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Aaron T. Scanlan, Emilija Stojanović, Zoran Milanović, Masaru Teramoto, Mario Jeličić, and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: To compare the aerobic capacity of elite female basketball players between playing roles and positions determined using maximal laboratory and field tests. Methods: Elite female basketball players from the National Croatian League were grouped according to playing role (starter: n = 8; bench: n = 12) and position (backcourt: n = 11; frontcourt: n = 9). All 20 players completed 2 maximal exercise tests in a crossover fashion 7 days apart. First, the players underwent a laboratory-based continuous running treadmill test with metabolic measurement to determine their peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak). The players then completed a maximal field-based 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15 IFT) to estimate VO2peak. The VO2peak was compared using multiple linear regression analysis with bootstrap standard errors and playing role and position as predictors. Results: During both tests, starters attained a significantly higher VO2peak than bench players (continuous running treadmill: 47.4 [5.2] vs 44.7 [3.5] mL·kg−1·min−1, P = .05, moderate; 30-15 IFT: 44.9 [2.1] vs 41.9 [1.7] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, large), and backcourt players attained a significantly higher VO2peak than frontcourt players (continuous running treadmill: 48.1 [3.8] vs 43.0 [3.3] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, large; 30-15 IFT: 44.2 [2.2] vs 41.8 [2.0] mL·kg−1·min−1, P < .001, moderate). Conclusions: Starters (vs bench players) and guards (vs forwards and centers) possess a higher VO2peak irrespective of using laboratory or field tests. These data highlight the role- and position-specific importance of aerobic fitness to inform testing, training, and recovery practices in elite female basketball.

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Javier Raya-González, Aaron T. Scanlan, María Soto-Célix, Alejandro Rodríguez-Fernández, and Daniel Castillo

Purpose: To examine the effects of acute caffeine supplementation on physical performance during fitness testing and activity during simulated games in basketball players. Methods: A double-blind, counterbalanced, randomized, crossover study design was followed. A total of 14 professional male basketball players ingested a placebo (sucrose) and caffeine (6 mg·kg−1 of body mass) in liquid form prior to completing 2 separate testing sessions. Each testing session involved completion of a standardized 15-minute warm-up followed by various fitness tests including 20-m sprints, countermovement jumps, Lane Agility Drill trials, and a repeated-sprint-ability test. Following a 20-minute recovery, players completed 3 × 7-minute 5-vs-5 simulated periods of full-court basketball games, each separated by 2 minutes of recovery. Local positioning system technology was used to measure player activity during games. Players completed a side-effects questionnaire 12 to 14 hours after testing. Results: Players experienced significant (P < .05), moderatevery large (effect size = −2.19 to 0.89) improvements in 20-m sprint, countermovement jump, Lane Agility Drill, and repeated-sprint-ability performance with caffeine supplementation. However, external workloads completed during simulated games demonstrated nonsignificant, trivialsmall (effect size = −0.23 to 0.12) changes between conditions. In addition, players reported greater (P < .05) insomnia and urine output after caffeine ingestion. Conclusions: Acute caffeine supplementation could be effective to improve physical performance during tests stressing fitness elements important in basketball. However, acute caffeine supplementation appears to exert no meaningful effects on the activity completed during simulated basketball games and may promote sleep disturbances and exert a diuretic effect when taken at 6 mg·kg−1 of body mass in professional players.

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Ian C. Smith and Brian R. MacIntosh

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Samantha B. Kostelnik, Michelle S. Rockwell, Kevin P. Davy, Valisa E. Hedrick, D. Travis Thomas, and Brenda M. Davy

Fluid intake recommendations have been established for the athletic population in order to promote adequate hydration. The Beverage Intake Questionnaire (BEVQ-15) is a quick and reliable food frequency questionnaire that quantifies habitual beverage intake, which has been validated in children, adolescents, and adults. However, no validated beverage consumption questionnaire is available for collegiate athletes. Urine color (UC), while feasible for determining hydration status, has not been validated within a variety of collegiate athletes. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the comparative validity and reliability of pragmatic methods to rapidly assess BEVQ-15 and UC rating in U.S. Division I collegiate athletes. Student-athletes (n = 120; 54% females; age 19 ± 1 years) from two universities were recruited to complete three study sessions. At the first and third sessions, the participants completed the BEVQ-15 and provided a urine sample to determine UC and urinary specific gravity. All sessions included completion of a 24-hr dietary recall. Total fluid intake (fl oz) was 111 ± 107 and 108 ± 42 using the BEVQ-15 and the mean of three 24-hr dietary recalls, respectively, which was not different between methods (p > .05). There were moderate associations between the BEVQ-15 and dietary recall results for total beverage intake fl oz and kcal(r = .413 and r = 4.65; p ≤ .05, respectively). Strong associations were noted between both researcher-rated and participant-rated UC with urinary specific gravity measures (r = .675 and r = .884; p ≤ .05, respectively). Therefore, these rapid assessment methods demonstrated acceptable validity and may be used as practical methods to determine whether athletes are meeting their hydration recommendations.

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Corrado Lupo, Alexandru Nicolae Ungureanu, Gennaro Boccia, Andrea Licciardi, Alberto Rainoldi, and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

Purpose: The present study aimed to verify if practicing tackles during rugby union training sessions would affect the players’ internal training load and acute strength loss. Method: A total of 9 male Italian Serie A rugby union players (age: 21 [2] y) were monitored by means of an integrated approach across 17 sessions, 6 with tackles (WT) and 11 with no tackles (NT). Edwards training load was quantified using heart-rate monitoring. Global positioning system devices were used to quantify the total distance and time at >20 W. Work-to-rest ratio was quantified by means of a video analysis. Before (PRE) and after (POST) the session, the players’ well-being and rating of perceived exertion were measured, respectively. The countermovement jump and plyometric push-up jump tests were performed on a force plate to record the players’ PRE–POST concentric peak force. Linear mixed models were applied to quantify the differences between WT and NT in terms of training load and PRE–POST force deltas, even controlling for other training factors. Results: The Edwards training load (estimated mean [EM]; standard error [SE]; WT: EM = 214, SE = 11.8; NT: EM = 194, SE = 11.1; P = .01) and session rating of perceived exertion (WT: EM = 379, SE = 21.9; NT: EM = 277, SE = 16.4; P < .001) were higher in WT than in NT. Conversely, no difference between the sessions emerged in the countermovement jump and plyometric push-up concentric peak force deltas. Conclusions: Although elite rugby union players’ external and internal training load can be influenced by practicing tackles, upper- and lower-limb strength seem to not be affected.

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Jamie Salter, Mark B.A. De Ste Croix, Jonathan D. Hughes, Matthew Weston, and Christopher Towlson

Purpose: Overuse injury risk increases during periods of accelerated growth, which can subsequently impact development in academy soccer, suggesting a need to quantify training exposure. Nonprescriptive development scheme legislation could lead to inconsistent approaches to monitoring maturity and training load. Therefore, this study aimed to communicate current practices of UK soccer academies toward biological maturity and training load. Methods: Forty-nine respondents completed an online survey representing support staff from male Premier League academies (n = 38) and female Regional Talent Clubs (n = 11). The survey included 16 questions covering maturity and training-load monitoring. Questions were multiple-choice or unipolar scaled (agreement 0–100) with a magnitude-based decision approach used for interpretation. Results: Injury prevention was deemed highest importance for maturity (83.0 [5.3], mean [SD]) and training-load monitoring (80.0 [2.8]). There were large differences in methods adopted for maturity estimation and moderate differences for training-load monitoring between academies. Predictions of maturity were deemed comparatively low in importance for bio-banded (biological classification) training (61.0 [3.3]) and low for bio-banded competition (56.0 [1.8]) across academies. Few respondents reported maturity (42%) and training load (16%) to parent/guardians, and only 9% of medical staff were routinely provided this data. Conclusions: Although consistencies between academies exist, disparities in monitoring approaches are likely reflective of environment-specific resource and logistical constraints. Designating consistent and qualified responsibility to staff will help promote fidelity, feedback, and transparency to advise stakeholders of maturity–load relationships. Practitioners should consider biological categorization to manage load prescription to promote maturity-appropriate dose–responses and to help reduce the risk of noncontact injury.

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Miguel Sánchez-Moreno, Gonçalo Rendeiro-Pinho, Pedro V. Mil-Homens, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: This study aimed (1) to analyze the interindividual variability in the maximal number of repetitions (MNR) performed against a given relative load (percentage of 1-repetition maximum [%1RM]) and (2) to examine the relationship between the velocity loss (VL) magnitude and the percentage of completed repetitions with regard to the MNR (%Rep), when the %1RM is based on individual load–velocity relationships. Methods: Following an assessment of 1RM strength and individual load–velocity relationships, 14 resistance-trained men completed 5 MNR tests against loads of 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, and 90% 1RM in the Smith machine bench-press exercise. The relative loads were determined from the individual load–velocity relationship. Results: Individual relationships between load and velocity displayed coefficients of determination (R 2) ranging from .986 to .998. The MNR showed an interindividual coefficient of variation ranging from 8.6% to 33.1%, increasing as the %1RM increased. The relationship between %Rep and the magnitude of VL showed a general R 2 of .92 to .94 between 50% and 80% 1RM, which decreased to .80 for 90% 1RM. The mean individual R 2 values were between .97 and .99 for all loading conditions. The %Rep when a given percentage of VL was reached showed interindividual coefficient of variation values ranging from 5% to 20%, decreasing as the %Rep increased in each load condition. Conclusions: Setting a number of repetitions had acceptable interindividual variability, with moderate relative loads being adjusted based on the individual load–velocity relationship. However, to provide a more homogeneous level of effort between athletes, the VL approach should be considered, mainly when using individual VL–%Rep relationships.

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Federico Donghi, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Maurizio Fanchini, Domenico Carlomagno, and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To compare the effects of different modalities of morning priming exercise on afternoon physical performance with the associated hormonal and psychophysiological responses in young soccer players. Methods: In a randomized counterbalanced crossover design, 12 young soccer players completed 3 different morning conditions on 3 different days: repeated-sprint running (6 × 40 m), easy exercise (4 × 12 fast half squats, 6 speed ladder drills, and 20-m sprints), and control (no exercise). Blood testosterone and cortisol concentrations were assessed upon arrival (approximately 8:30AM) and approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes later. Body temperature, self-reported mood, quadriceps neuromuscular function (maximal voluntary contraction, voluntary activation, rate of torque development, and twitch contractile properties), jump, and sprint performance were evaluated twice per day, while rating of perceived exertion, motivation, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 (IR2) tests were assessed once per day. Results: Compared with the control, repeated-sprint running induced a possible positive effect on testosterone (+11.6%) but a possible to very likely negative effect on twitch contractile properties (−13.0%), jump height (−1.4%), and Yo-Yo IR2 (−7.1%). On the other hand, easy exercise had an unclear effect on testosterone (−3.3%), resulted in lower self-reported fatigue (−31.0%) and cortisol (−12.9%), and had a possible positive effect on the rate of torque development (+4.3%) and Yo-Yo IR2 (+6.5%) compared with the control. Conclusions: Players’ testosterone levels were positively influenced by repeated-sprint running, but this did not translate into better physical function, as both muscular and endurance performance were reduced. Easy exercise seemed to be suitable to optimize the physical performance and psychophysiological state of young soccer players.

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Flavio A. Cadegiani, Pedro Henrique L. Silva, Tatiana C.P. Abrao, and Claudio E. Kater

Purposes: Overtraining syndrome (OTS) is an unexplained underperformance syndrome triggered by excessive training, insufficient caloric intake, inadequate sleep, and excessive cognitive and social demands. Investigation of the recovery process from OTS has not been reported to date. The objective was to unveil novel markers and biochemical and clinical behaviors during the restoration process of OTS. Methods: This was a 12-week interventional protocol in 12 athletes affected by OTS, including increase of caloric intake, transitory interruption of training, improvement of sleep quality, and management of stress, followed by the assessment of 50 parameters including basal and hormonal responses to an insulin tolerance test and nonhormonal biochemical markers, and body metabolism and composition. Results: Early cortisol (P = .023), late ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) (P = .024), and early and late growth hormone (P = .005 and P = .038, respectively) responses, basal testosterone (P = .038), testosterone:estradiol ratio (P = .0005), insulinlike growth factor 1 (P = .004), cortisol awakening response (P = .001), and free thyronine (P = .069) increased, while basal estradiol (P = .033), nocturnal urinary catecholamines (P = .038), and creatine kinase (P = .071) reduced. Conversely, markers of body metabolism and composition had slight nonsignificant improvements. Conclusion: After a 12-week intervention, athletes affected by actual OTS disclosed a mix of non-, partial, and full recovery processes, demonstrating that remission of OTS is as complex as its occurrence.

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Jaime Gil-Cabrera, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Lidia B. Alejo, Eduardo Talavera, Almudena Montalvo-Pérez, Alejandro Lucia, and David Barranco-Gil

Purpose: To compare the effectiveness of optimum power load training (OPT, training with an individualized load and repetitions that maximize power output) and traditional resistance training (TRT, same number of repetitions and relative load for all individuals) in professional cyclists. Methods: Participants (19 [1] y, peak oxygen uptake 75.5 [6] mL/kg/min) were randomly assigned to 8 weeks (2 sessions per week) of TRT (n = 11) or OPT (n = 9), during which they maintained their usual cycle training schedule. Training loads were continuously registered, and measures of muscle strength/power (1-repetition maximum and maximum mean propulsive power on the squat, hip thrust, and lunge exercises), body composition (assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), and endurance performance (assessed on both an incremental test and an 8-min time trial) were collected before and at the end of the intervention. Results: OPT resulted in a lower average intensity (percentage of 1-repetition maximum) during resistance training sessions for all exercises (P < .01), but no differences were found for overall training loads during resistance or cycling sessions (P > .05). Both programs led to significant improvements in all strength/power-related parameters, muscle mass (with no changes in total body mass but a decreased fat mass), and time-trial performance (all Ps < .05). A trend toward increased power output at the respiratory compensation point was also found (P = .056 and .066 for TRT and OPT, respectively). No between-groups differences were noted for any outcome (P > .05). Conclusion: The addition of either TRT or OPT to an endurance training regimen of elite cyclists results in similar improvements of body composition, muscle strength/power, and endurance performance.