relative to the goal race pace, rather than physiological or subjective variables. We searched 3 electronic databases in May 2017 (PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) for original research articles. After analysing 493 resultant original articles, studies were included if they met the following criteria: a) participants were middle- or long-distance runners; b) studies analysed training intensity distribution in the form of observational reports, case studies or interventions; c) studies were published in peer-reviewed journals and d) studies analysed training programs with a duration of 4 weeks or longer. Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria, which included 6 observational reports, 3 case studies, 6 interventions and 1 review. According to the results of this analysis, pyramidal and polarised training are more effective than threshold training, although the latest is used by some of the best marathon runners in the world. Despite this apparent contradictory findings, this review presents evidence for the organisation of training into zones based on a percentage of goal race pace which allow for different periodisation types to be compatible. This approach requires further development to assess whether specific percentages above and below race pace are key to inducing optimal changes.
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the extent and quality of the current research literature in order to determine the effects of low volume, high intensity training (HIT) on physiological performance and swimming performance in competitive swimmers.The methodology followed the PRISMA-P protocol. A search of relevant databases and conference proceedings was performed until December 2015. The inclusion criteria was: a) competitive swimmers, b) ≥ 4 weeks HIT intervention, c) comparison group had to involve a higher training volume, d) outcome measures of physiological and swimming performance, e) all experimental study designs. Quality assessment was performed using the Quality Index checklist.Results indicate that of the 538 studies retrieved, 7 studies met the inclusion criteria. Six out of the 7 studies found that a HIT intervention resulted in significant improvements in physiological performance. Four of the 7 studies found that HIT resulted in significant improvements in swimming performance, whilst none of the 7 studies resulted in a reduction in physiological or swimming performance.Despite the positive findings of this review, the short study duration is a limitation to a number of the studies. The current evidence on the effects of HIT on performance is promising however it is difficult to draw accurate conclusions until further research has been conducted.
Article
Full-text available
The 2011 English Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) stipulates training volumes that could put elite youth players at high risk of non-functional overreaching. The aim of the study was to assess player perceptions of well-being and physical performance to these high training loads. Fourteen academy football players (mean ± SD: age 17 ± 1 years; stature 179 ± 6 cm; body mass 70.8 ± 8.6 kg, at pre-season) completed a perception of well-being questionnaire 1-4 times per week throughout each training block (pre-season, in-season 1, 2, 3). Physical performance tests were carried out at the end of each training block. Increases in training exposure (P < 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.52) and moderate to large deteriorations in perceptions of well-being (motivation, sleep quality, recovery, appetite, fatigue, stress, muscle soreness P < 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.30-0.53) were evident as the season progressed. A moderate decrease in 30 m sprint performance (P < 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.48), a large improvement in Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test performance (P < 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.93) and small decreases in countermovement jump (P > 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.18) and arrowhead agility (P < 0.05; [Formula: see text] = 0.24) performance were evident as the season progressed. The present findings show an imbalance between stress and recovery in English elite youth players even when players experience lower training exposure than stipulated by the EPPP.
Article
Full-text available
One year of training data from 8 elite orienteers were divided into a transition phase (TP), general preparatory phase (GPP), specific preparatory phase (SPP), and competition phase (CP). Average weekly training volume and frequency, hours at different intensities (zones 1–3), cross-training, running, orienteering, interval training, continuous training, and competition were calcu-lated. Training volume was higher in GPP than TP, SPP, and CP (14.9 vs 9.7, 11.5, and 10.6 h/wk, P < .05). Training frequency was higher in GPP than TP (10 vs 7.5 sessions/wk, P < .05). Zone 1 training was higher in GPP than TP, SPP, and CP (11.3 vs 7.1, 8.3, and 7.7 h/wk, P < .05). Zone 3 training was higher in SPP and CP than in TP and GPP (0.9 and 1.1 vs 1.6 and 1.5 h/ wk, P < .05). Cross-training was higher in GPP than SPP and CP (4.3 vs 0.8 h/wk, P < .05). Interval training was higher in GPP than TP, SPP, and CP (0.7 vs 0.3 h/wk, P < .05). High-intensity continuous training was higher in GPP than CP (0.9 vs 0.4 h/ wk, P < .05), while competition was higher in SPP and CP than in TP and GPP (1.3 and 1.5 vs 0.6 and 0.3 h/wk, P < .01). In conclusion, these champion endurance athletes achieved a progressive reduction in total training volume from GPP to CP via a shortening of each individual session while the number of training sessions remained unchanged. This decrease in training volume was primarily due to a reduction in the number of hours of low-intensity, non-sport-specific cross-training.
Article
Full-text available
Current conventional swim training tends to focus on long over-distance swimming, often in combination with dry-land strength training and a season ending taper. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a novel training regime incorporating high-velocity swimming exclusively, without dry-land training or taper. Twenty-two Division I swimmers who trained on the high-velocity program were followed over their four competitive seasons and their performances in the 100-yard and 200-yard Freestyle were tracked and shown to improve 6-8% over this time. The improved performance of the high-velocity group was coincident with a 20% reduction in the energy cost of swimming, which was associated with a shift of the Stroke Frequency-Velocity Relationship toward one in which the body travelled greater distances per stroke (16%), with an increased maximal stroke rate (8%). Maximal aerobic power (48%), anaerobic power (16%) and anaerobic capacity (35%) increased in these swimmers during the four years studied. Their swim velocities increased 31% for speeds that could be sustained aerobically and 27% for maximal speeds. All of these changes are substantially greater than what is reported in the literature for conventional swim training programs. It is concluded that a swimming program using high-velocity training and primarily based on the stroke rate-velocity relationship, can improve a collegiate swimmer’s biomechanics and metabolism ultimately leading to enhanced swim performances without dry-land training, over-distance training or a taper.
Article
Full-text available
Endurance athletes integrate four conditioning concepts in their training programs: high-volume training (HVT), “threshold-training” (THR), high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and a combination of these aforementioned concepts known as polarized training (POL). The purpose of this study was to explore which of these four training concepts provides the greatest response on key components of endurance performance in well-trained endurance athletes. Methods: Forty eight runners, cyclists, triathletes, and cross-country skiers (peak oxygen uptake: (VO2peak): 62.6 ± 7.1 mL·min−1·kg−1) were randomly assigned to one of four groups performing over 9 weeks. An incremental test, work economy and a VO2peak tests were performed. Training intensity was heart rate controlled. Results: POL demonstrated the greatest increase in VO2peak (+6.8 ml·min·kg−1 or 11.7%, P < 0.001), time to exhaustion during the ramp protocol (+17.4%, P < 0.001) and peak velocity/power (+5.1%, P < 0.01). Velocity/power at 4 mmol·L−1 increased after POL (+8.1%, P < 0.01) and HIIT (+5.6%, P < 0.05). No differences in pre- to post-changes of work economy were found between the groups. Body mass was reduced by 3.7% (P < 0.001) following HIIT, with no changes in the other groups. With the exception of slight improvements in work economy in THR, both HVT and THR had no further effects on measured variables of endurance performance (P > 0.05). Conclusion: POL resulted in the greatest improvements in most key variables of endurance performance in well-trained endurance athletes. THR or HVT did not lead to further improvements in performance related variables.
Article
Purpose: We modelled the relationships between the final 11 weeks of training and competition performance in 138 elite sprint, middle-distance and distance swimmers over 20 competitive seasons. Methods: Total training load (TTL), strength training (ST), low-to medium and high-intensity training variables were monitored. Training loads were scaled as a percentage of the maximal volume measured at each intensity level. Four training periods (meso-cycles) were defined: the taper (weeks 1 to 2 before competition), short-term (weeks 3 to 5), medium-term (weeks 6 to 8) and long-term (weeks 9 to 11). Mixed-effects models were used to analyze the association between training loads in each training meso-cycle and end-of-season major competition performance. Results For sprinters a 10% increase between ~20-70% of the TTL in medium and long-term meso-cycles was associated with 0.07-s and 0.20-s faster performances in the 50-m and 100-m events respectively (p<0.01). For middle-distance swimmers a higher TTL in short-, medium-, and long-term training yielded faster competition performances (e.g., a 10% increase in TTL was associated with improvements of 0.1-1.0 s in 200-m events and 0.3-1.6 s in 400-m freestyle, p<0.01). For sprinters, a 60-70% maximal ST load 6-8 weeks before competition induced the largest positive effects on performance (p<0.01). Conclusion: An increase in TTL during the medium- and long-term preparation (6-11 weeks to competition) was associated with improved performances. Periodization plans should be adapted to specialty of swimmers.
Conference Paper
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess research aimed at measuring performance enhancements that affect success of individual elite athletes in competitive events. Analysis: Simulations show that the smallest worthwhile enhancement of performance for an athlete in an international event is 0.7-0.4 of the typical within-athlete random variation in performance between events. Using change in performance in events as the outcome measure in a crossover study, researchers could delimit such enhancements with a sample of 16-65 athletes, or with 65-260 in a fully controlled study. Sample size for a study using a valid laboratory or field test is proportional to the square of the within-athlete variation in performance in the test relative to the event; estimates of these variations are therefore crucial and should be determined by repeated-measures analysis of data from reliability studies for the test and event. Enhancements in test and event may differ when factors that affect performance differ between test and event; overall effects of these factors can be determined with a validity study that combines reliability data for test and event. A test should be used only if it is valid, more reliable than the event, allows estimation of performance enhancement in the event, and if the subjects replicate their usual training and dietary practices for the study; otherwise the event itself provides the only dependable estimate of performance enhancement. Publication of enhancement as a percent change with confidence limits along with an analysis for individual differences will make the study more applicable to athletes. Outcomes can be generalized only to athletes with abilities and practices represented in the study. Conclusion: estimates of enhancement of performance in laboratory or field tests in most previous studies may not apply to elite athletes in competitive events.
Article
Purpose: To examine whether performance supercompensation during taper is maximized in endurance athletes after experiencing overreaching during an overload training period. Methods: Thirty three trained male triathletes were assigned to either overload training (n=23) or normal training groups (n=10, CTL) during 8 weeks. Cycling performance and maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) were measured after one-week of moderate training, a 3-week period of overload training and then each week during four-week taper. Results: Eleven of the 23 subjects from the overload training group were diagnosed as functionally overreached after the overload period (decreased performance with concomitant high perceived fatigue, F-OR), while the 12 other subjects were only acutely fatigued (no decrease in performance, AF). According to qualitative statistical analysis, the AF group demonstrated a small to large greater peak performance supercompensation than the F-OR group (2.6 ±1.1%) and the CTL group (2.6 ±1.6%). VO2max increased significantly from baseline at peak performance only in the CTL and AF groups. 60%, 83% and 73% of peak performances occurred within the two first weeks of taper in CTL, AF and OR, respectively. Ten cases of infection were reported during the study with higher prevalence in F-OR (70%) than in AF (20%) and CTL (10%). Conclusion: This study showed that 1) greater gains in performance and V ̇O2max can be achieved when higher training load is prescribed before the taper but not in the presence of F-OR; 2) peak performance is not delayed during taper when heavy training loads are completed immediately prior; and 3) F-OR provides higher risk for training maladaptation, including increased infection risks.
Article
Detailed accounts of the training programs followed by today's elite triathletes are lacking in the sport science literature. This study reports on the training program of a world-class female triathlete preparing to compete in the London 2012 Olympic games. Over 50 weeks, she performed 796 sessions (303 swim, 194 bike, 254 run, 45 strength training), i.e. 16±4 sessions per week (mean±SD). Swim, bike and run training volumes were respectively 1,230 km (25±8 km/wk), 427 h (9±3 h/wk) and 250 h (5±2 h/wk). Training tasks were categorized and prescribed based on heart rate values and/or speeds and power outputs associated with different blood lactate concentrations. Training performed at intensities below her individual lactate threshold (ILT), between the ILT and the onset of blood lactate accummulation (OBLA), and above the OBLA for swim were 74%±6%, 16%±2%, 10±2%; bike 88%±3%, 10%±1%, 2.1%±0.2%; run 85%±2%, 8.0%±0.3%, 7%±0.3%. Training organization was adapted to the busy competition calendar (18 events of which 8 Olympic distance triathlons) and continuously responded to emerging information. Training volumes were 35-80% higher than those previously reported for elite male and female triathletes, but training intensity and tapering strategies successfully followed recommended best practice for endurance athletes. This triathlete placed 7th in London 2012 and her world ranking improved from 14th to 8th at the end of 2012.