Vermeire, KM, Vandewiele, G, Caen, K, Lievens, M, Bourgois, JG, and Boone, J. Training progression in recreational cyclists: no linear dose-response relationship with training load. J Strength Cond Res 35(12): 3500-3505, 2021-The purpose of the study was to assess the relationship between training load (TL) and performance improvement in a homogeneous group of recreational cyclists, training with a self-oriented training plan. Training data from 11 recreational cyclists were collected over a 12-week period. Before and after the training period, subjects underwent a laboratory incremental exercise test with blood lactate measurements to determine the power output associated with the aerobic threshold (PAT) and the anaerobic threshold (PANT), and the maximal power output (PMAX) was also determined. Mean weekly TL (calculated using the training impulse (TRIMP) of Banister, Edwards TRIMP, Lucia TRIMP and the individualized TRIMP) were correlated to the progression in fitness parameters using Pearson Correlation. Training intensity distribution (TID) was also determined (% in zone 1 as <AT; % in zone 2 as between AT and ANT; % in zone 3 as >ANT). No significant correlations between mean weekly TRIMP values and the improvement on PMAX (r = -0.22 to 0.08), PANT (r = -0.56 to -0.31) and PAT (r = -0.08 to 0.41) were found. The TID was significant in a multiple regression with PANT as dependent variable (y = 0.0088 + 0.1094 × Z1 - 0.2704 × Z2 + 1.0416 × Z3; p = 0.02; R2 = 0.62). In conclusion, this study shows that the commonly used TRIMP methods to quantify TL do not show a linear dose-response relationship with performance improvement in recreational cyclists. Furthermore, the study shows that TID might be a key factor to establish a relationship with performance improvement.
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