|Block Periodization - Training revolution or simple trick? This is what we have to ask ourselves in view of these results.|
What are good ways to periodize your training?
As B. R. Rønnestad, J. Hansen, S. Ellefsen point out in the introduction to their latest paper in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, there is yet a "paucity of studies" that would allow us to decide which of the myriad of possible periodization strategies works best.
There is, for example, preliminary evidence that would suggest that block periodization is more effective than traditional periodization in improving performance (García-Pallarés. 2010), but this evidence is far from being conclusive and thus reason enough for the Norwegian scientists to conduct their own study to investigate
"the effects of a 1-week block of five HIT sessions, followed by a 3-week period of one HIT session per week and a naturally high volume of lowintensity training in trained cyclists." (Rønnestad. 2014)And compare the results to those of a group of cyclists who employ a more traditional two HIT sessions per week organization while simultaneously performing a relatively high volume of low intensity training.
Mixed or exclusive periodization?
If you think in strength training terms you could probably say that we're comparing the nasty classic HST regimen with it's fixed strength-endurance, hypertrophy, strength blocks to a mixed mode regimen without a clear distinction between strength-endurance-, hypertrophy-, and strength-phases.
|Different rules apply for increases in size and strength | learn more|
If your goals are strength and size, I highly suggest not to discard mixing things up, as it is done in undulating periodization regimen (learn more)
During these HIT sessions the participants in both groups alternated between 6x5 and 5x6 min in the intensity zone 3 (➲ all cyclists were instructed to perform each HIT session with the aim to produce the highest possible mean power output across intervals). The intervals were separated by 2.5- or 3-min recovery, respectively. This makes the actual mean power output of each HIT session an indicator of performance level.
Needless to say that the initial week took it's toll on the legs of the 21 trained male cyclists with 6 ± 4 years of competitive cycling experience in the cycling shorts (data from two dropouts due to illness was excluded).
"In order to monitor the power output during HIT sessions, seven cyclists in the BP group and six cyclists in the TRAD group were equipped with a PowerTap SL 2.4 (CycleOps, Madison, WI, USA) mounted on the rear wheel. The PowerTap device is a valid and reliable power meter (Bertucci. 2005). Furthermore, in order to quantify how the training weeks affected the perceived well-being in the legs, the cyclists reported their perceived feelings on a 9-point scale, going fromvery very good to very very heavy after each training week (Fig. 2)." (Rønnestad. 2014)
Figure 2: Perceived well-being in the legs during the intervention period (Rønnestad. 2014) .
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