Utility of the W´BAL model in training program design for masters cyclists
Galán-Rioja MÁ, González-Mohíno F, Skiba PF, González-Ravé JM. Utility of the W´BAL model in training programme design for masters cyclists. Eur J Sport Sci. 2023;23(7):1259-1268. doi:10.1080/17461391.2022.2142675
The present study aims to determine the utility of integrating balance model (W´BAL-INT) in designing interval training programs as assessed by improvements in power output, critical power (CP), and W prime (W´) defined as the finite work capacity above CP. Fourteen male cyclists (age = 42 ± 7 yr, body mass = 69.6 ± 6.5 kg, height = 175 ± 5 cm, CP = 302 ± 32 W, relative CP = 4.35 ± 0.66 W·kg-1) were randomized into two training groups: Short-Medium-Long intervals (SML-INT; n = 7) or Long intervals (L-INT, n = 7) [training sessions separated by 72 h], along with 3-4 sessions of moderate intensity training per week, for 4 weeks. All sessions were designed to result in the complete depletion of the W´ as gauged by the W´BAL-INT. CP and W´ were assessed using the specified efforts (i.e., 12, 7 and 3 min) and calculated with the 2-parameter CP linear model. Training loads between the groups were compared using different metrics. CP improved in both the SML-INT and L-INT groups by 5 ± 4% and 6 ± 5% (p < 0.001) respectively, without significant changes in W´. Mean maximal power over 3, 7 and 12 min increased significantly in the SML-INT group by 5%, 4% and 9%, (p < 0.05) without significant changes in the L-INT group. There were no differences between groups in training zone distribution or training load using BikeScore and relative intensity, but there was significantly (p < 0.05) higher TRIMPS for the Long-INT group. Therefore, W´BAL model may prove to be a useful tool for coaches to construct SML-INT training programs.