JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Speed endurance training is a powerful stimulus for physiological adaptations and performance improvements of athletes

F M Iaia, J Bangsbo
Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 2010, 20 Suppl 2: 11-23
20840558
The present article reviews the physiological and performance effects of speed endurance training consisting of exercise bouts at near maximal intensities in already trained subjects. Despite a reduction in training volume, speed endurance training of endurance-trained athletes can maintain the oxidative capacity and improve intense short-duration/repeated high-intensity exercise performance lasting 30 s to 4 min, as it occurs in a number of sports. When combined with a basic volume of training including some aerobic high-intensity sessions, speed endurance training is also useful in enhancing performance during longer events, e.g. 40 K cycling and 10 K running. Athletes in team sports involving intense exercise actions and endurance aspects can also benefit from performing speed endurance training. These improvements don't appear to depend on changes in maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), muscle substrate levels, glycolytic and oxidative enzymes activity, and membrane transport proteins involved in pH regulation. Instead they appear to be related to a reduced energy expenditure during submaximal exercise and a higher expression of muscle Na(+) ,K(+) pump α-subunits, which via a higher Na(+) ,K(+) pump activity during exercise may delay fatigue development during intense exercise. In conclusion, athletes from disciplines involving periods of intense exercise can benefit from the inclusion of speed endurance sessions in their training programs.

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