Share

cover art for How The Pros Train (And What We Can Learn From It)

The Real Science of Sport Podcast

How The Pros Train (And What We Can Learn From It)

Season 4, Ep. 8

From top level cyclists to world-class runners and speedskaters, pro training regimes offer a fascinating look into what it takes to count yourself among the world's best. Recent research among top-level athletes is also leading us to question entrenched training methods as sports scientists continue to learn more about the way the body adapts and reacts to exercise.


SHOW NOTES:

The study of world class distance runners’ training - https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s40798-022-00438-7.pdf


A study comparing polarized training to a high threshold pyramidal training model, as mentioned in the show: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jonathan-Esteve/publication/237096628_Does_Polarized_Training_Improve_Performance_in_Recreational_Runners/links/0a85e530cba391399a000000/Does-Polarized-Training-Improve-Performance-in-Recreational-Runners.pdf


Marius Bakken’s website, which describes the Norweigan model: http://www.mariusbakken.com/the-norwegian-model.html


The training approach of Nils van der Poel: https://www.howtoskate.se/


One of Stephen Seiler’s early descriptions of the polarized training of elite athletes: https://paulogentil.com/pdf/Quantifying%20training%20intensity%20distribution%20in%20elite%20endurance%20athletes%20-%20is%20there%20evidence%20for%20an%20optimal%20distribution.pdf

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 13. The Sceptics Guide To Sports Science with Dr Nick Tiller

    01:14:26
    Dr Nick Tiller literally wrote the book on it, The Skeptics Guide to Sports Science (available from Amazon HERE). As an exercise scientist at Harbour-UCLA in the US, columnist, writer and author, Tiller challenges many of the claims made by marketers and others, in the name of sport science. With the team Tiller delves into the details of questionable sports science, how to spot the good from the bad and the areas where sports science is most vulnerable.Follow Nick: Web: www.nbtiller.com Instagram: @nb.tiller X: @NBTiller
  • 12. The Science of Weight Training

    01:29:47
    The team is joined by Professor Stuart Phillips from the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and one of the leading experts on resistance training. Phillips is the Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE), the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research and Lab Lead for the Exercise Metabolism Research Group. In this episode Phillips explains the amazing benefits of weight training, why even a little can reap big benefits for everyone and what sort of training suits best depending on your age, sport and goals.SHOW NOTES:Join us on Patreon for more content including access to our Science of Sport Discourse platform, and join the conversation!Follow our guest Prof Stuart Phillips on XStuart's recent paper on the coming of age of resistance training as a primary form of exercise for healthA previous article on Stuart's resistance training research from his universityA few of the specific papers on strength training that were discussed on the show:Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young menTraining for strength and hypertrophy: an evidence-based approachLow-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young menEffects of once- versus twice-weekly eccentric resistance training on muscular function and structure in older adults: a randomised controlled trialInstagram handle for Avery Faigenbaum, Professor of Pediatric Exercise Science, who Stuart mentioned as a good source of information
  • 11. DISCOURSE: China's Swimming Doping Controversy / Marathon Season Latest / Should Olympic Medallists Get Prize Money?

    01:31:39
    A wrap-up of the best stories on our Discourse channel: Spring marathon season: The top performers / Should Eliud Kipchoge go to the Paris Olympics? / Why track and field athletes are earning prize money in Paris for the first time / Is the UCI doing enough to ensure the safety of pro cyclists? / China's doping controversy sparks division in the anti-doping world. SHOW NOTES: The Guardian story on prize money in athletics at the Paris Olympics The Guardian story on the 23 Chinese swimmers who won Olympic golds after testing positive for banned drugWADA statement on the case of the 23 swimmers Travis Tygart from USADA releases a statement about WADA statement WADA statement following comments by Tygart
  • 10. INTERVIEW: How to Fuel For Maximum Endurance Performance

    01:19:41
    Building on from our previous discussions on optimal fuelling for endurance exercise, in this episode we go deep into the details of why carbohydrates are the rocket fuel for our bodies, and how we can take advantage of metabolic agility and different fuel strategies to unlock performance gains. To do this, we are joined by Dr Jamie Whitfield, a postdoctoral researcher in exercise nutrition and an expert in muscle physiology and metabolism. We explore how your body ‘chooses’ whether to burn fats or carbs as fuel and which carbs it prioritizes as we change our intensity and diet. We discuss whether fasting or feasting before exercise is beneficial, and we learn whether ketogenic diets hinder or enhance exercise performance.SHOW NOTES:Jamie’s X account: @jwhitfieJamie’s page at the ACUThe article by Jamie and a former guest, Prof Louise Burke, responding to Prof Tim Noakes on Keto diets and performance. The entire point-counterpoint is available at the link: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38485731/A research study that Jamie referred to that looked at how ingesting carbohydrates at different rates affected total carbohydrate use during exercise: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00421-022-05019-w
  • 9. Safety vs Spectacle: Rugby at a Crossroads

    01:04:28
    In this special episode we join an exclusive panel discussion - in partnership with World Rugby - to debate the future of the sport as it battles to find a balance between the welfare and safety of players and the enjoyment of the game by both participants and spectators. On the panel is Dr Eanna Falvey, World Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer, and former British & Irish Lions Team Doctor; Kate Zachary, the experienced American women's captain and veteran of two World Cups; Ugo Monye, an English rugby pundit/commentator and former rugby union player who played 14 times for England, 241 times for his only club Harlequins and played twice for the British & Irish Lions on their 2009 tour to South Africa; English Test player Sarah Bern, who was shortlisted for World Rugby’s Women’s Player of the Year award in 2019 and our very own co-host Prof Ross Tucker, who is also a Research Consultant and Independent Scientist with World Rugby.SHOW NOTES:The videos from the entire Welfare Week, not just those preceding this session, will be available on the World Rugby site soon. They're not out just yet, unfortunately, but check back here in the next few days for the specific links.
  • 8. Rugby's Radical Law Change Proposals / The IOC And Their Controversial Trangender Policy

    01:43:28
    It's one of the hottest topics on our Discourse channel but can World Rugby's new law proposasl preserve the spectacle of the game while still ensuring player safety? The team dig into some of the changes being trialled and proposals for more changes.Plus ultra runners Camille Herron - who broke six world endurance running records on her way to a new women's six-day record - and Jasmin Paris - who became the first female to finish the legendary Barkley Marathon - have raised the question of how women compare to men in endurance sport. Is the gap closing?Plus why did a group of 26 independent scientists (including Ross) publish a paper to refute the IOC's framework and academic paper on transgender athletes?Support our work on Patreon HERE at and get free access to our Discourse channel HERE SHOW NOTES:Rugby rule changes on our Discourse group.https://scienceofsportpodcast.discourse.group/t/world-rugby-new-plans-for-the-game/1197/4Reassessing the use of the TMO in rugbyWorld Rugby wants to ­overhaul TMO protocol which has come under widespread criticism for bringing too many lengthy stoppages to the game. Women's Ultrarunning Discourse discussion on the Barkley marathonSean Ingle's article on Jasmin Paris' Barkley successTransgender PaperThe academic paper refuting the IOC's Framework and scientific argumentOur Discourse discussion on the paper and the issuesMore than 100 elite British sportswomen have told the BBC they would be uncomfortable with transgender women competing in female categories in their sport.
  • 8. How Maddie Won The Zwift Academy

    01:39:09
    Never-say-die Maddie le Roux may have been forced to give up her dream of becoming a professional cyclist until the Zwift Academy changed her life and her career. Here's how hard work and pure determination helped this bubbly 27-year-old turn a dream into a reality.
  • 7. Can We Trust Sport Science Research?

    01:43:37
    Is the field of sports science facing a credibility crisis? According to guest Dr Joe Warne, key instigator of the Sports Science Replication Centre at the Technological University in Dublin, most of the research done in the field is unreliable. So what is the true picture, how can studies be done better, what role do journals play in ensuring better standards and how do consumers discern the good from the bad?Show notes:Our Patreon page, where you can sign up for access to the Discourse and other benefitsThe Discourse discussion, for all the post podcast discussions, insights into sports science, and even training and injury prevention advice. For Patrons only!Joe Warne's original post on Discourse that inspired this episode (Patron only)Simona Halep is cleared to play. We'll wait for the full CAS Decision for more discussion of this decision, but if you want to read the previous decision that led to the four year ban, it's at this linkFor Patrons, via Discourse, more discussion about Halep's ban and clearing can be found hereArticle on the cycling race in Spain that saw 130 riders out of 182 not finish, and anti-doping had shown up. The degree to which the two are linked remains unclear, as discussedJoe Warne's Sports Science Replication Center websiteOne example of a paper that Warne's group has had published on this issue
  • 6. VO2Max: Why It May Be Your Most Important Training Metric

    01:34:10
    Knowing how to measure and train close to your VO2Max may lead to big performance gains. But what is VO2Max and what's the best way to use it? We also discuss the latest developments around rugby's smart mouthguard and the announcement by World Athletics that they are trialling a new way of measuring the long jump which involves a take-off zone rather than a take-off mark. And no, it's not an April Fools joke!SHOW NOTESThe New Science of Sport Discourse - a Patron exclusive, a community that we aspire to make the most well-informed forum on sports science in the world: https://scienceofsportpodcast.discourse.group/. Log in with your patron detailsBecome a Patron of The Science of Sport to get access to the community: https://www.patreon.com/thescienceofsportThe IFSC Policy on RED-SArticle on that RED-S policy, including athlete interviewsThe Long Jump article re changing of the lawsThe BBC article on the mouthguards in rugby. Full of holes and errors, a bit of misunderstanding, and some outright dishonesty, which we tried to explain and address in the showThe paper on the sub-2 hour marathon physiology that shows how those elite runners can get to 90% of VO2max for two hoursA more lay explanation of the 2 hour marathon, again discussing how close to max elites can runPaper on how different durations of interval training affect Power, HR and RPE, which may be useful to guide your choice of interval session structureThe research study that shows how 8 min blocks at close to VO2max improves VO2max and performance, and that the more time you spend close to VO2max, the greater the benefit