New Zealand’s Sprint Cycling Team were in Tauranga this month; undertaking altitude training in the University of Waikato’s Environmental Chamber at the Adams Centre for High Performance.
The aerobic gains the team of 10 can achieve with the Environmental Chamber provides the benefit of endurance training without having to spend hours on long road rides, reveals the Sprint Team’s Sport Scientist, Jamie Douglas. “We are primarily a speed training sport but need to have the aerobic fitness to back it up. We can’t spend a lot of time doing endurance training as it counteracts our strength power training. This is a really nice, targeted stimulus to get the adaptation we need
without compromising the rest of our work.”
While COVID-19 travel restrictions have meant the Sprint Cycling Team aren’t preparing to head overseas any time soon, the aerobic benefits from their recent altitude training will be good preparation for national races in November and will likely form part of their Olympic training in future.
“Potentially this is one of the main interventions when we plan for the Olympics…do this and finish up 3-4 weeks out from the Olympics and try to hold onto these aerobic gains and peak performance.” confirms Douglas.
By using the Environmental Chamber here in Tauranga, the team also benefit from training close to their Cambridge base, explains laboratory manager, Steven Finlayson. “Travel can fatigue athletes, having this high-performance equipment in Tauranga at the Adams Centre, helps maintain the quality of their training. They don’t have to travel further afield to Auckland or Christchurch.”
The Environmental Chamber at the Adams Centre for High Performance is one of only a few in New Zealand that can combined altitude, heat and humidity acclimatisation as a time efficient method of training and preparing athletes for competing in different environments.
The University of Waikato’s laboratory also offers VO2max, lactate, power-output and metabolic rate assessment and biomechanics with 3D motion capture.
The cutting-edge sports science functionality for high performance athletes is unique to the Adams Centre in Tauranga. “The cool stuff is the chamber and the biomechanics” Finlayson enthuses, “that is the stuff that a lot of other centers can’t do”.
The Adams Centre for High Performance was established in 2016 and hosts high-profile sporting tenants such as the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens and the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union. It also runs an academy for up and coming local athletes who represent their sport at regional level or above. The training and support these local athletes receive at the Adams Centre prepares them for competing nationally and on the world stage.