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Introduction to Polarized Training

Posted by Jean Baptiste on

Introduction to Polarized Training

As a good leisure runner, we very often end up doing the same exercises in a series, with 2 or 3 outings per week on the same route, and 1 outing more focused on intervals in the best case, in the morning, in the evening or in the evening. deciding to run on an empty stomach. This should be more than enough to stay in shape, when you start, you generally progress quite quickly at the beginning, but if you are aiming for an ambitious goal, this type of classic training could end up limiting you, particularly in your ability to change pace. Opt for a “thematic” preparation to surprise your body. This means that you need to vary the themes of your sessions! This is what we call “polarized” training, which is increasingly practiced by high-level athletes. Polarized training means choosing to train lightly or, on the contrary, very intensely, but above all to never be in the middle, that is to say... what we usually do! Indeed, running between these two zones will generate significant fatigue without the benefits in terms of performance being significant. This is what S. Seiler, a physiology researcher, calls the “gray zone” (this gray zone is generally the marathon pace, between the aerobic and anaerobic thresholds), which must absolutely be avoided in “polarized training” unless you train specifically for a marathon.

To understand this type of training, you simply have to focus on the semantics - during polarized training, the preparation is "polarized" between two extremes: long sessions at low intensity without difficulty, for example on respiratory capacities brought into play with an implementation of 50% of your cardio capacities, with paces below the aerobic threshold and short sessions at very high intensity, taking place clearly beyond the threshold of shortness of breath, and highlighting game 90 and 100% of your heart reserve (you must be clearly in the red at 180 or more).

We must be transparent – ​​if polarized training is relevant for the high-level athlete (for example the professional triathlete who works 35 hours... meaning he swims, pedals or runs 6 to 8 hours every day!), its implementation at the amateur level is much more complex than for high-level athletes, and an amateur athlete will reach his peak at the cardio level much more quickly or will not necessarily have a clear understanding of his maximum capacities, hence fixing the 20% of “high intensity” polarized training very difficult to place.

If you do 4 one-hour sessions per week including 3 endurance outings and 1 split, including for example 5 times 3 minutes at VO2max, you are not doing 25% intensity! Let's go back to the calculation, in this example, you do 5 We are obviously very far from the 20% reached by high-level athletes.
For the amateur athlete, with family and professional constraints, it is important to make the most of each hour spent and each kilometer traveled.

Polarized training for amateur athletes should therefore focus on variety – it will be appropriate to determine as many training themes as possible depending on the importance you attach to each of them. And the more themes you determine, the more varied your preparation will be, capable of surprising your body and boosting its adaptation. By benefiting from diversity in your training program, you will have a 1 hour ahead of you that will probably be more fun and motivating. A simple method for implementing polarized training will be to alternate easy exercises, of low intensity at a slow pace, and more difficult exercises, with shorter intervals, close to maximum aerobic, with an intensity of Much stronger training, often increasing in difficulty, is pyramid training.

For example, “walking” outings are particularly geared towards trail running. In this context, VO2max sessions are not contraindicated, on the contrary, particularly when using hills! But they turn out to be less decisive than when preparing for a 10 kilometer race. And if you are a specialist in this distance, you can do without hiking!

In the end, what is important is the proportion between more or less intense workouts which ensures the specificity of your program. Each practical sport session must be useful, perfectly targeted on the physiological parameter to be worked on. Ability to burn fat, glycogen storage capacity in the muscles or liver, raising the lactic acid production threshold, increasing your oxygen consumption, increasing your endurance strength, optimizing your performance on the flat , uphill or downhill: you have to choose! Obviously, the longer your favorite competition is, the more you should favor low intensities, you don't work a 10km the way you work a 100km trail!

Some final tips when building your polarized workouts – listen to your sensations and your body, and don't hesitate to modify and modulate the paces and durations chosen, do a smart job. Don't overtrain and don't push beyond 20% on high-intensity runs; you also have to think about injuries, which don't just happen to others, and therefore know how to prevent muscle or joint problems. Last basic advice, which is one of the most determining elements for progress – don't forget to maintain periods of rest, real rest!

The Stimium products which will be recommended by a sports nutritionist for this type of training do not particularly vary compared to traditional training:

Stimium® PreWorkOut Max to improve resistance to effort and muscle strengthening (bodybuilding booster) when the volume of training increases Stimium® Pro-Nrj Caps , for an immediate surplus of energy and vitality. Stimium BCAA Instant , to help muscle development and muscle recovery by helping to reduce exercise-related fatigue. Stimium Boost Powder for a complete recharge in the bottle with carbohydrates and vitamins during a triathlon type effort or after exercise and training. Stimium Bacopa to strengthen concentration, stress management, increase motivation and the speed of processing information. Obviously the Stimium® Boost and Stimium® Pro-Nrj Gums for the immediate energy they provide and the ease of consumption during training or competition. During the recovery period, Stimium® Mc3 or Stimium® Mc3 powder to reduce the risk of cramps, and to limit muscle fatigue, and thus achieve good recovery, still widely used in cycling for example, as well as Stimium® Rgn3 Reload or Stimium® Rgn3 Clean-Up to restock vitamins and minerals after exercise (or during events lasting more than 1h30), and finally the product Stimium® Iso Carb , initially developed for a top European football club to replenish sources of glycogen and proteins, available with protein isolate or soy protein, hyper concentrated soy protein. On the cardio side, don't hesitate to take Stimium GABA and/or Stimium OMG as a treatment which can support athletes taking care of their heart rate!

And finally, Stimium® Joint Flex as a treatment to avoid joint problems, during your biggest training sessions, to prevent any joint or cartilage problems.

It's up to you to see if polarized training can be useful for you. But in all cases, varying your training will always be advisable, both for your physical health and your mental health.

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