Recovery-Adaptation: Strength/Power Sports by Meg and Mike Stone

  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/kettlebe/public_html/enhancedfp.com/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.

The primary goal of the training process is obviously enhanced performance, for the coach/athlete this goal is obviously paramount. However, reaching this goal is not simple; it may be argued that enhancing performance is actually a process of intentionally repeating stimuli (exercise) which result in recovery-adaptation, while avoiding overstress-overtraining. There are basically two methods whereby a coach/athlete can enhance the stimulus- recovery adaptation process:

  1. reasonable planning and execution of the training programme, which should include not only the training stimulus but also built in rest.
  2. adopting reasonable methods of enhancing recover-adaptation other than training (e.g. daily nutrition, nutritional supplements, possibly massage or vibration).

Definitions and Terminology

Recovery can be defined as - regaining what was lost - however, for the coach/athlete this is not very satisfying as it returns the athlete only to where they started. Adaptation can be defined as - the process of long-term adjustment to a specific stimulus. This process of adaptation can include adjustment in a number of factors such as the athlete's physiology, psychology and mechanics. These alterations can ultimately lead to improved performance - which is a more satisfying prospect for the coach and athlete. So, in a conceptual context for sports, recovery-adaptation becomes paramount.

Training - Theoretical Mechanisms for Success - Or Failure

This discussion primarily deals with the training aspects of recovery-adaptation. As previously mentioned the training process is concerned with preventing overstress-overtraining while enhancing performance. There are several hypothetical/theoretical mechanisms which can aid in understanding the training process:

Stimulus-fatigue-recovery-adaptation (SFRA): Conceptually (Figure 1), an appropriate stimulus will result in some level of fatigue, recovery and adaptation such that performance can be eventually improved (i.e. supercompensation).

Figure 1: STIMULUS-FATIGUE-RECOVERY - ADAPTATION

This concept is not limited to a single exercise response but may be observed over a longer period producing training adaptations (Rowbottom 2000). There are a number of observations that lend support to this concept. For example: Verkoshansky (1977, 1985) noted that a unidirectional concentrated load of strength or strength-endurance training for several weeks could result in a diminished speed-strength (power) capability among track and field athletes. Upon returning to normal training increased performance can often be observed, sometimes beyond baseline values. Verkoshansky (1977, 1985) suggested that these results may be explained by the SFRA concept. Similar results have been observed among junior weightlifters after a planned high volume over-reaching phase; these results among weightlifters appear to be at least partially linked to alterations in anabolic/catabolic hormones (Fry et al. 2000, Stone and Fry 1997).

This theory (SFRA) has similarities to Selye's General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), which can be used to model sports performance (Stone et al. 1991). Conceptually, adaptation or mal-adaptation is the summation of all stressors an athlete may encounter (Figure 2). So, recovery-adaptation should be viewed as long-term interplay among various stressors and not just training.

Figure 2: FACTORS (STRESSORS) EFFECTING SPORT PERFORMANCE

Fitness vs. Fatigue. The charateristic of sports preparedness deals with the degree to which an athlete is ready to perform. Although a high level of "preparedness" does not guarantee a superior performance - it does reflect the performance potential. According to this theory (Zatsiorsky 1995), an athlete's preparedness can be determined by the summation of two after-effects of training: fatigue and fitness (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Basically, this theory indicates that fatigue disapates at a faster rate than fitness - enhancing preparedness. In contrast to the SFRA theory based on a cause-and-effect relationship between these factors, the fitness-fatigue model proposes that they have opposing effects. This has simple but profound implications for programme design and implementation: Preparedness, which is strongly related to performance, can be optimized with strategies that maximize the fitness responses to training stimuli while minimizing fatigue. So, if preparedness is enhanced, performance should also be enhanced - evidence for these relationhips can be found in the positve performance effects of a taper (Mujika and Padilla 2003).

 

Training Strategy

Because fatigue is a natural consequence of training stress (especially with high volume-loads) - and adaptations are primarily manifested during subsequent unloading periods - fatigue management is exceptionally important in producing a sound programme. These unloading periods can be implemented at different levels in periodized programme (Stone et al 1999a, 1999b, Plisk and Stone 2003) for example using a more classical periodisation model:

  • Macrocycle: active rest/transition periods after competitive periods
  • Mesocycle: restitution microcycles after overreaching microcycles, concentrated blocks or stressful competitions
  • Microcycle: the use of unloading weeks following successive weeks of increased volume or intensity
  • Intra-microcycle (day-to-day): maintenance/restitution workloads or recovery days; daily training routines can be distributed into modules separated by recovery breaks (i.e. multi-sessions per day) and additional intra-session relief breaks (e.g. in strength-power training sessions rather than use a "repetition maximum" approach where each set is completed in continuous fashion, it can be advantageous to subdivide assigned workloads into clusters separated by rest-pauses, Haff et al. 2003).

So, there are several levels of potential variation in the training programme. Variation has clearly been shown to be a key factor in recovery-adaptation (Foster et al. 1998, Stone et al. 2000). As part of this variation introduction of unloading periods (i.e. rest-recovery periods) into the training programme structure can reduce the overstress/overtraining potential and enhance the recovery-adaptation process ultimately enhancing performance.

Unloading periods: Estimating the work-load.

Work (force x displacement) is directly related to the energy used during exercise and is also related to the energy consumed during recovery. Work accomplished is therefore related to the total energy expended as a result of training. So, the more work performed in a training session the greater the potential for extended recovery periods. The inability to recover not only effects adaptation but also affects the athlete's ability to respond to the next training session. To be able to implement appropriate unloading periods it is necessary for the coach to develop an understanding of the measurement or a reasonable estimate of work for their specific sport. This is relatively easy in weight-training as the volume load (repetitions x mass lifted) is associated with recovery energy (Scala et al. 1987). Thus, calculating the volume load per session can give a reasonable qualitative indication of how long it will take to recover. However, in other sports activities estimates can also be derived from specific exercise characteristics - for example in sprinting work may be estimated using a combination of distance run and times achieved (Kirksey and Stone 1998). Developing good estimates of work for various sports is a key factor in being able to appropriately vary exercise loads and plan appropriate unloading periods (i.e. if you don't know what a heavy work load is - then you cannot implement a light one).

Monitoring the Training Process

Perhaps the most important aspect in considering training-recovery-adaptation is monitoring the process. Failure to properly monitor the training process, results in the coach never really knowing if a particular athlete is recovery and adapting. Nor will the coach know if the training plan is producing the desired results - a positive or negative performance result may have been due to outside factors (including chance) rather then good planning. Monitoring the training process should include the development of tests which reflect sports specific fitness and preparedness. These tests should be:

  1. relatively easy to administer and relatively non-interfering with training - tests should include a variety of physiological, biomechanical and psychological aspects as well as performance tests
  2. characterized by rapid data return
  3. easy for the coach/athlete to interpret
  4. administered in an integrated fashion with the training plan

Proper monitoring can aid the coach in:

  • Developing athlete profiles and talent ID procedures
  • Standardizing testing and monitoring methods
  • Aid the coach in developing short and long-term training plans for the group and the individual athlete

Integration of the monitoring process into the training programme should include testing at key phases - for example: just before and after high volume or high intensity phases such as - general preparation, special preparation and competition and after immediately after competition - this type of testing programme will allow the coach to asses the adaptation of athletes to various types of stimuli across time. In this manner the coach will know whether or not the desired results are being obtained for different training stimuli (i.e. each phase). Training logs, which include the necessary elements for estimating work accomplished, should be kept by each athlete so that relationships between training variables (volume, intensity factors and exercise selection) and the tests can be noted. Administration of tests and interpretation tests results can be enhanced by forming a coach directed team of sports scientists and medical personnel. This process (and team) may also aid the coach/athlete in adapting training or formulating new and innovative methods of training.

Summary

Recovery-adaptation is a multi-dimensional process that is driven by the training stimulus. The greater the "load" of training the greater the demand for planned recovery. Creative planning of the training process, which not only includes the training stimulus but also built in rest and recovery periods, can enhance recovery-adaptation. A necessity is proper monitoring of training-recovery-adaptation. Monitoring the training process can help to determine an individual athlete's recovery needs and assist in determining if the training programme is producing desired results. Ultimately appropriate planning and monitoring of this processes can result in superior sports performance.


From the Coaches' Information Service at http://coachesinfo.com/. All material is copyright. ©


Submitted by DMorgan on Sat, 04/21/2007 - 1:25pm.

| Related Articles