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Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
I like to   add some thoughts to the great ongoing discussion on the rowing  section  and like to   move it on here as a theory  section in exercise  physiology.

I like to   start with  the great slide by S. Seiler

LT porblmes.jpg 

I like to show  you  a possible    part of the puzzles  so  many exercise physiologist  search  for  but sometimes  classical thinking  from the past   work  my inhibit   the look    out side the box.

1. A  well trained  athlete  walks  up  a hill despite   the  fact he  could have run up the hill.

 This is  physiological training zoning  in one simple example.. The   great coach  combined  with a great   athlete  with a great body feeling allow to run in the field  by  trying to stay in a  targeted    physiological intensity. Start of this  ideas  reach  far  far  back. That's  where    knowing the history  would allow us to  avoiding  repeating mistakes on the one  side  but as well  benefit  from   them on the other side.
The first  simple  physiological feed backs  to stay in a  physiological zoning  date  back   in the  19  century  and  where heavily used in  army training.   Army guys like the one  from Napoleon   ( Amoros )  was  an  initial  trigger  for   physical training on young Men in   mainland  Europe. This influenced   till into the late  1960  and longer the way  sport was  supported in many European countries  where the   military department funded  a lot  of  sport activities for young males  and women  where  cut out of this.  Respiration  feedback was the first basic physiological feedback  control, whether   soldiers  would loos the  aerobic  pacing.

How  was this  used. ?

The next  big  step  towards physiological pacing  was the   nice   heart rate monitor  and I remember the first   once like  a Casio one  with a chest belt  and than a  cable along you sleeve  to a  watch  with a  cable connection.
Than  step forward  PE  250  from polar  and the rest is history.

So perhaps  surprising  that  we can be surprised seeing a  top athlete with a  plan  from his coach to run  , bike,  row  or ski  and so on  the  walk up  a hill shift gear  going up a hill  go  side steps  up  a hill and so on. And the plan  was set up  to  try  to improve  for example deliver  but avoided   extreme utilization and  so on.
 Step  forward.
  How  does this athlete  running to a hill and changes  to walk and than back  to run ,  can have  the best optimal feedback , that the  reduction in speed  reflex  the intensity  he likes  to maintain ?

Remember the lag time of  delivery systems  and the  fast  ability of responds on local  system  to use  available O2   before triggering a  delivery  demand ?  So  respiration  as well as  HR a s current well established  option   on  bio feedback have this  slightly  draw back.
Lets'  take lactate  and the draw back is  even bigger due to  the lactate dynamic.
 You  run into the hill  and slow  down too late   you will see  an increased  HR  or  RF  but after eh fact that you   are  complete  out of the target physiological zoning. Delivery increase  kicks  in , when there is a n emergency  situation in the loco motor  muscles involved in the  run  . bike ski  or  row, .
 The second   draw back is, that an increase in HR  or  an increase in RF  or    lactate  does only tell you  you  moved out of the  physiological zoning you may like  to stay in.
 This   bio  feed backs  do not give you  a  information  on  why or who of the involved   team members  actually    had  to   call for  help.
  So  what you like to have  is a direct live feedback  in case you are not  yet as  great trained , that your body feeling  can help  you do be  as good as possible.
 You  may benefit  by  having  immediately  a feedback   that you   create a delivery problem  or  utilization problem  and  as  we discuss on this forum , you have the feedback,   now  we just have to use it  and  learn  to apply  the  needed reaction depending on the live feedback.  Now it is not just the  hill  who asked  for adjustment , it is  as well as you can see in the presentation the duration  of  a load  but as well the  rest in between the loads. and much more.
Combining  body feeling  with RF feeling  with HR  feedback and feeling  and live information  form your delivery  and utilization  feedback  and you have  a   nice  easy  great way  of improving  your  training quality   and reduce therefor often the training quantity.

2.  LT  training is  far to stress full for the  benefit  we may get.

Interesting statement and I absolutely agree. What is  LT  in simple terms . (  forget all the formulas )
LT is  a  classical intensity, where we look  to    find a  'BAD " guy lactic acid    and than  can argue , of the accumulation of the bad  substance is  out of  control , than we passed  LT  or  better LT  2.

 Now no matter  whether we  believe  or stick to  the bad  guy or   accept that lactate is a good guy. When ever we see some  accumulation  we know  some where in the body  somebody is in trouble  and  metabolically we  run into  an emergency  responds.

It could be a  local leg overload  so  higher utilization   moments than delivery ability. It  could be a  delivery limitation  so too low  CO  so  more O2  demand than can be delivered  and we  have to protect  vital systems  so less O2  available for the current intensity but  we keep going  so    O2 higher  in demand than delivery . trigger of  an emergency respond.

In any case we reach a limiter  in  one  or  more than one  system  and we start to overload that system. This may be not  that negative  but  what we  as well trigger is the activation of   potential compensators  and we start to overload them as well. So  LT is  an overload feedback  which is  already  far  to advanced  to have a  controlled  workout  to understand  what we like to   load    and what we like  not to overload. We  as well have no feedback on  who reached the limitation first and who   initial  was helping  to compensate.

So  LT  or  what ever we like to name  this  specific  intensity, where we loos  control is  nothing more than that a  finally feedback  that we  already missed everything.  A relative useless information as you feel it   whether you take a blood sample or  not.
And  it is even more  questionable   information   to   base  training zoning's  on it,  besides  the  2 intensities
  .  Zone  2 :you screwed it up  already 
Zone 1 or you may still be  okay.

So  what you like to have is  an intensity , where you  know  that you  are  not pushing any body   hard  (ARI )   an intensity , where you load the  weakest link,  so it is getting stressed   properly  and  you  not overload uncontrolled anybody.
 The  concept  of  80 / 20   or the idea of   LT1  or  below 2 mmol really have just one idea in mind.  loading  the limiter.
 If you push in sports  like complex    total body  motions  we have in  cross country  skiing   or rowing   LT  to  screw up not just the physiological systems  but you as well   destroy or never develop a proper  efficient  coordination  and with that the technical abilities.

 BUT . If  I  confuse  slow  as a  physical information  with low intensity as a physiological feedback  than I  have some additional problems.  Example '
In sports  where I  have  equipment like  a bike  or  a  rowing boat or skies  it is somewhat easier to get this concept  than in a sports like running  or   to a  certain extend in swimming.
 In our seminars  I like to use often rowing  or cycling as  an example.
 In other words  I  can  bike  very fast  by going  very slow  so low intensity    from an   energy  point of view  but high intensity  from a  coordination point of  view. I  always love to  give  an example  from a  quarter  century  back  from  cycling  camps in Mallorca  Spain. Where I  biked  with a  world  class  ( Olympic  medal  winner )   in sprints  , where  He  was  to slow  for me    because  he was  to fast  or I was  to fast  because I  was too slow.!!!!!

 Or in rowing on the lago  di Silvaplana where I  was able  to  row  48 +  stroke rate in a  world  class boat  with three  guys  who  could row  and me a  complete  rowing idiot.  so  they  moved  high intensity  high   Stroke  rate    and I  moved    still high intensity for me  but very low for them  but same  stroke rate. Or  in Silver start BC , where we  had the  chance to be a part of the physiological testing in the biggest cross country  camps  in north America with Mart Hull  former  USA  national coach  and  Canadian  national team coach . Goal  was  to  go the lowest  intensity possible  but faster than race pace.

 Optimal training is   to find the lowest needed  intensity   ( energy  )  to  create the most intense  specific  stimulation for  the  physiological systems I like to stimulate and improve.


Stress SV  with a m minimal   locomotor  load  if I like to rest   locomotor  muscles but  can afford  to stress the cardiac system.
Or stress a specific  locomotor  chain   by avoiding  a high CO involvement.
 Or  by  stressing a  TV  improvement by  avoiding a  cardiac  overload.  Or  any  possible  combination  depending on what  my goal is.  Or  again I  can load  LT  or what ever this means  and overload  for sure  any body  and  than simply hope  for a positive  out come.
  As  S. Seiler mentioned , a  single workout  has not   negative consequences on the out come  as I  over load  and than  simply  rest    and   hope to recover.  Once I   run multiple training units   and some 2  x  a day  I may reach the TOXIC"  mixture   I may not like to have.

3. A  review  of  paper

That  statement  by S. Seiler  brings us back to the start   and Amoros . If you do not know the history  you miss  out  on many positive  and negative aspects  in life  and  in many  facet of  human  behaviour.


Development Team Member
Posts: 49
Hi Juerg,

I think your point on understanding the distinction between slow training and intensity is really critical. From my own personal experience, my limiter was much weaker than I ever would have guessed without an assessment. If I had just applied the 80/20 rule that is so popular to my general training without guidance from the moxy, my slow "low" intensity training would have been much too high. I think it's a very easy mistake to make when you start looking at numbers like watts, because you tend to think that your training intensity should be a fraction of your maximal intensity. For example, if I can hold 350 watts in a 2k test, then one would think that your low intensity would be half or a third of it, when in reality if we want to strain the limiter, the intensity might be much much less. The focus on that number really distracts from the issue at hand when you're trying to train an athlete, which is not what number they are capable of producing, but rather what do I need to change to make the athlete faster/fitter/stronger etc.

Development Team Member
Posts: 46
I've been reading some older posts.

I got confused by a few statements:
1. "I  can  bike  very fast  by going  very slow"
2.  "He  was  to slow  for me  because  he was  to fast 
or I was  to fast  because I  was too slow.!!!!!"

I am trying to grasp these concepts of "slow  as a  physical information" and "low intensity as a physiological feedback" as I often confuse them myself. For me, most of the time:

"low intensity" = "skiing / running slow"

Any chance of explaining this fallacy again?


Development Team Member
Posts: 1,501
My answer here is  no  I can not  explain it as this is a thinking process  coaches and athletes  have to go  trough  to  really understand  the difference between performance driven /intensity  driven ( wattage / speed )  workouts  and stimulation  and therefor the  zoning ideas based on intensity  versus  the physiological concept of targeting a specif  physiological idea  no matter   what  intensity  you  go. True  some are easier to achieve  with high intensity but that is  an all out uncontrolled team event. As long we have  researcher   believing to stimulate  for example MCT  1  and MCT 4  you have to go  high intensity we  fail to understand  that  adaptation in the   physiological systems  are not intensity  driven by  driven by  the physiological reactions needed  to  create  the    outcome. The last  thing  I wrote many  times. This is a  NIRS interpretation forum  and not a training consulting  forum. Sp orry but interesting  question. 
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