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Athlete and scientist working to maximise performance

By UCOL on Thursday, 23 November 2017

UCOL lecturer Hayden Pitchard presents at ASCA 2017.

Hayden Pritchard takes his two passions and weaves them together for both his jobs, as a scientist and as an athlete.

A senior lecturer at UCOL, a researcher and recently completing his PhD, Hayden has 15 research items on ResearchGate that have been read more than 14,383 times.

For the gym lovers amongst us, his research into tapering for maximal strength is a great piece of work; many still follow the old adage of one day weights, one day off. Hayden’s research looks at reductions in training load to recover from the fatigue of training in order to maximise strength at key events. 

He has identified that reductions in training volume, with maintained or small increases in training intensity, seem most effective for improving muscular strength for competitions. 

Taking a break following a period of hard training may also play a role, with less than one week being optimal for performance maintenance, and two to four days appearing to be optimal for enhanced maximal muscular strength.1
When not in the classroom, or undertaking research Hayden puts theory into practice as a former athlete in the sport of powerlifting and now as a strength coach.


November saw Hayden presenting in the Gold Coast at Australian Strength and Conditioning Association's (ASCA) 2017 International Conference the one of largest gathering of its kind in the world for strength and conditioning professionals. His presentation on ‘Tapering strategies to enhance maximal strength’ was well received by conference goers.

1 Effects and Mechanisms of Tapering in Maximizing Muscular Strength (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Nov 17 2017].