Sunday, December 11, 2016

Max Aerobic Speed - The Case Against (article)

Last week we did an introduction to Max Aerobic Speed and How to Use It.

The main points were;

- AFL, VFL and TAC all use it to help min prescribing running loads

- It allows you to pre-determine how far needs to be covered in a specific time frame

- 120% of Max Aerobic Speed is the single best interval to use

Today we'll take a look at an article written by the highly regarded rugby strength coach Keir Wenham-Flatt of funny enough, called 9 Reasons I Don't Like Max Aerobic Speed Part 1 and Part 2.

It had quite an influence on me - so much that I had to do this:

My biggest takeaways from the 2 piece article was:

- The goal of energy systems development should to be able the highest intensity efforts possible repeated with the greatest frequency possible which means step #1 - increase your speed then step #2 - repeat that speed throughout a game of footy. MAS trains you to increase the effort of your sub-maximal efforts which means you're training right in the dreaded "middle".

- To maintain power outputs during repeated efforts you need to train at, or just below your lactate threshold but MAS will push you way above that. The higher your lactate threshold then the greater your aerobic capacity and then the longer you can sustain higher power outputs.

- Once you go OVER your lactate threshold, you blow up, so the longer you can stay away from that point, the better. You can dip into a little to take up the slack of the aerobic and alactic energy systems but then you're on the way down as far as high outputs are concerned  because now fatigue has popped his head up and is now increasing with every high intensity effort you so recovery becomes compromised.

- Endurance athletes train with extremely high volumes but also at a low intensity with moderate volume dedicated to high intensity efforts but MAS trains low volumes for short durations with most of it being moderate to high intensity work. Getting back to the dreaded "middle" this means that you are training too slow to get faster from, but too fast to get aerobic benefits from as fatigue builds up.

- Even at 120 - 130% MAS you will need develop velocities to develop speed so you'll only improve MAS with MAS training making it somewhat inefficient.

- If you do perform training "in the middle" then you do it on your high days as it impairs recovery but then it must replace current high intensity work which is far from desirable.

Off the back of this article as well as the many readings of Joel Jamieson, they both had a huge influence in my programming of plenty of aerobic capacity work in my own training as well as my programs on top of sprint work performed at 100% intensity which is point number  from above in a nutshell.

Most local/amateur football clubs unfortunately train "in the middle" more then anything else which then results in slower sprinting speeds, longer recovery times between bouts of intensity, training and games as well as less skillful players who rarely get to practice skills in a totally non-fatigued state.

As I said in last week's blog I would still use some MAS during the in-season as it is time efficient, it would be sparingly and you can make the players work to their level as they have targets to hit.

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