Concensus on Short-Term Endurance Training Methods?


In late 2009, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Team Danmark bought together the leading sport scientists in the world that were focused on high-intensity sport events lasting less than eight minutes in duration or team sports where frequent bursts of high intensity were needed. Such events require training that is a balance between high volumes and high intensity but is also technical as well. The objective was to develop consensus statements on preparing athletes for such events or sports. This article summarises the recently published outcomes of the three-day meeting of the minds.

The Consensus Statements

The meeting focused on high intensity sports lasting less than eight minutes (e.g. track running and cycling, 200 and 400m swim events, rowing, kayaking etc). Here is a summary of what they decided:

  1. Athletes should perform high–intensity interval training.
  2. These intervals should consist of repeated bouts of exercise performed close to or well above the intensity requiring maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).
  3. Athletes should taper before major competitions by emphasising intensity of training at the expense of training volume.
  4. Heavy resistance strength training enhances performance in high-intensity sports.
  5. Heavy resistance strength training without muscle growth enhances endurance capacity in high-intensity sports or events lasting from a few minutes to several hours.
  6. Concurrent strength and endurance training prevents muscle growth but facilitates improved endurance capacity.
  7. Heavy training loads of 4-12 repetitions of 70-95% of maximum load are suggested.
  8. Adequate dietary carbohydrate and energy intake are essential for high-intensity training sessions.
  9. Small amounts of high-quality protein should be consumed soon after high-intensity training or events to enhance recovery and adaptation.
  10. Promote and monitor non-sport recovery strategies to enhance physical and mental recovery.
  11. Focus on long-term athlete development rather than short-term success.
  12. Create a social environment with open communication and a cohesive training group.
  13. Support athletes to balance sport, education, family and personal life.

Reference: Bangsbo, J. and others (2010). Performance in top sports involving intense exercise.  Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports. 20 (Supplement 2): ii-iv.

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