Short-term performance peaking in an elite cross-country mountain biker

J Sports Sci. 2017 Jul;35(14):1392-1395. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1215503. Epub 2016 Aug 1.


Endurance athletes usually achieve performance peaks with 2-4 weeks of overload training followed by 1-3weeks of tapering. With a tight competition schedule, this may not be appropriate. This case investigates the effect of a 7-day overload period including daily high-intensity aerobic training followed by a 5-day step taper between two competitions in an elite cross-country mountain biker. Pre-test peak oxygen consumption was 89 ml·kg-1·min-1, peak aerobic power 6.8 W·kg-1, power output at 2 mmol·L-1 blood lactate concentration 3.9 W·kg-1, maximal isometric force 180 Nm and squat jump 21 cm. During overload, perceived leg well-being went from normal to very heavy. On day 1 after overload, vastus lateralis and vastus medialis EMGmean activity was reduced by 3% and 7%, respectively. Other baseline measurements were reduced by 3-7%. On day 4 of the taper, he felt that his legs were good and all measurements were 3-7% higher than before overload. On day 6 after the taper, his legs felt very good. This case shows that an elite mountain biker (11th in UCI World Cup one week prior to the pre-test) could achieve a rather large supercompensation by using a 12-day performance peaking protocol.

Keywords: Training load; endurance; periodisation; supercompensation; tapering.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Lactic Acid