Aggravation of Pulmonary Diffusing Capacity in Highly Trained Athletes by 6 Weeks of Low-Volume, Low-Intensity Training

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Postexercise alveolar-capillary membrane-diffusing capacity (DLco) often decreases in highly trained endurance athletes and seems linked to their training status. To test the hypothesis that training status influences postexercise DLco, 13 male and 2 female triathletes (20.2 ± 4.4 y old, 175.2 ± 6.7 cm tall; weight in a range of 66.6 ± 7.4 kg to 67.4 ± 7.8 kg during the 1-y study) were randomized into experimental (n = 7) and control (n = 8) groups and performed VO2max cycle tests and simulated cycle-run successions (CR) of 30 min + 20 min after 3 periods in the competitive season.


Both groups were tested before (pre- HTP) and after a 30-wk high-training period (HTP) with high training volume, intensity, and frequency. The experimental group was then also tested after a 6-wk low-training period (LTP) with low training volume, intensity, and frequency, while the control group continued training according to the HTP schedule for these 6 wk. Ventilatory data were collected continuously. DLco testing was performed before and 30, 60, and 120 min after the CR trials.


Whatever the period or group, DLco was significantly decreased 30 min after CR, with a significantly greater decrease in the experimental group than the control group in LTP (−15.7% and –9.3% of DLco, respectively).


Six weeks of low training volume and intensity were sufficient to reverse the effects of high training volume and intensity on the alveolar-capillary membrane after a CR succession in competitive triathletes.

Galy and Hue are with the ACTES Laboratory, Formation and Research of Science and Techniques of Physical and Sport Activities Unit Antilles-Guyane, Pointe à Pitre, France. Maimoun, Coste, and Préfaut are with the Montpellier University Hospital Center; Manetta, the Montpellier Institute of Biology; and Boussana, the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Montpellier University I, Montpellier, France.