Compex Meets... Dr Thierry Laporte
Compex Meets... Dr Thierry Laporte, Sports Cardiologist in Bordeaux. Head of Pôle Activité Santé Hôpital Bagatelle.
Dr Thierry Laporte assisted us with putting together our Marathon Training Plan.
It has been almost 20 years since I started using VO2 max assessment tests and training thresholds on runners and cyclists. As a Sports Cardiologist, it is exciting that from an individual’s data it is possible to offer a customized training program.
As well as a heart-rate monitor, I often recommend using electrical muscle stimulation; EMS provides a useful compliment to conventional training sessions, particularly in the following examples:
- After intense ‘qualitative’ sessions, usually involving a 30/30 split (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off resting) or after a session at threshold, using the ‘Active Recovery’ programme can speed up the recovery process, building muscles, and thus empowering athletes to train again the next day without qualitative or quantitative accumulative fatigue. This reduces the risk of over-training.
- The ‘Endurance’ program is not a substitution for conventional quantitative long run session, but it helps to prepare the muscles stimulated during the active session. Compex stimulation can shorten the duration of a session by 30 minutes, limiting the musculoskeletal fatigue while maintaining the same muscle charge. Even in exceptional circumstances, such as poor weather or geographical impossibility, the complete ‘Endurance’ program can mitigate the adverse consequences of missing a session
- In the days leading up to the competition, it is recommended to reduce the training workload. In this case, I advise using the ‘Capillarisation’ Program every 2 days, 10 days before the race. This Program increases the blood flow, thereby improving the muscular efficiency during an endurance effort. It also has an advantage in not creating additional muscle fatigue. The ‘Capillarisation’ session can be integrated on a weekly training schedule in alternation with a muscle-strengthening session. There is an drastic improvement in stride-efficiency the days following Capillarisation. This is easy to track with a heart rate monitor; the runner will see an increase in speed whilst keeping the same heart-rate level.
The other area in which muscle stimulation is beneficial is for a prolonged immobilization as a result of a disease, muscle or tendon injury or after an accident or trauma. In all of the above cases, immobilization will result in atrophy and physical degeneration. Electrical muscle stimulation programs like ‘Reinforcement’ or ‘Muscle Atrophy’ (if atrophy is present), used on a daily basis, will limit the adverse consequences of ceasing to train. Keep in mind that it takes twice the length of time incapacitated to recover the former muscle strength and condition.