Dr. Pettitt spent the early part of his career training athletes and then entered a phase of conducting research and mentoring master and doctoral degree students. Much of the work presented in this book is the product of years of graduate students taking a piece of the critical speed concept and refining its application. He is currently Dean for the School of Health Sciences at Salt Lake Community College.
The critical speed (CS) concept represents the latest way for athletes to attain their ultimate conditioning goals in a customized fashion. The CS concept has emerged as a technique used throughout the world for training Olympic athletes, athletes in professional and collegiate sports, high-level endurance athletes, and tactical/military operators. Applications for the CS concept have proliferated over the past decade.
The Exercise Science Laboratory in later 20thcentury and early 2000s catered to technical advances for advancing laboratory tests. Often these tests mildly translated to predicting actual performance. Moreover, access to the lab is prohibited to those with the resources and time. The early chapters of this book pay tribute to comparing traditional physiological/laboratory methods within a lens of how such procedures compare with conventional use of the CS concept, a predominately field-based method of performance appraisal and exercise prescription. The remaining chapters of the book focus on the CS concept itself and all its applications.
Research on the CS concept has exploded in the last decade due to the advent of the 3-minute all-out exercise test (3MT). The 3MT provides a convenient method for establishing the parameters for predicting high-level performance and subsequent exercise prescriptions. Clearly, since the inception of the technique, methods have refined, and the present book summarized the latest techniques for administering and interpreting the 3MT for running, shuttle running, running with tactical load, cycling, and swimming.
The main advantage of the CS concept for mode-specific exercise prescriptions are the inclusion of an athlete’s aerobic power and anaerobic capacity considered. Despite the debate of support scientists to the veracity of the parameters for the CS concept, and what their physiological underpinnings entail, study after study supports the accuracy of the exercise prescriptions provided in this book.
The book is succinct, fully referenced, and supported liberally with tables and figures. The style of writing is aimed at the practitioner who is seeking more “how-to” guidance on the technique that cannot be gleaned from a 50-minute lecture at a conference or reading a review article. Such lectures and review articles raise awareness, but do not fill-in the gaps. This book provides the secrets to unlocking the formulae for interpreting and prescribing exercise using the CS concept.
Understanding the critical speed concept and the 3-min all-out exercise test