Pyramidal and Polarized
Pyramidal Training when combined with Polarized Training is the most effective training methodology compared to just polarized or just pyramidal. (Codella et. al, 2021)
That's good news for our athletes because that's precisely how we have been prescribing training for the past 20 years!
Build your base with sweet spot training using a pyramidal training approach and then switch from "base to race" with high intensity race specific interval training using polarized training methodology (see our interval training plans)
Listen to our podcast with Coach Christen talking about the latest scientific publications arriving at these conclusions 👇
This podcast is Part 2 of our Pyramidal training podcast, where we again are going to talk about training intensity distribution, pyramidal and polarized training, and how it all fits together. You may listen to our August 2021 Part 1 episode here.
Since then, there’s been continued interest in the topic, so today we’re going to revisit pyramidal and polarized training. On tap is a fantastic recent study, some debates within the scientific community, and more sharing of our own thoughts and experiences with the subject.
Recently Dr’s Mark Burnley and Andrew Jones published a paper in the journal of Medicine Science and Sports Exercise titled “Polarized Training is Not Optimal for endurance athletes”
As we read it, we were like “we’ve been saying this for 20 years!”
Simultaneously, renowned physiologist Carl Foster and Stephen Seiler published in the same journal “Polarized Training is Optimal for Endurance Athletes”
So which is it?!
Alex Hutchinson of Outside magazine wrote a “Case For and Against Polarized’ summary article which sums up the debate nicely. Double Olympic Gold Medalist, Nils van der Poel published his training revealing he trains on the bike 30 hours and week, switching from base to race (pyramidal to polarized) does intervals but always maintains his aerobic training load with lots and lots of aerobic work (CTL) throughout the season. Give his 62 page training diary a read if you want to learn how a gold medalist trains.
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1. Fillipas, Luca; Bonato, Matteo; Gallo, Gabriele; Codella, Roberto, "Effects of 16 weeks of pyramidal and polarized training intensity distributions in well-trainer endurance runners" Scand J Med Sci Sports, 2021 Nov.
2. Burnley, Mark; Bearden, Shawn; Jones, Andrew, "Polarized Training is Not Optimal for Endurances Athletes" Med Sci Sports Exerc 2022 Feb
3. Foster, Carl; Casado, Arturo; Esteve, Jonathan; Haugen, Thomas; Seiler, Stephen "Polarized Training is Optimal for Endurance Athletes" Med Sci Sports Exerc 2022 Feb
Foundation : 3 Weeks
- Perfect for all cyclists beginning off season training
- Raise your CTL and the all-important muscle tension intervals
Phil Gaimon's FONDO
- Complete similar workouts to what Phil does to prepare for all his KOM's
- Sweet Spot training, threshold intervals, and some anaerobic work