DeWitt Method

Creating Prescriptions

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Individualized Team Fitness Plans Based on Science

Creating Prescriptions

On this page, we detail the method used to create individualized HIIT prescriptions for your team. If you haven’t already, please visit the Fitness Basics page for background info on the MAS and MSS. 

01 Overview

In order to create individualized HIIT prescriptions, you need 3 things:

  1. Each player’s Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS)
  2. Each player’s Maximal Sprint Speed (MSS)
  3. Pencil, paper, and a calculator -or- a spreadsheet program -or- ability to write s script in a programming langauge like R or Python.

02 Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS)

When measuring MAS, you are trying to determine the top speed that each player can run while relying on aerobic metabolism. One way to complete this is to have your players tested in an exercise physiology lab with a metabolic cart and a treadmill. This method will let the sports scientists select via analysis the individual MAS, and also each player’s VO2 max.

Many coaches do not have access to or resources to allow their players to have laboratory tests performed. Fortunately, there is a field test alternative, the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (IFT) developed by Martin Buchheit. The 30-15 IFT was designed by Dr. Buchheit as an alternative to the Yo-Yo, or beep test to account for the fact that filed sports have intervals of high intensity followed by intervals of rest. In the Yo-Yo test, regardless of version, the players always cover the same distance (40 m) regardless of the level – they just have to cover the distance in less time.

The 30-15 IFT, however, while like a beep test in that an audio signal is used and the players move back and forth between lines that are 40 m apart, instead the players run for 30s and then rest for 15s. As the stages increase, the running velocity increases, so the athletes cover more distance-but they always run for 30s. More information is available, including the audio file, here and here. Dr. Buchheit has shown that the 30-15 IFT is superior to the Yo-Yo test for measuring the athlete’s top speed, 

Although the 30-15 IFT will give you a final top speed for each individual, this speed should be multiplied by .85 to estimate each player’s MAS. This is because, by design, the players should finish the test relying on anaerobic metabolism. It is also possible to use other tests to estimate MAS, such as the Montreal Beep test, the Multistage Shuttle Beep Test, or the YoYo IR1. I prefer the 30-15 IFT because it is faily simple, uses the penalty box width for convenience, and incorporates multiple changes of direction. It takes about 30 minutes to administer.

03 Maximal Sprint Speed (MSS)

MSS is pretty straightforward to measure – it is the maximal sprinting speed a player is capable of running. Most teams perform some sort of speed testing as normal testing. I use the speed over 30 m. You can use timing gates, or a stopwatch. Timing gates add in accuracy, but from general practive, I find that timing be hand is also relative accurate after practice.

04 Collecting the Data

You can collect the data any time. I prefer a preseason test for sure.  Depending on the team, we may repeat the testing in mid-season and at the end of the season. Unless your players are young and still developing, it is probably that MSS does not change much, but MAS can. For that reason if you are to repeat tests, the 30-15 IFT should be the test of choice.

05 Using the Data

This is what you have been waiting for – how to create the program. I will talk about periodization and metabolic specificity on another page. For now, let’s focus on the simple math.

  1. Decide on the length of time of the interval
  2. Decide the relative level for the prescription
  3. Create your distance chart

For item 1, you need to decide how long each interval will be in time. Typical durations are 10s, 30s, 1min, 4min. 
For item 2 you need to decide the intensity level. To improve the ventilatory threshold, exercise needs to be performed intensities greater than the MAS. The higher the MAS, the more difficult the activity.

To find the range of velocities above the MAS that is possible, you need to compute the Anerobic Reserve (AnR), The AnR is simple the speeds between the MAS and the MSS. For example, if an athlete’s MAS was 5m/s and his MSS was 7m/s, then the AnR would be 7m/s – 5m/s = 2m/s.

Research has shown that training at intensities that are 10%-20% greater than MAS induces positive training effects. 

Let’s say that for the upcoming session, you want the athletes to perform 10s runs followed by 120s of rest, and you want the intensity to be MAS + 10%AnR (MAS + 10% of the difference between MSS and MAS). You can set up a spreadsheet to solve, but lets say Athete 1 has an MAS=4.8m/s and MSS=7m/s, and Athlete has an MAS of 5.2m/s and MSS of 7.1m/s. Use the follwing formula:

distance = (MAS + intensity*(AnR))*time 

For athlete 1, AnR = 7m/s-4.8ms = 2.2m/s; distance = (4.8m.s + .1*2.2m/s)*10s = 50.2m

For athlete 2, AnR = 7.1m/s-5.2ms = 1.9m/s; distance = (5.28m.s + .1*1.9m/s)*10s = 53.9m

The differnence in distance (3.7m) may seem small, but it is not when added up over multiple repetitions. YOu can see that if we have the athletes cover 50m, both are indertrained, and if we have them cover 52m, one is over trained andone is under trained. 

Repeat this process for all of your team and you have your individualized prescription!

Need help? We can assist you with making these computations. See our Services page for more details.