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Thread: Effectiveness of Polarized Training for conditioning

  1. #1
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    Effectiveness of Polarized Training for conditioning

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3912323/

    In a nutshell polarized training is going really hard 5-10% of the time and really easy the other 90-95% of the time, unlike what most actually do which is moderate effort all the time regardless of how they perceive their efforts. It's just putting a fancy name to the age old concept of going hard when it's time to go hard, and not thwarting those hard efforts by going hard when it's time to go easy. We can poke all sorts of holes in the methods in the study, for example properly structured HIIT is polarized training. A good takeaway is that if you get discouraged because you don't have time or energy to do hard conditioning multiple times a week, you don't need to do that. If you're killing yourself in the gym, and your worn out and miserable, you can dial it back a notch.

    Take HIIT for example. The vast majority of the experts on the interweb love to misquote Tabata, and get all wrapped up around the axle about the rest intervals. If you try to replicate the Tabata protocol on a Bike erg and use a HRM, it's just high intensity training, there's no actual recovery between intervals, and frankly that protocol was developed in the glory days of EPO. Anyways, the goal of High Intensity Interval Training should be high intensity intervals with as much rest as needed between sets to produce high intensity intervals, not moderate to low intensity intervals with short rest periods. The high intensity produces the results, not how closely they are crammed together. On a larger scale, there needs to be enough time to recovery from the workout before doing it again.

    The concept applies at micro and macro levels of training.

    Tabata study
    https://www.researchgate.net/publica...ity_and_VO2max
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  2. #2
    careful what you wish for blues's Avatar
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    Back in the olden days, when I actually enjoyed, well almost enjoyed running, there was Fartlek.

    I try to incorporate something very much like the training you are discussing in my own rowing workouts.

    I realized early on that trying to replicate Tabata with kettlebells was not going to work without modification which ended up with longer rest periods so I could go hard when the next bell rang.

    On rows, I find 20 seconds hard followed by 40 seconds easy seems to work pretty well. I haven't tried longer rest periods.
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  3. #3
    There is a forest nearby where I live. What I do regularly: Sprint for 38 double steps, that is 100 m. Then walk a minute or so until the heart rate is down at 110 bpm or so. Then repeat. In between stretching which is good for the knee joints, push-ups, lunges and squats. And there is a fire watch tower about 40 m = 44 yd high. I run up the stairs as fast as I can, personal record is 54 s. Especially the tower helps to make the legs stronger.
    Last edited by P30; 08-09-2019 at 11:58 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blues View Post
    On rows, I find 20 seconds hard followed by 40 seconds easy seems to work pretty well. I haven't tried longer rest periods.
    A lot of the studies on HIIT are using 2-5 minute rest intervals, and generally there's no benefit to or deleterious effects from resting longer than 2 minutes. The tough part about HIIT is establishing an upper threshold and then measuring it, the latter shouldn't be a problem with a Concept2.

    Tabata put olympic speed skaters on a bike ergometer, and recorded their wattage at VO2 max. He then had the athletes produce 170% of that wattage on the 20:10 protocol, for up to 8 sets, 4 times a week. He then compared that to a group that was only doing low intensity steady state cardio. It's a very specific protocol. Unsurprisingly the results showed that anaerobic threshold training improve the athlete's anaerobic threshold, while aerobic training does not. For all the stuff we here about Tabata, the vast majority is not supported by the study and the study didn't even validate the Tabata protocol against any other anaerobic training protocol. Yet Tabata is the basis for most HIIT programs on the web.

    The real question about Tabata should be did the skaters get better on the ice or just better at riding a bike, and no one knows the answer to that.
    Last edited by txdpd; 08-09-2019 at 01:27 PM.
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  5. #5
    careful what you wish for blues's Avatar
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    I've read various articles stating that the Tabata protocol provides results over a limited period of time, (weeks), after which I suppose one might either stagnate or regress to the mean.

    I do remember on Rippetoe's site one of his former acolytes stating that he would take lengthy rest periods (minutes) between his max work on bike and rowing ergs. He was much stronger and fitter than I ever was or will be.

    My only issue with that protocol, is even if it might yield maximal results, I don't have the patience to stretch out the workout too long...though I suppose one could hit some lifts or something else in the interim.

    Truth is that at my age I'm no longer going for PRs or max gains. Just enough to keep what I consider a reasonable amount of strength and cardio fitness going forward. Most of my discipline is used to just force myself to hit it a few times a week. Longer sessions were more acceptable to me during my work years, especially when Uncle didn't mind me using the gym on his time.
    Last edited by blues; 08-09-2019 at 01:41 PM.
    “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” - Sun Tzu | "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by blues View Post
    My only issue with that protocol, is even if it might yield maximal results, I don't have the patience to stretch out the workout too long...
    You could do some stretching of your muscles and tendons in between to avoid being bored.

    Many people neglect stretching. I've hurt my right knee pretty much two years ago. Stretching helped me a lot in recovery. There's a theory that knee arthrosis develops because the tendons and the fascias around the knee are two short. Then there is too much pressure on the cartilage in the knee and the cartilage is planed away when the knee joint is moved under too much pressure. I do the above stretching exercises (link in post #3) every day since two years (besides lunges and squats). Problems with my knees have nearly disappeared. In most regards they are in better shape than five years ago. In between I do mountain climbers (another demonstration) in order to spread the "joint lubricant" inside the knee. Before all this stuff I do jumping jacks for general warm-up.
    Last edited by P30; 08-09-2019 at 03:29 PM.

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