Consensus among world's leading sports researchers
More high-intensity training, carried out at more than 95% of maximum capacity for no more than 30 seconds at a time, and addressing overtraining not by training less, but with better mental regeneration between training sessions – these are the main recommendations to Danish elite athletes from some of the world’s leading sports scientists.
The researchers met for 2 days in Copenhagen in mid-September to discuss the most important recent advances in sports physiology and psychology for the top athletes of tomorrow.
Videos of presentations at the Consensus Conference
All conference presentations were filmed, and the edited footage is now available on the conference website, along with the main findings and recommendations from the event.
The Consensus Conference
The conference was arranged by the University of Copenhagen Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences and Team Danmark. There were two parallel streams for sports physiology and sports psychology. The invitation-only group of 35 participants comprised leading experts in these two fields from Denmark and abroad, including researchers from Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Spain.
Focus on psychological aspects and strength training
Professor Jens Bangsbo from the University of Copenhagen Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences was one of the driving forces behind the conference, and summarised the conclusions as follows:
“Internationally there is currently a lot of focus on the effects of high-intensity training, and also on strength training, from the point of view of daily training and injuries. According to the conclusions from this conference, specialised strength training not only prevents injuries, but also clearly has a major impact on regaining fitness after an injury has occurred.”
Among the sports psychology researchers the main focus was on the impacts of specifically tailored mental programmes. Their message was that sports psychology needs to play a bigger part in daily training, and that psychology programmes should be more precisely tailored to the discipline and the individual athlete. Recent research also shows that athletes should focus more on mental regeneration:
“World-class athletes have to cope with a huge amount of physical training, and there is a lot of stress associated with being a top sportsman or sportswoman. So anyone hoping to make it in elite sport needs to have an effective strategy for mental regeneration. Researchers at this conference agreed that mental regeneration is much more effective if the athlete relaxes with visualisation programmes, for example, rather than just watching TV or playing computer games. So it’s not enough just to remain physically still during your regeneration phase – you have to make sure you are getting full the benefit from your mental regeneration process,” says Team Danmark sports psychology adviser Kristoffer Henriksen.
Closer interaction between researchers, coaches and athletes
International experience suggests that a close everyday interaction between researchers, coaches and athletes is beneficial, and greater emphasis on this type of interaction is needed in Denmark, according to Team Danmark Managing Director Michael Andersen:
“There is no doubt that we need closer interaction between researchers and athletes in terms of their everyday training. Obviously this exists to some extent here in Denmark, but it is mainly restricted to specific projects. I would like to see this form of cooperation as an ongoing, continuous process. At the most basic level, we simply don’t have the facilities needed for our top athletes to be able to train next door to our top researchers. But top athletes in Norway and Australia, for example, have had real benefits from close interaction of this kind,” says Michael Andersen.
For further information
Professor Jens Bangsbo, University of Copenhagen Department of Exercise and Sports Sciences, email email@example.com, tel. (+45) 28 75 16 23