To improve sport performance, athletes use training regimens that include exercise below and above the maximal metabolic steady state (MMSS).
The objective of this review was to determine the additional effect of training above MMSS on VO2peak, Wpeak and time-trial (TT) performance in endurance-trained athletes.
Studies were included in the review if they (i) were published in academic journals, (ii) were in English, (iii) were prospective, (iv) included trained participants, (v) had an intervention group that contained training above and below MMSS, (vi) had a comparator group that only performed training below MMSS, and (vii) reported results for VO2peak, Wpeak, or TT performance. Medline and SPORTDiscus were searched from inception until February 23, 2023.
Fourteen studies that ranged from 2 to 12 weeks were included in the review. There were 171 recreational and 128 competitive endurance athletes. The mean age and VO2peak of participants ranged from 15 to 43 years and 38 to 68 mL·kg−1·min−1, respectively. The inclusion of training above MMSS led to a 2.5 mL·kg−1·min−1 (95% CI 1.4–3.6; p < 0.01; I2 = 0%) greater improvement in VO2peak. A minimum of 81 participants per group would be required to obtain sufficient power to determine a significant effect (SMD 0.44) for VO2peak. No intensity-specific effect was observed for Wpeak or TT performance, in part due to a smaller sample size.
A single training meso-cycle that includes training above MMSS can improve VO2peak in endurance-trained athletes more than training only below MMSS. However, we do not have sufficient evidence to conclude that concurrent adaptation occurs for Wpeak or TT performance.
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Conflict of Interest
Michael Rosenblat, Jem Arnold, Hannah Nelson, Jennifer Watt, and Stephen Seiler declare that they have no conflicts of interest relevant to the content of this review.
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All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article (and its supplementary information files).
Michael Rosenblat conceived and designed the study, conducted article screening, data extraction, risk of bias analysis, statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation. Jem Arnold participated in data extraction and manuscript preparation. Hannah Nelson participated in article screening and risk-of-bias analysis. Jennifer Watt participated in the statistical analysis and manuscript preparation. Stephen Seiler participated in study design and manuscript preparation. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
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Rosenblat, M.A., Arnold, J., Nelson, H. et al. The Additional Effect of Training Above the Maximal Metabolic Steady State on VO2peak, Wpeak and Time-Trial Performance in Endurance-Trained Athletes: A Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Reality Check. Sports Med (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-023-01924-y