Effects of a Seven Day Overload-Period of High-Intensity Training on Performance and Physiology of Competitive Cyclists

Bradley Clark, Vitor Costa, Brendan O'Brien, Luiz Guglielmo, Carl Paton

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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Objectives - Competitive endurance athletes commonly undertake periods of overload training in the weeks prior to major competitions. This investigation examined the effects of two seven-day high-intensity overload training regimes (HIT) on performance and physiological characteristics of competitive cyclists. Design - The study was a matched groups, controlled trial. Methods - Twenty-eight male cyclists (mean ± SD, Age: 33±10 years, Mass 74±7 kg, VO2 peak 4.7±0.5 L·min−1) were assigned to a control group or one of two training groups for seven consecutive days of HIT. Before and after training cyclists completed an ergometer based incremental exercise test and a 20-km time-trial. The HIT sessions were ∼120 minutes in duration and consisted of matched volumes of 5, 10 and 20 second (short) or 15, 30 and 45 second (long) maximal intensity efforts. Results - Both the short and long HIT regimes led to significant (p<0.05) gains in time trial performance compared to the control group. Relative to the control group, the mean changes (±90% confidence limits) in time-trial power were 8.2%±3.8% and 10.4%±4.3% for the short and long HIT regimes respectively; corresponding increases in peak power in the incremental test were 5.5%±2.7% and 9.5%±2.5%. Both HIT (short vs long) interventions led to non-significant (p>0.05) increases (mean ± SD) in VO2 peak (2.3%±4.7% vs 3.5%±6.2%), lactate threshold power (3.6%±3.5% vs 2.9%±5.3%) and gross efficiency (3.2%±2.4% vs 5.1%±3.9%) with only small differences between HIT regimes. Conclusions - Seven days of overload HIT induces substantial enhancements in time-trial performance despite non-significant increases in physiological measures with competitive cyclists
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere115308
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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