European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 99–107 | Cite as

Performance changes in world-class kayakers following two different training periodization models

  • Jesús García-PallarésEmail author
  • Miguel García-Fernández
  • Luis Sánchez-Medina
  • Mikel Izquierdo
Original Article


This study was undertaken to compare training-induced changes in selected physiological, body composition and performance variables following two training periodization models: traditional (TP) versus block periodization (BP). Ten world-class kayakers were assessed four times during a training cycle over two consecutive seasons. On each occasion, subjects completed an incremental test to exhaustion on the kayak ergometer to determine peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), VO2 at second ventilatory threshold (VO2 VT2), peak blood lactate, paddling speed at VO2peak (PSpeak) and VT2 (PSVT2), power output at VO2peak (Pwpeak) and VT2 (PwVT2), stroke rate at VO2peak (SRpeak) and VT2 (SRVT2) as well as heart rate at VO2peak and VT2. Volume and exercise intensity were quantified for each endurance training session. Both TP and BP cycles resulted in similar gains in VO2peak (11 and 8.1%) and VO2 VT2 (9.8 and 9.4%), even though the TP cycle was 10 weeks and 120 training hours longer than the BP cycle. Following BP paddlers experienced larger gains in PSpeak, Pwpeak and SRpeak than those observed with TP. These findings suggest that BP may be more effective than TP for improving the performance of highly trained top-level kayakers. Although both models allowed significant improvements of selected physiological and kayaking performance variables, the BP program achieved similar results with half the endurance training volume used in the TP model. A BP design could be a more useful strategy than TP to maintain the residual training effects as well as to achieve greater improvements in certain variables related to kayaking performance.


Aerobic fitness Cardiorespiratory Canoeing Endurance performance Power output Anthropometric 



We thank personnel from the Andalusian High-Performance Sports Medicine Centre in Seville and personnel from the High-Performance and Sport Science Research Center (CARICD) in Madrid for their excellent technical help with laboratory apparatus and medical assistance to the athletes. We also acknowledge the dedicated effort, commitment and professionalism of the selected group of kayakers who took part in this research. No funding was received for this work from any institution.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest relevant to the content of this manuscript.


  1. Bishop D, Bonetti D, Dawson B (2002) The influence of pacing strategy on VO2 and supramaximal kayak performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc 34:1041–1047CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bompa T, Haff G (2009) Periodization: theory and methodology of training. Human Kinetics, ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  3. Bondarchuk AP (1988) Constructing a training system. Track Tech 102:3254–3269Google Scholar
  4. Coyle EF, Martin WH, Sinacore DR, Joyner MJ, Hagberg JM, Holloszy JO (1984) Time course of loss of adaptations after stopping prolonged intense endurance training. J Appl Physiol 57:1857–1864PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Fry RW, Morton AR (1991) Physiological and kinanthropometric attributes of elite flatwater kayakists. Med Sci Sports Exerc 23:1297–1301PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. García-Pallarés J, Sánchez-Medina L, Carrasco L, Díaz A, Izquierdo M (2009a) Endurance and neuromuscular changes in world-class level kayakers during a periodized training cycle. Eur J Appl Physiol 106:629–638CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. García-Pallarés J, Carrasco L, Díaz A, Sánchez-Medina L (2009b) Post-season detraining effects on physiological and performance parameters in top-level kayakers: comparison of two recovery strategies. J Sports Sci Med 8:622–628Google Scholar
  8. García-Pallarés J, Sánchez-Medina L, Pérez CE, Izquierdo-Gabarren M, Izquierdo M (2010) Physiological effects of tapering and detraining in world-class kayakers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c9228c
  9. Hickson RC, Kanakis C Jr, Davis JR, Moore AM, Rich S (1982) Reduced training duration effects on aerobic power, endurance, and cardiac growth. J Appl Physiol 53:225–229PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Houmard JA, Scott BK, Justice CL, Chenier TC (1994) The effects of taper on performance in distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc 26:624–631PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Issurin V (2008) Block periodization versus traditional training theory: a review. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 48:65–75PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Marfell-Jones M, Olds T, Stewart AD, Carter L (2006) International Standards for Anthropometric Assessment. International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). Potchefstroom, South Africa, pp 61–75Google Scholar
  13. Mujika I, Padilla S (2000) Detraining: loss of training-induced physiological and performance adaptations. Part I: short term insufficient training stimulus. Sports Med 30:79–87CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Mujika I, Busso T, Lacoste L, Barale F, Geyssant A, Chatard JC (1996) Modeled responses to training and taper in competitive swimmers. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28:251–258PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Mujika I, Padilla S, Pyne D (2002) Swimming performance changes during the final 3 weeks of training leading to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Int J Sports Med 23:582–587CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Neary JP, Bhambhani YN, McKenzie DC (2003) Effects of different stepwise reduction taper protocols on cycling performance. Can J Appl Physiol 28:576–587PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Shepley B, MacDougall JD, Cipriano N, Sutton JR, Tarnopolsky MA, Coates G (1992) Physiological effects of tapering in highly trained athletes. J Appl Physiol 72:706–711PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Tesch P, Piehl K, Wilson G, Karlsson J (1976) Physiological investigations of Swedish elite canoe competitors. Med Sci Sports 8:214–218PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Tesch P, Piehl K, Wilson G, Karlsson J (1983) Physiological characteristics of elite kayak paddlers. Can J Appl Sport Sci 8:87–91PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Van Handel PJ, Katz A, Troup JP, Daniels JT, Bradley PW (1988) Oxygen consumption and blood lactic acid response to training and taper. In: Ungerechts VBE, Wilke K, Reischle K (eds) Swimming Science. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, pp 269–275Google Scholar
  21. Van Someren KA, Oliver JE (2002) The efficacy of ergometry determined heart rates for flatwater kayak training. Int J Sports Med 23:28–32CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jesús García-Pallarés
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miguel García-Fernández
    • 2
  • Luis Sánchez-Medina
    • 3
  • Mikel Izquierdo
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Sport SciencesUniversity of MurciaMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Spanish Royal Canoeing FederationMadridSpain
  3. 3.Faculty of SportPablo de Olavide UniversitySevilleSpain
  4. 4.Studies, Research and Sports Medicine CenterGovernment of NavarrePamplonaSpain

Personalised recommendations