Brain Endurance Training (BET) conditions the
brain to withstand more mental and physical
fatigue due to psycho-physiological adaptations.
Brain Endurance Training (BET) conditions the brain to withstand more mental and physical fatigue due to psycho-physiological adaptations.
What is Transfer?
In sport, transfer of learning is generally defined as the influence of previous experience of performing a skill on the learning of a new skill or on performance of the same skill in a new context.
Many people discuss transfer when looking for training methods that improve performance for sport.
When we talk about transfer we are often looking at how physical training methods can transfer into physical improvements which we then hope transfer into better sports performance. Strength and endurance training are examples of the transfer discussion. Athletes train their bodies to be able to withstand the physical load that their sport places their bodies under. Most athletes have a strict regime, with a mix of endurance, strength, and skills training, all designed to emulate the physical pressures and demands of their sport.
Recent research has found that athletes who use Brain Endurance Training (BET) have a physical advantage over those who don’t.
Because the brain is responsible for such a large majority of how much we can physically output, it is also important that we talk about how training the brain with BET can transfer into improved performance in sport. The mechanisms for this are explained in how well the athletes brain maintains oxygen levels in the pre-frontal cortex. This has been shown to be related to physical output, as well as the many cognitive processes involved in sport.
Transfer shows us how the training we are undertaking can actually lead to improvements.
Research studies are used to test this under strictly controlled and calculated conditions because we need to see clearly what improves performance and what does not.
Therefore taking the guesswork out of the equation. The data will always show what works. Not all interventions for cognitive training are equal.
How does Brain Endurance Training (BET)
transfer to sports performance?
Brain Endurance Training (BET) transfer has been proven to increase an athlete’s cognitive and physical capacity by recalibrating the physical-mental relationship.
Research with NIRS neuroimaging has shown that engaging in Brain Endurance Training (BET) can lead to improvements in performance, due to an increased ability to maintain Pre Frontal Cortex oxygenation.
How the Pre Frontal Cortex
is involved in sports performance
The Pre Frontal Cortex is comprised of interconnected areas that communicate with various subcortical structures in order to exert executive control, such as response inhibition, working memory, and facilitate goal-directed behavior. These cognitive processes are utilised extensively during progressively challenging mentally demanding tasks.
It has been suggested that during exercise the Pre Frontal Cortex interprets physiological information in combination with psychological factors, such as arousal and motivation, to facilitate a top-down effect on motor unit recruitment and is involved in the capacity to tolerate high levels of exertion.
Athletes that engage in Brain Endurance Training (BET) are able to maintain higher PFC oxygenation levels that enable athletes to,
Tolerate higher levels of perceived exertion
Maintain executive control under fatigue
Tolerate increased demand on their response inhibition
Exert less mental effort
Ultimately these adaptations in the brain result in increased physical and cognitive performance.
The brain controls our output
In the studies below the BET group and Control group performed the same physical training, but the BET group that integrated cognitive training into their regime, cognitively and physically outperformed the control group.
Time trial (TT) cycling study with elite athletes
The Brain Endurance Training (BET) group covered 415 meters more distance in the 20-minute time trial than the control group. Keeping in mind that both groups performed the exact same physical training, this shows how much of our output is controlled by the brain.
Study performed on professional footballers
The BET group were 7% faster when performing repeated sprints compared to the control group, and the BET group’s agility improved 4.6% more than the control group even though they had the exact same physical training.
Pushing the limits of exercise tolerance,
Elite cycling athletes were asked to maintain 80% and 65% of a fixed power output for a time to exhaustion test (TTE) The BET group improved 8% (80% TTE) and 14.3% (65% TTE) more than the control group, meaning that when push came to shove, the BET group could easily physically outlast the control group.
- 8% (80% TTE)
- 14.3% (65% TTE)