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The Physiology of Training for High Performance

Duncan MacDougall and Digby Sale

Publication Date - 07 October 2014

ISBN: 9780199650644

432 pages
9.7 x 7.4 inches

The only text to provide a rigorous, evidence-based understanding of the physiological bases behind training for high-performance sports


Success for an athlete depends on their ability to perform at their best when it matters most. Performance depends on the athlete's body having acquired the most beneficial adaptations for their sport.

But how can an athlete or coach be sure that training results in the desired adaptations?

Training can be defined as the stimulation of biological adaptations that result in an improvement in performance in a given task. Athletes and coaches have learned, mostly through trial and error, how to exploit the ability of the body to adapt in response to potentially harmful stimuli. The challenge lies in applying the right stimuli at the right intensity for the right amount of time: muscles respond to working more forcefully than normal by becoming bigger, stronger, and more resistant to damage--but over-training can lead to injury.

Underpinned by an understanding of the mechanisms behind adaptation--and thoroughly supported by scientific research--The Physiology of Training for High Performance provides the information necessary to decide on the most effective way to improve performance.

The book begins by introducing students to the concept and physiological bases of adaptation. The authors then delve into training for different outcomes, for example, improved endurance or speed, and relate the discussion to various sports and events. Finally, the authors summarize the latest research surrounding additional factors that affect an athlete's performance and potential, including tapering, nutrition, and body composition.


* The only text to provide a rigorous, evidence-based understanding of the physiological bases behind training for high-performance sports

* Illuminates the processes that cause and control the body's adaptive response to training

* Combines the theoretical and applied aspects of physical training to explain which stimuli are most effective in triggering particular adaptations

* Examples and Sample Programs demonstrate how to apply the concepts developed to real-world training scenarios

* Written by internationally renowned exercise scientists, each of whom is extensively published in peer-reviewed journals and books, as well as former athletes, coaches, and training consultants for Olympic and professional teams


For registered adopters of the book:
- Figures from the book, available for download

For students:
- Multiple-choice questions to check understanding and aid revision
- Links to sources of further information

About the Author(s)

Duncan MacDougall is Professor Emeritus at McMaster University, Canada, and former president of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

Digby Sale is Professor Emeritus at McMaster University, Canada.

Table of Contents

    Part I: Adaptation and the Bases of Performance

    1. Introduction

    2. Biochemical Bases for Performance

    3. Cardiovascular Bases for Performance

    4. Muscle Physiology

    5. Neuromuscular Bases for Performance

    Part II: Performance Training

    6. Training for Endurance Sports

    7. Training for Anaerobic Events and Team Sports

    8. Training for Strength, Power, and Speed

    Part III: Additional Factors Affecting Performance

    9. Peaking, Tapering, and Overtraining

    10. Stretching and Flexibility

    11. Other Considerations