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August 30, 2010

Simple Method for Setting zones of Exercise Intensity Training

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Kerry Litka, a competitive cyclist from Nashua and a graduate student in exercise science at UNH, prepares to perform the three-minute all-out cycling test in UNH's Robert Kertzer Exercise Physiology Laboratory. Credit: Jay Francis.

For competitive bicyclists faster cycling comes from training regimens based on various zones of exercise intensity. New research from exercise scientists at the University of New Hampshire has found that effective training regimens, which generally are created after expensive, time-consuming laboratory tests, can be developed from a relatively simple, do-it-yourself test.

Using two tools most competitive cyclists already own -- a power meter, an increasingly common training device that mounts on a bicycle’s rear wheel, and a stationary bicycle trainer – UNH graduate student Jay Francis ’09 modified a three-minute all-out cycling test and found that it is as effective as more lab-intensive measurements for determining exercise intensity.


Francis used a three-minute all-out cycling test – “you just push and push and push and never let up” – which had previously shown to yield, in the last 30 seconds of the test, a power level that a cyclist can sustain for 20 to 30 minutes. With this data, says LaRoche, a cyclist can develop a range of individualized training zones that a coach will use to prescribe a particular workout.
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