Just to set the record straight from the beginning of this series. These posts on training will not describe in detail how YOU should train. The best I can do is report what the current science says about training. But I want you to view the research from a critics point of view. Most of the studies conducted have a very small sample sizes (8 to 10 subjects) and there is usually no control group. There are vast differences between studies with the laboratory equipment used to test the training effect. There is always a question of how well laboratory tests translate to real world effects. There are vast differences in the athletic level of the subject used to test the training effect. Some studies report the results of a specific training protocol in pro peloton athletes while other studies use novice college age adults making it difficult to extrapolate to other study populations. I’ve yet to read a study where the tested subjects are fortysomething weekend warriors.
But that said, current research can point us in the general direction and using critical thinking and some trial an error you can adapt the concepts presented here to YOUR particular goal. I’m going to state some obvious concepts but I think they are worth discussing. The first is your training needs to be specific. For example, if your goal is to be a better climber, doing lots (or even a few) dumbbell curls wont help at all. Obvious right? Muscle specificity is important. The question is, how specific do you need to be. Does only climbing work to improve climbing or can other exercises work? Think lunges or squats, or even wall squats, (a static exercise). How specific does the intensity and volume need to be? The answer is, the closer is better. But close counts. Specificity also applies to the cellular metabolic system being used. I think we are all familiar with the motions used in cycling so the next blog will focus on metabolic systems.