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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Oct;20 Suppl 2:24-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01189.x.

Intense training: the key to optimal performance before and during the taper.

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USP Araba Sport Clinic, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain.


The training load is markedly reduced during the taper so that athletes recover from intense training and feel energized before major events. Load reduction can be achieved by reducing the intensity, volume and/or frequency of training, but with reduced training load there may be a risk of detraining. Training at high intensities before the taper plays a key role in inducing maximal physiological and performance adaptations in both moderately trained subjects and highly trained athletes. High-intensity training can also maintain or further enhance training-induced adaptations while athletes reduce their training before a major competition. On the other hand, training volume can be markedly reduced without a negative impact on athletes' performance. Therefore, the training load should not be reduced at the expense of intensity during the taper. Intense exercise is often a performance-determining factor during match play in team sports, and high-intensity training can also elicit major fitness gains in team sport athletes. A tapering and peaking program before the start of a league format championship or a major tournament should be characterized by high-intensity activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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