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Non-Responsive Athletes and Polarized Training

I respond better to volume. Does that mean polarized training is better or just that I'm non-responsive to intensity? I've never heard this discussed this way. For example, whatever that study was that found that all participants were responsive to at least one or the other of volume vs intensity but 30% were only responsive to one or the other. Does anyone ever mention this when discussing polarized training because someone only responsive to intensity would do horrible with polarized. No?

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  • Does polarised mean low volume, you should still be doing low intensity high volume on some days and low volume high intensity on others surely?
    I respond well to volume as well I think. I tend though to do periodised polarisataion if you like. In other words I only polarise in the build and peak phases and do more high volume muscular endurance and force work in the base periods
  • In a nutshell I believe it means go very easy or very hard with a lot of easy and little hard.
  • In a nutshell I believe it means go very easy or very hard with a lot of easy and little hard.
    It depends i assume also on what kind of competition you are aiming for 12 hour TT or ironman then mostly Sweetspot I would have thought would be of value
  • I feel I respond well to intensity, however, I do feel that just training intensity (e.g. VO2max stuff) doesn't seem to result in long term sustainable changes for me. My 5 min max power builds up very quickly when I actively train it (320->380w in the space of 4 weeks or so, the shorter the interval, the more intense the jump), however once I stop doing those efforts, it drops back down again. Same thing seems to happen with threshold, but the change isn't as drastic. My take on it is that I had the physiological potential to do it before, but needed a few additional adaptions to get the most of what I already had.

    What I feel however is that as standard base training would dictate, volume enables me to increase my potential. As if I just keep trying to ride at intensity, I tend to plateau once I've reached the peak for that block of training. Volume has recently enabled me to keep the intensity up day after day.

    I spent a lot of time over summer and the like doing polarized training, with short intense workouts during the week, and longer zone 2 rides at the weekend. Hard to directly draw conclusions, but after switching it up recently and focusing on lots of over-under style sessions where my sole aim is to try and accrue time in zones above my threshold in the most time efficient manner. i.e. spend 40 minutes out of the hour at 105-110% FTP, no matter how you do it (40/20s, 2min/1min). And that seems to have really made a difference to what before felt like ridiculously slow gains doing workouts like 2x20.
  • MishMash95 wrote:
    I feel I respond well to intensity, however, I do feel that just training intensity (e.g. VO2max stuff) doesn't seem to result in long term sustainable changes for me. My 5 min max power builds up very quickly when I actively train it (320->380w in the space of 4 weeks or so, the shorter the interval, the more intense the jump), however once I stop doing those efforts, it drops back down again. Same thing seems to happen with threshold, but the change isn't as drastic. My take on it is that I had the physiological potential to do it before, but needed a few additional adaptions to get the most of what I already had.

    What I feel however is that as standard base training would dictate, volume enables me to increase my potential. As if I just keep trying to ride at intensity, I tend to plateau once I've reached the peak for that block of training. Volume has recently enabled me to keep the intensity up day after day.

    I spent a lot of time over summer and the like doing polarized training, with short intense workouts during the week, and longer zone 2 rides at the weekend. Hard to directly draw conclusions, but after switching it up recently and focusing on lots of over-under style sessions where my sole aim is to try and accrue time in zones above my threshold in the most time efficient manner. i.e. spend 40 minutes out of the hour at 105-110% FTP, no matter how you do it (40/20s, 2min/1min). And that seems to have really made a difference to what before felt like ridiculously slow gains doing workouts like 2x20.
    So what I think you are saying, basically is that a large volume of early season endurance enables you to put more into the later higher intensity and therefore benefit more?
    It has long been my theory that modern "Time crunched" techniques, some of which suggest lots of traditional endurance work over the winter is a waste of time is incorrect. Many people are time crunched in which case you have to do the best you can withe the time you haveby not wasting it on too much low level endurance work. However a good base still maes for a better foundation for the HIIT work.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,423
    /\ that's completely normal isn't it - most people find the top end comes and goes fairly quickly, doing lots of VO2 is not going to be sustainable anyway.

    I also find the fastest way to get my top end (short term) power up is by doing stacks of VO2 max intervals, but this doesn't stick around very long and it is mentally difficult to keep doing those type of intervals. This is why most training plans layer in the VO2 stuff towards the end when you are supposed to be coming up towards your peak.

    However I can get back on the bike after a few weeks off and still bash out a 6 hour ride without much bother, the endurance takes a lot longer to go.

    The way I see it (and have seen it explained) is the advantage of doing sweet spot base type approaches is you can still accumulate TSS without needing long recovery like you would from VO2/threshold, but it fits in better with having a life alongside it compared to doing traditional base. Certainly there is absolutely no way I will be doing multiple 4+hr Zone 1/2 rides per week in the winter, but I can fit in 4 x ~1hr sweetspot sessions in pretty easily (I use trainerroad).

    I suppose that is a bit different to "polarised" training (but even still, the TR base pans do include a little bit of harder intervals towards the end).
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    I respond better to volume. Does that mean polarized training is better or just that I'm non-responsive to intensity? I've never heard this discussed this way. For example, whatever that study was that found that all participants were responsive to at least one or the other of volume vs intensity but 30% were only responsive to one or the other. Does anyone ever mention this when discussing polarized training because someone only responsive to intensity would do horrible with polarized. No?

    I think you are perhaps confusing a training approach for a training plan. i.e. you have a set volume (hours on the bike with work, family constraints, etc...) and then choose your approach (polarised Vs sweetspot, etc...). There is nothing inherent in the polarised approach with means it HAS to have more volume. The confusion is that it potentially ALLOWS more volume in a more obvious way, you can always add more Z1 for example. However, it's also pretty easy to add more volume in a sweetspot-centric plan by just...adding more Z1. It depends on the athlete of course but someone who responds to high intensity will likely do quite well from the polarised approach as the intensity is, by necessity, very high whereas the intensity in something like a sweetspot approach is always/nearly always lower.

    Advocates of polarized approaches say that it works for athletes on a low volume schedule.
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