Adaptation energy reserve and wave-like loading principle?

One of the principle in the training theory is the non-stop training (continuity). That means if athlete stops and starts training couple of times he can never reach that heights of adaptations (fitness level) if he was training continuously. We can compare this with two cars: both cars need to travel futher as they can, but car A travels in town, and car B travels on the open road. Car A need to stop-and-start many times (his speed varies from 0 to vmax) but car B is going with constant speed. Car B will travel more miles than car A because it is spending less gas per a mile.
Athlete who dont engage in continuous training gain some results and then loss them, and gain and loss, and gain and loss… so he is spending his genetic adaptation reserve to gain losed level of fitness and not to reach higher levels. Genetic adaptation reserve is some-kind of a limited energy source wich athlete can use to adopt stress.
So I think an atahlete is given three (or more) genetic gifts:
• curent level of fitness abilities(talent),
• maximum reachable level of fitness,
• and adaptation reserve wich he can use to gain his maximum
The sad thing is that last two gifts we cannot assess or evaluate…

But if an athlete is under continuous load progression he is certainly going into overtraining. So antoher principle in the training theory is wave-like loading! That means that he should cool-down a little bit to allow restoration and supercompensation (lower load- intensity and volume). This waves should be visible in the whole-career, year-round, meso-cyclus, micro-cyclus and even at one training session plans. Why is that? I think it is because athlete have no access to complete adaptation reserve at the time but he can access only one part, like grabing a bucket of water from a barrel. So when he spent his current adaptation reserve-bucket (C.A.R.) he should allow some time for system to refill it (unloading) from over-all genetic adaptation energy (barrel). I think there is two-to-three little bufferes of adaptation reserve (micro, meso,year) so this explains wave-like loading (micro,meso,year-round). Another explanations for wave-like loading are psychological, goal-settings, sequencing etc.
Maybe onother genetic gifts are
• time needed to refill buffers
• size of buffers
• number of buffers
Again as thing is that we cannot asses these abilities…

This explains different times for recovery and supercomensation between individual athletes, and explains why is mono-cycle periodisadion “bad” and why is bi-tri-cycle periodasion “good” – because they allow refilling of the year-round adaptation reserve…

Here is the explanation of the graph…

  1. During a microcycle you are building on the load (spending C.A.R.) so you need to unload it for one-two days (refilling C.A.R. from meso-cyclus adaptation reserve). If the microcyclus is “shocking” (rus. udarni) it is having 3-4 load peaks so you need to allow more days of rest, maybe whole next microcyclus (srb. rasterecujuci)
  2. When you build up on a mesocyclus level (month) you are spending meso-cyclus adaptation reserve, and again you have to add some unloading-week (microcyclus) for refilling it (from year-round reserve). This is visible with 3:1 strength training scheme.
  3. Also a year peiodisation is splited into three parts: PP (preparatory period, futher splited into GPP & SPP ), competition period, transition period wich is used for recovery and by this theory for refilling year-round reserve. If athlete have lower year-round adaptation reserve he should use bi-tri-cycle and not one-cycle periodisation model…


  1. Can any training method make a change number of buffers and their sizes?
  2. How do we find out about number of buffers and their sizes and calculate what is the maximum reachable level on an athlete?
  3. Can restoration methods speed up refilling or it only affect fatigue-removal (two-factorial trainig theory) and faster reaching of supercompensation (one-factor training theory)? This directly imply (if answer is no) that you should allow one day of rest, and if aswer is yes, you could train every day with appropriate restoration methods.

Please post your opinions about this wave-like explanation theory!!!

There are so many questions here it’s hard to know where to start- except, perhaps, with more questions.
As for assessing progress, don’t get caught up with the abstract. Set targets by period in training and see if you are achieving them. (times for various distances, weight lifted, etc.)
As for waves, you have both vol and intensity to consider and within sprint intensity you have distance to consider (the speed achieved over a standing 30m might be 100% of that possible for the distance but not 100% of that possible overall (60m for example). How do you determine the load of max training by distance? How do you relate maxs for weights to distances? (you see how I’m neatly moving you to see the value of the short to long approach?) I’ll have more to say on this shortly.

Eager to keep this alive! :slight_smile:

I suppose there is a 3rd dimension to Duxx’s “wave theory” by Charlie, that of distance and intensity within it; something that is rarely considered in a “wave” scheme.

Duxx, what’s your personal thoughts about this, if you don’t mind? Does the post represent your opinion as well?


When I first read about C.A.R. (in Siffs Supertraining I think) I was quite confused and I didnt understand it concept… but when we had a class about Training theory here at Faculty (with Matveev friend, out teacher) we were hearing about couple training principles including continuity, wave-like loading, progresive loading etc… (I am entering exam for couple of days :smiley: ). The teacher explained us a continuity principle with that two cars example. I completelly agree with him. But to explain wave-like loading to myself I “created” this theory… it is usefull for me (to theoretycally explain some things) but in real-life training I think it have a little value, or no at all… it is abstract like Charlie sad - there is more question than answers… and that is way it is unusefull in practice (but it is interesting I think :rolleyes: )

Duxx, what’s your personal thoughts about this, if you don’t mind? Does the post represent your opinion as well?

Wave-like loading is, like it or not, a rule in training and how do we explain it, is not so important… there is a lot of explanations of it, but the one is true… use it!
Another question is: what is unloading? Do you unload athelete by lowering intensity, volume, using longer rests or all of this… and what about different kind of sports, unloading is different for each of them!
Charlie, how do you unload sprinters? Lower volume keeping intesities constant?

Nikoluski, I dont think that sprint distance is 3rd dimension of load, but I would rather say that trainig load represents complex interaction of training variables (intensity, volume, rests, etc…).
Charlie I understand what you mean by different sprint distance… it is like you are doing 1RM squat and doing 5 squats with 5RM. In both cases you are pushing yourself to a maximum, but only in with 1RM load you are pushing maximum maximorum (Zatsiorsky, Science & practice). Do You Charlie, plan in advance unloading, or You just set goals and if they are not reached you change something?
I saw on your GPP video on one graph intensity x volume on y line, what do you mean by this… is it training load?

Remember, there are two volumes in my planning- high and low intensity. In a traditional plan, low intensity work is gradually dropped in order to preserve all resources for high int work. Problem with this is that it is impossible to continue to replace LI vol with HI vol for long. In fact LI vol has NO detrimental effect on ability and there is no reason to drop the vol there til the very last minute in the training plan. Only HI vol affects performance for good or bad. HI Volumization occurs fairly early in the training cycle and plateaus for most of it, dropping only in the final stages (pre-comp and comp period).
As well, annual volumization plateaus as performance reaches a high level as the only way to allow intensification to continue. Additionally, as world record performances are approached, the actual HI training vol must DECREASE- something many coaches fail to grasp.

Both. The plan sets out the peaking period, thus the final taper, but the continuous achievement of PBs throughout the training period requires a great deal of flexibility in the individual training sessions. In order not to loose confidence in the plan, you must think in terms of an overall trend of improvement rather than at specific training targets on a specific day (that only matters at the big meets). The flexibility I employed was validated by the big meet results themselves.

Sorry, I meant the distance up to which you continue to accelerate within a certain interval; this I suppose could be regulated in some way along with other training elements on the track.

Charlie, please, if I am wrong, correct me here…

I think I got it… it is quite different from clasical periodisation model. I read you book CFTS but really fast, now I am going to do it really slowly hehe. You are talking about Modern Planing Model presented on page 95, or am I wrong? Can this model be used in something other than sprint?

Distance represent training volume, but in sprint training maximum speed (or %max) is in function of acc distance, so we can say that distance is also some kind of intensity, but in somekind indirect relation.
LIke Charlie sad doing 30m and 60m with maximum voluntary tension (95-100%) is not the same if we take in mind the speed reached!
I am missing something?

I suppose you are right on this; but it’s not only the difference between two different distances performed at 100%, but also within the same interval the distance up to which you accelerate. Sorry, if you are implying the same thing…

There is a difference between doing 60 m at 100%, doing 60 m with 100% acceleration up to 20 m and lastly 60 m with 100% acceleration up to 40 m. This is what I meant before and this can be regulated, too.


Is lowering the volume of high intensity work achieved mainly by a reduction in the frequency?

Not sure I understand the question. Frequency of the sessions? No, it’s better to reduce the volume of high intensity work within the individual sessions themselves, making a reduction in the frequency of the sessions unnecessary.

If LI vol has NO detrimental effect on ability is there some positive effect? If not why do you use it? Active recovery, injury prevention, technique work?

there are a number of threads on the site about the positive effects of low intensity work ranging from active recovery to increased vascular density.