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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Purpose:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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).

Conclusions:

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.