Background: World Rowing’s decision to support the proposed change from a 2000-m to a 1500-m regatta course at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles is anticipated to have important implications for athlete preparation and race execution during the 2024–2028 quadrennium. Purpose: This commentary aims to provide insight into the expected implications of the reduction in course length heading into the 2028 Games, focusing on the training and monitoring of high-performance rowers, as well as tactical, technical, and pacing considerations for performance. The reduction in event duration (estimated to be ∼90–120 s across all event classes) will lead to an expected ∼5% to 15% increase in relative contribution of anaerobic metabolism. Consequently, adjustment in training periodization priorities toward higher-intensity interventions may be required, especially in the period immediately prior to the games. The critical-power and anaerobic-power-reserve concepts may become more useful tools for structuring exercise programs, evaluating training outcomes, and determining event suitability through individual physiological profiling. Additionally, the adoption of a more constant (flat) pacing strategy, rather than the commonly used reverse J-shaped approach, might be considered for racing over this new distance. Finally, technical aspects, such as stroke rate and gearing, may require adjustment for optimal performance; however, research is clearly required to explore such effects. Conclusions: Our intention is to stimulate discussion and debate, with the provision of practical recommendations that aim to optimize rowers’ preparation for and performance at the 2028 Olympic Games.
Daniel J. Astridge, Peter Peeling, Paul S.R. Goods, Olivier Girard, Jamie Hewlett, Anthony J. Rice, and Martyn J. Binnie
Pierre Samozino, Jean Romain Rivière, Pedro Jimenez-Reyes, Matt R. Cross, and Jean-Benoît Morin
When poor reliability of “output” variables is reported, it can be difficult to discern whether blame lies with the measurement (ie, the inputs) or the overarching concept. This commentary addresses this issue, using the force-velocity-power (FvP) profile in jumping to illustrate the interplay between concept, method, and measurement reliability. While FvP testing has risen in popularity and accessibility, some studies have challenged the reliability and subsequent utility of the concept itself without clearly considering the potential for imprecise procedures to impact reliability measures. To this end, simulations based on virtual athletes confirmed that push-off distance and jump-height variability should be <4% to 5% to guarantee well-fitted force–velocity relationships and acceptable typical error (<10%) in FvP outputs, which was in line with previous experimental findings. Thus, while arguably acceptable in isolation, the 5% to 10% variability in push-off distance or jump height reported in the critiquing studies suggests that their methods were not reliable enough (lack of familiarization, inaccurate procedures, or submaximal efforts) to infer underpinning force-production capacities. Instead of challenging only the concept of FvP relationship testing, an alternative conclusion should have considered the context in which the results were observed: If procedures’ and/or tasks’ execution is too variable, FvP outputs will be unreliable. As for some other neuromuscular or physiological testing, the FvP relationship, which magnifies measurement errors, is unreliable when the input measurements or testing procedures are inaccurate independently from the method or concept used. Field “simple” methods require the same methodological rigor as “lab” methods to obtain reliable output data.
Matthew Springham, Robert U. Newton, Anthony J. Strudwick, and Mark Waldron
Biomarkers relating to player “stress balance,” immunological (ie, immunoglobulin-A), and hormonal (ie, testosterone and cortisol [T:C]) status are now commonly used in football. This article is our critical review of the scientific literature relating to the response of these measures to player load and their relationships with player health. The commonly reported relationship between immunoglobulin-A and training or match load highlights its sensitivity to changes in psychophysiological stress and the increased risk of compromised mucosal immunity. This is supported by its close relationship with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection and its association with perceived fatigue in football players. Testosterone and cortisol concentrations and the testosterone–cortisol ratio are sensitive to changes in player load, but the direction of their response is often inconsistent and is likely influenced by player training status and non-sport-related stressors. Some evidence indicates that sustained periods of high training volume can increase resting testosterone and that sustained periods of low and high training intensity can increase resting cortisol, compromising the testosterone–cortisol ratio. These findings are noteworthy, as recent findings indicate interrelationships between testosterone, cortisol, and testosterone:cortisol and perceived measures of fatigue, sleep quality, and muscle soreness in football players. Variability in individual responses suggests the need for a multivariate and individualized approach to player monitoring. Overall, we consider that there is sufficient evidence to support the use of salivary immunoglobulin-A, testosterone, cortisol, and testosterone:cortisol measures as part of a multivariate, individualized player monitoring system in professional football.
Stephen S. Cheung
Trine M. Seeberg, Jan Kocbach, Rune Kjøsen Talsnes, Frederic Meyer, Thomas Losnegard, Johannes Tjønnås, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Guro Strøm Solli
Purpose: To investigate the performance effects of video- and sensor-based feedback for implementing a terrain-specific micropacing strategy in cross-country (XC) skiing. Methods: Following a simulated 10-km skating time trial (Race1) on snow, 26 national-level male XC skiers were randomly allocated into an intervention (n = 14) or control group (n = 12), before repeating the race (Race2) 2 days later. Between races, intervention received video- and sensor-based feedback through a theoretical lecture and a practical training session aiming to implement a terrain-specific micropacing strategy focusing on active power production over designated hilltops to save time in the subsequent downhill. The control group only received their overall results and performed a training session with matched training load. Results: From Race1 to Race2, the intervention group increased the total variation of chest acceleration on all hilltops (P < .001) and reduced time compared with the control group in a specifically targeted downhill segment (mean group difference: −0.55 s; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.9 to −0.19 s; P = .003), as well as in overall time spent in downhill (−14.4 s; 95% CI, −21.4 to −7.4 s; P < .001) and flat terrain (−6.5 s; 95% CI, −11.0 to −1.9 s; P = .006). No between-groups differences were found for either overall uphill terrain (−9.3 s; 95% CI, −31.2 to 13.2 s; P = .426) or total race time (−32.2 s; 95% CI, −100.2 to 35.9 s; P = .339). Conclusion: Targeted training combined with video- and sensor-based feedback led to a successful implementation of a terrain-specific micropacing strategy in XC skiing, which reduced the time spent in downhill and flat terrain for intervention compared with a control group. However, no change in overall performance was observed between the 2 groups of XC skiers.
Robert P. Lamberts, Teun van Erp, Dajo Sanders, Karen E. Welman, and Øyvind Sandbakk
José Afonso, Fábio Yuzo Nakamura, Ivan Baptista, Gonçalo Rendeiro-Pinho, João Brito, and Pedro Figueiredo
Purpose: Microdosing of exercise aims to deliver smaller daily training doses but at a higher weekly frequency, adding up to a similar weekly volume as in nonmicrodosed training. This commentary critically discusses this concept, which appears to be a rebranding of the “old” distributed practice of motor learning. Development: We propose that microdosing should relate to the minimal dose that develops or at least maintains the selected capacities or skills as this training dose matters to practitioners, especially during the in-season period. Moreover, microdosing has been applied mainly to develop strength and endurance, but abilities such as sprinting and changing direction could also be microdosed, as well as technical–tactical skills. Conclusions: The concept of microdosing should be reframed to avoid redundancy with the concept of distributed practice while providing valuable information concerning the minimum doses that still generate the intended effects and the thresholds that determine whether a dose is “micro” or not.
Tommy Slater, William J.A. Mode, Mollie G. Pinkney, John Hough, Ruth M. James, Craig Sale, Lewis J. James, and David J. Clayton
Acute morning fasted exercise may create a greater negative 24-hr energy balance than the same exercise performed after a meal, but research exploring fasted evening exercise is limited. This study assessed the effects of 7-hr fasting before evening exercise on energy intake, metabolism, and performance. Sixteen healthy males and females (n = 8 each) completed two randomized, counterbalanced trials. Participants consumed a standardized breakfast (08:30) and lunch (11:30). Two hours before exercise (16:30), participants consumed a meal (543 ± 86 kcal; FED) or remained fasted (FAST). Exercise involved 30-min cycling (∼60% VO2peak) and a 15-min performance test (∼85% VO2peak; 18:30). Ad libitum energy intake was assessed 15 min postexercise. Subjective appetite was measured throughout. Energy intake was 99 ± 162 kcal greater postexercise (p < .05), but 443 ± 128 kcal lower over the day (p < .001) in FAST. Appetite was elevated between the preexercise meal and ad libitum meal in FAST (p < .001), with no further differences (p ≥ .458). Fat oxidation was greater (+3.25 ± 1.99 g), and carbohydrate oxidation was lower (−9.16 ± 5.80 g) during exercise in FAST (p < .001). Exercise performance was 3.8% lower in FAST (153 ± 57 kJ vs. 159 ± 58 kJ, p < .05), with preexercise motivation, energy, readiness, and postexercise enjoyment also lower in FAST (p < .01). Fasted evening exercise reduced net energy intake and increased fat oxidation compared to exercise performed 2 hr after a meal. However, fasting also reduced voluntary performance, motivation, and exercise enjoyment. Future studies are needed to examine the long-term effects of this intervention as a weight management strategy.
Susann Arnell, Kajsa Jerlinder, and Lars-Olov Lundqvist
Background: Participation in physical activity among adolescents with autism is often conditional. However, there is a lack of methods for identifying these specific conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and investigate the feasibility of a Q-sort tool to map individual-specific conditions for participation in physical activity among adolescents with autism and to identify different viewpoints regarding conditions for such participation. Method: An exploratory mixed-methods design was employed to investigate the feasibility of using Q methodology and the Q-sort procedure to identify what individual-specific conditions are important for participation in physical activity for adolescents with autism. Results: The adolescents ranked the statements with varying levels of ease. Two viewpoints were identified: Autonomous participation without surprises and Enjoyment of activity in a safe social context. Conclusion: Q-sort is a feasible method for mapping conditions for participation, which can guide the development of tailored physical activity interventions.
Charles S. Urwin, Rodney J. Snow, Dominique Condo, Rhiannon M.J. Snipe, Glenn D. Wadley, Lilia Convit, and Amelia J. Carr
This study compared the recommended dose of sodium citrate (SC, 500 mg/kg body mass) and sodium bicarbonate (SB, 300 mg/kg body mass) for blood alkalosis (blood [HCO3 −]) and gastrointestinal symptoms (GIS; number and severity). Sixteen healthy individuals ingested the supplements in a randomized, crossover design. Gelatin capsules were ingested over 15 min alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal, after which participants remained seated for forearm venous blood sample collection and completion of GIS questionnaires every 30 min for 300 min. Time-course and session value (i.e., peak and time to peak) comparisons of SC and SB supplementation were performed using linear mixed models. Peak blood [HCO3 −] was similar for SC (mean 34.2, 95% confidence intervals [33.4, 35.0] mmol/L) and SB (mean 33.6, 95% confidence intervals [32.8, 34.5] mmol/L, p = .308), as was delta blood [HCO3 −] (SC = 7.9 mmol/L; SB = 7.3 mmol/L, p = .478). Blood [HCO3 −] was ≥6 mmol/L above baseline from 180 to 240 min postingestion for SC, significantly later than for SB (120–180 min; p < .001). GIS were mostly minor, and peaked 80–90 min postingestion for SC, and 35–50 min postingestion for SB. There were no significant differences for the number or severity of GIS reported (p > .05 for all parameters). In summary, the recommended doses of SC and SB induce similar blood alkalosis and GIS, but with a different time course.