Polarized training to improve performance

Polarized training to improve performance

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Polarized training is also a promising training approach for hobby athletes

Polarized training is a combination of endurance units and high-intensity training units. With its help, particularly promising training effects can be achieved. The method has been used in competitive sports for years, but according to experts such as Patrick Wahl from the German Sport University in Cologne, it is also suitable for amateur athletes.

Well-trained athletes can only improve their performance to a very limited extent through endurance training, reports the news agency "dpa" and cites so-called polarized training as an opportunity to achieve further increases in performance. Regular cycling and running keep you fit and fulfill their purpose from a health point of view. However, increases in performance beyond a certain point cannot be achieved. With ambitious (hobby) athletes, this can quickly lead to a certain frustration. Polarized training offers a way out.

Combination of endurance units and intensive training intervals With long basic runs and endurance units, as practiced by most hobby athletes, at least in the case of well-trained people, performance can no longer be increased, quotes the "dpa" the head of endurance diagnostics and stress research at the German Sports university in Cologne, Patrick Wahl. The high-volume but low-intensity training (also high volume training; HVT) is therefore only conditionally suitable for increasing performance. Wahl recommends installing high-intensity training units (also high-intensity training; HIT). Professor Andreas Nieß, medical director of sports medicine at the University of Tübingen, shares this assessment. The concept is a good counter model to the frequently pursued motto "run without sniffing", which should leave enough room for a cozy conversation in addition to the training. The combination of intensive training intervals and endurance units named by the American sports scientist Carl Foster as polarized training is already practiced by most professional athletes, according to the experts.

The strength lies in the combination. Prof. Nieß sees his assessment confirmed by a study by the research team led by Martin Gibala from McMaster University in Ontario, in which the training effects of cyclists were examined. As part of the investigation, the athletes were divided into two groups, one of whom completed six training trips over 90 to 120 minutes over a period of two weeks under a load of approximately 65 percent of the maximum oxygen intake. The other group performed four to six high-intensity units of 30 seconds each under maximum load over six days. The physiological adjustment processes and the increase in performance were almost identical, according to the "dpa" report. Patrick Wahl made it clear that this does not mean that one training method should be replaced by the other, but that the strength lies in the combination of the HVT and HIT phases.

70 percent endurance training, 20 percent high-intensity intervals According to the experts, it is customary in high-performance sports today that athletes spend at least 70 percent of their training with HVT intervals and complete about 20 percent in high-intensity areas. Around ten percent of the exercises are to be found in the medium load range. Patrick Wahl also recommends a similar combination to amateur athletes. For example, a hobby runner could combine three long basic units over 60 to 90 minutes a week with two intensive units of four times four minutes running at 90 to 95 percent of the maximum heart rate. A break of three minutes is advisable between the intensive intervals. The expert cites 220 minus age as a guideline for the maximum heart rate. If there is no time for the training workload shown, Wahl advises you to combine two basic units and one intensive interval unit.

Preliminary medical examination advised According to Professor Nieß, people with little training and people with previous illnesses should not start with polarized training directly. The permanent method is recommended to you first. "Things like the adjustment of the musculoskeletal system also play a role here, ie tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones," quotes the "dpa" the experts. According to the sports physician, a preliminary medical examination makes sense anyway, in order not to take any risks with high sports loads. "I would only recommend HIT units if someone has had a preliminary medical examination," says Nieß. If there are no health objections to polarized training, this offers considerable advantages over conventional endurance training. For example, the same or even better effects on sugar metabolism and blood lipid levels can be achieved in less time. The high efficiency of the training method also "led to the introduction of interval training in rehabilitation or prevention, for example in patients with the metabolic syndrome or chronic heart failure," explained Professor Nieß.

Polarized training for competitive athletes and hobby athletes The triathlon trainer and author Holger Lüning reports on the practical application of polarized training in competitive sports in the “dpa” announcement. This is a special concept for athletes who compete in competition and want to continuously improve their performance, said Lüning. "The quality of the training increases and gives the athlete the chance to work very specifically on the skills that are actually required in competition," explains the triathlon trainer. With its help, stagnation can also be prevented or broken up. Professor Nieß also sees a major advantage of polarized training in the saving of time. For example, there is more time for technique training. However, according to the expert, there is no way around the endurance units in order to significantly increase the general resilience, as is required for a long-distance run, for example. Even an increase in the proportion of intensive training intervals beyond 20 percent does not make sense, according to the sports physicians, since those affected would quickly be over-trained. Overall, "polarized training is suitable for both amateur and competitive athletes," Patrick Wahl concludes. (fp)

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Video: CKO Sprint Webinar May 21, 2020: Dr Stephen Seiler talks Polarized Training