Programming Differences: Regional Athlete vs. Masters Athlete

The more training literature you read the more patterns and and norms start to emerge. One specific example is the discussion of a supercompensation model of adaptation which is used as justification for progressive training, periodization, and planning schemes. Since the genesis of this theory concepts from stress physiology literature have been used as a justification for many of the assumptions strength and conditioning professionals make when creating their training structures. Namely, how the body adapts in such an organized manner in the face of imposed stressors. However, the field of stress physiology has shifted dramatically in the past thirty years, but despite it is evolution the same outdated theories from years past remain firmly rooted in training culture.

In a recent ask TTT video titled, “Dynamic vs. Block Periodization: A Case For Training All Things at All Times” I discussed contemporary models of adaptation based upon dynamic systems theory and how it differs from the traditional, outdated, supercompensation model of adaptation as well as my thoughts on block periodization versus dynamic programming. Because all training models are created with the goal of adaptation in mind it stands to reason that those constructed on the foundation of supercompensation theory are flawed, namely in that they do not account for how our bodies actually adapt to training and they lack dynamic flexibility based on an inter-individual variations in training response.

As a result of that Kyle Ruth and I created the Limiter Bridge Performance Model of training which is designed to drive biological adaptations, and raise the ceiling for performance, as well as allow for future structural adaptations. In this article I am going to tie those concepts together and present a more expansive model for phasing and periodizing training based on the principles of athlete centric coaching (, dynamic periodization, and the limiter bridge performance model. But, before delving into the details of the LBP model it is important to first acknowledge why we created it.

Prior to the genesis of the LBP model the traditional paradigm we ascribed to attempted to improve performance in a sporting event by analyzing the demands of the event and reducing it to a series of time trials. In this system training was based on intervals targeting specific training zones assuming that events fit discreetly into said zones. However, sport does not fit nicely into these boxes. While these training protocols may improve an athletes potential they seldom maximize performance thus leaving athletes unprepared for competition; and while sport maximizes an athletes current potential it seldom raises which results in poorly conditioned athletes. The limiter-bridge-performance model phases training tools to prevent both of these scenarios by touching on all training qualities throughout the year with different degrees of emphasis based on the priority at any given point in time.

The purpose of limiter training is to drive biological adaptations that are specific to an athletes priorities; and raise the ceiling for performance as well as allow for future adaptation instead of directly improving performance in the short term. As such, limiter protocols are targeted toward changing an athletes physiology rather than performance variables and as a result they are less stressful than bridge or performance training protocols. Examples of this would be blended energy system protocols aimed at improving respiratory muscle endurance or those aimed at improving delivery, which are explained in depth in the Training Think Tank Energy System 2.0 course and book.