Sperlich, B., Haegele, M., Heilemann, I., Zinner, C., De Marees, M., Achtzen, S., & Mester, J. (2009). Weeks of high intensity vs. volume training in 9-12 year-old swimmers. ACSM 56th Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington. Presentation number 959.

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This study compared the effects of high intensity training vs. high volume training on performance as well as physiological and psychological values in children. In order to compare both training strategies, 27 competitive swimmers (ages 9-12 years) were separated into two training groups (intensive vs. volume) according to their 100-m freestyle personal best time. High intensity training was set at ~93% of personal best time corresponding to average lactate values of ~5.2 mmol/l. High volume training was set at 83% of personal best time with average lactate values of ~2.3 mmol/l. High intensity training volume was set at 57 x 50 m, 57 x 100 m, 15 x 200 m, and 3 x 300 m intervals (total: 27.3 km;, time per session was 60 minutes). High volume training volume was: 89 x 100 m, 62 x 200 m, 53 x 300 m, 19 x 400 m and 4 x 800 m intervals (57.3 km; time per session was 90 minutes). LEN- Points were evaluated before and after the six weeks intervention. Maximal oxygen uptake and power output at 4 mmol/l lactate were assessed during an incremental bicycle test before and after the mesocycle. Additionally all Ss performed a 2 km-test, a 100 m all-out test with logging of post lactate kinetics as well as a 6 x 50m-test in 50 m pool. All children rated their perception of exhaustion using a 16-point scale psychological questionnaire before and after each training session in order to detect possible overtraining symptoms. Furthermore, all swimmers performed a 50 m sprint after the warm-up phase in every training session.

No statistical differences were found for any physiological and psychological variables between the groups. LEN-points from competition performances showed an increase of 9% for high volume training and 14.3% for high intensity training.

Implication. A six-week mesocycle of high volume training is not as beneficial as high intensity training in swimmers aged of 9-12 years. High intensity training showed the same effects as those achieved in high volume training which were achieved in less training time. This time saving strategy allows training contents to be devoted to other activities (e.g., technical and skill elements).

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