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3S Training Optimization concept explained


People often ask us what Super Sport Systems does and why it matters.  After twenty years of collaborating with coaches, it can still be difficult to summarize the extensive nature of what we offer.  On the other hand, the methods and philosophy of 3S can be vital if striving to achieve consistent competitive results at any level of competition using proven training methodology science.

In short, the Super Sport System’s platform is a suite of tools delivering optimized training suggestions by training volume, intensity, and their strategic placement in relation to individual stated goals.  The key word in this definition is “optimization of the training process”, the direction which became the holy grail of training science starting in the early 1970’s, a time of a training science renaissance in many ways.  At a time of fierce competition between Western and Eastern ideologies, sport victories on the world stage became a source of national pride and proof of system advantage.  Therefore, the development of concepts and practical methods to standardize athletic preparation including training concepts that produced champions were of the highest priority.  The concept of optimization of training process is remaining very important for improving performance of athletes in foreseeable future.

Today, 3S offers the most advanced optimization philosophies, tools, and methods, which are based on data driven science with hundreds of Olympic, World and national levels medalists as proof of its effectiveness.

Optimization of the Training Process Explained

Merriam-Webster defines optimization as “an act, process, or methodology of making something (such as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible”.  There is no need to argue that every coach’s desire is to design and manage an effective training program for their team.  And, if we agree that training is a process, we then want to apply the same general rules that apply to any process optimization and management tasks to make it effective.

The contemporary process optimization methods introduced in engineering and finance can serve as a good example of efficient process properties, and also give us an idea of the elements that are important to achieve optimization effects.  For a starter, no optimization is possible in the absence of a working model of process behavior.  The unique challenge of sports science lays in the fact that we need to build a model of human body behavior in response to standard stresses where human body is a self-sustained, self-adjusted, and highly complicated biological system.  Ironically, the fact remains that today we know more about how to send a spacecraft to the moon and return it to Earth than we do about long-term human reactions to extreme physical exercise. This can be explained by the lack of open theories explaining the changes under different training strategies from one hand, and lack of quantitative methods describing human behaving under long term physical stress (read “professional training”) from another.

Models of Human Behavior          

To our knowledge, there are two main approaches to building a model of human behavior under extreme physical stress such as experienced by professional athletes.  Both approaches were developed at approximately the same time and in competition with each other.

One of the first attempts to build a mathematical model of physiological reactions to physical exercises was offered by Dr. Alois Mader from Eastern Germany.  His studies later became the foundation for a lactate threshold training method first adopted by German sports that later spread to the Western hemisphere as a dominant training theory.

The alternative approach was based on ergometric criteria of a performance based on Power-Time curve. which assumed sustained power at a time of maximum effort as a main model criterion.  Contrary to the lactate threshold method which concentrated on immediate reactions of specific physiological parameters to exercises of different intensities, this concept was focused on principles of long-term multi-component adaptation and complex responses to “standard exercises” in relation to each other.  Considering that the central criterion of this method is time of maximum effort at different intensities, (by power)  this approach in our experience is much more practical since it can be easily connected to everyday coaching practices and needs.  It can be easily applied and managed in real training without the need for extra equipment or invasive tests, and better connected to on-going and planned performance (by required times achieved in daily practices).  It is important to understand that the Ergometric method is still based on the same physiological principles and markers such as lactate accumulation, VO2 max, and Heart Rate, but using them as targets and goals in direct connection with each exercise or effort we prescribe.  The main criterion in every instance is retaining the power (read “pace”) and time (read “distance”) the athlete can sustain in each effort, whether it is a training set or a one-time maximum effort.  By the end of the day, in sport we compete on power and not on our physiological markers which will always remain secondary in our competitive model.

Conditions for Building a Model

Contrary to the Lactate Threshold method, the Ergometric approach allows for better explanation of preparedness dynamics, thus creating an opportunity to quantify the elements of periodization and seasonal training plans.  Additionally, it offers a more precise classification of effective training exercises in connection with main energy production mechanisms and their placement in different season phases.

To connect performance markers with their optimum development in time we need to resolve two equations:

  1. Equation of condition
  2. Equation of change (of condition).

The first requirement is quite obvious: the goal of the equation of condition is to connect the level of development of different functions and markers with maximum performance ability. This task is convertible: the target or planned result allows us to predict the level of development of different physiological functions that are necessary to achieve the suggested result.  The catch here is in human anatomic, morphologic and functional variability.  The athletes achieving similar results can be quite different in terms of their skeletal build, muscle composition, muscle length, and different participation of energy production mechanisms in supplying the required energy and recovery times due to their differences.  That means that “model” characteristics should be taken as a suggestion only and not be treated as an absolute requirement.  It also means that we need to define an individual training approach to different body types.

To make this situation even more complex, the model of condition does not suggest the direction and methods of future development.  At best, the current condition can be compared with a model of required conditions which is based on planned end-season results, thus providing us with the difference we need to cover through some training program.  While this is helpful in general, this approach still does not explain how exactly we need to design our program to achieve the desired effects.

To remedy this gap, we need a second equation which defines the dynamics of incremental changes and strategies necessary to achieve them.  The key word in this part is “strategies”, which can be expressed in different methods that are effective to achieve stated goals.  Parametric studies explain such strategies and without them it is hardly possible to resolve this dilemma.

Why All of This is Important

The purpose of training plans optimization is quite obvious: it allows us to maximize the effects of our daily decisions and achieve desired results in shorter time.  On the other hand, the logic and process presented above may sound quite complicated and raises a question of its practicality in real life.  In a way, this complexity explains our challenge in presenting the true value and purpose of our platform in a simple way.  But this complexity is exactly what the 3S platform and tools are designed to resolve.  Using Parametric principles as a theoretical foundation and the ergometric model as our method, we provide optimized solutions in every component of season planning which results in highly competitive performances. In essence, the 3S platform compacted over 30 years of systemic research and leading training philosophies to help you drive your training in the right direction with optimum efficiency.  In other words, you do not need to be a scientist to use 3S tools: they are coming pre-calibrated and fine-tuned to guide you through the season using simple to use planning and decision-making tools at the level of season, cycle, week and day.

The final note:

Many coaches continue to re-invent the wheel and carry on the guessing game when determining their training intensities and loads, but now there is a better way.  There is no need to repeat the beaten narrative that every coach should have a sound season and workout plan for every training session.  The way you can view it – 3S is your most comprehensive training planner and navigator.  Like any guide, its directions depends on the user’s priorities and goals providing clear step-by-step action plans in the form of detailed and carefully coordinated daily workouts.  That is exactly what you can expect from our platform.  But every new season will have its own nuances.  That is where we help coaches to make their decisions and introduce corrections that make every season a success.  We can help you to eliminate the guessing from your daily training decisions and instead improve your understanding of your athletes and their reactions to exercises you prescribe.

Aside from improved training effects and final results, you also can learn modern concepts in a practical way, connecting the dots between your training designs, actual progressions, and final results achieved.  This knowledge is closing the educational loop for coaches. Our platform will help you better understand your swimmers’ reactions and find the most effective methods to improve them in real time.

It is also important to realize that 3S is a training process design and management tool, and like with any tool, you need to master it to receive the desired results.

There are three distinct methods of learning 3S tools and improving your efficiency while using them:

  1. Use 3S direct assistance to set up your account and receive guidance at every step. This comes free with your subscription and will help you to begin optimizing our training immediately.
  2. Join 3S Coaches’ Forum and connect with 3S users who have been using the platform for decades. Since all of them are familiar with the intricacies of 3S methodology, they speak the same language and are open to discussion. Their experience and knowledge is invaluable.
  3. Your swimmers’ reaction to 3S suggestions is by itself a fantastic way to learn since you always compare actual reactions and times with predictive provided by 3S. This will help you better understand your swimmers and maximize their performance.

Want to learn more or simply jump to the platform to test it?

Follow the links below!

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