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Jan Gajdošík, Jirˇí Baláš, Dominika Krupková, Lukáš Psohlavec, and Nick Draper

Purpose: Although sport climbing is a self-paced whole-body activity, speed varies with climbing style, and the effect of this on systemic and localized oxygen responses is not well understood. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine muscle and pulmonary oxygen responses during submaximal climbing at differing speeds of ascent. Methods: Thirty-two intermediate and advanced sport climbers completed three 4-minute-long ascents of the same route at 4, 6, and 9 m·min−1 on a motorized climbing ergometer (treadwall) on separate laboratory visits. Gas analysis and near-infrared spectroscopy were used to determine systemic oxygen uptake (V˙O2) and muscle oxygen saturation (StO2) of the flexor digitorum profundus. Results: Increases in ascent speed of 1 m·min−1 led to increases of V˙O2 by 2.4 mL·kg−1·min−1 (95% CI, 2.1 to 2.8 mL·kg−1·min−1) and decreases in StO2 by −1.3% (95% CI, 1.9% to −0.7%). There was a significant interaction of climbing ability and speed for StO2 (P < .001, ηp2=.224). The results revealed that the decrease of StO2 was present for intermediate but not advanced climbers. Conclusions: In this study, the results suggest that V˙O2 demand during climbing was largely determined by climbing speed; however, the ability level of the climber appeared to mitigate StO2 at a cellular level. Coaches and instructors may prescribe climbing ascents with elevated speed to improve generalized cardiorespiratory fitness. To stimulate localized aerobic capacity, however, climbers should perhaps increase the intensity of training ascents through the manipulation of wall angle or reduction of hold size.

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Geoffrey M. Minett, Valentin Fels-Camilleri, Joshua J. Bon, Franco M. Impellizzeri, and David N. Borg

Purpose: This study aimed to examine the effect of peer presence on session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses. Method: Fourteen males, with mean (SD) age 22.4 (3.9) years, peak oxygen uptake 48.0 (6.6) mL·kg−1·min−1, and peak power output 330 (44) W, completed an incremental cycling test and 3 identical experimental sessions, in groups of 4 or 5. Experimental sessions involved 24 minutes of cycling, whereby the work rate alternated between 40% and 70% peak power output every 3 minutes. During cycling, heart rate was collected every 3 minutes, and session-RPE was recorded 10 minutes after cycling, in 3 communication contexts: in written form unaccompanied (intrapersonal communication), verbally by the researcher only (interpersonal communication), and in the presence of the training group. Session-RPE was analyzed using ordinal regression and heart rate using a linear mixed-effects model, with models fit in a Bayesian framework. Results: Session-RPE was voted higher when collected in the group’s presence compared with when written (odds ratio = 4.26, 95% credible interval = 1.27–14.73). On average, the posterior probability that session-RPE was higher in the group setting than when written was .53. Session-RPE was not different between the group and verbal, or verbal and written collection contexts. Conclusions: This study suggests that contextual psychosocial inputs influence session-RPE and highlights the importance of session-RPE users controlling the measurement environment when collecting votes.

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Teun van Erp, Robert P. Lamberts, and Dajo Sanders

Purpose: This study evaluated the power profile of a top 5 result achieved in World Tour cycling races of varying types, namely: flat sprint finish, semi-mountain race with a sprint finish, semi-mountain race with uphill finish, and mountain races (MT). Methods: Power output data from 33 professional cyclists were collected between 2012 and 2019. This large data set was filtered so that it only included top 5 finishes in World Tour races (18 participants and 177 races). Each of these top 5 finishes were subsequently classified as flat sprint finish, semi-mountain race with uphill finish, semi-mountain race with a sprint finish, and MT based on set criteria. Maximal mean power output (MMP) for a wide range of durations (5 s to 60 min), expressed in both absolute (in Watts) and relative terms (in Watts per kilogram), were assessed for each race type. Result: Short-duration power outputs (<60 s), both in relative and in absolute terms, are of higher importance to be successful in flat sprint finish and semi-mountain race with a sprint finish. Longer-duration power outputs (≥3 min) are of higher importance to be successful in semi-mountain race with uphill finish and MT. In addition, relative power outputs of >10 minutes seem to be a key determining factor for success in MT. These race-type specific MMPs of importance (ie, short-duration MMPs for sprint finishes, longer-duration MMPs for races with more elevation gain) are performed at a wide range (80%–97%) of the cyclist’s personal best MMP. Conclusions: This study shows that the relative importance of certain points on the power–duration spectrum varies with different race types and provides insight into benchmarks for achieving a result in a World Tour cycling race.

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Jonathon R. Lever, Dina C. Janse van Rensburg, Audrey Jansen van Rensburg, Peter Fowler, and Hugh H.K. Fullagar

Purpose: To assess the impact of long-haul transmeridian travel on subjective sleep patterns and jet lag symptoms in youth athletes around an international tournament. Methods: An observational descriptive design was used. Subjective sleep diaries and perceived responses to jet lag were collected and analyzed for a national junior netball team competing in an international tournament. Sleep diaries and questionnaires were completed daily prior to and during travel, and throughout the tournament. Results were categorized into pretravel, travel, training, and match nights. Means were compared performing a paired Student t test with significance set at P < .05. Data are presented as mean (SD) and median (minimum, maximum). Results: Athletes reported significantly greater time in bed on match days compared with training (P < .001) and travel (P = .002) days, and on pretravel days compared with travel (P < .001) and training (P = .028) days. Sleep ratings were significantly better on pretravel days compared with match (P = .013) days. Perceived jet lag was worse on match (P = .043) days compared with pretravel days. Significant differences were also observed between a number of conditions for meals, mood, bowel activity, and fatigue. Conclusion: Youth athletes experience significantly less opportunity for sleep during long-haul transmeridian travel and face disruptions to daily routines during travel which impact food intake. Young athletes also experience disturbed sleep prior to and during competition. These results highlight the need for practices to alleviate jet lag symptoms and improve the sleep of young athletes traveling for tournaments in an effort to optimize recovery and performance.

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Jason C. Bartram, Dominic Thewlis, David T. Martin, and Kevin I. Norton

Purpose: Modeling intermittent work capacity is an exciting development to the critical power model with many possible applications across elite sport. With the Skiba 2 model validated using subelite participants, an adjustment to the model’s recovery rate has been proposed for use in elite cyclists (Bartram adjustment). The team pursuit provides an intermittent supramaximal event with which to validate the modeling of W′ in this population. Methods: Team pursuit data of 6 elite cyclists competing for Australia at a Track World Cup were solved for end W′ values using both the Skiba 2 model and the Bartram adjustment. Each model’s success was evaluated by its ability to approximate end W′ values of 0 kJ, as well as a count of races modeled to within a predetermined error threshold of ±1.840 kJ. Results: On average, using the Skiba 2 model found end W′ values different from zero (P = .007; mean ± 95% confidence limit, –2.7 ± 2.0 kJ), with 3 out of 8 cases ending within the predetermined error threshold. Using the Bartram adjustment on average resulted in end W′ values that were not different from zero (P = .626; mean ± 95% confidence limit, 0.5 ± 2.5 kJ), with 4 out of 8 cases falling within the predetermined error threshold. Conclusions: On average, the Bartram adjustment was an improvement to modeling intermittent work capacity in elite cyclists, with the Skiba 2 model underestimating the rate of W′ recovery. In the specific context of modeling team pursuit races, all models were too variable for effective use; hence, individual recovery rates should be explored beyond population-specific rates.

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Samuel Mettler, Georgette Lehner, and Gareth Morgan

Compared with adult athletes, rather little is known about supplementation behavior in adolescent athletes. This study’s aim was to determine elite adolescent athletes’ supplement use and sources of information relating thereto. A total of 430 (87%) of 496 questioned athletes returned the anonymized questionnaire. Thereof, 84% consumed at least one weekly supplement and 97% indicated some supplement intake during the previous 4 weeks. On average, 13.3 supplement servings were consumed per week. The 25th, 50th, and 75th percentile was 4.5, 10.5, and 20.0 servings per week, with a maximum of 67. The most prevalent supplements in use were multimineral products (41% of all athletes), multivitamins (34%), Vitamin C (34%), and Vitamin D (33%). Male athletes consumed significantly more Vitamin C and D, sports drinks, protein powder, and recovery products compared with female athletes; whereas, women consumed more iron supplements. The three most important motives for supplement use were recovery support (40%), health maintenance (39%), and performance enhancement (30%). The most frequent answers to the question “who recommended that you use supplements” were family/friends (36%), a physician (27%), and a trainer/coach (25%). The main three information sources about the supplements in use were the persons who recommended the supplementation (56%), the internet (25%), and information provided by supplement suppliers (11%). A positive doping attitude was associated with the consumption of performance enhancing supplements (p = .017). In conclusion, this study among elite adolescent Swiss athletes indicates a widespread and large-scale use of dietary supplements, which was associated with a low level of information quality.

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Ibai Garcia-Tabar, Aitor Iturricastillo, Julen Castellano, Eduardo L. Cadore, Mikel Izquierdo, and Igor Setuain

Purpose: To develop gender-specific operational equations for prediction of cardiorespiratory fitness in female footballers. Method: Forty-eight semiprofessional female footballers performed an intermittent progressive maximal running test for determination of fixed blood lactate concentration (FBLC) thresholds. Relationships between FBLC thresholds and the physiological responses to submaximal running were examined. Developed equations (n = 48) were compared with equations previously obtained in another investigation performed in males (n = 100). Results: Submaximal velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was related to FBLC thresholds (r = .76 to .79; P < .001). Predictive power (R 2 = .82 to .94) of a single blood lactate concentration (BLC) sample measured at 10 or 11.5 km·h−1 was very high. A single BLC sample taken after a 5-minute running bout at 8.5 km·h−1 was related to FBLC thresholds (r = −.71; P < .001). No difference (P = .15) in the regression lines predicting FBLC thresholds from velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was observed between the female and male cohorts. However, regressions estimating FBLC thresholds by a single BLC sample were different (P = .002). Conclusions: Velocity associated with 90% maximal heart rate was robustly related to FBLC thresholds and might serve for mass field testing independently of sex. BLC equations accurately predicted FBLC thresholds. However, these equations are gender-specific. This is the first study reporting operational equations to estimate the FBLC thresholds in female footballers. The use of these equations reduces the burden associated with cardiorespiratory testing. Further cross-validation studies are warranted to validate the proposed equations and establish them for mass field testing.

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Shona L. Halson, Renee N. Appaneal, Marijke Welvaert, Nirav Maniar, and Michael K. Drew

Purpose: Psychological stress is reported to be an important contributor to reduced sleep quality and quantity observed in elite athletes. The purpose of this study was to explore the association between psychological stress and sleep and to identify if specific aspects of sleep are disturbed. Methods: One hundred thirty-one elite athletes (mean [SD], male: n = 46, age 25.8 [4.1] y; female: n = 85, age 24.3 [3.9] y) from a range of sports completed a series of questionnaires in a 1-month period approximately 4 months before the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Questionnaires included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; Recovery-Stress Questionnaire; Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS 21); and Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Results: Regression analysis identified the PSS and DASS stress as the main variables associated with sleep. A PSS score of 6.5 or higher was associated with poor sleep. In addition, a PSS score lower than 6.5 combined with a DASS stress score higher than 4.5 was also associated with poor sleep. Univariate analyses on subcomponents of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index confirmed that PSS is associated with lower sleep quality (t 99 = 2.40, P = .018), increased sleep disturbances (t 99 = 3.37, P = .001), and increased daytime dysfunction (t 99 = 2.93, P = .004). DASS stress was associated with increased sleep latency (t 94 = 2.73, P = .008), increased sleep disturbances (t 94 = 2.25, P = .027), and increased daytime dysfunction (t 94 = 3.58, P = .001). Conclusions: A higher stress state and higher perceived stress were associated with poorer sleep, in particular increased sleep disturbances and increased daytime dysfunction. Data suggest that relatively low levels of psychological stress are associated with poor sleep in elite athletes.

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ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson

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Michael H. Haischer, John Krzyszkowski, Stuart Roche, and Kristof Kipp

Maximal strength is important for the performance of dynamic athletic activities, such as countermovement jumps (CMJ). Although measures of maximal strength appear related to discrete CMJ variables, such as peak ground reaction forces (GRF) and center-of-mass (COM) velocity, knowledge about the association between strength and the time series patterns during CMJ will help characterize changes that can be expected in dynamic movement with changes in maximal strength. Purpose: To investigate the associations between maximal strength and GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ. Methods: Nineteen female college lacrosse players performed 3 maximal-effort CMJs and isometric midthigh pull. GRF and COM velocity time series data from the CMJ were time normalized and used as inputs to principal-components analyses. Associations between isometric midthigh pull peak force and CMJ principal-component scores were investigated with a correlational analysis. Results: Isometric midthigh pull peak force was associated with several GRF and COM velocity patterns. Correlations indicated that stronger players exhibited a GRF pattern characterized by greater eccentric-phase rate of force development, greater peak GRF, and a unimodal GRF profile (P = .016). Furthermore, stronger athletes exhibited a COM velocity pattern characterized by higher velocities during the concentric phase (P = .004). Conclusions: Maximal strength is correlated to specific GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ in female college lacrosse athletes. Since maximal strength was not correlated with discrete CMJ variables, the patterns extracted via principal-components analyses may provide information that is more beneficial for performance coaches and researchers.