Mujika & Padilla (2000) Detraining: Loss of Training-Induced Physiological and Performance Adaptations. Part II Long Term Insufficient Training Stimulus. Sports Med, Sep; 30 (3): 145-154
Full text available from: http://novacps.com.br/wp content/uploads/2012/06/Destreinamento.pdf
Reduced training strategies have been shown to delay the onset of cardiorespiratory, metabolic, muscular and hormonal detraining. Maintaining training intensity seems to be the key factor for the retention of training-induced physiological and performance adaptations, whereas training volume can be reduced by 60 to 90%. On the other hand, training frequency reductions should be more moderate (no more than 20 to 30% in athletes, and upto 50% in less well trained individuals).
B. R. Rønnestad, J. Hansen, S. Ellefsen (2012) Block periodization of high-intensity aerobic intervals provides superior training effects in trained cyclists, Scand J Med Sci Sports, doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01485.x
This study indicates that organizing endurance training into a 1-week five-session High Intensity Training (HIT) block followed by 3 weeks of one HIT session a week and a general focus on low-intensity training results in superior adaptations compared with 4 weeks of traditional organization (TRAD) with two weekly HIT sessions interspersed with low-intensity training. This was evident from improvements in VO2max, max watts and power output at 2 mmol/L [la-] (lactate threshold) in the Block periodisation (BP) group. No significant changes occurred in the TRAD group!
This superiority of BP was observed despite the total volume and intensity of the training being similar in the two modes of training organization. The present study suggests that block periodisation of training provides superior adaptations to traditional organization during a 4-week endurance training period, despite similar training volume and intensity.
Ellery et al (2012) Does maximal strength training improve endurance performance in highly trained cyclists: A systematic review European Journal of Sports and Exercise Science, 1 (3):90-102
Conclusion of Review
The results of this systematic review suggests that the inclusion of strength training in cyclists overall training programmes may enhance performance in a range of highly demanding road cycling events.
By increasing lower body strength and power, highly trained road cyclists may improve their anaerobic energy production potential during short hill climbs, repeated surges in pace during the race, and in the final sprint.
It is therefore suggested that high level road cyclists perform some form of strength training to improve these sport specific performance determinants. This may be even more relevant where cyclists are unable to perform high intensity training on their bike due to inclement weather or where other extrinsic environmental constraints exist.
In highly trained road cyclists, concurrent training significantly improves measures of road racing performance such as time to exhaustion at maximal aerobic power, mean power outputs during time trials and anaerobic power as measured by peak power during sprint (≤30 seconds) efforts.
Two sessions per week of maximal strength training for 8–12 weeks using high loads and few repetitions (3-4 sets of between 3-6RM), emphasising neural adaptation rather than muscle hypertrophy, may be the most effective method of resistance training to enhance road cycling performance.
Improvements in road-cycling performance are possibly caused by improving physiological determinants of performance such as the lactate power profile, and cycling or exercise economy.
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Roonestad et al (2010) Effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area, performance determinants, and performance in well-trained cyclists, European Journal of Applied Physiology Volume 108, Issue 5, pp 965 975
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of heavy strength training on thigh muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), determinants of cycling performance, and cycling performance in well-trained cyclists. Twenty well-trained cyclists were assigned to either usual endurance training combined with heavy strength training [E + S; n = 11 (♂ = 11)] or to usual endurance training only [E; n = 9 (♂ = 7, ♀ = 2)]. The strength training performed by E + S consisted of four lower body exercises [3 × 4–10 repetition maximum (RM)], which were performed twice a week for 12 weeks. Thigh muscle CSA, maximal force in isometric half squat, power output in 30 s Wingate test, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), power output at 2 mmol l−1 blood lactate concentration ([la−]), and performance, as mean power production, in a 40-min all-out trial were measured before and after the intervention. E + S increased thigh muscle CSA, maximal isometric force, and peak power in the Wingate test more than E. Power output at 2 mmol l−1 [la−] and mean power output in the 40-min all-out trial were improved in E + S (P < 0.05). For E, only performance in the 40-min all-out trial tended to improve (P = 0.057). The two groups showed similar increases in VO2ma(P < 0.05).
In conclusion, adding strength training to usual endurance training improved determinants of cycling performance as well as performance in well-trained cyclists. Of particular note is that the added strength training increased thigh muscle CSA without causing an increase in body mass.