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Physiological Responses and Swimming-Performance Changes Induced by Altering the Sequence of Training Sets

Ioannis S. Nikitakis, Gregory C. Bogdanis, Giorgos P. Paradisis, and Argyris G. Toubekis

Purpose: Interval-training sets may be applied in a different sequence within a swimming training session. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different set sequences on performance and physiological responses in a training session. Methods: Twelve highly trained male swimmers performed 4 sessions in randomized order. Each session included a different combination of 2 training sets: set A–set C, set C–set A, set B–set C, or set C–set B. Set A consisted of 8 × 200 m at speed corresponding to lactate threshold (30-s recovery), set B included 8 × 100 m at maximum aerobic speed (30-s recovery), and set C included 4 × 50-m all-out swimming (2-min recovery). Performance and physiological responses (lactate concentration, pH, base excess, bicarbonate, heart rate, and heart-rate variability) were measured. Results: Performance in each set was similar between sessions irrespective of set sequence. Blood lactate, heart rate, and acid–base responses during set C were similar in all sessions, but blood lactate was higher in sets A and B during C–A and C–B sessions (P = .01). The overall blood lactate and acid–base response was higher in C–A and C–B sessions compared with A–C and B–C sessions, respectively (P = .01). Heart-rate variability in each set, separately as well as the overall session effect, did not differ and was thus independent to the set sequence applied. Conclusions: Training sessions including all-out swimming as a first set increase the magnitude of metabolic responses to the subsequent aerobic-dominated training set.

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Load–Velocity Profile and Active Drag in Young Female Swimmers: An Age-Group Comparison

Christina Wettengl, Rebecca Karlsson, Bjørn H. Olstad, and Tomohiro Gonjo

Purpose: The present study aimed to establish differences in load–velocity profiling, active drag (AD), and drag coefficient (Cd) between 3 age groups of female swimmers. Methods: Thirty-three swimmers (11, 13, or 16 y old) were recruited. The individual load–velocity profile was determined for the 4 competitive swimming strokes. The maximal velocity (V0), maximal load (L0), L0 normalized to the body mass, AD, and Cd were compared between the groups. A 2-way analysis of variance and correlation analysis were conducted. Results: Compared with their younger counterparts, 16-year-old swimmers generally had larger V0, L0, and AD, which was particularly evident when comparing them with 11-year-old swimmers (P ≤ .052). The exception was breaststroke, where no differences were observed in L0 and AD and Cd was smaller in the 16-year-old group than the 11-year-old group (P = .03). There was a negative correlation between Cd and V0 for all groups in backstroke (P ≤ .038) and for the 11-year-old group and 13-year-old group in breaststroke (P ≤ .022) and front crawl (P ≤ .010). For the 16-year-old group, large correlations with V0 were observed for L0, L0 normalized to the body mass, and AD (P ≤ .010) in breaststroke and for L0 and AD with V0 in front crawl (P ≤ .042). In butterfly, large negative correlations with V0 were observed in the 13-year-old group for all parameters (P ≤ .027). Conclusions: Greater propulsive force is likely the factor that differentiates the oldest age group from the younger groups, except for breaststroke, where a lower Cd (implying a better technique) is evident in the oldest group.

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Thermal Sensation After the 10-km Open-Water Swimming in Cool Water Depends on the Skin’s Thermal Sensitivity Rather Than Core Temperature

Tomomi Fujimoto, Yuiko Matsuura, Yasuhiro Baba, and Reira Hara

Purpose: To assess the core temperature fluctuations during 10-km open-water swimming (OWS) in cool water and the relationship between thermal sensation (TS) after 10-km OWS, core temperature, and local skin thermal sensitivity. Methods: Nine highly trained OWS swimmers (4 female; age 22 [3] y) completed a single 10-km trial in cool water (22.3 °C) wearing swimsuits for OWS. During the trial, core temperature was continuously recorded via ingestible temperature sensors, and TS after trial was also measured. Then, local skin warm/cool sensitivity was measured in the forearm. Results: All swimmers completed the 10-km OWS. Mean swimming speed for males and females were 1.39 (1.37–1.42 m/s) and 1.33 m/s (1.29–1.38 m/s), respectively. Core temperature increased in 8 out of 9 swimmers during 10-km OWS (P = .047), with an average increase of 0.8 °C. TS after 10-km OWS varied among swimmers. There were no correlations between post-OWS TS and post-OWS core temperature (P = .9333), whereas there was a negative correlation between post-OWS TS and local skin cool sensitivity (P = .0056). Conclusion: These results suggest that core temperature in elite swimmers might not decrease during 10-km OWS in the cool water temperature of official OWS. In addition, individual differences in TS after 10-km OWS may be related to skin cool sensitivity rather than core temperature.

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Erratum. Match Running Performance in Australian Football Is Related to Muscle Fiber Typology

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Performance Management in Elite Football: A Teamwork Modeling Approach

Joao Marques and Karim Chamari

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The Force–Velocity Profiling Concept for Sprint Running Is a Dead End

Gertjan Ettema

Purpose: In this commentary, I present arguments against the use of the force–velocity profiling concept in design and adaptations of training programs targeting sprinting. The purpose of this commentary is to make sports practitioners more aware of the rationale behind the concept and explain why it does not work. Rationale: Force–velocity profiling is a mathematical way to present the velocity development during sprint behavior. Some details of this behavior may be accentuated by transforming it to other variables, but it does not add any new information about sprint performance. Thus, contrary to what is often claimed, the force–velocity profile does not represent maximal capacities (ability of force and velocity generation) of the athlete. It is claimed that through force–velocity profiling one may identify the optimal ratio of force and velocity capacities. Furthermore, proponents of the force–velocity profiling concept suggest that through directed training force and velocity capacities can be altered (inversely dependent) to obtain this optimal ratio, without changing the capacity to express power. Fundamentally, this idea is unfounded and implausible. Conclusion: At best, force–velocity profiling may be able to identify between-athletes differences. However, these can be more easily deduced directly from performance time traces.

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Six Weeks of Unilateral Flywheel Hip-Extension and Leg-Curl Training Improves Flywheel Eccentric Peak Power but Does Not Enhance Hamstring Isokinetic or Isometric Strength

Kevin L. de Keijzer, Stuart A. McErlain-Naylor, and Marco Beato

Purpose: This preregistered trial investigated how 6 weeks of unilateral flywheel leg-curl and hip-extension training impact isokinetic, isometric, and flywheel strength and power outcomes. Methods: The study involved 11 male university athletes (age 22 [2] y; body mass 77.2 [11.3] kg; height 1.74 [0.09] m) with one leg randomly allocated to flywheel training and one leg to control. Unilateral eccentric and isometric knee-flexion torque and flywheel unilateral leg-curl and hip-extension peak power were tested. Training intensity and volume (3–4 sets of 6 + 2 repetitions) were progressively increased. Results: The intervention enhanced hip-extension concentric (P < .01, d = 1.76, large) and eccentric (P < .01, d = 1.33, large) peak power more than the control (significant interaction effect). Similarly, eccentric (P = .023, d = 1.05, moderate) peak power was enhanced for the leg curl. No statistically significant differences between conditions were found for isokinetic eccentric (P = .086, d = 0.77, moderate) and isometric (P = .431, d = 0.36, small) knee-flexor strength or leg-curl concentric peak power (P = .339, d = 0.52, small). Statistical parametric mapping analysis of torque–angle curves also revealed no significant (P > .05) time–limb interaction effect at any joint angle. Conclusion: Unilateral flywheel hamstring training improved knee-flexor eccentric peak power during unilateral flywheel exercise but not flywheel concentric, isokinetic eccentric, or isometric (long-lever) knee-flexor strength.

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Annual Volume and Distribution of Physical Training in Norwegian Female Cross-Country Skiers and Biathletes: A Comparison Between Sports, Competition Levels, and Age Categories—The FENDURA Project

John O. Osborne, Guro S. Solli, Tina P. Engseth, Boye Welde, Bente Morseth, Dionne A. Noordhof, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Erik P. Andersson

Purpose: To describe and compare the annual physical training characteristics between Norwegian female cross-country (XC) skiers and biathletes across competition levels and age categories. Methods: Daily training sessions for 1 year were recorded for 45 XC skiers and 26 biathletes, comprising international/national team (inter[national]) and nonnational/regional team members (nonnational) of both junior and senior age. Endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, and power training sessions were recorded. Data included exercise modality, intensity, and duration. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models. Results: The total annual physical training volume consisted of ∼90% endurance training for both groups, although XC skiers had significantly higher total volumes (∼10%; P = .003; d = 0.78) than biathletes. Senior XC skiers performed more training hours of skiing and/or roller skiing compared with biathletes over the season. However, biathletes compensated for this lower volume by more skating and a higher proportion of endurance training as skiing (81% [17%]) compared with XC skiers (68% [16%]; P < .001; d = 0.94). Overall, (inter)national-level athletes completed a higher annual training volume than non-national-level athletes (740 [90] h vs 649 [95] h; P = .004;d = 0.81). Although juniors reported less endurance volume than seniors, they maintained a relatively stable level of endurance training across the preparatory and competition period, unlike senior athletes. Conclusions: The higher annual physical training volume by XC skiers compared with biathletes is likely caused by the different demands of the 2 sports; XC skiing necessitates training for 2 skiing styles, while biathlon requires additional shooting practice. However, biathletes compensate with a higher proportion of ski training, particularly in the skating technique.

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Four Sessions of Repeated-Sprint Cycling Training With or Without Severe Hypoxia Do Not Modify Overground Running Sprint Force–Velocity Profile

Franck Brocherie, Sebastien Racinais, Anthony Couderc, Julien Piscione, and Olivier Girard

Purpose: To investigate the effect of cycling-based repeated-sprint training in hypoxia versus in normoxia on single overground running sprint performance and associated force–velocity (F–V) profile in world-class female rugby sevens players. Methods: Eighteen world-class female rugby sevens players were randomly assigned to repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia (n = 9) or normoxia (n = 9) groups. Training consisted of 4 sessions of repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia or in normoxia (4 × 5 × 5-s cycle sprints—25-s intersprint recovery performed in simulated altitude of ∼5000 m or in normoxia with 3-min interset rest in normoxia for both groups) in addition to rugby sevens training and strength and conditioning sessions within a 9-day intervention period before an international competition. Before and 1 day after the intervention, single 50-m overground running “all-out” sprint performance and associated F–V-related mechanical output were assessed. Results: No interaction (group × time; all P > .088), time effect (before vs 1 d after; all P > .296), or group effect (repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia vs in normoxia; all P > .325) was detected for 50-m overground running sprint performance and any derived F–V profiling variables. Conclusions: Four sessions of repeated-sprint training either in hypoxia or in normoxia performed over 9 days had no influence on single 50-m overground running sprint performance and associated F–V profile. In world-class female rugby sevens players, the intervention (training camp before an international competition) might have been too short to induce measurable changes. It is also plausible that implementing a similar program in players with likely different F–V profile may result in negligible mechanical effect.

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Match Running Performance in Australian Football Is Related to Muscle Fiber Typology

Henry J. Hopwood, Phillip M. Bellinger, Heidi R. Compton, Matthew N. Bourne, Wim Derave, Eline Lievens, Ben Kennedy, and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose: To examine the association between muscle fiber typology and match running performance in professional Australian football (AF) athletes. Methods: An observational time–motion analysis was performed on 23 professional AF athletes during 224 games throughout the 2020 competitive season. Athletes were categorized by position as hybrid, small, or tall. Athlete running performance was measured using Global Navigation Satellite System devices. Mean total match running performance and maximal mean intensity values were calculated for moving mean durations between 1 and 10 minutes for speed (in meters per minute), high-speed-running distance (HSR, >4.17 m·s−1), and acceleration (in meters per second squared), while intercept and slopes were calculated using power law. Carnosine content was quantified by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the gastrocnemius and soleus and expressed as a carnosine aggregate z score (CAZ score) to estimate muscle fiber typology. Mixed linear models were used to determine the association between CAZ score and running performance. Results: The mean (range) CAZ score was −0.60 (−1.89 to 1.25), indicating that most athletes possessed a greater estimated proportion of type I muscle fibers. A greater estimated proportion of type I fibers (ie, lower CAZ score) was associated with a larger accumulation of HSR (>4.17 m·s−1) and an increased ability to maintain HSR as the peak period duration increased. Conclusion: AF athletes with a greater estimated proportion of type I muscle fibers were associated with a greater capacity to accumulate distance running at high speeds, as well as a greater capacity to maintain higher output of HSR running during peak periods as duration increases.