To get more out of exercise it is essential to accurately determine the minimum effective dose and the amount of recovery time needed to produce improvement. Perry, age 69, does his weekly 30 minute strength training sessions at our Austin strength training facility. He recently began sprint training on one of our stationary bikes about three times a month.
For the strength training we measure Perry’s time under load (TUL) for each exercise. When the TUL increases to a certain point we raise the weight the next session. Perry has been training for four years and continues to improve. We keep accurate records.
We do the same for sprint training. To accurately measure improvement we control the variables:
· Same difficulty level
· Same number of sprints(6)
· Same sprinting interval (22 Seconds)
· Same recovery level (heart rate) before beginning the next sprint.
In May it took Perry 28 minutes to do six sprints. Five and half months later his time had gone down to 18:30 minutes. That is a 9 ½ minute improvement - the same work in far less time. Adding up all the twenty-two second sprints that comes out to a total of 36 minutes of sprinting time over 5 ½ months.
With 330,000 workout sessions under our belts working with a wide range of ages and abilities, we have a good idea of what constitutes an effective dose of exercise (it is not that much) and the recovery time needed to produce ongoing improvement.The sprints are demanding - that is what stimulates change – but the time commitment is small, and the benefits are worth it.