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Bart Roelands, Vincent Kelly, Suzanna Russell, and Jelle Habay

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Nikita C. Fensham, Alannah K.A. McKay, Nicolin Tee, Bronwen Lundy, Bryce Anderson, Aimee Morabito, Megan L.R. Ross, and Louise M. Burke

Previous research investigating single bouts of exercise have identified baseline iron status and circulating concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) as contributors to the magnitude of postexercise hepcidin increase. The current study examined the effects of repeated training bouts in close succession on IL-6 and hepcidin responses. In a randomized, crossover design, 16 elite male rowers completed two trials, a week apart, with either high (1,000 mg) or low (<50 mg) calcium pre-exercise meals. Each trial involved two, submaximal 90-min rowing ergometer sessions, 2.5 hr apart, with venous blood sampled at baseline; pre-exercise; and 0, 1, 2, and 3 hr after each session. Peak elevations in IL-6 (approximately 7.5-fold, p < .0001) and hepcidin (approximately threefold, p < .0001) concentrations relative to baseline were seen at 2 and 3 hr after the first session, respectively. Following the second session, concentrations of both IL-6 and hepcidin remained elevated above baseline, exhibiting a plateau rather than an additive increase (2 hr post first session vs. 2 hr post second session, p = 1.00). Pre-exercise calcium resulted in a slightly greater elevation in hepcidin across all time points compared with control (p = .0005); however, no effect on IL-6 was evident (p = .27). Performing multiple submaximal training sessions in close succession with adequate nutritional support does not result in an amplified increase in IL-6 or hepcidin concentrations following the second session in male elite rowers. Although effects of calcium intake require further investigation, athletes should continue to prioritize iron consumption around morning exercise prior to exercise-induced hepcidin elevations to maximize absorption.

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Luiz L. Loureiro, Tathiany J. Ferreira, Camila S.C. da Costa, Tatiana K.S. Fidalgo, Ana Paula Valente, and Anna Paola T.R. Pierucci

Purpose: Modern pentathlon is a multidisciplinary sport that involves exhaustive training which can cause tissue damage and metabolic changes. However, few studies have evaluated the metabolic changes that occur in pentathletes. Accordingly, we aimed to evaluate the metabolomic profile of pentathletes during a 3-week training period before competition using nuclear magnetic resonance. Methods: Blood samples from 6 members of a Brazilian modern pentathlon team were collected at the beginning (Pre1, Pre2, and Pre3) and end (Post1, Post2, and Post3) of each week. Low molecular-weight metabolite profiles were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and biochemical markers were assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Data were assessed using partial least-squares discriminant analysis and univariate statistical model. Results: Metabolic changes were observed between pre- and postdata of each week and over the 3 weeks before the competition in the partial least-squares discriminant analysis. Creatine kinase concentration increased in the first 2 weeks (P = .045 and P = .039), but there was no difference in the last week (P > .05). Lactate levels increased significantly after training in each week (P < .001). Cortisol levels at Post3 were different from all other time points (P < .05) and the concentrations of peroxides increased over the weeks (P < .05). Among all metabolites, sarcosine showed the greatest differences (P = .004) in the pretraining and posttraining periods of the 3 weeks. Conclusion: Serum analysis of athletes using nuclear magnetic resonance showed metabolic changes depending on the intensity of the training performed each week.

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Emily M. Partridge, Julie Cooke, Andrew J. McKune, and David B. Pyne

Purpose: To determine whether a single acute preexercise bout of partial-body cryotherapy (PBC) enhanced maximal-effort shuttle run performance, salivary enzyme concentration, and self-reported performance readiness. Methods: A total of 18 male rugby league players (age = 20.1 [0.5] y; mass = 91.4 [12.4] kg) were exposed to either PBC for 3 minutes at −136°C (1°C) or a control condition prior to a continuous, high-intensity 6 × 40-m shuttle run test. Passive saliva samples were collected to determine salivary alpha amylase (sAA) concentration. Perceived performance readiness and well-being questionnaires were completed using a 1-to-7 Likert scale. Results: The PBC exposure did not elicit a greater improvement in 6 × 40-m shuttle run performance in comparison with the control condition (standardized difference; +0.4 [5.9%]; P = .881; mean ± 90% confidence limits). The increase in sAA concentration was moderately greater 15 minutes after PBC compared with the control group (+67 [32%], P = .012) and remained moderately higher up to 2 hours post-PBC exposure compared with the control condition (+41 [40%], P = .045). There were greater improvements in self-reported perceptions of muscle soreness (+0.6 [0.4%], P = .043; units ±90% confidence limits) and mood (+0.6 [0.7%], P = .038) after PBC compared with control. Conclusions: It appears that a single 3-minute bout of PBC does not augment maximal effort shuttle run performance in elite rugby league players. Beneficial increases in sAA concentration, coupled with improved perceptions of muscle soreness and mood, should be explored further for alternative training or precompetition practices.

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Chee-Hoi Leong, Steven J. Elmer, and James C. Martin

Pedal speed and mechanical power output account for 99% of metabolic cost during submaximal cycling. Noncircular chainrings can alter instantaneous crank angular velocity and thereby pedal speed. Reducing pedal speed during the portion of the cycle in which most power is produced could reduce metabolic cost and increase metabolic efficiency. Purpose: To determine the separate contributions of pedal speed and chainring shape/eccentricity to the metabolic cost of producing power and evaluate joint-specific kinematics and kinetics during submaximal cycling across 3 chainring eccentricities (CON = 1.0; LOW = 1.13; HIGH = 1.24). Methods: Eight cyclists performed submaximal cycling at power outputs eliciting 30%, 60%, and 90% of their individual lactate threshold at pedaling rates of 80 rpm under each chainring condition (CON80rpm; LOW80rpm; HIGH80rpm) and at pedaling rates for the CON chainring chosen to match pedal speeds of the noncircular chainrings (CON78rpm to LOW80rpm; CON75rpm to HIGH80rpm). Physiological measures, metabolic cost, and gross efficiency were determined by indirect calorimetry. Pedal and joint-specific powers were determined using pedal forces and limb kinematics. Results: Physiological and metabolic measures were not influenced by eccentricity and pedal speed (all Ps > .05). Angular velocities produced during knee and hip extension were lower with the HIGH80rpm condition compared with the CON80rpm condition (all Ps < .05), while angular velocity produced during ankle plantar flexion remained unchanged. Conclusions: Despite the noncircular chainrings imposing their eccentricity on joint angular kinematics, they did not reduce metabolic cost or increase gross efficiency. Our results suggest that noncircular chainrings neither improve nor compromise submaximal cycling performance in trained cyclists.

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Aurélien Patoz, Thomas Blokker, Nicola Pedrani, Romain Spicher, Fabio Borrani, and Davide Malatesta

Purpose: Intensity domains are recommended when prescribing exercise, and critical power/speed (CP/CS) was designated the “gold standard” when determining maximal metabolic steady state. CS is the running analog of CP for cycle ergometry. However, a CP for running could be useful for controlling intensity when training in any type of condition. Therefore, this study aimed to estimate external, internal, and total CP (CPext, CPint, and CPtot), obtained based on running power calculations, and verified whether they occurred at the same percentage of peak oxygen uptake as the usual CS. Furthermore, this study examined whether selecting strides at the start, half, or end of the exhaustive runs to calculate running power influenced the estimation of the 3 CPs. Methods: Thirteen male runners performed a maximal incremental aerobic test and 4 exhaustive runs (90%, 100%, 110%, 120% peak speed) on a treadmill. The estimations of CS and CPs were obtained using a 3-parameter mathematical model fitted using weighted least square. Results: CS was estimated at 4.3 m/s while the estimates of CPext, CPint, and CPtot were 5.2, 2.6, and 7.8 W/kg, respectively. The corresponding V˙O2 for CS was 82.5 percentage of peak oxygen uptake and 81.3, 79.7, and 80.6 percentage of peak oxygen uptake for CPext, CPint, and CPtot, respectively. No systematic bias was reported when comparing CS and CPext, as well as the 3 different CPs, whereas systematic biases of 2.8% and 1.8% were obtained for the comparison among CS and CPint and CPtot, respectively. Nonetheless, the V˙O2 for CS and CPs were not statistically different (P = .09). Besides, no effect of the time stride selection for CPs as well as their resulting V˙O2 was obtained (P ≥ .44). Conclusions: The systematic biases among V˙O2 at CS and CPint and CPtot were not clinically relevant. Therefore, CS and CPs closely represent the same fatigue threshold in running. The knowledge of CP in running might prove to be useful for both athletes and coaches, especially when combined with instantaneous running power. Indeed, this combination might help athletes controlling their targeted training intensity and coaches prescribing a training session in any type of condition.

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Chiara Gattoni, Michele Girardi, Barry Vincent O’Neill, and Samuele Maria Marcora

Purpose: Sleep deprivation (SD) is very common during ultraendurance competitions. At present, stimulants such as caffeine and naps are the main strategies used to reduce the negative effects of SD on ultraendurance performance. In this case study, the authors describe the application of a novel strategy consisting of the intermittent repetition of SD (SD training [SDT]) during the weeks preceding an ultraendurance competition. Methods: A male ultraendurance runner underwent a 6-week SDT program (consisting of 1 night SD every Sunday) in addition to his regular physical training program before taking part in a 6-day race. Before and after SDT, the participant performed 5 consecutive days of daily 2-hour constant-pace running with SD on the first and third night. Psychological and physiological responses were measured during this multiday test. Results: SDT was well tolerated by the athlete. A visual analysis of the data suggests that including SDT in the weeks preceding an ultraendurance competition may have beneficial effects on sleepiness and perceived mental effort in the context of 5 consecutive days of prolonged running and 2 nights of SD. This multiday test seems a feasible way for assessing ultraendurance athletes in the laboratory. Conclusions: The results provided some encouraging initial information about SDT that needs to be confirmed in a randomized controlled trial in a group of ultraendurance athletes. If confirmed to be effective and well tolerated, SDT might be used in the future to help ultraendurance athletes and other populations that have to perform in conditions of SD.

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João Nuno Ribeiro, Diogo Monteiro, Bruno Gonçalves, João Brito, Jaime Sampaio, and Bruno Travassos

Purpose: To investigate the match-to-match variation of physical performance during official congested fixtures in elite futsal players. Methods: Physical performance was measured by external and internal load metrics in 12 elite male futsal players. Two periods with 3 matches within 4 days were analyzed. The variation in physical performance of the players during matches was analyzed using the latent growth curve modeling that estimated interindividual and intraindividual growth paths. Results: Playing time had a significant effect on physical performance growth with significant paths of interindividual and intraindividual variability. Players who competed for more time revealed lower initial levels (ie, first match) of total distance covered (β = −0.62), high-speed running (β = −0.18), accelerations (β = −0.31), decelerations (β = −0.44), and session rate of perceived exertion (β = 0.81) than players who competed for less time (P < .05). In addition, players who competed for more time revealed higher increases in total distance covered (β = 0.47), high-speed running (β = 0.16), and session rate of perceived exertion (β = 0.66) and lower increases in accelerations (β = −0.21) and decelerations (β = −0.58) than players who competed for less time from the first to the third match (P < .05). Conclusions: Congested fixtures did not affect physical performance in elite futsal players. Playing time showed to be a key performance factor. There was a considerable heterogeneity in the responsiveness to physical performance over congested fixtures, suggesting an analysis of individual variability to evaluate real changes in match performance, training intensity, and workload.

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ZáNean McClain, Kip Webster, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson

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Niklas D. Neumann, Nico W. Van Yperen, Jur J. Brauers, Wouter Frencken, Michel S. Brink, Koen A.P.M. Lemmink, Laurentius A. Meerhoff, and Ruud J.R. Den Hartigh

Purpose: The study of load and recovery gained significant interest in the last decades, given its important value in decreasing the likelihood of injuries and improving performance. So far, findings are typically reported on the group level, whereas practitioners are most often interested in applications at the individual level. Hence, the aim of the present research is to examine to what extent group-level statistics can be generalized to individual athletes, which is referred to as the “ergodicity issue.” Nonergodicity may have serious consequences for the way we should analyze, and work with, load and recovery measures in the sports field. Methods: The authors collected load, that is, rating of perceived exertion × training duration, and total quality of recovery data among youth male players of a professional football club. This data were collected daily across 2 seasons and analyzed on both the group and the individual level. Results: Group- and individual-level analysis resulted in different statistical outcomes, particularly with regard to load. Specifically, SDs within individuals were up to 7.63 times larger than SDs between individuals. In addition, at either level, the authors observed different correlations between load and recovery. Conclusions: The results suggest that the process of load and recovery in athletes is nonergodic, which has important implications for the sports field. Recommendations for training programs of individual athletes may be suboptimal, or even erroneous, when guided by group-level outcomes. The utilization of individual-level analysis is key to ensure the optimal balance of individual load and recovery.