Heart-Rate Acceleration Is Linearly Related to Anaerobic Exercise Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To prescribe training loads to improve performance, one must know how an athlete is responding to loading. The maximal rate of heart-rate increase (rHRI) during the transition from rest to exercise is linearly related to changes in endurance exercise performance and can be used to infer how athletes are responding to changes in training load. Relationships between rHRI and anaerobic exercise performance have not been evaluated. The objective of this study was to evaluate relationships between rHRI and anaerobic exercise performance. Methods: Eighteen recreational strength and power athletes (13 male and 5 female) were tested on a cycle ergometer for rHRI, 6-second peak power output, anaerobic capacity (30-s average power), and blood lactate concentration prior to (PRE), and 1 (POST1) and 3 (POST3) hours after fatiguing high-intensity interval cycling. Results: Compared with PRE, rHRI was slower at POST1 (effect size [ES] = −0.38, P = .045) but not POST3 (ES = −0.36, P = .11). PPO was not changed at POST1 (ES = −0.12, P = .19) but reduced at POST3 (ES = −0.52, P = .01). Anaerobic capacity was reduced at POST1 (ES = −1.24, P < .001) and POST3 (ES = −0.83, P < .001), and blood lactate concentration was increased at POST1 (ES = 1.73, P < .001) but not at POST3 (ES = 0.75, P = .11). rHRI was positively related to PPO (B = 0.19, P = .03) and anaerobic capacity (B = 0.14, P = .005) and inversely related to blood lactate concentration (B = −0.22, P = .04). Conclusions: rHRI is linearly related to acute changes in anaerobic exercise performance and may indicate how athletes are responding to training to guide the application of training loads.

The authors are with the Alliance for Research in Exercise, Nutrition and Activity, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

Buckley (jon.buckley@unisa.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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