Q:What is the best way to develop aerobic power?
A: That is a question that I often get from athletes and fitness enthusiasts. One of the big leaps in ways of thinking when one becomes a trainer is to embrace that there is no best way to develop anything. The statement that there is no best way to develop anything is surprising to many and also in contrast to some scientific studies that shows, for example, that HIIT is the "best" way to train. HIIT is a great example that there is no best way to train:
Take a beginner and put him/her on 20 or 30 second sprints. If they don't get injured (from lack of stability or structural strength) you will see that they typically does not run that much faster within 30 seconds that they could have over a minute. Thus, the question arise: What should I do with this athlete/client to get them ready for HIIT?
Now the athlete/client is ready for HIIT. You give them the best program possible. What happens? They reach a plateau within a few weeks. (In the original Tabata study the participants plateaued after three weeks). You can keep the cycle going for a little longer by backing off in volume and intensity and offer another HIIT-program, but relatively soon (in a long term perspective) the athlete/client reaches a plateau. Thus, the next question arise: What do you do with your athlete/client AFTER a cycle of HIIT training?
The smart coaches does not look for "the best" program. Smart coaches look for different, really, really effective programs that develop the athlete/client in different ways. Then they try to understand the optimal sequence of those programs. You understand the optimal sequence of programs by understanding periodization principles (for example as they are described with The Flexible Periodization)
If you want to learn how to get your athlete/client ready for HIIT and how to optimall perform HIIT you would be interested in my workshop "Periodization of High Intensity Interval Training"