You can have a VO2max well above 70ml/min/kg, but still perform below expectations. You could even find yourself having a low anaerobic threshold (or FTP) and a low FatMax. That is because a high VO2max alone is not good enough. Here’s an example of a professional cyclist.

By Sebastian Weber

Swedish cyclist Hannes Bergström Frisk turned professional in June 2018, at the age of 23. But already in 2015 he showed he had a “big engine”. In January of that year he was tested in a Monaco lab to get onto the UC Monaco amateur cycling team. At the time, he returned a VO2max value of 80ml/min/kg, which is way above the average VO2max of many athletes.

However, something in his performances was missing – both in training and racing. His maximum aerobic capacity was in line with what he needed to have to a breakthrough, and compete at the highest level, but his results were under expectations. He was self-coached, and keen to experiment with different training methodologies, but he was not performing at his full potential.

Want to learn everything you need to know about VO2max (bonus: training advice), use the button to go to the VO2max cornerstone article:

The disconnect

Despite his big engine, there was a disconnect. “He was as a light climber struggling with poor performance due to a low absolute (watts) anaerobic threshold (FTP) and he had just a decent relative anaerobic threshold (w/kg),” says INSCYD Coach Karl-Axel Zander Persson from OutVitro.

Zander Persson started to coach Bergström Frisk in 2018. The first thing he did was use INSCYD to analyze Bergström Frisk’s old tests and physiological parameters from 2015. “We used his old lab data and created a virtual 2015 season using INSCYD,” explains Zander Persson. “We found that his low threshold (which was key for those long efforts in the mountains) was due to a high VLamax for a climber (0.7mmol/l/s).”

“We found that his low threshold was due to a high VLamax”
Karl-Axel Zander Persson
Karl-Axel Zander Persson
INSCYD coach

Bergström Frisk was tested twice with INSCYD in early 2018: the first time outdoors in Sanremo (Italy), and the second time in Sweden, in a lab environment – just four weeks later. A detailed analysis of these tests and his training regime helped Zander Persson to understand why his performances were below expectations. 

How he used to train

“The endurance rides were very slow (even below FatMax at Z1 & low Z2, ~50-55% of threshold) and the hard trainings were very intense and short,” he says. “A significant amount of time was spent goofing around with his mates, and that included sprint work on the long rides (<30s), racing road signs or competing at peak power output.” Although this turned out to be a good training methods to boost VO2max, it also stimulated his body to increase VLamax. This increase in VLamax decreased his threshold power (which, as a climber, is more important than sprint power).

How anaerobic threshold depends on VLamax
The higher the VLamax (x-axis), the lower the threshold (y-axis), all other things equal.

“He didn’t manage to de-adapt his anaerobic (glycolytic) energy system and consequently got stuck at a low threshold,” explains Zander Persson. “This also resulted in him having low fat combustion and very high rate of carbohydrate usage.”

Once the picture was complete, Zander Persson was able to re-address Bergström Frisk‘s training schedule.

How to make the most of a high VO2max

The new training schedule prescribed in between the two tests included more Z3-medio intensity workouts combined with low cadence work. Additionally, diet changes were adopted to result in a reduced-glycogen state to target and de-adapt the glycolytic enzyme activity in the fast twitch fibers.

“A low carb diet in the training period seemed to be effective and it worked well for him without side effects,” he says. One of the key aspects was also to make him gain some weight (he moved from 63kg to 69kg from January until June and he’s 1m 84cm tall), always by keeping the body fat mass controlled and focusing on getting lean muscle mass instead.

When Bergström Frisk was re-tested with INSCYD for the second time in Sweden only four weeks after the test in Sanremo (and after the new training stimuli described above), his physiological adaptations were incredible.

While retaining his VO2max of 80ml/min/kg, he lowered his VLamax to 0.3 mmol/l/s. The main test, though, was performed where it most matters – on the road – on February 8th of last year. On the Col de Madone just outside Menton, France (a 12.8 km climb, with an average gradient of 7% and a total elevation 864m) he shaved off 4 minutes from his 2015 PB.

Bergström Frisk averaged 396 watts throughout the entire climb (with a max of 595 W), rode at a speed of 21.1 km/h (35.3 km/h max) and ground out an average cadence of 75 rpm (max 90). His heart rate average was 176 bpm and his max 181. Only a few months after following the INSCYD tests and Zander Persson’s tailored training, Frisk turned professional with the Memil – CCN Pro Cycling (SWE) where he’s still racing.

Take home message

All along, it was clear, Frisk had a a high VO2max, which is important. However, his engine was not tuned to optimize his potential. Simple FTP testing, and even VO2max testing were not able to discern his true physiological profile. In order to make the necessary training changes (and associated physiological changes), Frisk and his coach needed to see the aerobic and the anaerobic contribution of power.

By measuring and quantifying his VLamax, Zander Persson and Frisk were able to address the rider’s unique characteristics and create a customized plan to improve his race performances. And finally, getting a pro contract. 

Learn more about:

Sebastian Weber
Sebastian Weber – Founder of INSCYD

Sebastian Weber, has been head coach in professional endurance sports more then 12 year. After his studies of Sport Science and Molecular Human Biology, Sebastian ran several research projects on muscular energy metabolism and its adaptation to training. Since 2015 Sebastian works as a performance consultant for several national federations in cycling, triathlon, swimming, skiing and more.

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Together with former professional cyclist and INSCYD user Peter Pouly, we talk about the future of cycling training and how that affects endurance coaches and their business. Peter is a former professional cyclist (5x National Champion Cross-Country Mountain Bike, 5x winner Haute Route Alps, 1x winner La Marmotte) and now works as a Directeur Sportif for…

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Digitalisierung der Leistungsdiagnostik

Leistungsdiagnostik 4.0 Wir wollen in allen Bereichen des Trainings auf dem neuesten Stand der Technik sein. Wenn es aber um die Ausdauerleistung geht arbeiten die meisten Trainer mit herkömmlichen Laktatstufentests. Einer mehr als 30 Jahre alten Methodik. Wie passt das zusammen?  Dabei ist der Fortschritt längst in der Ausdauerdiagnostik angekommen. Leistungsdiagnostik findet heute da statt…

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Heart rate in swimming training zone

INSCYD integrates Heart Rate in Training Zones

We are happy to announce that from now on, heart rate is integrated into our training zones. That means you can now describe a FatMax training zone – or any other training zone – based on heart rate. Image: INSCYD partner Triathlon Training Academy In the past, INSCYD training zones were described based on speed…

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Infographic - How to Increase VO2Max

How to Increase VO2Max: Techniques to Improve Performance

Increasing VO2max can be easy at first, but becomes challenging when you already have a decent training history. In this article we talk about all the advanced methods that improve VO2max. From training to nutrition. We also cover how to overcome a plateau in VO2max and common mistakes to avoid when trying to increase VO2max.…

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Performance analysis in swimming

Case study: performance testing in Swimming

This case study is about an 800 meter National Swimmer who is not able to keep up with her teammate during training and racing. Observations and lactate measurements seem to indicate she needs to improve her aerobic energy system, but this turns out to be a false assumption. Read the article and register for the…

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Image: INSCYD Partner Team Sportforum

Talent Development Using INSCYD: Insights from Champion Team

Team Sportforum has one mission: to become the best amateur cycling team in Germany. Head of Performance, Luke Derksen, shares how they use INSCYD for talent identification, progress monitoring, predicting future performances and deciding on race strategies. Image: INSCYD Partner Team Sportforum About Team Sportforum Our mission is to become the best amateur cycling team in…

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Combining running power (Stryd) with INSYCD - Sportograf

Use case: INSCYD x Running with (Stryd) power

In this use case, coach and sport scientist Florian Heck shares how he and his runners benefit from combining INSCYD software with (STRYD) running power data. Trail runner Josef. Source: Sportograf Florian Heck, coach and managing director at KickAss Sports, shares his story about testing and coaching an experienced trail runner, using INSCYD and STRYD.…

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INSCYD webinar: training zones and training zone builder part 1

Training Zones and Training Zone Builder – part 1

This webinar is about Training Zones and the new INSCYD Training Zone Builder (part 1). Watch the webinar: Agenda timestamps: [02:55] What are training zones and what are they used for: benefits and downsides [11:10] Examples of training zones in different sports and countries [19:40] Translating training zones to real life training: the challenges with…

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Track running sprint

Should my Track and Field runner increase or decrease VLamax?

In our previous article about Why the best track and field running coaches look beyond VO2max, we talked about the importance of knowing your athlete’s anaerobic power (VLamax). We showed that having a too low VLamax can easily cost you more than 5 seconds in an 800m race, while a too high VLamax can cost…

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INSCYD webinar: training zones and training zone builder part 2

Training Zones and Training Zone Builder – part 2

This webinar is about Training Zones and the new INSCYD Training Zone Builder (part 2). Watch the webinar: Agenda timestamps: [01:00] Creating zones with TZB: the Master Metrics [02:35] Energy contribution: aerobic vs anaerobic [10:45] Substrate utilization: fat and carbohydrates [21:45] FatMax [23:40] %VO2max (power or speed) [27:25] %VLamax [34:45] Lactate concentration and rates [40:50]…

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Mastering the Monuments

Peter Sagen in Gent-Wevelgem 2018 The spring Classics season is already finished, a moment that always leaves cycling fans with a bit of sadness in their hearts. But for INSCYD and team BORA – hansgrohe the first quarter of the year has been a blast. Watching Peter Sagan winning his first Paris-Roubaix wearing the World…

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Christoph Strasser 24 hour world record

Riding over 1000 km in 24 hours: what does it take?

Christoph Strasser broke the world record for 24h non drafting by riding 1026 km. His INSCYD coach Markus Kinzlbauer shares what it takes to perform such an amazing effort. https://youtu.be/W4ZKmSDhRbA With 6 victories in the Race Across America and a world record in 24h indoor track cycling (941 km), Christoph Strasser was already considered the…

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Glycolytic Power in swimming : the missing link

Because of the relatively short duration of swim races, the anaerobic energy production plays a huge and significant role. It therefore makes sense to learn more about this race winning energy system, that not many coaches take into account. A French national team member gets his lactate sample taken after an exhaustive exercise to determine…

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Part 2. Metrics all Runners should know: Lactate accumulation and Recovery

In the previous blog we talked about the importance of knowing fundamental running metrics like VO2max, VLamax, Fat combustion and Carbohydrate combustion. We saw how knowing those metrics makes you a faster runner instantaneously. In this blog we’ll show you how knowing your lactate accumulation and recovery will optimize interval training. How VO2max and VLamax…

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Aerodynamics, Biomechanics & Metabolism – shaving off > 1h in IRONMAN

This webinar will teach you how to use a holistic approach, utilising biomechanics, aerodynamics, training and nutrition to tremendously increase the performance of a triathlete in no time.  Learn how to use real world biomechanical analysis, nutrition strategies and efficient training programs to maximize value of your coaching and bike fitting service. High Performance Expert…

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Using metabolic profiling to streamline training programs

Dan Lorang talks about how he uses metabolic data of his athletes to create more efficient training programs: Performance Management at Team BORA-hansgrohe Assessing athletic performance in the field and in the lab Apply results to daily training programs Apply results to daily training programs The Presenter Dan Lorang is one of the most successful…

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Breaking 7 at “La Marmotte” – with INSCYD

Henrik Kraglund on his way to break the 7-hour mark at La Marmotte 2019 There are several badges of honour in the world of endurance sports. For some, it is running a marathon in less than three hours, or qualifying for the Ironman World Championships. For pure cyclists, on the other hand, it can be…

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INSCYD user Sarah Gigante

Use case: becoming National TT Champion using INSCYD

In this blog, Sport Scientist Dylan Lindsey shares how he coached Sarah Gigante towards the National TT Championships. He specifically dives into the benefits of using the Lactate: Recovery & Accumulation graph. Ready to learn how to become a national TT champion? Let’s start! Sarah Gigante: National TT Champion 2021 After a long hiatus from…

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INSCYD skiing test

Next level metabolic analysis in XC skiing

Just because INSCYD is well accepted in cycling – with partners like Team Jumbo Visma, Movistar and Alpecin-Fenix – doesn’t mean INSCYD is limited to cycling. In fact, the first INSCYD license purchased ever was in swimming – via the French Institute of Sports INSEP. If you are a coach, test lab or federation, who…

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Jasper Philipsen celebrates Tour de France stage four win

The Power Behind a Tour de France Sprint Win: The Champs-Élysées

In the 2023 Tour de France, Jasper Philipsen, riding for the INSCYD partner Alpecin-Deceuninck team, has demonstrated his sprinting prowess by securing four stage wins and six podium finishes. Philipsen’s victories don’t stop there. He has been utterly dominant in the 2023 Tour de France, especially in the bunch sprints. Here’s what it takes to…

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INSCYD partners up with cycling team Corendon-Circus for 2020 season

Salenstein, Switzerland. September 26th. INSCYD — the world’s most advanced software for performance analysis — has signed a three -year contract with the Pro Continental cycling team Corendon-Circus ahead of the next cycling seasons. INSCYD will provide the team with its cutting-edge technology for performance analysis. The team’s Performance Manager Kristof De Kegel — who has…

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Indoor vs Outdoor testing for Runners: Which is better?

Can you compare indoor lab tests with outdoor field test? The comprehensive results of a complete physiological assessment can help you to plan your training sessions and nutrition more effectively. It’s a necessity for elite runners and it’s even a good idea for recreational runners that are training for a specific time in an upcoming…

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Belgian Hammers – Road to Olympic Mixed Team Relay

The Belgian Triathlon Team Mixed Relay won the Olympic qualifier in Lisbon. As a result, they will compete in the Tokyo Olympics on July 31. What is their formula for success and how do they use INSCYD to create race winning training programs? Read it in this blog. ABOUT THE TRIATHLON MIXED TEAM RELAY Triathlon…

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Infographic Zone 2 Training - Benefits, Science, and How-To Guide

Zone 2 Training: Benefits, Science, and How-To Guide

Zone 2 training is promoted as your go-to training intensity, whether you’re a professional athlete or simply looking for exercise health benefits. Zone 2 training gained popularity when the coach of Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar revealed that his athlete spends 80% of the training days in zone 2. In this article we talk…

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Coach Sofi Marin INSCYD

Mastering Nutrition Utilizing INSCYD

In this blog, Certified Sports Nutritionist Coach Sofi Marin (INSCYD user since 2017) explains how she translates INSCYD data into specific nutrition advice. After all, who knows better how to use INSCYD than an INSCYD user? Translating INSCYD insights into specific nutrition advice With INSCYD, I have clear and specific data to support and justify…

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How to Create Highly Effective Interval Training

How to Create Highly Effective Interval Training: 4 Steps

Interval training is a highly effective way to improve your athlete’s performance, enabling to train at intensities that are too high to sustain for a long time. To create an effective interval training program, you need to consider the duration and intensity of both the interval and the recovery. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show…

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Finnish Triathlon Association coach Mika Luoto talks INSCYD

When Mika Luoto – coaching monitor of the Finnish Triathlon Association – heard about INSCYD years ago, he was very skeptical. Will it add value? Is their field test without any lactate or oxygen measurement reliable? In this interview he explains how comparing his own lab test results with INSCYD results convinced him to work…

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INSCYD test. Partner: Triathlon Training Academy

INSCYD test: protocol, results, cost and more.

This article covers everything you need to know about the INSCYD testing protocols, test results, testing cost and many more. Let’s start by addressing a common misunderstanding. Image: INSCYD partner Triathlon Training Academy Before we can dive into the INSCYD test, we have to understand what INSCYD is. INSCYD is a software tool that allows…

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INSCYD partners with Fast Talk Laboratories

Chris Case and Trevor Connor of Fast Talk Laboratories performing an INSCYD test Salenstein, Switzerland / Boulder, Colorado, USA At INSCYD we celebrate all our new partnerships, and this is one we cannot keep to ourselves. We are happy to announce our new partnership with Fast Talk Laboratories! About Fast Talk and Fast Talk Laboratories…

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How To Apply The Norwegian Method To Training

The Norwegian Training Method is gaining attention after the success of Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt in triathlon. In this blog post, you will learn how to apply the Norwegian Method in 3 simple steps to increase your triathlon performance. We will discuss the training philosophy, how to control intensity with lactate measurements, and the…

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MESICS VS INSCYD: Die Beste Software Für Laktat-tests

Sind Sie sich nicht sicher, welche Software Sie zur Leistungsdiagnostik in Ihrem Labor verwenden sollen? Werfen Sie einen Blick auf diesen Vergleich zwischen Mesics Winlactat (LC-Laktat) vs. INSCYD und entscheiden Sie, welches Tool am besten zu Ihrem Laktat- und/oder Spiroergometrie-Diagnostiklabor passt. Um Verwirrungen zu vermeiden: Mesics ist der Firmenname. Ihr Produkt heißt Winlactat. Bald wird…

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The Ultimate Guide to Running Economy: How to Improve and Measure It

Improving running economy is probably the most efficient way to shave off minutes from your 10k or (half) marathon time. At the same time, it’s an overlooked metric that is often wrongly measured. That’s why it’s time for a change! This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about running economy (RE): from theory…

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Breaking the ice of Iceland’s swimming performances

Iceland is often associated with geysers, volcanoes, cold water and a generally hostile landscape. Although it’s an island, you hardly think of Iceland as a swimming country or destination. But even this remote country, home to more than 300,000 inhabitants, has its own swimming federation – the Sundsamband Íslands, SSÍ. And its swimmers have already…

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From Training to Victory: Strategic Planning for Championship

Webinar: From Training to Victory: Strategic Planning for Championship

Join us for an exclusive webinar where we’ll delve into the secrets behind Team Sportforum‘s success in the ‘Rad-Bundesliga’ opener in Schweigen. Guided by Luke Derksen, Head of Performance, we’ll discuss the strategies and methodologies employed to elevate the team to the status of the best amateur cycling team in Germany. Learn from their real-world experiences…

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Webinar: create training programs with INSCYD and AZUM

How to Set up Efficient Athlete Training Programs

In this partner webinar with Azum, Sebastian Weber talks about creating efficient and effective training plans. Theoretical basics are linked with application examples from practice. Agenda Differentiating primary and secondary goals Timing, timing, timing: how long, how often, how many repetitions? Periodization & Structure: introduction use of macro-nutrients to make informed decisions about training &…

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Infographic 40-20’s: work-to-rest ratios in HIIT

40-20 Interval Workout: Work-To-Rest Ratios in HIIT

Are 40-20’s (40s ON 20s OFF) the best work to rest ratios in HIIT intervals? Or should you consider 30-30 Billat intervals? Both are common in endurance sports like cycling and running, and recent scientific literature shows why. Continue reading to learn more about work-to-rest ratios in HIIT training. Spread the knowledge! Share this article…

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Two-Time Olympic athlete Brijesh Lawrence joins team INSCYD

As the INSCYD community grows, so does our team. We are happy to welcome track and field sprint expert, Brijesh Lawrence OLY. Introduction Brijesh Lawrence OLY Brijesh started running when he was 5, but noticed his Olympic potential when he studied at Doane University. He soon became a 100m & 200m specialist, winning a bronze…

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Hand in hand: INSCYD collaborates with famous company Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) to revolutionise performance diagnostics

Salenstein, Switzerland./ Colorado Sprints, USA January 12th, 2021. Two of the most innovative and best performing companies have joined forces. The coaching company Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) brings on board the analysis software and the unique training science tool INSCYD to support their performance diagnostic work. Carmichael Training Systems is the premier destination for world-class…

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A good VO2max charts by age, gender, sport and athlete fitness

A Good VO2max Charts by: Age, Gender, Sport and Athlete Fitness

Whether a VO2max of 50 is good depends on your age and gender. Moreover, while average VO2max values tell you something about your health, athletes should compare their VO2max with other athletes, not the general population. That’s why in this article we provide numerous VO2max comparison charts, based on age and gender, for both athletes…

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Lactate threshold graph showing a shift from the lactate curve to the right: a lower lactate concentration at any given exercise intensity.

How To Interpret A Shift In Lactate Curves – The Right Way

Many labs and coaches use lactate threshold graphs to measure progress in their athletes. However, when analyzing a lactate threshold chart, it’s important to know exactly which factors cause a shift in the lactate curve. After reading this article, you will understand why a right shift in the lactate curve can be a bad thing.…

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Sport Coach explain the training data

How INSCYD Empowers Small-Scale Coaches & Amateur Athletes

INSCYD is known for its partnerships with national federations and professional teams. However, small-scale (one-man) coaching businesses and their amateur athletes can also significantly benefit from INSCYD. This article covers common reasons why (part-time) coaches are hesitant, but extremely successful once they start using INSCYD. Consider a typical athlete who trains slightly more than 5…

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Inscyd one test one tree

One test = One tree!

Since august 2020 we proudly work together with Eden Reforestation Projects. For every INSCYD test sold, we plant a tree! By doing so, we try to support the re-forestation of our planet. We are happy to announce we planted over 2500 trees since we started this collaboration.

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INSCYD partner Velocity

INSCYD PARTNERS WITH VELOCITY

Velocity is a new performance-driven indoor cycling app that is designed to make cyclists faster by customizing their training to their physiology. To accomplish this, Velocity will leverage INSCYD’s proprietary software and comprehensive experience with elite athletes to provide riders with their unique metabolic profile. Readers may think of Zwift when hearing “indoor cycling app”,…

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How mid distance running coaches use INSCYD – case study

INSCYD’er and short distance runner Vanessa Scaunet during the European Championships Indoor, Torun 2021. More and more running coaches use INSCYD to create better training programs and race pacing for their athletes. This blog covers the story of Vanessa Scaunet, who was able to switch her running goal from a 2k cross country to an…

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Measuring Energy Demand in Swimming using simple Pool Tests

In this webinar we show how to measure the energy cost at a given swimming speed, using simple testing in the pool. About the webinar The energy cost at a given speed is decisive for the race performance in swimming. The methods shown in this webinar are all based on peer reviewed scientific publications. We…

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