A Scientific Approach to Improve Physiological Capacity of an Elite Cyclist

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $107.00

1 year subscription

USD  $142.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $203.00

2 year subscription

USD  $265.00

Previous studies in endurance athletes have indicated that block periodization (BP) can be a good alternative to the more traditional organization of training despite the fact that the total volume and intensity of the training are similar. However, these studies usually last only 4–12 wk. The aim of the present single-case study was to investigate the consequences of 58 wk with systematic BP of low-intensity training (LIT), moderate-intensity training (MIT), and high-intensity interval training (HIT) including incorporation of heavy strength training. It is important that a maintenance stimulus on the nonprioritized training modalities was added in the different training blocks. Performance-related variables were tested regularly during the intervention. The studied cyclist started with a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) of 73.8 mL · kg−1 · min−1, peak aerobic power (Wmax) of 6.14 W/kg, and a power output at 3 mmol/L blood lactate concentration (Power3la-) of 3.6 W/kg. Total training volume during the 58-wk intervention was 678 h, of which 452 h were LIT (67%), 124 h were MIT (18%), 69 h were HIT (10%), and 34 h were heavy strength training (5%). The weekly training volume had a large range depending on the focus of the training block. After the intervention the cyclist’s VO2max was 87 mL · kg−1 · min−1, Wmax was 7.35 W/kg, and Power3la- was 4.9 W/kg. This single case indicates that the present training program can be a good alternative to the more traditional organization of long-term training of endurance athletes. However, a general recommendation cannot be given based on this single-case study.

The authors are with the Dept of Sports Sciences, Lillehammer, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norway.

Rønnestad (bent.ronnestad@inn.no) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Stöggl TL, Sperlich B. The training intensity distribution among well-trained and elite endurance athletes. Front Physiol. 2015;6:295. doi:10.3389/fphys.2015.00295

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Issurin VB. Benefits and limitations of block periodized training approaches to athletes’ preparation: a review. Sports Med. 2016;46:329–338. PubMed doi:10.1007/s40279-015-0425-5

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Rønnestad BR, Ellefsen S, Nygaard H, et al. Effects of 12 weeks of block periodization on performance and performance indices in well-trained cyclists. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014;24:327–335. doi:10.1111/sms.12016

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Rønnestad BR, Hansen J, Hollan I, Ellefsen S. Strength training improves performance and pedaling characteristics in elite cyclists. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015;25:89–98. PubMed doi:10.1111/sms.12257

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Rønnestad BR, Hansen J, Vegge G, Mujika I. Short-term performance peaking in an elite cross-country mountain biker. J Sports Sci. 2017;35(14):1392–1395. PubMed doi:10.1080/02640414.2016.1215503

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Rønnestad BR, Askestad A, Hansen J. HIT maintains performance during the transition period and improves next season performance in well-trained cyclists. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014;114:1831–1839. PubMed doi:10.1007/s00421-014-2919-5

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Jeukendrup AE, Craig NP, Hawley JA. The bioenergetics of world class cycling. J Sci Med Sport. 2000;3:414–433. PubMed doi:10.1016/S1440-2440(00)80008-0

  • 8.

    Verkhoshansky YV. Organization of the training process. New Stud Athl. 1998;13, 21–31.

  • 9.

    Sylta O, Tønnessen E, Seiler S. From heart-rate data to training quantification: a comparison of 3 methods of training-intensity analysis. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014;9:100–107. PubMed doi:10.1123/ijspp.2013-0298

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Lucia A, Hoyos J, Santalla A, Earnest C, Chicharro JL. Tour de France versus Vuelta a España: which is harder? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003;35:872–878. PubMed doi:10.1249/01.MSS.0000064999.82036.B4

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Lundby C, Robach P. Performance enhancement: what are the physiological limits? Physiology (Bethesda, Md.). 2015;30:282–292.

  • 12.

    Midgley AW, McNaughton LR, Wilkinson M. Is there an optimal training intensity for enhancing the maximal oxygen uptake of distance runners?: empirical research findings, current opinions, physiological rationale and practical recommendations. Sports Med. 2006;36:117–132. PubMed doi:10.2165/00007256-200636020-00003

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Vikmoen O, Ellefsen S, Trøen Ø, et al. Strength training improves cycling performance, fractional utilization of VO2max and cycling economy in female cyclists. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016;26:384–396. PubMed doi:10.1111/sms.12468

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 669 669 78
Full Text Views 60 60 6
PDF Downloads 32 32 3