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Brynn Adamson, Mina Woo, Toni Liechty, Chung-Yi Chiu, Nic Wyatt, Cailey Cranny, and Laura Rice

Lack of disability awareness of fitness professionals is a well-established barrier to exercise participation among people with disabilities that is likely related to the lack of disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. The purposes of this study were to develop, implement, and evaluate a disability awareness training for group fitness instructors. A 90-min video training and resource manual were developed. We recruited 10 group fitness instructors from one recreation center to participate. Participants completed baseline, posttraining, and 2-month follow-up testing on survey-based outcomes including disability attitudes, confidence in exercise adaptations, and training satisfaction. Participants’ confidence to adapt fitness classes was significantly improved; however, disability attitudes were high in the pretest and not significantly different posttraining. Semistructured interviews were conducted posttraining and revealed three themes: Formal disability training is needed, Managing inclusive class dynamics, and Training suggestions and satisfaction. This training demonstrated a feasible intervention for increasing disability awareness among community-based group fitness instructors.

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Stephen P. Fenemor, Matthew W. Driller, Nicholas D. Gill, Brad Anderson, Julia R. Casadio, Stacy T. Sims, and C. Martyn Beaven

Purpose: Although recommendations for effective heat acclimation (HA) strategies for many circumstances exist, best-practice HA protocols specific to elite female team-sport athletes are yet to be established. Therefore, the authors aimed to investigate the effectiveness and retention of a passive HA protocol integrated in a female Olympic rugby sevens team training program. Methods: Twelve elite female rugby sevens athletes undertook 10 days of passive HA across 2 training weeks. Tympanic temperature (T Tymp), sweat loss, heart rate, and repeated 6-second cycling sprint performance were assessed using a sport-specific heat stress test Pre-HA, after 3 days (Mid-HA), after 10 days (Post-HA), and 15 days post-HA (Decay). Results: Compared with Pre-HA, submaximal T Tymp was lower Mid-HA and Post-HA (both by −0.2 [0.7] °C; d ≥ 0.71), while resting T Tymp was lower Post-HA (by −0.3 [0.2] °C; d = 0.81). There were no differences in T Tymp at Decay compared with Pre-HA, nor were there any differences in heart rate or sweat loss at any time points. Mean peak 6-second power output improved Mid-HA and Post-HA (76 [36] W; 75 [34] W, respectively; d ≥ 0.45) compared with Pre-HA. The observed performance improvement persisted at Decay by 65 (45) W (d = 0.41). Conclusions: Ten days of passive HA can elicit some thermoregulatory and performance benefits when integrated into a training program in elite female team-sport athletes. However, such a protocol does not provide a sufficient thermal impulse for thermoregulatory adaptations to be retained after 15 days with no further heat stimulus.

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Kobe M. Vermeire, Kevin Caen, Jan G. Bourgois, and Jan Boone

Purpose: To examine the differences in training load (TL) metrics when quantifying training sessions differing in intensity and duration. The relationship between the TL metrics and the acute performance decrement measured immediately after the sessions was also assessed. Methods: Eleven male recreational cyclists performed 4 training sessions in a random order, immediately followed by a 3-km time trial (TT). Before this period, participants performed the time TT in order to obtain a baseline performance. The difference in the average power output for the TTs following the training sessions was then expressed relative to the best baseline performance. The training sessions were quantified using 7 different TL metrics, 4 using heart rate as input, 2 using power output, and 1 using the rating of perceived exertion. Results: The load of the sessions was estimated differently depending on the TL metrics used. Also, within the metrics using the same input (heart rate and power), differences were found. TL using the rating of perceived exertion was the only metric showing a response that was consistent with the acute performance decrements found for the different training sessions. The Training Stress Score and the individualized training impulse demonstrated similar patterns but overexpressed the intensity of the training sessions. The total work done resulted in an overrepresentation of the duration of training. Conclusion: TL metrics provide dissimilar results as to which training sessions have higher loads. The load based on TL using the rating of perceived exertion was the only one in line with the acute performance decrements found in this study.

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Ewan Clements, Fabian Ehrmann, Andrew Clark, Mark Jones, Alan McCall, and Rob Duffield

Purpose: This study investigated the association between (1) time zone difference and (2) travel direction (east vs west) with posttravel changes in perceptual responses of national-team footballers. Methods: Travel schedules from 355 national-team trips (50 elite soccer players) were verified using an online flight database. All players provided perceptual ratings of fatigue, sleep quality, soreness, and stress to calculate changes in scores up to 2 days after travel. Trips were categorized as <3, 3 to 6, 6 to 9, or 9+ time zone changes, along with travel direction (eastward or westward). The pretravel to posttravel changes in perceptual ratings at days 1 and 2 postarrival were compared between time zone change and travel direction with linear mixed models. Results: For every time zone crossed, poorer ratings of perceptual fatigue (β = 0.068, P < .001), sleep (β = 0.095, P < .001), soreness (β = 0.0049, P < .001), and total wellness (β = 0.214, P < .001) were observed. However, the models explained only small proportions of the variation in postflight perceptual responses (7%–18%). Regardless, travel across 9+ time zones resulted in significantly worse perceived fatigue, sleep, and total wellness for days 1 and 2 postarrival compared with travel with <6 time zones (P < .05). Additionally, fatigue, sleep, and total scores were worse on day 2 following trips of 9+ time zones. Eastward travel resulted in poorer sleep ratings (β = 0.52, P < .001) than westward travel within time zone groupings. Conclusions: Perceptual ratings of fatigue and sleep become progressively worse as travel increases in national-team soccer players, especially after travel across 9+ time zones and eastward travel.

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Iñigo Mujika, Nicolas Bourdillon, Rafa González De Txabarri, and Gregoire P. Millet

Purpose: Oxygen uptake kinetics (VO2kinetics) is a measure of an athlete’s capacity to respond to variations in energy demands. Faster VO2kinetics is associated with better performance in endurance sports, but optimal training methods to improve VO2kinetics remain unclear. This study compared the effects of 2 high-intensity interval-training (HIIT) programs on traditional rowing performance and VO2kinetics. Methods: Twelve highly trained rowers performed one of two 6-week HIIT protocols: either 3-minute repetitions at 90% (HIIT90; n = 5) of peak aerobic power (PAP) or 90-second repetitions at 100% (HIIT100; n = 7) of PAP. Before (PRE) and after (POST) the training intervention, they performed an incremental test to exhaustion to determine the individual lactate threshold, onset of blood lactate accumulation and PAP, and two 6-minute rest-to-exercise transitions to determine VO2kinetics. Results: No significant changes (P > .05) were observed for rowing ergometer power output at individual lactate threshold (HIIT90 PRE 255 [12], POST 264 [13]; HIIT100 247 [24], 266 [28] W), onset of blood lactate accumulation (279 [12], 291 [16]; 269 [23], 284 [32] W), or PAP (359 [13], 381 [15]; 351 [21], 363 [29] W) or for any parameters of VO2kinetics. No differences were observed between HIIT interventions. Conclusion: The HIIT interventions did not induce significant performance or VO2kinetics improvements, although mean power output at individual lactate threshold, onset of blood lactate accumulation, and PAP increased by 5.7%, 5.0%, and 4.5%, respectively. This suggests that the exact intensity and duration of HIIT sessions performed in the same intensity domain may be of lesser importance than other well-established influential factors (eg, training volume progression, training intensity distribution, altitude training) to develop aerobic qualities in endurance athletes.

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Fábio Y. Nakamura, Júlio A. Costa, Bruno Travassos, Daniel Ortuño, and José Pino-Ortega

Purpose: To investigate the internal training loads of a professional Spanish female futsal team throughout 26 weeks of training including preseason and in-season weeks and verify the impact of training period and/or training load magnitudes on heart-rate variability responses. Furthermore, we aimed to assess, intraindividually, the relationship between training load and the coefficient of variation (CV) of weekly natural log of the root mean square difference of successive normal interbeat (RR) intervals (lnRMSSDCV), obtained from ∼5 measures per week, and recorded in the seated position. Methods: A within-subject design involved 12 high-level outfield female futsal players (mean [SD] age: 23.9 [3.4] y). Results: lnRMSSD was significantly lower and lnRMSSDCV was significantly higher during the preseason (weeks 1–6) compared to in-season (weeks 7–26) (P < .001). Individually, players presented moderate to large negative correlations between lnRMSSDCV and lnRMSSD during the 26 weeks of observation. Correlations ranged between r player4 = −.41 (95% CI, −.69 to −.02) and r player12 = −.55 (−.78 to −.18). Players also presented moderate to very large positive correlations between lnRMSSDCV and session rating of perceived exertion. Correlations ranged between r player7 = .41 (.04 to .71) and r player1 = .71 (.45 to .86). Conclusion: Professional female futsal players in this study presented increased lnRMSSD and reduced lnRMSSDCV during 20 weeks into the competitive season compared to 6 weeks of preseason. Furthermore, lnRMSSDCV was negatively associated with lnRMSSD on an intraindividual basis. Finally, higher internal training loads were positively correlated with lnRMSSDCV, indicating that heart-rate variability is responsive to weekly training loads.

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Marcia L. Jerram, Dane Baker, Tiaki B. Smith, Phil Healey, Lee Taylor, and Katherine Black

Purpose: Menthol mouth swills can improve endurance performance in the heat, which is attributed to attenuations in nonthermally derived thermal sensation (TS) and perception of effort. However, research in elite team-sport athletes is absent. Therefore, this study investigated the performance and TS responses to a 0.1% menthol mouth rinse (MR) or placebo (PLA) among elite male rugby union players. Method: Twenty-seven (15 Forwards and 12 Backs) elite male Super Rugby players completed two 3-minute 15-a-side rugby-specific conditioning blocks, with MR or PLA provided at the start of training (baseline), at the start of each 3-minute block (swill 1 [S1] and swill 2 [S2]), and at the end of training (swill 3 [S3]). TS was assessed using the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers 9-point Analog Sensation Scale after each swill and at baseline (preconditioning block). Acceptability was measured after baseline swill and S3 using a 5-question Likert scale. Physical performance was measured throughout training using global positioning system metrics. Results: MR attenuated TS from baseline to S1 (P = .003, SD = 1.01) and S2 (P = .002, SD = 1.09) in Forwards only, compared with PLA. Acceptability was higher only for Forwards in MR versus PLA at baseline (P = .003, SD = 1.3) and S3 (P = .004, SD = 0.75). MR had no effect on physical performance metrics (P > .05). Conclusion: MR attenuated the rise in TS with higher acceptability at S1 and S3 (in Forwards only) with no effect on selected physical performance metrics. Longer-duration exercise (eg, a match) in hot–humid conditions eliciting markedly increased body temperatures could theoretically allow favorable changes in TS to enhance performance—these postulations warrant experimental investigation.

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David J. Scott, Massimiliano Ditroilo, Samuel T. Orange, and Phil Marshall

Purpose: To compare the effects of variable-resistance complex training (VRCT) versus traditional complex training (TCT) on strength, power, speed, and leg stiffness (Kleg) in rugby league players during a 6-week mesocycle. Methods: Twenty-four rugby league players competing in the British University and Colleges Sport Premier North Division were randomized to VRCT (n = 8), TCT (n = 8), or control (CON; n = 8). Experimental groups completed a 6-week lower-body complex training intervention (2×/wk) that involved alternating high-load resistance exercise with plyometric exercise within the same session. The VRCT group performed resistance exercises at 70% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM) + 0% to 23% of 1RM from band resistance with a 90-second intracontrast rest interval, whereas the TCT group performed resistance exercise at 93% of 1RM with a 4-minute intracontrast rest interval. Back-squat 1RM, countermovement jump peak power, reactive strength index, sprint times, and Kleg were assessed pretraining and posttraining. Results: VRCT and TCT significantly improved 1RM back squat, countermovement jump peak power, and 5-m sprint time (all P < .05). VRCT also improved Kleg, whereas TCT improved 10- and 20-m sprint times (all P < .05). Between groups, both VRCT and TCT improved 1RM back squat compared with CON (both P < .001). Additionally, VRCT improved Kleg compared with CON (right leg: P = .016) and TCT improved 20-m sprint time compared with CON (P = .042). Conclusions: VRCT and TCT can be implemented during the competitive season to improve strength, power, and 5-m sprint time. VRCT may lead to greater improvements in reactive strength index and Kleg, whereas TCT may enhance 10- and 20-m sprint times.

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Sophie Grimson, Gary Brickley, Nicholas J. Smeeton, Adam Brett, and Will Abbott

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between training load and subjective wellness in English Premier League goalkeepers (GKs) and examine potential positional differences in subjective wellness. Methods: A total of 34 players (GK = 7, outfield = 27) completed a daily subjective wellness questionnaire assessing sleep quality, sleep hours, fatigue, mood, soreness, and total wellness over two and a half seasons. Ten-Hertz GPS devices were worn during training to calculate previous-day and 7-day total distance, player load, total dives, total dive load, average time to feet, and high, medium, and low jumps. Results: All previous 7-day training loads were associated with all wellness markers (r = .073 to .278, P < .05). However, associations between previous 7-day dive load and mood, average time to feet, and both sleep quality and quantity, and between low jumps and sleep quality, were not significant. For previous-day metrics, total distance was associated with all wellness markers (r = .097 to .165, P < .05). In addition, player load and high jump were associated with fatigue, soreness, and wellness (r = .096 to .189, P < .05). Total dives and soreness were also related (r = .098, P < .05), and relationships were evident between average time to feet, medium jumps, and all wellness markers excluding sleep quality (r = .114 to .185, P < .05). No positional differences in subjective wellness occurred (P > .05). Conclusion: Some GK GPS variables are associated with subjective wellness, which could inform training-load prescription to maximize recovery and performance. In addition, GKs are no more vulnerable to poorer subjective wellness when compared with outfield players.