Nerd Lab: Eccentric Damage and a Heated Polarized Debate

NERD LAB! Our resident physiologists Rob Pickels and Trevor Connor nerd out and dive deep into new scientific research and debates. In this episode: Is cycling explosive and eccentric? Academics take on Dr. Seiler.

Fast Talk Episode 210 Nerd Lab

Exercise physiologists and resident nerds Rob Pickels and Coach Trevor Connor continue their discussion of new scientific research in sport science. While these nerdy discussions may not apply directly to your weekly training plan, understanding the questions that have been asked by physiology researchers can give you context about what is known and knowable by science as it relates to human performance. 

Hungry for more Nerd Lab? Check out Fast Talk Episode 188: FTP, VO2max, and Sprints within LSD.

Comparing Muscle Damage in Cycling, Volleyball, and Basketball 

The first of our studies looked at muscle damage in three different sports. We consider volleyball and basketball, both explosive sports with a highly eccentric activity, and cycling, an endurance sport considered to have little-to-no eccentric action. Muscle damage was measured across the disciplines both during the off-season and in competition.

We nerd out on the authors’ novel claim that during competition, cycling actually is an eccentric sport on level with basketball and volleyball in terms of muscle damage.  

The Polarized Training Debate 

The journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise recently invited two separate teams to write position papers on why polarized training is or is not optimal for endurance athletes. Not surprisingly, a team led by Dr. Carl Foster and Dr. Stephen Seiler were invited to defend the polarized approach. But, taking a strong stance against it was the team led by Mark Burnley and Andrew Jones. They took a hard stance and the debate got heated.

We dive into the arguments and weigh in on their merits.  

References

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Burnley, M., Bearden, S. E., & Jones, A. M. (2022). Polarized Training is Not Optimal for Endurance Athletes. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Publish Ahead of Print. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1249/mss.0000000000002869 

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Treff, G., Winkert, K., Sareban, M., Steinacker, J. M., Becker, M., & Sperlich, B. (2017). Eleven-Week Preparation Involving Polarized Intensity Distribution Is Not Superior to Pyramidal Distribution in National Elite Rowers. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 515. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00515 

Treff, G., Winkert, K., Sareban, M., Steinacker, J. M., & Sperlich, B. (2019). The Polarization-Index: A Simple Calculation to Distinguish Polarized From Non-polarized Training Intensity Distributions. Frontiers in Physiology, 10, 707. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00707 

  

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