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Monitoring Training Load in Handcycling: A Case Study

Zeller, Sebastian1,2; Abel, Thomas1,2; Strueder, Heiko K.1

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 11 - p 3094–3100
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001786
Original Research

Zeller, S, Abel, T, and Strueder, HK. Monitoring training load in handcycling: a case study. J Strength Cond Res 31(11): 3094–3100, 2017—The aim of this study was to analyze the training intensity distribution (TID) and the total training load (TTL) for the first time in handcycling of a multiple female Paralympic medalist (lesion level: L2–3 incomplete, ASIA C, classification: WH5). This study focuses on the preparation and the competitive period of the 2015 season. The athlete completed 194 handcycling training sessions in a time of 433:53 hours, covering a total distance of 10.190 km. An average training week consisted of 9:38 ± 4:50 hours of training during 4.3 ± 1.5 training sessions. Training was categorized according to the 3-zone intensity scale (zone 1: below blood lactate levels of 2 mmol·L−1; zone 2: between 2 mmol·L−1 and 4 mmol·L−1; and zone 3: above 4 mmol·L−1). The average TID during the observation was 71.6 ± 14.9% in zone 1, 15.2 ± 8.0% in zone 2, and 13.1 ± 5.5% in zone 3. The analysis of TID throughout the season demonstrates a tendency toward a greater volume in zone 2 than the recommendations in the literature. The mean TTL throughout the season was 804 ± 399 arbitrary units. During the investigation, the performance capacity in the incremental exercise test analog to 4 mmol·L−1 increased by 19% (150–181 W), whereas the peak power output improved by 22% (180–200 W). Currently, no general guideline for the TTL and TID in paraplegic endurance athletes can be given.

1Institute of Movement and Neurosciences, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany; and

2European Research Group in Disability Sport, Loughborough, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Sebastian Zeller,

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.