Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Study Spotlight: HRV vs. Predetermined Block Training on Performance

By: Joel Luedke

Training plans are extremely important in any aspect of training both in strength and conditioning and in your running or sports.  In most cases these programs are planned out for the year and they adjust between low intensity and high intensity periods of training.  Coaches will often adjust on feel and based on the feedback of athletes but what if you could put actual numbers and science to it?  This study takes a look at how using Heart Rate Variability (HRV) vs. a predetermined training program
and how it affects performance.

What They Did:
Multiple measure including endurance performance, neuromuscular performance, HRV and serum hormone concentrations were measured before, in the middle and after an eight week training period in 24 endurance trained individuals.

What They Found:
Researchers found that both block style training as well as HRV guided training are very effective when it comes to HIT training with endurance athletes.  The degree to which they worked was the interesting part.  While both groups increased performance the HRV guided timing and number of HIT blocks seemed to provide greater endurance and neuromuscular adaptations compared to predetermined training.

What It All Means:
The good news from this study is your can do really well at improving performance by using predetermined block training when it comes to endurance.  The more exciting news (it may be obvious) is that when you personalize it to how you are feeling and how you are recovering you can increase your performance even more.  There are a lot of ways out there to do this monitoring and it can range from very expensive to almost not costing you anything and that is where it gets even more interesting.

You can use heart rate to help out with how you are feeling and training and track it yourself.  That is easily one way to go.  You can invest some more money and look into a HRV tracking system (i.e. OmegaWave or other options) which will give you the direct data you might be looking for but it can make it a hit to your wallet.  Another, and free, option is to use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale to assess how hard you worked and also using the recovery scale in order to know how your body is bouncing back.  If you are serious about your training and honest with yourself there is plenty of research out there showing that this can be an effective option.

Bottom Line: Listen to your body and you can not only increase your performance but could do so more than if you just "stick to the plan" because it says so.  Happy Training.

Olli-Pekka Nuuttila: Effects of HRV-Guided vs. Predetermined Block Training on Performance, HRV and Serum Hormones

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