Interval training program optimization in highly trained endurance cyclists
Laursen, PB and Shing, CM and Peake, JM and Coombes, JS and Jenkins, DG, Interval training program optimization in highly trained endurance cyclists, Medicine and Sciences in Sports and Exericse, 34, (11) pp. 1801-1807. ISSN 0195-9131 (2002) [Refereed Article]
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of three different high-intensity interval training (HIT) regimens on endurance performance in highly trained endurance athletes. Methods: Before, and after 2 and 4 wk of training, 38 cyclists and triathletes (mean ± SD; age = 25 ± 6 yr; mass = 75 ± 7 kg; V̇O 2peak = 64.5 ± 5.2 mL.kg -1 ·min -1 ) performed: I) a progressive cycle test to measure peak oxygen consumption (V̇O 2peak ) and peak aerobic power output (PPO), 2) a time to exhaustion test (T max ) at their V̇O 2peak power output (P max ), as well as 3) a 40-km time-trial (TT 40 ). Subjects were matched and assigned to one of four training groups (G 1 , N = 8, 8 × 60% T max at P max , 1:2 work:recovery ratio; G 2 , N = 9, 8 × 60% T max at P max , recovery at 65% HR max ; G 3 , N = 10, 12 × 30 s at 175% PPO, 4.5-min recovery; G CON , N = 11). In addition to G 1 , G 2 , and G 3 performing HIT twice per week, all athletes maintained their regular low-intensity training throughout the experimental period. Results: All HIT groups improved TT 40 performance (+4.4 to +5.8%) and PPO (+3.0 to +6.2%) significantly more than G CON (-0.9 to + 1.1%; P < 0.05). Furthermore, G 1 (+5.4%) and G 2 (+8.1%) improved their V̇O 2peak significantly more than G CON (+1.0%; P < 0.05). Conclusion: The present study has shown that when HIT incorporates P max as the interval intensity and 60% of T max as the interval duration, already highly trained cyclists can significantly improve their 40-km time trial performance. Moreover, the present data confirm prior research, in that repeated supramaximal HIT can significantly improve 40-km time trial performance.