A cyclist did her interval training with the Hex and saw a drop in muscle oxygen level (SmO2) while she was pushing and an increase in SmO2 while she was recovering (as seen below). The SmO2 trends during the high exertion and recovery phases of high intensity intervals can help guide athletes speed workouts to be efficient and effective.
Here are some key points about how SmO2 can help your interval training:
- After stopping a high intensity portion of an interval, SmO2 data will show when the muscles are in a recovery phase (blue zone) and when the muscles are ready to perform again (green zone).
- Length of time it takes the muscles to recover is indicative of the exertion level during that set. Muscles will take more time to recover if they are pushed harder or are becoming more fatigued.
- Check how high the SmO2 gets during each recovery phase during speed training. A tapering off of the maximum SmO2 during recovery sets indicate overall muscle fatigue, which usually means the speed workout should come to an end. If athletes overexert themselves and push too far, they risk deconditioning their muscles which can inhibit overall performance.
Pushing the limit
- Monitoring the SmO2 drop during each high intensity set allows athletes to track exertion throughout a workout.
- If there were inconsistencies during the training or the athlete couldn’t reach the desired intensity during the sprints at the end of the workout, the SmO2 drop would reflect how the muscles were consuming the oxygen available.