In order to keep athletes consistent on a cognitive training plan, they need to be able to easily integrate cognitive training into their current training regime AND to be able to adapt the integration depending on their current season and training schedule.

Integrating cognitive training is not complicated. The most important thing to do is to ensure the integration suits the athlete and makes it easy for them to complete the training time after time.

Cognitive Integration can happen in 3 ways:

  1. Pre Physical Training

  2. Combined with Physical Training

  3. Post Physical Training

Pre Physical Training

Performing the entire cognitive training session prior to physical training. This fatigues the brain and increases the athlete's perception of effort. This is not a bad thing, the increased perception of effort over the athlete's physical training increases their tolerance to a higher perception of effort. Something that is very useful for a competitive athlete when competition time comes.

Combined with Physical Training

Performing cognitive training between sets (Intermittent) or combined with cardiovascular training (Concurrent).

Intermittent

Performing cognitive tasks during rest periods during a physical training session. This is an easy integration as they are not doing anything in these rest periods anyway. Many time-poor athletes appreciate this option. Plus the additional workload can keep athletes more focused on the entire session.

Intermittent integration can be performed by

  • Performing cognitive tasks for 3 minutes between strength sets active rest.

  • Performing cognitive tasks for 3 minutes between skill training as active rest.

  • Performing cognitive tasks for 3 minutes between high-intensity cardio sprints.

Concurrent

Performing cognitive training while engaging in cardiovascular training while maintaining a fixed heart rate zone. This is an extremely effective integration in terms of extending an athlete's mental capacity for mental and physical fatigue, as well as a time-saving option for busy athletes or teams who perform cardio sessions together.

Concurrent integration can be performed by

  • Combining Cognitive Training with cardiovascular training as a warm-up on the bike before starting your main training session.

  • Combining Cognitive Training with cardiovascular training as a cool down after finishing your main training session.

  • Combining Cognitive Training with HIT Training. You will need to perform your high-intensity sprint while performing the cognitive task.

  • Combining Cognitive Training with long-duration cardiovascular training as a stand-alone session.

Post Physical Training

Performing cognitive training directly after physical training when already fatigued from an intense physical training session. This is very effective at mentally stretching athletes when they have already physically worked very hard. Athletes have to perform cognitively in competition no matter how physically fatigued they have become. This method requires an athlete to be highly committed to getting cognitive results, as the temptation to skip a session at the end of training is high.

Placement isn't everything

It is important to note that placement alone is not sufficient in getting results. This also must be paired with a periodization model either by progressively overloading the athlete each week or by weekly/daily undulating periodization. Placement should easily fit into the athlete's training regime and minimal effective doses should be met. It is the sum of the load, placement, and periodization that yields the results.


Cognitive Training Integration Examples


Pre Physical Training

  • 20 minutes x1 or 10 minutes x2 prior to your main physical training session.


Combined with Physical Training

Intermittent or Concurrent

Intermittent

Perform cognitive training between sets as active rest.

  • 3m x8 sets

  • 5m x5 sets

Concurrent

Perform cognitive training while maintaining a fixed heart rate zone. This can be performed as a warm-up, cool-down, or cardiovascular session.

🔗 Integrate Heart Rate Zone Training And Cognitive Training.


Post Physical Training

  • 20 minutes x1 or 10 minutes x2 after your main physical training session.


Pre and Post Physical Training

  • 10 minutes before and 10 minutes after your main physical training session.


Pre, Combined, Post Physical Training

  • 10 minutes of stand-alone cognitive training before and after your main physical training session.

  • 3 minutes of cognitive training between physical training sets.



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