The Right Kind Of Hard

Rev­o­lu­tionise your train­ing with po­lar­i­sa­tion.

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Inside - WORDS BY AARON BORRILL PIC­TURES BY GETTY IM­AGES

Get faster, stronger and fit­ter by rid­ing more slowly – and more of­ten.

NOT TOO LONG AGO, CY­CLING train­ing doc­trine preached ex­clu­sively about the high­vol­ume train­ing model, in which large amounts of time are spent ex­er­cis­ing in what is known as the heavy do­main (the sweet spot). And while this ap­proach re­sulted in pro­duc­tive train­ing adap­tions, the dreaded fit­ness plateau of­ten fol­lowed.

On the op­po­site end of the train­ing spec­trum is the po­larised train­ing phi­los­o­phy, a model for­malised by sports sci­en­tist Stephen Seiler. As the name might sug­gest, po­larised train­ing dic­tates that ath­letes should spend 80 per cent of their time train­ing at a low to mod­er­ate in­ten­sity, and 20 per cent at a high to se­vere in­ten­sity, with very lit­tle – if any – time spent in the heavy do­main. Re­search has shown the ben­e­fits of such train­ing, the fo­cus of which al­lows a coach to tai­lor a train­ing plan around an ath­lete’s phys­i­o­log­i­cal traits and time lim­i­ta­tions, for op­ti­mal re­sults.

This train­ing model has been adopted by most elite and pro­fes­sional ath­letes train­ing in en­durance-based sports – and the re­sults have been ex­tra­or­di­nary.

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