Objectives: The purpose of this study was to document the longitudinal strength and power characteristic changes and race performance changes of a skeleton athlete. Method: Longitudinal strength and power changes were assessed with strength and power diagnostic testing over a 9-year period. Trends over 9 years for relative strength were analyzed using a linear model. Push-start time was recorded across multiple tracks. Trends over 9 years for start performance at each track were assessed using a mixed-effects linear model to account for the impact of different tracks. Lower-body strength and power changes were assessed via a 1-repetition-maximum squat and a body-weight countermovement jump. The relationship between strength and power changes was assessed over time. The relationship between strength changes and start performance was determined by assessing the fixed effect of relative strength changes on push-start time. Results: Relative lower-body strength ranged from 1.6 kg per body weight to 1.9 kg per body weight and showed a significant mean improvement of 0.05 kg per body weight per year (R 2 = .71, P < .01). A negative correlation (R 2 = .79) between relative strength changes and push-start performance across multiple tracks was found. The mixed-effects model indicated that push-start time improved significantly year to year (0.02 s; P < .001; R 2 = .74) when controlling for the effect of track. Conclusions: The longitudinal analysis of push-start time and the associations with changes in strength suggest that training this quality can have a positive effect on push-start performance.
Tim J. Mosey and Lachlan J.G. Mitchell
Even Brøndbo Dahl, Eivind Øygard, Gøran Paulsen, Bjarne Rud, and Thomas Losnegard
Purpose: Preconditioning exercise is a widely used strategy believed to enhance performance later the same day. The authors examined the influence of preconditioning exercises 6 hours prior to a time-to-exhaustion (TTE) test during treadmill running. Methods: Ten male competitive runners (age = 26  y, height = 184  cm, weight = 73  kg, maximum oxygen consumption = 72  mL·kg−1·min−1) did a preconditioning session of running (RUN) or resistance exercise (RES) or no morning exercise (NoEx) in a randomized order, separated by >72 hours. The RUN consisted of 15 minutes of low-intensity running and 4 × 15 seconds at race pace (21–24 km·h−1) on a treadmill; RES involved 5 minutes of low-intensity running and 2 × 3 repetitions of isokinetic 1-leg shallow squats with maximal mobilization. Following a 6-hour break, electrically evoked force (m. vastus medialis), countermovement jump, running economy, and a TTE of approximately 2 minutes were examined. Results: Relative to NoEx, no difference was seen for RUN or RES in TTE (mean ± 95% CI: −1.3% ± 3.4% and −0.5% ± 6.0%) or running economy (0.2% ± 1.6% and 1.9% ± 2.7%; all Ps > .05). Jump height was not different for the RUN condition (1.0% ± 2.7%]) but tended to be higher in RES than in the NoEx condition (1.5% ± 1.6%, P = .07). The electrically evoked force tended to reveal low-frequency fatigue (reduced 20:50-Hz peak force ratio) only after RES compared to NoEx (−4.5% ± 4.6%, P = .06). Conclusion: The RUN or RES 6 hours prior to approximately 2 minutes of TTE running test did not improve performance in competitive runners.
Kolbjørn Lindberg, Ingrid Eythorsdottir, Paul Solberg, Øyvind Gløersen, Olivier Seynnes, Thomas Bjørnsen, and Gøran Paulsen
Purpose: The aim of this study was to examine the concurrent validity of force–velocity (FV) variables assessed across 5 Keiser leg press devices. Methods: A linear encoder and 2 independent force plates (MuscleLab devices) were mounted on each of the 5 leg press devices. A total of 997 leg press executions, covering a wide range of forces and velocities, were performed by 14 participants (29  y, 181  cm, 82  kg) across the 5 devices. Average and peak force, velocity, and power values were collected simultaneously from the Keiser and MuscleLab devices for each repetition. Individual FV profiles were fitted to each participant from peak and average force and velocity measurements. Theoretical maximal force, velocity, and power were deduced from the FV relationship. Results: Average and peak force and velocity had a coefficient of variation of 1.5% to 8.6%, near-perfect correlations (.994–.999), and a systematic bias of 0.7% to 7.1% when compared with reference measurements. Average and peak power showed larger coefficient of variations (11.6% and 17.2%), despite excellent correlations (.977 and .952), and trivial to small biases (3.9% and 8.4%). Extrapolated FV variables showed near-perfect correlations (.983–.997) with trivial to small biases (1.4%–11.2%) and a coefficient of variation of 1.4% to 5.9%. Conclusions: The Keiser leg press device can obtain valid measurements over a wide range of forces and velocities across different devices. To accurately measure power, theoretical maximal power calculated from the FV profile is recommended over average and peak power values from single repetitions, due to the lower random error observed for theoretical maximal power.
Mark J. Kilgallon, Michael J. Johnston, Liam P. Kilduff, and Mark L. Watsford
Purpose: To compare resistance training using a velocity loss threshold with training to repetition failure on upper-body strength parameters in professional Australian footballers. Methods: A total of 26 professional Australian footballers (23.9 [4.2] y, 189.9 [7.8] cm, 88.2 [8.8] kg) tested 1-repetition-maximum strength (FPmax) and mean barbell velocity at 85% of 1-repetition maximum on floor press (FPvel). They were then assigned to 2 training groups: 20% velocity loss threshold training (VL; n = 12, maximum-effort lift velocity) or training to repetition failure (TF; n = 14, self-selected lift velocity). Subjects trained twice per week for 3 weeks before being reassessed on FPmax and FPvel. Training volume (total repetitions) was recorded for all training sessions. No differences were present between groups on any pretraining measure. Results: The TF group significantly improved FPmax (105.2–110.9 kg, +5.4%), while the VL group did not (107.5–109.2 kg, +1.6%) (P > .05). Both groups significantly increased FPvel (0.38–0.46 m·s−1, +19.1% and 0.37–0.42 m·s−1, +16.7%, respectively) with no between-groups differences evident (P > .05). The TF group performed significantly more training volume (12.2 vs 6.8 repetitions per session, P > .05). Conclusions: Training to repetition failure improved FPmax, while training using a velocity loss threshold of 20% did not. Both groups demonstrated similar improvements in FPvel despite the VL group completing 45% less total training volume than the TF group. The reduction in training volume associated with implementing a 20% velocity loss threshold may negatively impact the development of upper-body maximum strength while still enhancing submaximal movement velocity.
Alice Wallett, Julien D. Périard, Philo Saunders, and Andrew McKune
Along with digestion and absorption of nutrients, the gastrointestinal epithelium acts as a primary intestinal defense layer, preventing luminal pathogens from entering the circulation. During exercise in the heat, epithelial integrity can become compromised, allowing bacteria and bacterial endotoxins to translocate into circulation, triggering a systemic inflammatory response and exacerbating gastrointestinal damage. While this relationship seems clear in the general population in endurance/ultraendurance exercise, the aim of this systematic review was to evaluate the effect of exercise in the heat on blood markers of gastrointestinal epithelial disturbance in well-trained individuals. Following the 2009 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviewed and Meta-Analyses guidelines, five electronic databases were searched for appropriate research, and 1,885 studies were identified. Five studies met the inclusion criteria and were subject to full methodological appraisal by two reviewers. Critical appraisal of the studies was conducted using the McMasters Critical Review Form. The studies investigated changes in markers of gastrointestinal damage (intestinal fatty acid–binding protein, endotoxin, and/or lipopolysaccharide-binding protein) following acute exercise in warm to hot conditions (≥ 30 °C) and included trained or well-trained participants with direct comparisons to a control temperate condition (≤ 22 °C). The studies found that prolonged submaximal and strenuous exercise in hot environmental conditions can acutely increase epithelial disturbance compared with exercise in cooler conditions, with disturbances not being clinically relevant. However, trained and well-trained populations appear to tolerate exercise-induced gastrointestinal disturbance in the heat. Whether this is an acquired tolerance related to regular training remains to be investigated.
Andrew A. Flatt, Jeff R. Allen, Clay M. Keith, Matthew W. Martinez, and Michael R. Esco
Purpose: To track cardiac-autonomic functioning, indexed by heart-rate variability, in American college football players throughout a competitive period. Methods: Resting heart rate (RHR) and the natural logarithm root mean square of successive differences (LnRMSSD) were obtained throughout preseason and ∼3 times weekly leading up to the national championship among 8 linemen and 12 nonlinemen. Seated 1-minute recordings were performed via mobile device and standardized for time of day and proximity to training. Results: Relative to preseason, linemen exhibited suppressed LnRMSSD during camp-style preparation for the playoffs (P = .041, effect size [ES] = −1.01), the week of the national semifinal (P < .001, ES = −1.27), and the week of the national championship (P = .005, ES = −1.16). As a combined group, increases in RHR (P < .001) were observed at the same time points (nonlinemen ES = 0.48–0.59, linemen ES = 1.03–1.10). For all linemen, RHR trended upward (positive slopes, R 2 = .02–.77) while LnRMSSD trended downward (negative slopes, R 2 = .02–.62) throughout the season. Preseason to postseason changes in RHR (r = .50, P = .025) and LnRMSSD (r = −.68, P < .001) were associated with body mass. Conclusions: Heart-rate variability tracking revealed progressive autonomic imbalance in the lineman position group, with individual players showing suppressed values by midseason. Attenuated parasympathetic activation is a hallmark of impaired recovery and may contribute to cardiovascular maladaptations reported to occur in linemen following a competitive season. Thus, a descending pattern may serve as an easily identifiable red flag requiring attention from performance and medical staff.
Naroa Etxebarria, Nicole A. Beard, Maree Gleeson, Alice Wallett, Warren A. McDonald, Kate L. Pumpa, and David B. Pyne
Gastrointestinal disturbances are one of the most common issues for endurance athletes during training and competition in the heat. The relationship between typical dietary intake or nutritional interventions and perturbations in or maintenance of gut integrity is unclear. Twelve well-trained male endurance athletes (peak oxygen consumption = 61.4 ± 7.0 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed two trials in a randomized order in 35 °C (heat) and 21 °C (thermoneutral) conditions and kept a detailed nutritional diary for eight consecutive days between the two trials. The treadmill running trials consisted of 15 min at 60% peak oxygen consumption, 15 min at 75% peak oxygen consumption, followed by 8 × 1-min high-intensity efforts. Venous blood samples were taken at the baseline, at the end of each of the three exercise stages, and 1 hr postexercise to measure gut integrity and the permeability biomarker concentration for intestinal fatty-acid-binding protein, lipopolysaccharide, and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein. The runners self-reported gut symptoms 1 hr postexercise and 3 days postexercise. The heat condition induced large (45–370%) increases in intestinal fatty-acid-binding protein, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein, and lipopolysaccharide concentrations compared with the baseline, but induced mild gastrointestinal symptoms. Carbohydrate and polyunsaturated fat intake 24 hr preexercise were associated with less lipopolysaccharide translocation. Protein, carbohydrate, total fat, and polyunsaturated fat intake (8 days) were positively associated with the percentage increase of intestinal fatty-acid-binding protein in both conditions (range of correlations, 95% confidence interval = .62–.93 [.02, .98]). Typical nutrition intake partly explained increases in biomarkers and the attenuation of symptoms induced by moderate- and high-intensity exercise under both heat and thermoneutral conditions.
Nicole C.A. Strock, Kristen J. Koltun, and Emily A. Ricker
Antonis Kesisoglou, Andrea Nicolò, Lucinda Howland, and Louis Passfield
Purpose: To examine the effect of continuous (CON) and intermittent (INT) running training sessions of different durations and intensities on subsequent performance and calculated training load (TL). Methods: Runners (N = 11) performed a 1500-m time trial as a baseline and after completing 4 different running training sessions. The training sessions were performed in a randomized order and were either maximal for 10 minutes (10CON and 10INT) or submaximal for 25 minutes (25CON and 25INT). An acute performance decrement (APD) was calculated as the percentage change in 1500-m time-trial speed measured after training compared with baseline. The pattern of APD response was compared with that for several TL metrics (bTRIMP, eTRIMP, iTRIMP, running training stress score, and session rating of perceived exertion) for the respective training sessions. Results: Average speed (P < .001,
Bjarne Rud, Eivind Øygard, Even B. Dahl, Gøran Paulsen, and Thomas Losnegard
Purpose: We tested whether a single session of heavy-load resistance priming conducted in the morning improved double-poling (DP) performance in the afternoon. Methods: Eight national-level male cross-country skiers (mean [SD]: 23  y, 184  cm, 73  kg, maximum oxygen consumption = 69  mL·kg−1·min−1) carried out 2 days of afternoon performance tests. In the morning, 5 hours before tests, subjects were counterbalanced to either a session of 3 × 3 repetitions (approximately 85%–90% 1-repetition maximum) of squat and sitting pullover exercises or no exercise. The performance was evaluated in DP as time to exhaustion (TTE) (approximately 3 min) on a treadmill and 30-m indoor sprints before and after TTE (30-m DP pre/post). Furthermore, submaximal DP oxygen cost, countermovement jump, and isometric knee-extension force during electrical stimulation were conducted. Participants reported perceived readiness on test days. Results: Resistance exercise session versus no exercise did not differ for TTE (approximately 3 min above) (mean ± 95% confidence interval = 3.6% ± 6.0%; P = .29; effect size [ES], Cohen d = 0.27), 30-m DP pre (−0.56% ± 0.80%; P = .21; ES = 0.20), 30-m DP post (−0.18% ± 1.13%; P = .76; ES = 0.03), countermovement jump (−2.0% ± 2.8%; P = .21; ES = 0.12), DP oxygen cost (−0.13% ± 2.04%; P = .91; ES = 0.02), or perceived readiness (P ≥ .11). Electrical stimulation force was not different in contraction or relaxation time but revealed low-frequency fatigue in the afternoon for the resistance exercise session only (−12% [7%]; P = .01; ES = 1.3). Conclusion: A single session of heavy-load, low-volume resistance exercise in the morning did not increase afternoon DP performance of short duration in high-level skiers. However, leg low-frequency fatigue after resistance priming, together with the presence of small positive effects in 2 out of 3 DP tests, may indicate that the preconditioning was too strenuous.