Blog 6: High Performance Training II Day 2 – Intensity

Blog 6: High Performance Training II Day 2 – Intensity

Excerpt from A Sport Science Approach to Coaching 

A lot of sport scientists measure how hard athletes are working by intensity of work done. Another way to explain intensity is to use the example of drilling in wrestling or wrestling live. In that example, wrestling live would be more intense than drilling because the athletes would be working (physiologically & psychologically) as hard as they could.  The below video & blog about training intensity go into more detail to avoid overtraining, under-recovery, & injuries during training while helping athletes reach peak performances in competitions.

One more example could be a learning technique practice versus a drilling technique practice. In most cases, athletes will be working harder in a drilling technique practice versus a learning technique practice. So, drilling technique generally is more intense than learning technique.

Intensity of practices can be measured using the examples of the last paragraph combined with using volume which essentially is how much athletes have trained. In other words, a practice can be made more intense based on what kind of practice it is. The below example shows intensity of practices in a mesocycle progressively getting more intense until the recovery week:

Mesocycle III intensity example

  • Week 1 learning technique practice
  • Week 2 drilling technique practice
  • Week 3 live wrestling practice
  • Week 4 recovery week

At the U.S. Olympic Education Center, when we had practice twice per day, typically one practice would be more intense than the other on the same day. Generally, morning practices were technique sessions to teach the athletes how to do the skill. And, the afternoon practices were generally drilling moves learned in the morning followed by live wrestling.

According to U.S. Olympic Training Center sports scientist Bill Sands, PhD, as a rule of thumb, coaches should generally increase microcycle intensity up to 30% per week in a mesocycle until the recovery week. This increase in intensity allows the body and mind to adapt to more volume of intensity gradually and prevents overtraining and injuries. Another rule of thumb, when having 2 practices per day, is to have no more than 3 high intensity practices in a row prior to a recovery day. Again, this is to reduce the risk of overuse injuries and overtraining.

You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

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