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Critical Power and training effects

CP changes with trainingAs indicated above, we have found that changes in Critical Power (and AWC) with training are unreliable, and this is largely a function of the linear model. But we have noted repeatedly that inclusion of training at Critical Power produces gains in performance capacity, and at the end of the day, this is the reason for the training in the first place. Researchers may be interested in changes in CP and/or AWC, but the athlete has one objective: to perform better.

Intuitively, one would expect that endurance training would increase Critical Power (i.e. the slope of the line) and high intensity training would increase AWC (or the intercept of the line with the y-axis). The diagram illustrated here presents data from 6 of the 7 kayak athletes training for Olympic competition mentioned above, and tested after 6.5 weeks of inclusion of Critical Power intensity into the training program (usually 3 sessions per week). The data demonstrate percentage changes in three variables: Critical Power, AWC and Performance (PT) as measured from the total work completed in during a 4-minute simulated race on a kayak ergometer. The variability across subjects is obvious. However, one of these athletes won a silver medal, two won bronze medals, and the remaining four athletes in the study gained a fourth place. Subjects 1, 2 and 4 recorded the highest change in the PT, but there is no obvious trend in Critical Power or AWC. This has been a persistent finding over many years of working with both Critical Power and Critical Speed, and is the underlying reason for inclusion of a Performance Test in The PEATS Program.

You may also be interested in reading some of the published research into Critical Power (and Critical Speed). Here are samples of some of the papers published in the last several decades.