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The Influence of Menstrual-Cycle Phase on Measures of Recovery Status in Endurance Athletes: The Female Endurance Athlete Project

Virginia De Martin Topranin, Tina Pettersen Engseth, Maria Hrozanova, Madison Taylor, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Dionne A. Noordhof

Purpose: To investigate the influence of menstrual-cycle (MC) phase on measures of recovery status, that is, resting heart rate, perceived sleep quality, and physical and mental readiness to train, among female endurance athletes. Methods: Daily data were recorded during 1 to 4 MCs (ie, duration ≥21 and ≤35 d, ovulatory, luteal phase ≥10 d) of 41 trained-to-elite-level female endurance athletes (mean [SD]: age 27 [8] y, weekly training: 9 [3] h). Resting heart rate was assessed daily using a standardized protocol, while perceived sleep quality and physical and mental readiness to train were assessed using a visual analog scale (1–10). Four MC phases (early follicular phase [EFP], late follicular phase, ovulatory phase, and midluteal phase [MLP]) were determined using the calendar-based counting method and urinary ovulation-prediction test. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models. Results: Resting heart rate was significantly higher in MLP (1.7 beats·min−1, P = .006) compared with EFP without significant differences between the other MC phases. Perceived sleep quality was impaired in MLP compared with late follicular phase (−0.3, P = .035). Physical readiness to train was lower both in ovulatory phase (−0.6, P = .015) and MLP (−0.5, P = .026) compared with EFP. Mental readiness to train did not show any significant differences between MC phases (P > .05). Conclusions: Although significant, the findings had negligible to small effect sizes, indicating that MC phase is likely not the main determinant of changes in measures of recovery status but, rather, one of the many possible stressors.

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The Impact of Multisession Sleep-Hygiene Strategies on Sleep Parameters in Elite Swimmers

Florane Pasquier, Robin Pla, Laurent Bosquet, Fabien Sauvet, Mathieu Nedelec, and D-Day Consortium

Purpose: Short sleep duration and poor sleep quality are common in swimmers. Sleep-hygiene strategies demonstrated beneficial effects on several sleep parameters. The present study assessed the impact of a multisession sleep-hygiene training course on sleep in elite swimmers. Methods: Twenty-eight elite swimmers (17 [2] y) participated. The sleep-hygiene strategy consisted of 3 interventions. Sleep was measured by actigraphy for 7 days before the beginning of the intervention (baseline), after the first collective intervention (postintervention), after the second collective intervention (postintervention 2), and, finally, after the individual intervention (postintervention 3). The Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was completed concurrently. Swimmers were classified into 2 groups: nonsomnolent (baseline ESS score ≤ 10, n = 13) and somnolent (baseline ESS score ≥ 11, n = 15). Results: All swimmers had a total sleep time of <8 hours per night. Sixty percent of swimmers were moderately morning type. Later bedtime, less time in bed, and total sleep time were observed in the somnolent group compared with the nonsomnolent group at baseline. An interaction between training course and group factors was observed for bedtime, with a significant advance in bedtime between baseline, postintervention 2, and postintervention 3 for the somnolent group. Conclusions: The present study confirms the importance of implementing sleep-hygiene strategies, particularly in athletes with an ESS score ≥11. A conjunction of individual and collective measures (eg, earlier bedtime, napping, and delaying morning training session) could favor the total sleep time achieved.

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The Weekly Periodization of Top 5 Tour de France General Classification Finishers: A Multiple Case Study

Gabriele Gallo, Manuel Mateo-March, Daniel Gotti, Ed Maunder, Roberto Codella, Piero Ruggeri, Emanuela Faelli, and Luca Filipas

Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe individual training characteristics, racing strategies, and periodization in preparation for the Tour de France in 2 world-class road cyclists finishing in the top 5 of the general classification. Methods: Week‐by‐week power meter training and racing data of 2 (A and B) road cyclists (age: 29 and 23 y; maximum oxygen consumption: 83 and 81 mL·min−1·kg−1; and relative 20‐min record power output: 6.9 and 6.5 W·kg−1) in the preparation phase (December–July/August) leading up to the Tour de France were retrospectively analyzed. Weekly volume and intensity distribution in power zones were considered. Results: Cyclists A and B completed 46 and 19 races, 22.5 (6.3) and 18.2 (5.1) h·wk−1, with a pyramidal intensity distribution of 81.0%–13.3%–5.7%, and 88.8%–7.9%–3.3% in zone 1–zone 2–zone 3. Cyclist B spent 14 days at altitude. Increased high-intensity volume and polarization index occurred during race weeks. During periods without racing, training intensity progressively increased. Strength training was performed during November and December but not during the following months. During tapering, total exercise volume and time at high intensity decreased. Conclusion: These data provide novel insights into the periodization of world-class road cyclists in advance of a top 5 placing in the Tour de France general classification.

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Determinants of 1500-m Front-Crawl Swimming Performance in Triathletes: Influence of Physiological and Biomechanical Variables

Óscar López-Belmonte, Jesús J. Ruiz-Navarro, Ana Gay, Francisco Cuenca-Fernández, Roberto Cejuela, and Raúl Arellano

Purpose: To analyze the associations between physiological and biomechanical variables with the FINA (International Swimming Federation) points (ie, swimming performance) obtained in 1500-m front-crawl swimming to determine whether these variables can be used to explain triathletes’ FINA points. Methods: Fourteen world-class, international and national triathletes (10 male: 23.24 [3.70] y and 4 female: 23.36 [3.76] y) performed a 1500-m front-crawl swimming test in a short-course pool. Heart rate (HR), oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 ), and blood lactate concentrations were obtained before and after the test. HR was also measured during the effort. Highest V ˙ O 2 value ( V ˙ O 2 peak ) was estimated by extrapolation. Clean swimming speed, turn performance, stroke rate, stroke length, and stroke index (SI) were obtained by video analysis. Results: Average 1500-m performance times were 1088 (45) seconds and 1144 (31) seconds for males and females, respectively. HR after the effort, V ˙ O 2 peak , aerobic contributions, total energy expenditure, energy cost, and turn performance presented moderate negative associations with swimming performance (r ≈ .5). In contrast, respiratory exchange ratio, anaerobic alactic contribution, clean swimming speed, stroke length, and SI were positively related, with clean swimming speed and SI having a strong large association (r ≈ .7). A multiple stepwise regression model determined that 71% of the variance in FINA points was explained by SI and total energy expenditure, being predictors in 1500-m front-crawl swimming. Conclusions: Swimming performance in triathletes was determined by the athletes’ energy demands and biomechanical variables. Thus, coaches should develop specific technique skills to improve triathletes’ swimming efficiency.

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The Fine-Tuning Approach for Training Monitoring

Daniel Boullosa, João Gustavo Claudino, Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez, Daniel Bok, Irineu Loturco, Matthew Stults-Kolehmainen, Juan García-López, and Carl Foster

Purpose: Monitoring is a fundamental part of the training process to guarantee that the programmed training loads are executed by athletes and result in the intended adaptations and enhanced performance. A number of monitoring tools have emerged during the last century in sport. These tools capture different facets (eg, psychophysiological, physical, biomechanical) of acute training bouts and chronic adaptations while presenting specific advantages and limitations. Therefore, there is a need to identify what tools are more efficient in each sport context for better monitoring of training process. Methods and Results: We present and discuss the fine-tuning approach for training monitoring, which consists of identifying and combining the best monitoring tools with experts’ knowledge in different sport settings, designed to improve (1) the control of actual training loads and (2) understanding of athletes’ training adaptations. Instead of using single-tool approaches or merely subjective decision making, the identification of the best combination of monitoring tools to assist experts’ decisions in each specific context (ie, triangulation) is necessary to better understand the link between acute and chronic adaptations and their impact on health and performance. Future studies should elaborate on the identification of the best combination of monitoring tools for each specific sport setting. Conclusion: The fine-tuning monitoring approach requires the simultaneous use of several valid and practical tools, instead of a single tool, to improve the effectiveness of monitoring practices when added to experts’ knowledge.

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Erratum. Competitive Cross-Country Skiers Have Longer Time to Exhaustion Than Recreational Cross-Country Skiers During Intermittent Work Intervals Normalized to Their Maximal Aerobic Power

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Erratum. Inconsistent Effect of Psychometric-Scale Familiarization on the Relationship Between Ratings of Perceived Exertion and External Load Measures in Elite Youth Soccer Players

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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Handedness, Bilateral, and Interdigit Strength Asymmetries in Male Climbers

Cameron Hartley, Nicola Taylor, Joel Chidley, Jiří Baláš, and Dave Giles

Purpose: To determine whether there are bilateral and interdigit differences in the maximal force production of experienced climbers and whether these differences are mediated by ability level or preferred style of climbing. Methods: Thirty-six male climbers (age 30 [9.4] y) took part in a single-session trial to test their maximal force production on both hands. The tests included a one-arm maximal isometric finger flexor strength test (MIFS) and a one-arm individual MIFS. Bilateral differences were analyzed by strongest hand (defined as the hand that produced the highest MIFS value) and dominance (defined as the writing hand). Results: A pairwise t test found that MIFS was significantly greater for the strongest hand (mean difference = 4.1%, 95% CI, −0.052 to 0.029, P < .001), with handedness explaining 89% of the variation. A 2-way mixed-model analysis of variance determined that there were no interactions between preferred style (bouldering or sport climbing) and MIFS or between ability level (advanced or elite) and MIFS. Conclusions: Climbers have significant finger flexor strength bilateral asymmetries between their strongest and weakest hand. Moreover, when dominance is controlled, this difference in strength is present, with the dominant hand producing more force. Neither preferred style of climbing nor the ability level of the climbers could explain these asymmetries. As such, practitioners should consider regularly monitoring unilateral strength, aiming to minimize the likelihood of large bilateral asymmetry occurring.

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Changes in the Force–Velocity Relationship of Knee Muscles After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Using the Isokinetic 2-Point Model

Joffrey Drigny, Anaelle Calmès, Emmanuel Reboursière, Christophe Hulet, and Antoine Gauthier

Purpose: After anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R), knee muscle strength symmetry is used as part of the return-to-sport criteria. However, little is known about the changes in the force–velocity (F–V) relationship, which could affect athletic performance. This study investigated the F–V relationship of knee muscles at 4 and 8 months after ACL-R, using the 2-point method tested by isokinetic dynamometry. Methods: A total of 103 physically trained individuals (24.6 [9.3] y, 59.2% male) who underwent primary ACL-R were included. Demographic information and surgery characteristics were collected at 6 weeks postoperatively. Isokinetic knee flexors’ and extensors’ peak torques were measured at 60° and 240° per second in the concentric mode at 4 and 8 months postoperative. Peak torques and angular velocities were converted to force and linear velocity for calculating maximum isometric force (F0) and the slope of the regression line (F–V slope). Results: At 4 and 8 months postoperative, F0 was significantly lower and F–V slope was significantly less steep (less negative) on the operated leg compared with the nonoperated leg for knee extensors (P < .001) and flexors (P < .001–.002). The limb symmetry index calculated using F0 was lower than the limb symmetry indexes assessed at 60° and 240° per second, especially for knee flexors (P < .001). The use of patellar tendon grafts was associated with lower F0 and a less steep F–V slope compared with hamstring tendon grafts (P < .010). Conclusion: The isokinetic 2-point model assessing the F–V relationship provides additional and relevant insight for evaluating knee muscle strength after ACL-R.

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Interference Effects of Different Resistance-Training Protocols on Rowing Ergometer Performance: A Study on Semiprofessional Rowers

Danica Janicijevic, Mauricio Elías Leandro Quidel-Catrilelbún, Andrés Baena-Raya, and Amador García-Ramos

Purpose: To evaluate the interference effects of various resistance-training (RT) protocols on rowing ergometer performance. Methods: Fourteen semiprofessional male rowers randomly completed 5 protocols in separate sessions: (1) control—no RT session was performed, (2) upper-body high-fatigue—4 sets to failure during the bench pull exercise, (3) upper-body low-fatigue—4 sets of 6 repetitions during the bench pull exercise, (4) lower-body high-fatigue—4 sets to failure during the leg-press exercise, and (5) lower-body low-fatigue—4 sets of 6 repetitions during the leg-press exercise. All sets were performed against the 12-repetition-maximum load with 2 minutes of interset rest. Following the completion of the protocols, subjects performed an all-out 1000-m rowing ergometer test. Results: Compared with the control condition, rowing ergometer performance was not significantly affected after the low-fatigue RT protocols (upper body: P ≥ .487; Δ = 0.0%–0.2%; lower body: P ≥ .200; Δ = −0.2%–0.5%), while it significantly declined following high-fatigue RT protocols (upper body: P ≤ .001; Δ = 1.0%–2.0%; lower body: P ≤ .002; Δ = 2.1%–2.5%). The average heart rate was significantly lower for the control condition compared with all RT protocols (P ≤ .043; Δ = 1.0%–1.5%). Conclusions: To minimize interference on rowing performance, coaches should prioritize the level of effort in RT protocols over specific exercises, specifically avoiding high-fatigue protocols that lead to failure before rowing practice.