Mastering Test Sets and Threshold Monitoring with Phlex

Mastering Test Sets and Threshold Monitoring with Phlex

Key Takeaways from this Post:

  • Phlex technology offers groundbreaking insights into swimming performance, making it an essential tool for coaches and athletes.
  • The anaerobic threshold, a vital metric in swimming, can be accurately gauged using Phlex, enhancing training and strategy.
  • Comparative analysis, like Nana's performance against her peers and global icons, provides a roadmap for improvement and goal setting.

Phlex technology is revolutionizing the world of swimming and coaching. The introduction of technology in swimming has been transformative, as explored in a piece by THEMAGIC5 on the role of technology in swimming. Features we once only associated with sports like running and cycling are now available to the swimming community. Through a compact sensor attached to swimming goggles, Phlex captures crucial lap-by-lap data, providing insights into swimming performances like never before. Additionally, with the Phlex and Polar partnership, incorporating technology into swimming training has reached new heights.

Think of Phlex as your new coaching and sports science ally, guiding you towards becoming a better coach and empowering your athletes to achieve their fullest potential. Data has become pivotal in this transformation. To understand more, THEMAGIC5’s article on how data tracking helps you swim faster offers a deep dive into this topic.

Zooming in On Elite Athletes

In this blog, we're zooming in on the physiology of elite middle to long-distance female swimmers, specifically Nana Almeida, Katie Grimes, and Bella Sims. All these athletes are proud members of our Phlex community, and with Phlex now being officially World Aquatics Approved for in-competition use, the insights become even more invaluable. Our aim is to highlight their physiological attributes and demonstrate the precision of Phlex's algorithms, especially when determining the much-sought-after "anaerobic threshold" - a cornerstone of swimming performance.

In a previous article, we delved into the significance of training zones, their implications, and methods of measurement. Here, we'll explore this in greater depth, showcasing the capabilities of PHLEX and its relevance to athletic performance. As a starting point on the Phlex platform, the "Overview tab" presents a visual representation of a swimmer's progression in terms of physiology, speed, and stroke mechanics across various intensities, giving us a comprehensive profile of their performance.

Katie Grimes Training Zones

Unraveling the Anaerobic Threshold

In a prior piece, we discussed the importance of training zones and their implications. For a more detailed look, Phlex’s article on the importance of training zones offers a comprehensive understanding. The anaerobic threshold is a pivotal metric in swimming performance. Simply put, it's the maximum speed a swimmer can sustain without facing significant metabolic challenges. Additionally, this threshold marks a shift in a swimmer's technical approach. Research underscores its importance: it's found to account for 30% of performance in 50m events, 40% in 100m, and a substantial 60% in 200m races. In longer distances, the anaerobic threshold becomes the primary factor driving performance.

While coaches employ various tests to gauge this threshold, the 30 x 100m and 2000m TT stand out as favorites. Traditional data collection methods, such as using a stopwatch, can be labor-intensive. Enter PHLEX: simplifying the process with its intuitive design. A testament to its effectiveness is Nana Almeida, who, utilizing our platform, has enhanced her performance remarkably. She recently aced a 30x100m set with an impressive average on a 1:20 interval - a clear indicator of her incredible prowess. The image below captures the session in which she completed the 30x100m set.

Nana Almeida workout August 25th 2023

Post-Workout Insights

Upon examining the post-workout data, we find that Nana's projected anaerobic threshold stands at 1:09/100m. Her statistics include an average heart rate (HR) of 179 bpm, a stroke rate (SR) of 38 cycles/min, a stroke length of 2.29m per cycle, and a stroke index of 3.32. Notably, her heart rate initially spikes but stabilizes within about 10 minutes, indicating the desired metabolic response. We observe a similar trend in her technique.

Nana Almeida 30x100 set

Validating Phlex Predictions

What's intriguing is that the estimated anaerobic threshold from PHLEX, along with the related stroke mechanics, aligns closely with the outcomes of the 30 x 100m test.

Athlete Overview -> Fitness to find Average Swimming Speed chart
Athlete Overview -> Technique to find Athlete Stroke Metrics

This scenario offers dual advantages. First, Phlex can accurately estimate the anaerobic threshold using just the training data, eliminating the need for strenuous testing. Moreover, if coaches choose to undergo the test, there's no hassle of manually recording times and stroke mechanics. Phlex captures everything, making analysis instantly available post-session.

What's particularly compelling is when we analyze race results for 200m, 400m, and 800m distances. Using the critical speed concept calculator from ExPhysLab, Nana's estimated critical speed aligns at 1:09/100m. This further attests to Phlex's precision and utility.

Comparing Athlete Performances

But a lingering thought remains: How does Nana stack up against her competitors? We've selected a few athletes from the Phlex community for a side-by-side comparison.

From the data, it's evident that for Nana to enhance her performance, she needs to elevate her threshold. Her stroke mechanics also require fine-tuning. For instance, when compared to Katie Grimes, Nana's distance per stroke (DPS) is shorter by 50 cm per cycle.

Taking the analysis a step further, let's stack these athletes against a global icon: Katie Ledecky. Boasting personal bests of 1:53.7, 3:56.46, and 8:04.79 for the 200m, 400m, and 800m respectively, Ledecky's threshold stands at a staggering 1:02/100m pace. This gives her a pronounced metabolic edge, which has undeniably contributed to her numerous titles.

Dive into Phlex’s exploration on the science of tapering to understand this in depth.

The Phlex Team
November 21, 2023

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