Effects of block periodization training versus traditional periodization training in trained cross country skiers

University essay from Gymnastik- och idrottshögskolan, GIH/Institutionen för idrotts- och hälsovetenskap



The overall aim of this study was to develop a broader understanding on how to optimize the organization of aerobic endurance training programs, and especially how to better organize high-intensity training (HIT) and low intensity training (LIT) to give an optimum endurance performance progress.


This study compared the effects of two different training organization methods in trained cross-country (XC) skiers and biathletes. During a 5 week intervention period, one group of athletes (n = 10, 7 men and 3 women, age 23 ± 9 years) performed block periodization (BP) training with 5-1-3-1-1 HIT sessions in the respective weeks. The other group of athletes(n = 9, 7 men and 2 women, age 22 ± 5) followed a more traditional periodization (TRAD) method performing 2-2-3-2-2 HIT sessions. LIT was interspersed between the HIT sessions so that both groups performed similar total volumes of HIT and LIT during the intervention period.


The BP group increased relative and absolute VO2max (2.6 ± 3.6% and 2.0 ± 2.5%, P < 0.05) and time to exhaustion (6.1 ± 6.4%, P < 0.01). No changes were seen in the TRAD group on relative or absolute VO2max (0.8 ± 3.5% and -0.1 ± 3.0%) or time to exhaustion (-2.0 ± 7.7%). Mean effects size (ES) of the relative and absolute improvement in VO2max and time to exhaustion revealed small to moderate effects of performing BP training vs. TRAD training (ES range from 0.51 to 1.14).


This study indicates that organizing endurance training in XC skiers with block periodization training give better adaptations compared to performing traditional periodization training during a 5 week training period when performing similar volumes of high-intensity and low intensity training.

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