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Tomás T. Freitas, Lucas A. Pereira, Valter P. Reis, Victor Fernandes, Pedro E. Alcaraz, Paulo H.S.M. Azevedo, and Irineu Loturco

Purpose: To investigate the effects of a match-congested period on straight and curve sprint performance, change of direction (COD) speed and deficit, vertical jumping ability, and half-squat (HS) mean propulsive power (MPP) output in young soccer players. Methods: A total of 15 under-20 elite male soccer players participated in 14 matches over 8 weeks. The following assessments were performed before and after the congested fixture period: squat and countermovement jumps, 17-m linear sprint, curve sprint test for the “good” (CSGS) and “weak” (CSWS) sides, modified 17-m Zigzag test, and HS MPP. Magnitude-based inferences and a paired t test were used to analyze pre–post changes in the assessed variables. Results: Very likely (P < .05) decreases were noticed in 17-m sprint velocity (effect size [ES] [90% confidence limit; CL], −0.56 [−0.32 to −0.81]) and CSGS (ES [90% CL], −0.72 [−0.40 to 1.03]) after the 8-week period. A possible but nonsignificant impairment was revealed in CSWS (ES [90% CL], −0.18 [0.03 to −0.39]), and countermovement jump (ES [90% CL], −0.21 [−0.54 to 0.12]). Zigzag velocity (ES [90% CL], −2.90 [−2.45 to −3.36]) and COD deficit (ES [90% CL], 0.86 [0.52 to 1.20]) were almost certainly and significantly (P < .05) reduced and increased, respectively, after the match-congested period. An almost certain and significant (P < .05) reduction was found in HS MPP (ES [90% CL], −1.18 [−0.76 to −1.61]). Conclusions: Straight and curve sprint velocity, COD speed and deficit, and HS MPP were impaired after the match-congested period. Vertical jump height was possibly decreased. Seasonal phases comprising high volumes of soccer-specific training and competition seem to be detrimental to speed–power qualities in under-20 elite soccer players.

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Kobe M. Vermeire, Freek Van de Casteele, Maxim Gosseries, Jan G. Bourgois, Michael Ghijs, and Jan Boone

Purpose: Numerous methods exist to quantify training load (TL). However, the relationship with performance is not fully understood. Therefore the purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of the existing TL quantification methods on performance modeling and the outcome parameters of the fitness-fatigue model. Methods: During a period of 8 weeks, 9 subjects performed 3 interval training sessions per week. Performance was monitored weekly by means of a 3-km time trial on a cycle ergometer. After this training period, subjects stopped training for 3 weeks but still performed a weekly time trial. For all training sessions, Banister training impulse (TRIMP), Lucia TRIMP, Edwards TRIMP, training stress score, and session rating of perceived exertion were calculated. The fitness-fatigue model was fitted for all subjects and for all TL methods. Results: The error in relating TL to performance was similar for all methods (Banister TRIMP: 618 [422], Lucia TRIMP: 625 [436], Edwards TRIMP: 643 [465], training stress score: 639 [448], session rating of perceived exertion: 558 [395], and kilojoules: 596 [505]). However, the TL methods evolved differently over time, which was reflected in the differences between the methods in the calculation of the day before performance on which training has the biggest positive influence (range of 19.6 d). Conclusions: The authors concluded that TL methods cannot be used interchangeably because they evolve differently.

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Amador García-Ramos, Jonathon Weakley, Danica Janicijevic, and Ivan Jukic

Purpose: To explore the effect of several methodological factors on the number of repetitions performed before and after reaching certain velocity loss thresholds (VLTs). Method: Fifteen resistance-trained men (bench press 1-repetition maximum = 1.25 [0.16] kg·kg−1) performed with maximum intent a total of 182 sets (77 short sets [≤12 repetitions] and 105 long sets [>12 repetitions]) leading to failure during the Smith machine bench press exercise. Fifteen percent, 30%, and 45% VLTs were calculated, considering 2 reference repetitions (first and fastest repetitions) and 2 velocity variables (mean velocity [MV] and peak velocity [PV]). Results: The number of repetitions performed before reaching all VLTs were affected by the reference repetition and velocity variable (P ≤ .001). The fastest MV and PV during the short sets (75.3%) and PV during the long sets (72.4%) were predominantly observed during the first repetition, while the fastest MV during long sets was almost equally distributed between the first (37.1%) and second repetition (40.0%). Failure occurred before reaching the VLTs more frequently using PV (4, 8, and 33 occasions for 15%, 30%, and 45% VLTs, respectively) than MV (only 1 occasion for the 45% VLT). The participants rarely produced a velocity output above a VLT once this threshold was exceeded for the first time (≈10% and 30% of occasions during the short and long sets, respectively). Conclusions: The reference repetition and velocity variable are important factors to consider when implementing VLTs during resistance training. The fastest repetition (instead of the first repetition) and MV (instead of PV) are recommended.

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Alexandra M. Coates, Jordan A. Berard, Trevor J. King, and Jamie F. Burr

Context: The physiological determinants of ultramarathon success have rarely been assessed and likely differ in their contributions to performance as race distance increases. Purpose : To examine predictors of performance in athletes who completed either a 50-, 80-, or 160-km trail race over a 20-km loop course on the same day. Methods: Measures of running history, aerobic fitness, running economy, body mass loss, hematocrit alterations, age, and cardiovascular health were examined in relation to race-day performance. Performance was defined as the percentage difference from the winning time at a given race distance, with 0% representing the fastest possible time. Results: In the 50-km race, training volumes, cardiovascular health, aerobic fitness, and a greater loss of body mass during the race were all related to better performance (all P < .05). Using multiple linear regression, peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test (β = −11.7, P = .002) and baseline blood pressure (β = 3.1, P = .007) were the best performance predictors for the men’s 50-km race (r = .98, r 2 = .96, P < .001), while peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test (β = −13.6, P = .001) and loss of body mass (β = 12.8, P = .03) were the best predictors for women (r = .94, r 2 = .87, P = .001). In the 80-km race, only peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test predicted performance (β = −20.3, r = .88, r 2 = .78, P < .001). In the 160-km race, there were no significant performance determinants. Conclusions: While classic determinants of running performance, including cardiovascular health and running fitness, predict 50-km trail-running success, performance in longer-distance races appears to be less influenced by such physiological parameters.

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Tim Veneman, Wouter Schallig, Maaike Eken, Carl Foster, and Jos J. de Koning

Background: During self-paced (SP) time trials (TTs), cyclists show unconscious nonrandom variations in power output of up to 10% above and below average. It is unknown what the effects of variations in power output of this magnitude are on physiological, neuromuscular, and perceptual variables. Purpose: To describe physiological, neuromuscular, and perceptual responses of 10-km TTs with an imposed even-paced (EP) and variable-paced (VP) workload. Methods: Healthy male, trained, task-habituated cyclists (N = 9) completed three 10-km TTs. First, an SP TT was completed, the mean workload from which was used as the mean workload of the EP and VP TTs. The EP was performed with an imposed even workload, while VP was performed with imposed variations in workload of ±10% of the mean. In EP and VP, cardiorespiratory, neuromuscular, and perceptual variables were measured. Results: Mean rating of perceived exertion was significantly lower in VP (6.13 [1.16]) compared with EP (6.75 [1.24]), P = .014. No mean differences were found for cardiorespiratory and almost all neuromuscular variables. However, differences were found at individual kilometers corresponding to power-output differences between pacing strategies. Conclusion: Variations in power output during TTs of ±10%, simulating natural variations in power output that are present during SP TTs, evoke minor changes in cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular responses and mostly affect the perceptual response. Rating of perceived exertion is lower when simulating natural variations in power output, compared with EP cycling. The imposed variations in workload seem to provide a psychological rather than a physiological or neuromuscular advantage.

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Gerard E. McMahon, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Rodney A. Kennedy

Purpose: To compare the global positioning system– and accelerometry-derived running demands, creatine kinase (CK), and self-reported wellness during an Olympic Games in international hockey. Methods: Data were collected across 5 games during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Global positioning system units (10 Hz) were used to assess the running demands, accelerations, and decelerations of outfield players in a men’s hockey squad with matches 2 to 5 compared with match 1. CK was used as a marker of muscle damage, and self-reported psychometric questionnaires were used to assess wellness, with each of the 5 matches compared with precompetition assessments. Results: There were significant increases (P < .05) in either, or both, absolute and relative total distance, player load, high-speed running distance, sprint distance, and accelerations and decelerations, compared with baseline. There was a significant decrease (P < .05) in maximal velocity by match 5. CK significantly increased from match 1 to 5 and displayed significant correlations with total distance (r = .55) and player load (r = .41). Muscle soreness correlated with total distance and player load, with other wellness markers unchanged compared with baseline. Conclusions: International hockey athletes may maintain or increase running activities over the course of an Olympic tournament; however, this may be impacted by situational (match score/outcome) and environmental (ambient temperature) factors. Despite CK and muscle soreness displaying relationships with running variables, further work is needed to establish their individual value in monitoring international hockey athletes.

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James R. Mckee, Bradley A. Wall, and Jeremiah J. Peiffer

Purpose: To examine the influence of temporal location of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) within a cycling session on the time spent ≥90% of maximal oxygen consumption and physiological and perceptual responses. Methods: In a randomized, crossover design, 16 trained cyclists (male, n = 13 and female, n = 3) completed three 90-minute cycling sessions with HIIT placed at the beginning, middle, or end of the session (13, 36, and 69 min, respectively). Intervals consisted of three 3-minute efforts at 90% of the power output associated with maximal oxygen consumption interspersed with 3 minutes of recovery. Oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, respiratory rate, and heart rate were recorded continuously during work intervals. Rate of perceived exertion was recorded at the end of work intervals, and sessional rate of perceived exertion was collected 20 minutes after session completion. Results: No differences were observed for mean oxygen consumption (P = .479) or time spent ≥90% maximal oxygen consumption (P = .753) between condition. The mean rate of perceived exertion of all intervals were greater in the Middle (P < .01, effect size = 0.83) and End (P < .05, effect size = 0.75) compared with Beginning conditions. Mean minute ventilation was greater in the End compared with Beginning condition (P = .015, effect size = 0.63). However, no differences in mean respiratory rate were observed between conditions (P = .297). Conclusions: Temporal location of HIIT has no impact on oxygen consumption or cardiovascular stress within a cycling session. However, HIIT performed later in the session resulted in higher ventilation, which may indicate the need for greater anaerobic contribution to these intervals.

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Johanna K. Ihalainen, Oona Kettunen, Kerry McGawley, Guro Strøm Solli, Anthony C. Hackney, Antti A. Mero, and Heikki Kyröläinen

Purpose: To determine body composition, energy availability, training load, and menstrual status in young elite endurance running athletes (ATH) over 1 year, and in a secondary analysis, to investigate how these factors differ between nonrunning controls (CON), and amenorrheic (AME) and eumenorrheic (EUM) ATH. Correlations to injury, illness, and performance were also examined. Methods: Altogether 13 ATH and 8 CON completed the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire. Anthropometric, energy intake, and peak oxygen uptake assessments were made at 4 time points throughout the year: at baseline post competition season, post general preparation, post specific preparation, and post competition season the following year. Logs of physical activity, menstrual cycle, illness, and injury were kept by all participants. Performance was defined using the highest International Association of Athletics Federations points prior to and after the study. Results: ATH had significantly lower body mass (P < .008), fat percentage (P < .001), and body mass index (P < .027) compared with CON, while energy availability did not differ between ATH and CON. The Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire score was higher in ATH than in CON (P < .028), and 8 ATH (vs zero CON) were AME. The AME had significantly more injury days (P < .041) and ran less (P < .046) than EUM, while total annual running distance was positively related to changes in performance in ATH (r < .62, P < .043, n < 11). Conclusions: More than half of this group of runners was AME, and they were injured more and ran less than their EUM counterparts. Furthermore, only the EUM runners increased their performance over the course of the year.

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Ryo Yamanaka, Shinya Wakasawa, Koya Yamashiro, Naoki Kodama, and Daisuke Sato

Purpose: The study determined whether the increase in the cross-sectional area (CSA) of psoas major, which is known as a hip-flexion muscle, by resistance training combined with running training improves the performance of long-distance runners. Methods: Subjects were 8 well-trained male long-distance runners. The personal best time in a 5000-m race was 15:10.0 (0:20.5) (mean [SD]). Each subject performed resistance training twice per week with running training for 12 weeks. The authors used 3 resistance training regimens that would train the hip flexor muscles. Training intensity was a maximum of 10 repetitions. The training amount was 3 sets × 10 times during the first 4 weeks followed by 4 sets × 10 times during the last 8 weeks. The authors measured the CSA of psoas major using magnetic resonance imaging and the performance of long-distance runners using a constant velocity running test before (pre) and after (post) the training term. Results: The combination training significantly (P < .01, d = 0.34) increased the CSA of psoas major (pre: 16.2 [1.5] cm2, post: 16.7 [1.4] cm2) and significantly (P < .01, d = 1.41) improved the duration of the constant velocity running test (pre: 500 [108] s, post: 715 [186] s). Moreover, multiple regression analysis showed that the pre to post change in the duration of the constant velocity exercise was significantly correlated with the change in CSA of the psoas major. Conclusion: The authors suggest that resistance training of psoas major with running training is correlated with an improvement in the performance of long-distance runners.