A 11‐day compressed overload and taper induces larger physiological improvements than a normal taper in elite cyclists
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Endurance athletes usually achieve performance peaking with 2‐4 weeks of overload training followed by 1‐3 weeks of tapering. With a tight competition schedule, this may not be appropriate. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare the effect of a compressed variant of the recommended overload and tapering approach (EXP; n = 9, VO2peak = 77 ± 5 mL·min−1·kg−1) with a 11‐day traditional taper that maintained the usual frequency of high‐intensity aerobic interval training (HIT) and reduced the duration of training at lower exercise intensity (TRAD, n = 8, VO2peak = 74 ± 4 mL·min−1·kg−1) on physiological and psychological variables of endurance performance. EXP performed a 6‐day period with daily HIT followed by a 5‐day step taper. Testing was performed before the intervention (pre), on the 7th (post‐1), and on the 11th day of the intervention (post‐2). From pre to post‐2, EXP achieved a larger relative improvement than TRAD in VO2peak (4.0 ± 3.7% vs 0.8 ± 1.8%, respectively, P = .041) and the 1‐min peak power output from the VO2peak test (5.0 ± 3.6% vs 0.9 ± 1.5%, respectively, P = .009) and had a tendency toward larger improvement in power output at a blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol∙L−1 (P = .088) and peak isokinetic knee extension (P = .06). The effect size of the relative improvement in the endurance variables revealed a moderate‐to‐large effect of EXP vs TRAD. In conclusion, this study indicates that elite cyclists performing the present 11‐day compressed performance peaking protocol consisting of a 6‐day HIT overload followed by a 5‐day step taper are superior to a 11‐day taper only.
Rønnestad, Bent; Vikmoen, Olav. A 11‐day compressed overload and taper induces larger physiological improvements than a normal taper in elite cyclists. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2019 s. 1-10