Optimizing Training Performance
Tue, 3 Nov 2009
the ability of coaches to prescribe training to achieve optimal
athletic performance can be attributed to many years of personal
experience. A more modern approach is to adopt scientific methods in
the development of optimal training programmes. However, there is not
much research in this area, particularly into the quantification of
training programmes and their effects on physiological adaptation and
Several methods have been used to quantify
training load, including questionnaires, diaries, physiological
monitoring and direct observation. More recently, indices of training
stress have been proposed, including the training impulse, which uses
heart rate measurements and training load, and session rating of
perceived exertion measurements, which utilizes subjective perception
of effort scores and duration of exercise. Although physiological
adaptations to training are well documented, their influence on
performance has not been accurately quantified. To date, no single
physiological marker has been identified that can measure the fitness
and fatigue responses to exercise or accurately predict performance.
Models attempting to quantify the relationship between training and
performance have been proposed, many of which consider the athlete as a
system in which the training load is the input and performance the
system output. Although attractive in concept, the accuracy of these
theoretical models has proven poor. A possible reason may be the
absence of a measure of individuality in each athlete's response to
training. Thus, in the future more attention should be directed towards
measurements that reflect individual capacity to respond or adapt to
exercise training rather than an absolute measure of changes in
physiological variables that occur with training.
By: Borresen J, Lambert MI.
Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of
Human Biology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.