Case Study: Adaptation to 5 Weeks of Training - Part 1

Posted by Phil Batterson on Sat, Jan 11, 2020 @ 10:01 AM

The goal of training is to improve performance. This typically involves skirting a very thin line between maximizing performance and overtraining. However, training isn’t the only stress that our bodies undergo throughout the day. Stress can present itself through things like work, home, relationships, and pretty much every other aspect of life. And a huge challenge when training for high performance is balancing stress and workload with proper recovery. There have been many attempts to monitor all stress levels, to get an idea of how hard to push the body during a training session, and while things like heart rate, and power output, seem to do a decent job at monitoring training stress, there is still a general lack of guidelines of when to terminate a workout early based on these factors. Monitoring skeletal muscle oxygenation (SmO2) offers a more objective means of monitoring how the muscle is responding to the stress of training. Arguably, one of the largest benefits of monitoring SmO2 during workouts is the ability to autoregulate workouts. While this is an extremely powerful tool to monitor the acute effects of exercise and tailor workouts to an individuals’ physiology. It’s been shown that heart rate at the same power output improves over time, the highest maintainable power output during an endurance event increases and VO2max increases with proper training, yet, very little has been done to monitor how training effects SmO2. In the next few posts I want to walk through a case study to detail changes to an athletes’ physiology over the course of 5 weeks of training. This first post will detail the set-up and give proper background information, the second post will look at the acute effects of each workout, and the final post will detail the patterns of change throughout the 5 weeks.

First off, I want to extend a massive thank you to the athlete who allowed me to use and analyze their data! Typically, I would try to track and construct workouts to test this type of thing but sometimes, in order to remain objective, it’s best to get data from outside sources. After a conversation on the Moxy Forum, we were able to connect and I was able to get some data.

Note: For those of you reading this who haven’t used the Moxy Forum before, it is a fantastic resource to get questions answered, talk to experienced Moxy users, and springboard your use of Moxy.

Testing Conditions: Over the last five weeks of 2019, a well-trained cyclist completed the same workout on every Monday of the week. The workout was completed with a heart rate monitor, a Moxy monitor on the v. lateralis, and a stationary cycling trainer which allowed for the monitoring of power output. The workout started with a warm-up, followed by 5-10 30-40s intervals at >600w, with 30-60s rest. As you will see in the following posts, rest varies but was regulated so that SmO2 reached at least 60% before the start of most of the following intervals. Of note, the fourth workout completed was terminated after the 5th interval due to fatigue, once we get to that workout I will detail some signs as to why that workout was terminated. As was stated earlier this post was used to give some context as to what was tested over the course of 5 weeks and what is planned to be discussed in the upcoming blog posts.

Topics: Training