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Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Very nice  responds and good points.
Here some  thoughts  and questions:

30 seconds recovery is a time that do not allow a full recovery but at the same time allowed me to perform several repetitions

Look at SmO2 trends in the close  view. What do we see there ?  and what  could this indicate ?

Than look at  muscle contraction quality.
  Was the  contraction respectively the   load  30 seconds  o  was there a potential adjustment  do sustain the 30 seconds.

O2 utilization, and SmO2   absolutely great goal setting. The question would be :

O2  is a  relative limitless  energy supply  so  what caused the  "fatigue "  in the three sets.
 When we  do  O2  utilization  workouts  we plan to  try to do this 45 - 60 min  without a  series  break but just use O2  refuel O2  use  O2  refuel O2 and this as long  for example needed ins specific  acyclic  sports like ice hockey. 3 x  2 min.
It is the old  question .
 What is endurance .
 Ability to sustain a long  steady load  by balancing delivery and utilization , or sustaining  high intensity  with  rests in between  due to the fact of an  ability o recover  O2  fast  back into the working area. ?

The intriguing  new  research  is getting more and more towards the act, that there is not a  substance  depletion responsible  for  " fatigue " but a  regulation  or protection over  central  regulations.

If you look close to the   reactions  in tHb  and SmO2  you can now  work with your  coach  based on this great workout  to  customise  your  next  one and than use  MOXY live  to actually   decide  the length of the load  and length of recovery exactly  as you planed out  for O2  utilization stimulation , versus  for example   more energy stimulation over Cr.P  involvement.
 As soon you  second MOXY arrives  which should be shortly  you than us one on a  non  or minimal involved muscle and one on  VL  and you have an even better feedback on recovery, in case  you start compensation  or limiting delivery. Great thoughts  and great example.  Thanks  very much  for haring this on here.

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
I was hoping  for some more feedback  on here.
 So  let's  give it some additional thoughts. Again it is never a critic  but a  different view.
1. We see a  low SmO2 all the  way indicating  that this cyclist  already has a great  utilization  compared to  cyclist  who may  only  drop to 35 +- SmO2.
 So  the question is :
 Was the workout indented  to maintain this ability   or  to further improve this ability ?
2. Look careful; in the three sets  where we have the most likely the lowest trend in SmO2  ( which  rep in each set?)
3. Remember the stupid  cookbook  : If you liek to stimulate  utilization of  what ever   try to reduce delivery.
4. How  did  delivery changed over the three sets ? ?
5 As we  push  for a higher  energy delivery  who  tried  to compensate  in this case ?  This is  simply loud thinking  form my side, when  I  create training programs  and  look at the outcome of the program I have created. Did the    idea  on who to stress my target goals  really  was reached. If not  no problem as I learned from this idea  what in this athlete is reacting and how. so next time I  can if needed change the idea a little bit.

Development Team Member
Posts: 279
- Wrt lowest % SmO2 you would expect the first sets to be lowest. Why? Because delivery is not up to speed yet.
- in general you don't really see this really "outlier" SmO2 downward
- I would argue seeing the tHb level higher in the first set stroke volume and HR to increase, SV to be plateauing more in the second / third set and HR compensating (in fact in inceases every set). Also the tHb trend in 2nd and third set seems to go towards vasodilatation=> more CO2
- if you look at the HHB and O2HB gap is gets smaller along with the 3 sets whereas the tHb in first set seems stable , second and third up. So I would argue delivery full up to speed at third set
- tHb seems stable I think in first set due to not yet good vasodilatation. However the sudden higher load might trigger some constriction but this is compensated for by higher CO
- In all I would say delivery troughout improving and in essence an physiological expensive way to stimulate utilisation

Just my two cents. I may be very wrong but hope some can add.

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
haha  Ruud I  " hate " your  2  cents  as I  can not counter  discuss even if  I  like to do this. Perhaps  we  have some other opinion here but  I love  one  section in Ruud's  comment.

In all I would say delivery throughout improving and in essence an physiological expensive way to stimulate utilization

Now  very important   when  new people  follow this discussion: We  do NOT  argue  whether the workout  was  good or  bad. There is no such thing like good or bad , it is  only a  question, was the idea of the workout  achieved  and the  the stimulation I planned was  what |I see or not.
 No  even if the  stimulation was NOT achieved it is a very valuable  workout  as we learn  on what  was  achieved  and what was not achieved  and we  can use it   for  any  future goal setting. And as we reassess  we can see, what the  workout really  changed  functionally and structurally.

Here a  hard one  o  many to swallow.
 In the classical training ideas  some  have the  courage  to name some intensities "garbage"  load or  zone.
I  see it very different . I  do not think nature has a " garbage"  intensity anywhere. The question is what is the  goal   you set with any intensity ideas  you  use. There may be intensities, where we  may not see a  clear  stimulation  but  that does not mean  we  do nothing. If we really go just for loads, than we could say there are many " garbage " ideas  out there , as  our ideas  do not stimulate the target  goal  we may like to achieve, because we   use  an outside stimulus (  called wattage )    and hope it always gives the same inside  physiological reaction. We  have a  great advantage if  we can sue  both  physiological feedback paired  with physical  information So wattage  and NIRS  should huge each other and not fight each other.

So  Ruud's  expensive  way is so  true There  , if  utilization was the target, could be a  much less  expensive way in time and effort  with a potential much better benefit  for the  specific  goal setting  , called utilization. If the goal was  to integrate a  stimulation  to the delivery system   than the  discussion  would be different.

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
I like  to add some more thoughts  to this topic.
 The idea  is  to see how  perhaps tHb  can give us some  additional feedback on the " quality " of the muscle contraction. Before we used  MOXY/NIRS  we  used   SEMG.
 SEMG is a nice feedback on the   overview  of  muscle contraction or  perhaps better motor unit recruitment. SEMG  has some similar  " challenges"  in interpretation  as we see   with NIRS.
 If we  compare  left and right side  with  SEMG or MOXY and we have a  higher SEMG  activity on one side  compared to the other, or we have a   lower  or  " better : " utilization on SmO2  on  one  side, than we have to be very carefully  to shoot  too fast  a  conclusion   to us.
 Why? and what  do  you need  to  have a real  feedback.
  Now   when we started to use NIRS  I always added a  SEMG  to it  to see, whether they support certain trends.
 Unfortunately  when  I looked  just  SmO2  and SEMG   I had many  different reactions    so it was not optimal  to try to replace  SEMG  with  SmO2  trends.
 More interesting  was, when I  compared tHb reactions  and  SEMG. There was a much better  correlation   with each other.
 BUT as usual  as well some conflicting trends.
 So  when  I started to compare  SmO2  and tHb  and SEMG  it was  much more a  situation, where we  can replace  SEMG  and use  MOXY feedback  for  information's on muscle contraction quality.

 Here in very short:  when we  start a muscle contraction  SEMG  will increase  and as more   motor unit we recruit  as more it will increase.
SmO2  : normally  as more   Motor units we  contract as higher the O2  demand as more likely  SmO2  may drop.
tHb . Think on the steady  fight  between  vasoconstriction and vasodilatation  with the aim to maintain  BP. So muscle contraction  will  drop tHB  and  CO increase , CO2 increase as well as metabolic  demand  and shear forces  try  to  create a vasodilatation.tHb  up
 So keep this in mind  .
Goal try to see a SEMG trace in your mind  when you look the  loads  and think  what happens and is the  30 seconds load  time  a real physiological load time  with the same  quality. ?
 So here your weekend    fun  exercise. See why we look at this  below pictures.

explan thb  smo2  start.jpg  

explan thb  smo2  end.jpg

explaoin  hr  overlapp.jpg
explain hr  SmO2  reaction.jpg 

Why   do we choose this  graphs? What  can we back up  with them ?


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Next up is. What  or how  can we use  SmO2 in a physiological paced interval ( meaning, it is not   time  paced  but physiological feedback paced.
 The SmO2 trend in the  recovery section is a   specific  feedback  for PCr under very specific c situation. So once we establish this situation we have a  direct feedback on the stimulation on Cr.P   supply  and  or demand. So you  can set a  goal  to  stimulate  utilization of Cr.P   to  create a bigger storage  ability  or  you can plan  if needed a stimulation  to  try  to enhance  refueling of  Cr.P.
So  question  do you like to enhance the  Cr.P  metabolic  ability  or the  glycolysis  process or the  oxidative ability.?
With the NIRS feedback  you now  have control  and it is now  up to each coach  to use this information  in case he has a specific  target  he likes  to achieve.
 Functional reaction or  more towards a structural change. After a  certain time  reassess and see, whether you changed the  situation towards your goal . 

Example First graph is a  nice  example   as a theoretical and practical result.
recovery  trends  in Crp.jpg

Above  an example of  three different "fitness' level people

Now  below  an internal case study  with the same person over a  three month period with a targeted  workout idea.

overlap thb  smo2  for crp  idea.jpg 

SmO2 3  is start assessment  , SmO2 1 (Darkest green) is   end result.  and below  and overlap  of  11 person  and the three different  people.

overlap  smo2  CrP.jpg 


Development Team Member
Posts: 264
I would like to show here another workout from a great paper which showed improvements with a block of similar workouts for well trained cyclist and that I've adjusted for myself since I am not well trained [smile]
The workout was supposed to be a series of 30s at Power(VO2peak), 15s at half power.
I've made it 30s/30s.
I wanted to see the implication on muscular level for this type of workout.
This is a 10min interval.
My observations
1. The low SmO2 values are probably due to delivery limitation from previous workout the day before
2. The half power at recovery did not allow SmO2 to recover to previous level meaning that it stayed very low for the entire lenght of the interval.
I think that the combinations of the above points are possibly the reasons of the great adapations reported in the paper ... (I will post the link later)


Development Team Member
Posts: 264
The article I was referring to:

Short intervals induce superior training adaptations compared with long intervals in cyclists – An effort-matched approach

Ronnestad et al. (2014)


Development Team Member
Posts: 279
Hi Daniele. I had an article (but cant seem to find it quickly) in which the 4 x 8 mins with 2 min rest are "best" intervals instead of those shorter ones. Maybe I can trace it. Will try later when I have more time at hand

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501

It is always  hard  for me to accept  claims  like the best  , the only  and so on.
 Se in my  summary on protocols. the  key is  to find  which stimulation in the current physiological state  with current limitation and  compensation will e  most appropriate  to offer a decent  accepted  stimulation   trigger  either a  functional reaction I we look for a shorter  term performance gain  or a  structural change if e look for a more long term performance planning.
 It  come  down  to s always the  RESPONDER  and NON responder.
It is  still  fun  for me  anytime I open a magazine or   a paper  and they have a cook book idea  getting  your ready  for a  specific  event like a  10 km    run or a marathon  or a  grand  fondo  or   what ever.
 We  can pay training programs on line  and we  can copy  world  class athletes preparation 3 weeks  and than  go though  this.
 Incredible in todays ability  to track  and assess your individual ability  and actually  with some  small time commitment   be able  to design  your plans  with you coach.
Find your limiter , us a live feedback and working n  your goal   that is  relative straight forward isn't  it.

 The  great  live feedback we  had  lately on a 3  x  20 min  FTP  80 % planned workout is a great example  how it does not  work  but how easy we  could adjust this to the target. pln. The question was  in this case  much more  . 

 what was the physiological goal rather  what was the %  aim  during the workout.
Juts  some thoughts  to  an ongoing  discussion.
 I  can  absolutely understand where we started this idea.
 It was the lack  of ability to  have live feedbacks  and the   believe. that a human   or any physiological system  works  like a  mechanical machine.


Development Team Member
Posts: 279
Correct Juerg! That's why i intentionally placed "best" between the quotation marks

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Thanks  Ruud  . Yes I saw the "best"  and had  to smile
Here the  Study    Daniele  refers  to.

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Apr;25(2):143-51. doi: 10.1111/sms.12165. Epub 2014 Jan 1.

Short intervals induce superior training adaptations compared with long intervals in cyclists - an effort-matched approach.

Rønnestad BR1, Hansen J, Vegge G, Tønnessen E, Slettaløkken G.

Author information


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of 10 weeks of effort-matched short intervals (SI; n = 9) or long intervals (LI; n = 7) in cyclists. The high-intensity interval sessions (HIT) were performed twice a week interspersed with low-intensity training. There were no differences between groups at pretest. There were no differences between groups in total volume of both HIT and low-intensity training. The SI group achieved a larger relative improvement in VO(2max) than the LI group (8.7% ± 5.0% vs 2.6% ± 5.2%), respectively, P ≤ 0.05). Mean effect size (ES) of the relative improvement in all measured parameters, including performance measured as mean power output during 30-s all-out, 5-min all-out, and 40-min all-out tests revealed a moderate-to-large effect of SI training vs LI training (ES range was 0.86-1.54). These results suggest that the present SI protocol induces superior training adaptations on both the high-power region and lower power region of cyclists' power profile compared with the present LI protocol.


The  discussion on  this topic is ongoing. The  first big  discussion  in research  was the  discussion  between Dudley  and Holloszy Every  exercise  science  " generation" this discussion shows  up  again  and again. so  every about  15  +-  years.

Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance:  the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training

Stephen Seiler1 and Espen Tønnessen2

Sportscience 13, 32-53, 2009 (
1 University of Agder, Faculty of Health and Sport, Kristiansand 4604, Norway. Email.  
2 Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee National Training Center, Oslo,  Norway. Email.
Reviewers: Iñigo Mujika, Araba Sport Clinic, Vitoria, Spain; Stephen Ingham, English Institute of Sport, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK.


Endurance training involves manipulation of intensity, duration, and frequency of training sessions.   The relative impact of short, high-intensity training versus longer, slower distance training has been studied and debated for decades among athletes, coaches, and scientists.  Currently, the popularity pendulum has swung towards high-intensity interval training.  Many fitness experts, as well as some scientists, now argue that brief, high-intensity interval work is the only form of training necessary for performance optimization.   Research on the impact of interval and continuous training with untrained to moderately trained subjects does not support the current interval craze, but the evidence does suggest that short intense training bouts and longer continuous exercise sessions should both be a part of effective endurance training.  Elite endurance athletes perform 80 % or more of their training at intensities clearly below their lactate threshold and use high-intensity training surprisingly sparingly.  Studies involving intensification of training in already well-trained athletes have shown equivocal results at best.  The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice model for development of endurance performance. KEYWORDS: lactate threshold, maximal oxygen uptake, VO2max, periodization.

VO2max Trainability and High Intensity Interval Training in Humans: A Meta-Analysis

Andrew P. Bacon,1 Rickey E. Carter,2 Eric A. Ogle,3 and Michael J. Joyner1,*

Conrad P. Earnest, Editor

Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.

Go to:


Endurance exercise training studies frequently show modest changes in VO2max with training and very limited responses in some subjects. By contrast, studies using interval training (IT) or combined IT and continuous training (CT) have reported mean increases in VO2max of up to ∼1.0 L · min−1. This raises questions about the role of exercise intensity and the trainability of VO2max. To address this topic we analyzed IT and IT/CT studies published in English from 1965–2012.

Inclusion criteria were: 1)≥3 healthy sedentary/recreationally active humans <45 yrs old, 2) training duration 6–13 weeks, 3) ≥3 days/week, 4) ≥10 minutes of high intensity work, 5) ≥1∶1 work/rest ratio, and 6) results reported as mean ± SD or SE, ranges of change, or individual data. Due to heterogeneity (I2 value of 70), statistical synthesis of the data used a random effects model. The summary statistic of interest was the change in VO2max. A total of 334 subjects (120 women) from 37 studies were identified. Participants were grouped into 40 distinct training groups, so the unit of analysis was 40 rather than 37. An increase in VO2max of 0.51 L ·min−1 (95% CI: 0.43 to 0.60 L · min−1) was observed. A subset of 9 studies, with 72 subjects, that featured longer intervals showed even larger (∼0.8–0.9 L · min−1) changes in VO2max with evidence of a marked response in all subjects.

These results suggest that ideas about trainability and VO2max should be further evaluated with standardized IT or IT/CT training programs.


There are  as  always the  question.
 Functional reaction  as a short term impressive   progress , versus   structural adaptation as a long term  gain in eh performance ability.

 What is  now new in the discussion is the    knowledge. that there   is not  such think like actual anaerobic  loads.  So the  fact that HIT improved  VO2  ability  was always hard  to   accept  as we  all though  HIT  as  an
" anaerobic  / alacticid  load .
Now  with new  technology  and one of them is  NIRS  we know , that we use  very fast ( Suhlman  et all ) O12  so a hit is really  very highly  aerobic  and   as well lacticid . The  classical test ideas like VO2  over  a mask  and lactate over a finger  where simply  to slow  ( lag time )  to see, what we  now  see live. So  whit HIT  we surprisingly may stimulate  functionally the O2  utilization much more intense, than with a  slower  longer  distance  workout.
. See SmO2  drop  close  to very low  levels  compared  to a VO2  max test .  In a  50 km  cross country ski race we use much more O2   the first  few  km than  towards the end.   and so on.
 So   HIT  clearly  stimulate  O2  utilization  and for sure  over  functional reactions . The question   is, whether this  as well will trigger  on the long run a  structural change needed  to  deliver  and convert more  O2.

 At the end  it may   show us , that both  ideas or stimulation are needed  at the  right dosage  and the right  time.
 To  find the optimal timing we  have to look at physiological reactions, do we still see progress in physiological parameters  or  not  anymore. So when  do we  change  or add one or the other.
 Periodization based on days  weeks  and month   simple  can not  do this. Physiology  and changes   are not  based on  outside time schedules  but on inside  physiological  ability  to react  to change  and adapt.
 This is  individual  and may depend on many  factors  like nutrition  , age  gender   climate  and so on. Therefor the periodization is given by  feedback of  changes  and adaptation of physiological systems.


Development Team Member
Posts: 264
Few months ago, in the first post of this thread, I wrote
Workout was 3x6min at high intensity (approximately CP value) with limited recovery (3 minutes).
Performance Goal is to reach 4x8min at the same intensity in approximately 3/4 months time.

Now I can say that this has been achieved.
As it has been written in other posts, probably improved efficiency so at the same power levels, less VO2 was required which allowed to complete the series with longer intervals and shorter recovery.  


Development Team Member
Posts: 279
Good [smile] Did you change cadence in the last set?

Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
Nice  work  . look  as a  regular readers look at the tHb reaction  at rest and  what happens  when he loads. In a first glimpse  the brain things 2  directive.
 a)  load   reaction  outflow restriction  or   cardiac vasodilatation. in the rest   outflow  of  flow restriction or  BP  control  due to  extreme vasodilatation.  How  can e move on and make a direction to get towards  what may be the cause ? Next look at last  HR and  SmO2 trend last load  ?

Now   did you had a  MOXY on a  minimal involved muscle or  on the RF on he same leg. ?
Why. The minimal involved  muscle will give us a  feedback on the systemic  BP  reactions and therefor on CO ( Hint  SV ).
 the  MOXY on the RF  will give us an  intermuscular coordination feedback.  remember the first  possible  hint what may have changed  tHb  trend. Ruuds  grate  and your feedback. Before we see a  more efficient  CO  we  have to see a  change in capillarisation. May  be  we have that here.  Mow a  5/1/5  reassessment and a comparison  with  the  few  from before  can give  a great feedback now. During a  5/1/5  we than go  and play around  with delivery  loads in the same load  and see how  you react  and you have the feedback you look for. You know the intensities  you stressed  you have the re assessment and you know  how your body reacted in this  repeated  stimulation. Hint on one  of Ruuds  request
 A  5/1/5 is a  physiological assessment to find  limiter and compensators.
 Based in this feedback  you have physiological zoning  and  live feedback as you go along  daily. Example . I have  today a  cardiac  patient in I know the limiter as it is diagnosed  so easy  to know 
His 5/1/5  shows  that he   gets  as any other  top athlete in the STEI  to his  end of his weakest   team member which is his heart.
 So we have  some  early  warning  feedback remember the hierarchic  of   O2  supply   we showed.. So  we know    hat  one we reach optimal / maximal  cardiac  work  e have a  drop in SmO2  and tHb in a non-involved  muscle.  Now  we  as well now the performance if  we go with this  but e  fro sure  can simply   " under load  and  add  to the legs  some additional activity  and see,whether the non involved reacts  , that means to day less load or  no workout if the performance is very low. So  idea  than make a  respiratory workout  to strengthen a  system, which can support the cardiac system.
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