Performance in intense exercise events, such as Olympic rowing, swimming, kayak, track running and track cycling events, involves energy contribution from aerobic and anaerobic sources. As aerobic energy supply dominates the total energy requirements after ∼75s of near maximal effort, and has the greatest potential for improvement with training, the majority of training for these events is generally aimed at increasing aerobic metabolic capacity. A short-term period (six to eight sessions over 2-4 weeks) of high-intensity interval training (consisting of repeated exercise bouts performed close to or well above the maximal oxygen uptake intensity, interspersed with low-intensity exercise or complete rest) can elicit increases in intense exercise performance of 2-4% in well-trained athletes. The influence of high-volume training is less discussed, but its importance should not be downplayed, as high-volume training also induces important metabolic adaptations. While the metabolic adaptations that occur with high-volume training and high-intensity training show considerable overlap, the molecular events that signal for these adaptations may be different. A polarized approach to training, whereby ∼75% of total training volume is performed at low intensities, and 10-15% is performed at very high intensities, has been suggested as an optimal training intensity distribution for elite athletes who perform intense exercise events.
© 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.