In making workload or recovery recommendations, it’s important to consider the timeline of the anticipated training/recovery response.

Recovery recommendations are often made with minimal consideration for the primary goal of the training phase or time an athlete has before they need to be recovered.

???? For example, cold water immersion can help reduce soreness/fatigue, increase parasympathetic tone, and better recover next-day measures of power. There’s also reason to believe cold water immersion will blunt the inflammation response to exercise, and compromise tissue adaptation.

???? The same method can be a great option for an athlete in-season with a competition the next day, and a poor option for an athlete in-season with >48 hours before their next competition or training to improve strength in the off-season.

In a similar context, workload monitoring and related recommendations to address specific physical capacities (e.g. additional high speed running or skating), overall volume, or recovery recommendations should be made with respect to layered time cycles and how they relate to short-term performance and recovery.

???? For example, if an athlete with a low overall volume of work over the previous week has a high-volume practice day, their NEW workload over the previous week will still likely be low, but the short-term fatigue response from the high-volume day may be significant and warrant either adjustments to their next day training volume or their recommended recovery strategies.

⚡ In contrast, an athlete with a typical or high volume of work over the previous week may still benefit from some day-before-competition priming strategy – (low volume of sprint, power or strength work).

???? Whether you start wide (looking at an athletes work over the previous 3+ weeks) and zoom in (work over 1-3 days), or start narrow and zoom out, it’s important to consider training and workload habits over various time cycles to better balance performance, training adaptation, and recovery.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. For more information on in- and off-season program design, training and reconditioning for injured players, and integrating sports science into a comprehensive training process, check out Optimizing Adaptation & Performance

Enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Sports Performance and Hockey Training Newsletter!

 

We often hear about the importance of building an aerobic base early in the off-season to help establish an ability to better tolerate higher training volumes moving forward.

The reality is that the characteristics of the “base” should be specific to the athlete AND to future training phases.
For example, the “aerobic” base for a marathon runner should look very different than the aerobic base for a hockey player.

Further, in team sport athletes where speed and power development are clear priorities, the training methods used to develop those qualities need to be introduced and logically progressed. In other words, a team sport athlete’s “base” should include work that prepares them to tolerate high intensity training methods (sprinting, jumping, etc.).

The image above shows the heart rate response from performing 20 sets of 5 Kettlebell Swings, starting on the minute.

The KB swing, performed correctly, is a movement that emphasizes power development through the posterior chain.

Picking a moderate load, and performing a low volume of reps each set at max effort allows the athlete to accumulate higher volumes of high intensity work, emphasizing high threshold motor units, while keeping the overall training stimulus aerobic.

There are many different variations of this strategy both in terms of exercise selection and set/rep schemes, but the goal here is to keep the movement quality high and HR low (< mid 80s as a rough estimate) throughout the series. With KB Swings, when the athlete starts to fatigue, the movement will look less “bouncy” out of the bottom, and they’ll start to “muscle it” – which typically coincides with the HR climbing to higher peaks. When we see this, we’ll build in a break of a few minutes to reset before continuing on.

Take Home Message
When we talk about building a base – we need to think of building a base across multiple systems (including tissue tolerance), and specific to the individual needs of the athlete AND the training program.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. For comprehensive hockey conditioning programs to improve your speed and repeat sprint ability, check out: Speed Training for Hockey

Enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Sports Performance and Hockey Training Newsletter!

 

Over the last 10 years, there’s been a wide-spread emphasis on “high intensity interval training” to improve conditioning in team sport athletes.

Recently, there’s been more attention paid to the importance of repeat sprint ability (i.e. clustered maximum efforts with incomplete rest before longer periods of lower intensity activity or complete rest), either as the predominant characteristic of sport or as a key characteristic during critical moments of competition.

Unfortunately, a byproduct of these trends is that the benefits of aerobic training have been either largely overlooked or actively dismissed.

Short sprints rely heavily on the PCr (Phosphocreatine) system as an energy source. One of the major limiting factors to repeat sprint ability is the resynthesis of PCr, which is depleted from max efforts lasting more than few seconds (or short efforts repeated within condensed time periods…like a typical hockey shift).

Aerobic training is one of the primary methods of improving PCr resynthesis rates.

Below is a quote from a paper I reference often:

“High-intensity interval training (6–12·[2 minutes at ~100% VO2max:1minute rest]), can significantly improve PCr resynthesis during the first 60 seconds following high-intensity exercise. In contrast, no changes in the rate of PCr resynthesis have been reported following interval (8·[30 seconds at ~130% VO2max:90seconds rest]), or intermittent-sprint training (15·[6-second sprint: 1-minute jog recovery]), or training involving repeated, 30-second, all-out efforts (4–7·[30 seconds ‘all-out’: 3–4 minutes rest]).“

While the authors use “high-intensity interval training” to describe the 6-12 x 2:00/1:00 interval, this is not a method commonly used by those relying on high intensity conditioning (the later examples in the quote are more representative).

The point here is that even if your goal is SOLELY to support maximum speed efforts, aerobic training plays a KEY role in allowing the athlete to repeat those outputs.

Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld
SpeedTrainingforHockey.com
HockeyTransformation.com
OptimizingAdaptation.com

P.S. For comprehensive hockey training programs to improve your speed AND repeat sprint ability, check out: Speed Training for Hockey

Enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Sports Performance and Hockey Training Newsletter!