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Volume 19 (2024): Issue 6 (Jun 2024)

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The Autoregulation Rest-Redistribution Training Method Mitigates Sex Differences in Neuromuscular and Perceived Fatigue During Resistance Training

Antonio Dello Iacono, Kevin Watson, and Ivan Jukic

Purpose: To examine the sex differences in performance and perceived fatigue during resistance training prescribed using traditional (TRA) and autoregulation rest-redistribution training (ARRT) approaches. Methods: Twelve resistance-trained men and 12 women completed 2 sessions including the bench-press exercise matched for load (75% of 1-repetition maximum), volume (24 repetitions), and total rest (240 s). Sessions were performed in a counterbalanced randomized design with TRA consisting of 3 sets of 8 repetitions with 120-second interset rest and ARRT employing a personalized combination of clusters, repetitions per cluster, and between-clusters rest regulated with a 20% velocity-loss threshold. The effects of TRA and ARRT on velocity loss, unilateral isometric peak force, and rating of fatigue (ROF) were compared between sexes. Results: The velocity loss was generally lower during ARRT compared with TRA (−0.47% [0.11%]), with velocity loss being mitigated by ARRT to a greater extent among males compared with females (−0.37% [0.15%]). A smaller unilateral isometric peak force decline was observed after ARRT than TRA among males compared with females (−38.4 [8.4] N). Lower ROF after ARRT than TRA was found among males compared to females (−1.97 [0.55] AU). Additionally, males reported greater ROF than females across both conditions (1.92 [0.53] AU), and ARRT resulted in lower ROF than TRA overall (−0.83 [0.39] AU). Conclusions: The ARRT approach resulted in decreased velocity loss, peak force impairment, and ROF compared with TRA in both sexes. However, male subjects exhibited more pronounced acute within-session benefits from the ARRT method.

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Subjective and Objective Monitoring Markers: Are They Related to Game Performance Indicators in Elite Female Volleyball Players?

André Rebelo, Diogo V. Martinho, Inês G. Pires, Inês Arrais, Ricardo Lima, João Valente-dos-Santos, and João R. Pereira

Purpose: This cohort study aimed to investigate the relationship between subjective (wellness and internal training load [ITL]) and objective (neuromuscular fatigue) monitoring markers and performance aspects (reception quality [RQ] and attack efficiency [AE]) in professional female volleyball players. Methods: The study was conducted over an 8-week period during the final mesocycle of the competitive phase. A total of 24 training sessions and 10 matches were included in the analysis. Subjective measures of wellness and ITL were assessed, and neuromuscular fatigue was evaluated using countermovement-jump (CMJ) height. RQ and AE were determined based on game statistics. Results: The study found a positive relationship between wellness and RQ, particularly affecting outside hitters and liberos. ITL showed a positive association with AE, primarily impacting outside hitters, opposite hitters, and middle blockers. Additionally, ITL demonstrated a negative correlation with RQ, mainly affecting outside hitters and liberos. CMJ performance was associated with AE, where a decrease in CMJ height was linked to reduced AE. Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of considering players’ wellness scores in training and match strategies for different positions. Careful management of training loads, considering both physical and technical demands, is crucial for optimizing performance outcomes. Monitoring neuromuscular fatigue, as indicated by CMJ performance, is particularly relevant for outside hitters, opposite hitters, and middle blockers involved in attack actions. Coaches, trainers, and sports practitioners can use these insights to develop position-specific training protocols and implement effective strategies for maintaining or improving performance metrics under various stressors.

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Myths and Methodologies: Standardisation in Human Physiology Research—Should We Control the Controllables?

Lucy H. Merrell, Oliver J. Perkin, Louise Bradshaw, Harrison D. Collier-Bain, Adam J. Collins, Sophie Davies, Rachel Eddy, James A. Hickman, Anna P. Nicholas, Daniel Rees, Bruno Spellanzon, Lewis J. James, Alannah K.A. McKay, Harry A. Smith, James E. Turner, Francoise Koumanov, Jennifer Maher, Dylan Thompson, Javier T. Gonzalez, and James A. Betts

The premise of research in human physiology is to explore a multifaceted system whilst identifying one or a few outcomes of interest. Therefore, the control of potentially confounding variables requires careful thought regarding the extent of control and complexity of standardisation. One common factor to control prior to testing is diet, as food and fluid provision may deviate from participants’ habitual diets, yet a self-report and replication method can be flawed by under-reporting. Researchers may also need to consider standardisation of physical activity, whether it be through familiarisation trials, wash-out periods, or guidance on levels of physical activity to be achieved before trials. In terms of pharmacological agents, the ethical implications of standardisation require researchers to carefully consider how medications, caffeine consumption and oral contraceptive prescriptions may affect the study. For research in females, it should be considered whether standardisation between- or within-participants in regards to menstrual cycle phase is most relevant. The timing of measurements relative to various other daily events is relevant to all physiological research and so it can be important to standardise when measurements are made. This review summarises the areas of standardisation which we hope will be considered useful to anyone involved in human physiology research, including when and how one can apply standardisation to various contexts.

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Cadence Paradox in Cycling—Part 2: Theory and Simulation of Maximal Lactate Steady State and Carbohydrate Utilization Dependent on Cycling Cadence

Ralph Beneke and Renate M. Leithäuser

Purpose: To develop and evaluate a theory on the frequent observation that cyclists prefer cadences (RPMs) higher than those considered most economical at submaximal exercise intensities via modeling and simulation of its mathematical description. Methods: The theory combines the parabolic power-to-velocity (v) relationship, where v is defined by crank length, RPM-dependent ankle velocity, and gear ratio, RPM effects on the maximal lactate steady state (MLSS), and lactate-dependent carbohydrate oxidation (CHO). It was tested against recent experimental results of 12 healthy male recreational cyclists determining the v-dependent peak oxygen uptake (VO 2PEAKv ), MLSS (MLSS v ), corresponding power output (P MLSSv ), oxygen uptake at P MLSSv (VO 2MLSSv ), and CHO MLSSv -management at 100 versus 50 per minute, respectively. Maximum RPM (RPM MAX ) attained at minimized pedal torque was measured. RPM-specific maximum sprint power output (P MAXv ) was estimated at RPMs of 100 and 50, respectively. Results: Modeling identified that MLSS v and P MLSSv related to P MAXv (IP MLSSv ) promote CHO and that VO 2MLSSv related to VO 2PEAKv inhibits CHO. It shows that cycling at higher RPM reduces IP MLSSv . It suggests that high cycling RPMs minimize differences in the reliance on CHO at MLSS v between athletes with high versus low RPM MAX . Conclusions : The present theory-guided modeling approach is exclusively based on data routinely measured in high-performance testing. It implies a higher performance reserve above IP MLSSv at higher RPM. Cyclists may prefer high cycling RPMs because they appear to minimize differences in the reliance on CHO at MLSS v between athletes with high versus low RPM MAX .

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Effect of 6-Week Sprint Training on Long-Distance Running Performance in Highly Trained Runners

Ryosuke Ando, Chihiro Kojima, Saya Okamoto, Nobukazu Kasai, Daichi Sumi, Kenji Takao, Kazushige Goto, and Yasuhiro Suzuki

Purpose : Long-distance running performance has been reported to be associated with sprint performance in highly trained distance runners. Therefore, we hypothesized that sprint training could enhance distance running and sprint performance in long-distance runners. This study examined the effect of 6-week sprint training on long-distance running and sprint performance in highly trained distance runners. Methods : Nineteen college runners were divided into control (n = 8) and training (n = 11) groups. Participants in the training group performed 12 sprint training sessions in 6 weeks, while those in the control group performed 12 distance training sessions. Before and after the interventions, maximal oxygen uptake ( V ˙ O 2 max ), O2 cost during submaximal running (290 m·min−1 and 310 m·min−1 of running velocity), and time to exhaustion (starting at 290 m·min–1 and increased 10 m·min–1 every minute) were assessed on a treadmill. Additionally, the 100-m and 400-m sprinting times and 3000-m running time were determined on an all-weather track. Results : In the control group, no measurements significantly changed after the intervention. In the training group, the time to exhaustion, 100-m and 400-m sprinting times, and 3000-m running time improved significantly, while V ˙ O 2 max and O2 cost did not change. Conclusions : These results showed that 6-week sprint training improved both sprint and long-distance running performance in highly trained distance runners without a change in aerobic capacity. Improvement in the time to exhaustion without a change in V ˙ O 2 max suggests that the enhancement of long-distance running performance could be attributable to improved anaerobic capacity.

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Habitual Nocturnal Sleep, Napping Behavior, and Recovery Following Training and Competition in Elite Water Polo: Sex-Related Effects

Nickos G. Koutouvakis, Nickos D. Geladas, Athanasios Mouratidis, Argyris G. Toubekis, and Petros G. Botonis

Purpose: To examine nocturnal sleep patterns, napping behaviors, and subjective wellness responses of elite water polo players within an in-season week and to identify whether sleeping patterns differ between men and women. Methods: Sleep characteristics of 10 male and 17 female professional water polo players were objectively assessed during 1 week of the in-season period, including 5 training days, 1 match day, and 1 day of rest. Internal load (rating of perceived exertion × duration of training or match) was assessed 30 minutes posttraining or postmatch, and the total quality of recovery was recorded every morning. A series of multilevel models were used to analyze the data. Results: Time in bed and wake-up time were earlier on both training (P < .001) and rest days (P < .001) than on the day of the match. Internal workload did not predict any of the players’ sleeping patterns. Midday naps predicted less time in bed (P = .03) and likely less sleep time (P = .08). The total quality of recovery was predicted only by the total sleep time (P < .01). Women exhibited higher sleep efficiency (P < .001), less waking after sleep onset (P = .01), and a lower number of awakenings (P = .02) than men. Conclusions: The current results indicate that the nocturnal sleep patterns of elite water polo players are not associated with internal load and that women display better nocturnal sleep quality compared with men. As long naps interfere with nocturnal sleep, and total nocturnal sleep time predicts total quality of recovery, we suggest that athletes follow hygiene sleep strategies to facilitate adequate nocturnal sleep and next-day recovery.

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Monitoring Within-Individual Dose–Response Relationships in Professional Soccer Players: The Importance of Fitness Level

Alireza Rabbani, Giorgios Ermidis, Filipe Manuel Clemente, and Liam Anderson

Purpose: To (1) examine within-individual player dose–response associations between selected training-load measures and changes in aerobic fitness level via submaximal exercise heart rate (HRex%) and (2) measure the relationships between these dose–response associations with basal HRex% (to study the influence of fitness level on dose–response relationship). Methods: During an in-season phase, selected training-load measures including total minutes, total distance, mechanical work (the sum number of accelerations and decelerations > 3 m2), high metabolic load distance, and Edwards’ training impulse were collected via Global Positioning System and heart-rate sensors for analyzing accumulated load. A submaximal warm-up test was used repeatedly before and after 9 phases to elicit HRex% and track fitness changes at an individual level. Results: Negative to positive extensive ranges of within-individual associations were found among players for different metrics (r = −.84 to .89). The relationship between pooled HRex% (basal fitness) and dose–response correlations showed inverse very large (r = −.71) and large (r = −.65) values for accumulated weekly minutes and distance. However, moderate values were found for all other measures (r = −.35 to −.42). Conclusions: Individual players show extensive different ranges of dose–response associations with training measures. The dose–response association is influenced by players’ fitness level, and players with lower fitness levels show stronger inverse relationships with accumulated minutes and total distance.

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Swim, Strength, or Combined Programs: Effect on Health-Related Physical Fitness in Adolescents With Down Syndrome

Borja Suarez-Villadat, Kabir Sadarangani, Rui Manuel Corredeira, Mario Veiga, and Ariel Villagra

The adolescent population with Down syndrome (DS) appears to show higher levels of body fat and lower levels of cardiorespiratory fitness or muscle strength than their peers without disabilities. There is a need to create physical activity programs to improve these data. The aim of this research was to determine the effects of a 16-week swimming program, strength program, and combined program (swimming and strength training) on body composition and health-related physical fitness on adolescents with DS and to assess whether there are differences in the results of the different training programs. Forty-five adolescents (17 female and 28 male; average age 15.5 [1.53] years) with DS were recruited and randomized to three groups (swim [n = 15], strength [n = 15], and combined [n = 15]). Results showed that the swim group had significant improvements in all health-related physical fitness variables and there was an improvement in some body-composition variables (p < .05). The strength and combined groups obtained minor improvements in the variables analyzed. In summary, a 16-week swim program consisting of three sessions of 60 min is able to improve levels of body composition and health-related physical fitness in adolescents with DS. The swim training program seems to be more effective in improving body composition and health-related physical fitness than the strength or combined program. These findings could be useful in different special-education centers due to the predisposition shown by the population with DS to this sport modality.

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Predicting Injuries in Elite Female Football Players With Global-Positioning-System and Multiomics Data

Juan R. González, Alejandro Cáceres, Eva Ferrer, Laura Balagué-Dobón, Xavier Escribà-Montagut, David Sarrat-González, Guillermo Quintás, and Gil Rodas

Purpose: Injury prevention is a crucial aspect of sports, particularly in high-performance settings such as elite female football. This study aimed to develop an injury prediction model that incorporates clinical, Global-Positioning-System (GPS), and multiomics (genomics and metabolomics) data to better understand the factors associated with injury in elite female football players. Methods: We designed a prospective cohort study over 2 seasons (2019–20 and 2021–22) of noncontact injuries in 24 elite female players in the Spanish Premiership competition. We used GPS data to determine external workload, genomic data to capture genetic susceptibility, and metabolomic data to measure internal workload. Results: Forty noncontact injuries were recorded, the most frequent of which were muscle (63%) and ligament (20%) injuries. The baseline risk model included fat mass and the random effect of the player. Six genetic polymorphisms located at the DCN, ADAMTS5, ESRRB, VEGFA, and MMP1 genes were associated with injuries after adjusting for player load (P < .05). The genetic score created with these 6 variants determined groups of players with different profile risks (P = 3.1 × 10−4). Three metabolites (alanine, serotonin, and 5-hydroxy-tryptophan) correlated with injuries. The model comprising baseline variables, genetic score, and player load showed the best prediction capacity (C-index: .74). Conclusions: Our model could allow efficient, personalized interventions based on an athlete’s vulnerability. However, we emphasize the necessity for further research in female athletes with an emphasis on validation studies involving other teams and individuals. By expanding the scope of our research and incorporating diverse populations, we can bolster the generalizability and robustness of our proposed model.