Simulated hypoxic training in elite cross country skiing

Фотографии: 

V.N. Potapov
Associate Professor D.O. Maleev
Tyumen State University, Institute of Physical Culture, Tyumen

Keywords: cross country skiers, special physical fitness, simulated hypoxic training, competitive performance.

Introduction

Having analyzed the multiple research reports of the hypoxic training methods being of positive effect in many sport disciplines, we obtained good grounds to expect that untraditional supplementary training tools including hypoxic training practices could become an essential element of modern sport training technologies applicable in the elite cross country skiers’ training systems [1, 2, 4, 7].

Objective of the study was to provide basic theoretical data to substantiate and develop frame design and methodology for the special physical fitness development method using simulated hypoxic training tools in application to the elite cross-country skiers’ training process in the pre-season and assess benefits of the new method based on the relevant competitive performance reports.

Methods and structure of the study. The theoretical basics to substantiate and develop frame design and methodology for the special physical fitness development method using simulated hypoxic training tools in application to the elite cross-country skiers’ training process (hereinafter referred to as the “proposed method”) were provided by the fundamental principles developed by the relevant multiple studies of theoretical and practical provisions for sport training systems [8, 9] on the whole and the cross-country skiers’ training systems in particular [3, 6, 10]; and the relevant research concepts that explore mechanisms and physiological regularities of the body systems adaptation process under physical loads and hypoxic exposure courses [5].

In the subject method development process, an emphasis was made on harmonization of the method with the regular cross country skiers’ training process content, priorities and design logic; with due consideration for the method usability and health safety for the athletes. In addition, one of the top priorities in the method development process was given to the leading role of the regular training process and its mission that – in application to the elite athletes – was to guarantee their high fitness for and success in the top-ranking competitions of the winter season.

The major difference of the proposed special fitness development methodology – that we developed and applied to the elite cross-country skiers’ training process – from the traditional method is that it includes, in addition to the traditional sport training practices successfully applied in the elite cross country racers’ training process, a variety of optimized simulated hypoxic exposure courses we had developed in the previous studies.

Study results and discussion. The experimental method is designed to include the following four interconnected modules (see Figure 1 hereunder): forecast module; planning and provisioning module; training content module; and control and test module.

Forecast module  

This module is designed to set objectives, missions and anticipated results of the proposed method being implemented in the regular sport education and training process of elite cross-country skiers.

Objective of the method is to improve the special physical fitness of elite cross-country skiers based on the hypoxic training tools being applied in combination with the regular sport education and training practices.

Missions of the method are to:

1. Ensure good adaptation of the athletes to the applied training tools and practices to develop the body performance abilities to the highest fitness levels.

2. Provide the efficient means to improve the physical fitness levels of the elite cross-country skiers.

3. Add new quality to the competitive performance and accomplishments of the athletes.

Forecast results are designed on the assumption that the proposed method being implemented in the regular sport education and training process of elite cross-country skiers will secure the following:

1. Notable growth of the body performance reserves and special physical fitness of elite cross country skiers; and

2. Notable growth of the practical sport accomplishments.

Figure 1. Structure and contents of the special physical fitness development method based on the hypoxic training tools in application to elite cross-country skiers

Planning and provisioning module

This module provides a set of background documents to spell out the training process schedules, including the annual training schedule with a breakdown by the training meso- and micro-cycles presenting the training toolkit application profiles; frame plans for the individualized training sessions; medical examination schedules; rehabilitation schedules etc.

Training content module

This module determines the content of the applied natural regular training tools in combination with the selected simulated hypoxic training tools, with specification of the recommended hypoxic training practices and exposures designed to develop special physical fitness of elite cross-country skiers as rated by different pre-season training stages.

The regular leading training practices to develop special physical fitness of elite cross-country skiers are recommended to include the commonly accepted training tools including the step-and-jump ski poling stride simulation practices on variably steep slopes; special jumping practices; skiing technique simulation practices; a variety of roller skiing practices; and practices using special ski simulators like Sport Star Master (made in Russia); Ercolina Upper Body Cross-Country Ski Poling Simulator (made in Italy) etc.

In the pre-season, we recommend to use, for the purposes of the physical fitness development and training efficiency improvement, the following supplementary special simulated hypoxic training tools: Hypoxic Tent (we used HIPOXICO Everest Summit II model in the study); Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT), and Carbonic Hypoxic Respiratory Simulator designed by Prof. V.P. Kulikov.

Presented in Tables 1 and 2 hereunder are the experimental hypoxic exposure courses that proved highly efficient with the above Hypoxic Tent and Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT) being applied.

Table 1. Recommended hypoxic exposure (sea-level-rated) courses for elite cross-country skiers using HIPOXICO Everest Summit II Hypoxic Tent in the pre-season training period

Months

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

Weekly micro-cycles

1

2-4

1

2

3

4

1-2-3-4

1

2

3

4

1-2-3-4

1

2

3

4

1

2-3-4

Sea level rate, m

1500-

1800

 

1500 -

3000

 

1500 -

3000

 

 

1500 -

3000

 

Hypoxic exposure programs

#5-6

 

#5-8,5

 

#5-8,5

 

 

#6-8,5

 

Note: the hypoxic exposure course of the 1st May micro-cycle (as given in Table 1) is a continuation of the 2-3-4 April micro-cycles. The training process in the 2-3-4 May micro-cycles plus July and September training process was performed to take advantage of the achieved effects of the hypoxic training loads as verified by the notably increased tested physical working capacity rates and performance reserve rates of the athletes.

Table 2. Recommended hypoxic exposure (sea-level-rated) courses for elite cross-country skiers using the Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT) tools

IHT courses

Respiratory exposure time, s

Runs per a cycle

Number of cycles

Rest time between the cycles, min

Oxygen content in HGM, %

HGM*

Normal air

1

30

30

5-7

5-6

3

9-10

2

60

30

4-5

4-5

3

9-10

* HGM means Hypoxic Gas Mixture

The hypoxic exposure course using the Hypoxic Tent is actually a sleep in the tent for 8-10 hours per day, including the day time rest hours. Total duration of a Hypoxic Tent course normally comes to 4 weeks or more with the rest breaks of 10 to 30 days in between the courses.

The Carbonic Hypoxic Respiratory Simulator is designed based on hypoxic-hybercapnic gas mix being applied to increase the efficiency of the hypoxic exposure practices.

In the process of the cross country skiers’ special physical fitness development at different stages of the pre-season period, special attention will be given to the special physical fitness development practices. In our interpretation, the term general specialized physical fitness is perceived as giving more accurate definition than the general physical fitness, since it basically refers to the importance and purpose of the elite athlete training process being designed with an emphasis of the athlete’s actual sport specialization. Basic general specialized physical fitness development tools include the following: general preparatory practices; cross-country running and walking practices (the so called Scandinavian style walking practice); team sports and outdoor games; swimming, rowing and cycling practices; and a variety of general physical conditioning practices using rubber workout tools, dumbbells, packed balls, weights etc.

Control and test module

This module provides a set of the training workload and competitive performance control and test tools viewed as an integral part of the proposed training method. This module is designed for the quality assurance in the scheduled training process by providing the means to test the performance reserve of the athlete and the performance efficiency as a result of the applied training methods and tools; and correct, when necessary, the training process.

In view of the modern trends in the elite cross-country skiers’ training systems, we would recommend the following tests to rate the special physical fitness levels achieved:

- 10 km cross-country race;

- 200 m uphill poling run (on 11-12˚ steep slopes); and

- 15 km roller freestyle ski races (using Start type rollers).

The proposed test tools to rate the special physical fitness levels achieved by the cross-country skiers will be applied prior to, in the middle of and right after the pre-season training period.

Special importance in the integrated control-and-test process will be given to the cross-country skiers’ performance fitness tests using the relevant medical and biological test instruments and methods, including ECG, spirography, blood tension tests, hypoxic effect tests, biochemical tests etc.

We made resort to an educational experiment under the study to rate the efficiency of the proposed method, with the experiment being designed as a practical application of the proposed method model in the regular training process of the elite cross-country skiers. Subject to analysis under the  experiment were the competitive success rates of the study group athletes composed of students of the Physical Culture Institute under Tyumen State University.

The Cross-country Ski Race Finals of the III All-Russian Winter World Student Universiade of March 2014 were used as a base event to rate successes of the study group athletes under the study. Our analysis of their individual accomplishments demonstrated that the study group athletes performed better in the Games as they were the first or among the prize winners in different events under the Game program; whilst the Tyumen State University Team was the first in the team total score; and two of the subject athletes were qualified Masters of Sport of the Russian Federation as a result of their accomplishments for the 2013-2014 winter season.

Conclusion

The proposed method may be rated high among the necessary elements of the modern training process technologies applicable in the elite cross-country skiers’ training systems.

References

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