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Optimal use of your HIT protocol (part 4 of 4)

September 4th, 2012

Victor Tringali M.S. CSCS
www.teamvic.com

In parts 2 and 3 of this series I introduced you to Interval training and outlined a model for High Intensity Intervals for intermediate and advanced clients. While this type of training has shown to be a critical component in the training of successful endurance athletes, it is important to understand how to incorporate this protocol for long-term and continued benefits without causing excessive stress.

A short term period (six to eight sessions over 2–4 weeks) of high intensity interval training (consisting of repeated exercise bouts performed close to or well above the maximal oxygen uptake intensity, interspersed with low-intensity exercise or complete rest) can elicit increases in intense exercise performance of 2–4% in well-trained athletes.  However, the influence of high-volume low-intensity training training should not be downplayed, as it also induces important metabolic adaptations. [i]

HIT should be a part of the training program of all exercisers and endurance athletes. However, about two training sessions per week using this mode of training seems to be sufficient for achieving performance gains without causing excessive stress. And while the effects of HIT on performance are fairly rapid plateau effects are seen as well. Therefore, in order to avoid stagnation and ensure long-term development, training should be adjusted systematically. It appears that an 80:20 ratio of training is ideal without causing excessive stress , meaning about 80 % of training sessions should be performed completely at lower intensities while the remaining 20 % of sessions should distributed between training with intervals at or near the 90-100 %VO2max range- which was described as (Zone 3) in part 3 of this series. At the same time, increases in total training volume should also be implemented in order to elicit improvements in endurance performance.[ii]

High Intensity Interval Training can be an effective training modality at any level. By using it correctly and sparingly you’ll continue to reap the benefits without stagnation or overtraining.

Train Smart and Good Luck!


[i] P. B. Laursen1,2,3 Training for intense exercise performance: high-intensity or high-volume training?: Scand J Med Sci Sports 2010: 20 (Suppl. 2): 1–10 & 2010

[ii] Seiler, Stephen; Tønnessen, Espen :Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training; http://www.sportsci.org/2009/ss.htm

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