Customer Review

47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On my short list of top conditioning training resources, July 20, 2007
This review is from: Total Heart Rate Training: Customize and Maximize Your Workout Using a Heart Rate Monitor (Paperback)
This brief but densely packed book is a superb reference of conditioning principles for all serious athletes. The reason is that it combines a safe, practical way of quantifying your workouts with a superb overview of the dimensions of training.

Contrary to the impression you might get from the book's title, this book is not a recap of the usual information about heart rate training, it is rather a concise summary of the long experience of the author searching for both effective training strategies and a way of organizing those strategies into an overall system.

The highlights that impressed me:

1. How to realistically and accurately evaluate your own heart rate training zones. "Max heart rate" is risky and unneccessary to test and uselessly inaccurate to estimate from age. Friel's approach is to use lactate threshold and work back from there because it is much easier to determine and more meaningful to most training programs.

2. The physiological and functional effects of each training zone, related to perceived effort and types of training drill. This breakdown tells you exactly how each type of training affects your basic athletic abilities and gives you examples of drills for each zone.

3. An easily understood adaptation of Bompa's system for relating basic athletic abilities (endurance, force, speed-skill) to advanced abilities (muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, power).

4. Practical suggestions for determining what sorts of training you need to support activity of different durations.

The book focuses primarily on training for endurance sports, but its quantitative approach to training will help anyone in any athletic activity to systematize and improve their own program.

Note that the focus in this book is on the performance abilities common to all physical activities. There is no coverage of skill aquisition, flexibility, mobility, stability, or the functional approach to sports. The training concepts in this book in general assume that you already have the basic functional ability to perform in your given sport. I would say that this fact, more than any complexity or difficulty of the book, makes this a somewhat advanced resource. If you are a novice athlete, you would not want to just jump into the sorts of training program suggested here. You would want to first determine the basic stability and mobility requirements for your sport and be sure you understand and meet those before you go off doing different kinds of intervals and steady state workouts.

This book is a superb mixture of exercise science and the author's long practical experience with athletic training. I highly recommend it to help any thinking coach or athlete better plan their conditioning workouts.
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Location: Philadelphia, Pa USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,780