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Madison Taylor, Nicki Almquist, Bent Rønnestad, Arnt Erik Tjønna, Morten Kristoffersen, Matt Spencer, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Knut Skovereng

Purpose: To investigate the effects of including repeated sprints in a weekly low-intensity (LIT) session during a 3-week transition period on cycling performance 6 weeks into the subsequent preparatory period (PREP) in elite cyclists. Methods: Eleven elite male cyclists (age = 22.0 [3.8] y, body mass = 73.0 [5.8] kg, height = 186 [7] cm, maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max] = 5469 [384] mL·min−1) reduced their training load by 64% and performed only LIT sessions (CON, n = 6) or included 3 sets of 3 × 30-second maximal sprints in a weekly LIT session (SPR, n = 5) during a 3-week transition period. There was no difference in the reduction in training load during the transition period between groups. Physiological and performance measures were compared between the end of the competitive period and 6 weeks into the PREP. Results: SPR demonstrated a 7.3% (7.2%) improvement in mean power output during a 20-minute all-out test at PREP, which was greater than CON (−1.3% [4.6%]) (P = .048). SPR had a corresponding 7.0% (3.6%) improvement in average VO2 during the 20-minute all-out test, which was larger than the 0.7% (6.0%) change in CON (P = .042). No change in VO2max, gross efficiency, or power output at blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1 from competitive period to PREP occurred in either group. Conclusion: Including sprints in a weekly LIT session during the transition period of elite cyclists provided a performance advantage 6 weeks into the subsequent PREP, which coincided with a higher performance VO2.

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Timo B. van den Bogaard, Jabik-Jan Bastiaans, and Mathijs J. Hofmijster

Purpose: To investigate how resistance training (RT) in a regular training program affects neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) and gross efficiency (EGROSS) in elite rowers. Methods: Twenty-six elite male rowers performed 4 RT sessions within 10 days. At baseline and after the first and fourth RT, EGROSS and NMF were established. From breathing gas, EGROSS was determined during submaximal rowing tests. Using a countermovement jump test, NMF was assessed by jump height, flight time, flight-to-contraction-time ratio, peak power, and time to peak power. Muscle soreness was assessed using a 10-cm-long visual analog scale. Results: No significant differences were found for EGROSS (P = .565, ω 2 = .032). Muscle soreness (P = .00, ω 2 = .500) and time to peak power (P = .08, ω2 = 0.238) were higher compared with baseline at all test moments. Flight-to-contraction-time ratio, jump height, and peak power after the fourth RT differed from baseline (P < .05, ω 2 = .36, ω 2 = .38, and ω 2 = .31) and from results obtained after the first RT (P < .05, ω 2 = .36, ω 2 = .47, and ω 2 = .22). Conclusions: RT in general does not influence EGROSS, but large individual differences (4.1%–14.8%) were observed. NMF is affected by RT, particularly after multiple sessions. During periods of intensified RT, imposed external load for low-intensity endurance training need not be altered, but rowers are recommended to abstain from intensive endurance training. Individual monitoring is strongly recommended.

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Kati S. Karinharju, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Kelly M. Clanchy, Stewart G. Trost, Li T. Yeo, and Sean M. Tweedy

This study evaluated the validity of two wheelchair-mounted devices—the Cateye® and Wheeler—for monitoring wheelchair speed and distance traveled. Speed estimates were validated against a calibrated treadmill at speeds from 1.5 to 10 km/hr. Twenty-five wheelchair users completed a course of known distance comprising a sequence of everyday wheelchair activities. Speed estimate validity was very good (mean absolute percentage error ≤ 5%) for the Wheeleri at all speeds and for the Cateye at speeds >3 km/hr but not speeds <3 km/hr (mean absolute percentage error > 20%). Wheeleri distance estimates were good (mean absolute percentage error < 10%) for linear pushing activities and general maneuvering but poor for confined-space maneuvering. Cateye estimates were good for continuous linear propulsion but poor for discontinuous pushing and maneuvering (both general and confined space). Both devices provided valid estimates of speed and distance for typical wheelchair-based exercise activities. However, the Wheeleri provided more accurate estimates of speed and distance during typical everyday wheelchair activities.

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Fernando G. Beltrami and Timothy D. Noakes

Purpose: This study aimecd to investigate whether elite athletes could reach higher values of maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) during a decremental exercise test in comparison with a traditional incremental test, as recently demonstrated in trained individuals. Methods: Nine male runners (age 25.8 [5.1] y, season best 10-km time 31:19 [1:50]) performed, on different days, 3 maximal uphill (5% grade) running exercise tests in fixed order: an incremental test (INC1), a V-shape exercise test (where speed started at 0.5 km·h−1 higher than the top stage finished during INC1 and was slowly decreased during 5.5 min, when it was again increased in similar fashion to the INC tests), and a final incremental test (INC2). Results: V˙O2max during the V-shape exercise test was higher than during INC1 (6.3% [3.0%], P = .01), although running speed was lower (16.6 [1.7] vs 17.9 [1.6] km·h−1, P = .01). Performance was similar between INC1 and INC2, but V˙O2max during INC2 was higher than INC1 (P < .001). During the V-shape exercise test, 5 participants reached the incremental part of the test, but V˙O2 did not increase (ΔV˙O2=52 [259]mL·min1, P = .67), despite higher running speed (approximately 1.1 km·h−1, P < .01). Heart rate, pulmonary ventilation, breathing rate, and respiratory exchange ratio measured at V˙O2max were not different between tests. Conclusion: A decremental exercise test of sufficient intensity can produce higher V˙O2max than a traditional incremental test, even in elite athletes, and this is maintained during a subsequent incremental test.

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Ana C. Santos-Mariano, Fabiano Tomazini, Cintia Rodacki, Romulo Bertuzzi, Fernando De-Oliveira, and Adriano E. Lima-Silva

Purpose: To investigate the effects of caffeine (CAF) on performance during high- and long-jump competitions. Methods: Using a crossover and double-blind design, 6 well-trained high jumpers and 6 well-trained long jumpers performed a simulation of a high- and long-jump competition 60 minutes after ingesting a capsule containing either 5 mg·kg−1 body mass of anhydrous CAF or a placebo. The high jumps were video recorded for kinematic analysis. The velocity during the approach run of the long jump was also monitored using photocells. Results: CAF improved jump performance (ie, the highest bar height overlap increased by 5.1% [2.3%], P = .008), as well as enhancing the height displacement of the central body mass (+1.3% [1.7%], P = .004) compared with the placebo. CAF had no ergogenic effect on jump distance (P = .722); however, CAF increased the velocity during the last 10 m of the long jump (P = .019), and the percentage of “foul jumps” was higher than that expected by chance in the CAF group (80.5% [12.5%], χ2 = 13.44, P < .001) but not in the cellulose condition (58.3% [22.9%], χ2 = 1.48, P = .224). Conclusion: CAF ingestion (5 mg·kg−1 body mass) improves high-jump performance but seems to negatively influence technical aspects during the approach run of the long jump, resulting in no improvement in long-jump performance. Thus, CAF can be useful for jumpers, but the specificity of the jump competition must be taken into account.

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Adrien Vachon, Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika, Jean-Baptiste Paquet, and Laurent Bosquet

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between physical fitness and repeated high-intensity effort (RHIE) ability in elite rugby union players, depending on playing position. Method: Thirty-nine players underwent a fitness testing battery composed of a body composition assessment, upper-body strength (1-repetition maximum bench press and 1-repetition maximum bench row), lower-body strength (6-repetition maximum back squat), and power (countermovement jump, countermovement jump with arms, and 20-m sprint), as well as aerobic fitness (Bronco test) and RHIE tests over a 1-week period. Pearson linear correlations were used to quantify relationships between fitness tests and the RHIE performance outcomes (total sprint time [TST] and percentage decrement [%D]). Thereafter, a stepwise multiple regression model was used to verify the influence of physical fitness measures on RHIE ability. Results: TST was strongly to very strongly associated to body fat (BF, r = .82, P < .01), the 20-m sprint (r = .86, P < .01), countermovement jump (r = −.72, P < .01), and Bronco test (r = .90, P < .01). These fitness outcomes were related to %D, with moderate to strong associations (.82 > ∣r∣ > .54, P < .01). By playing position, similar associations were observed in forwards, but RHIE ability was only related to the 20-m sprint in backs (r = .53, P < .05). The RHIE performance model equations were TST = 13.69 + 0.01 × BF + 0.08 × Bronco + 10.20 × 20 m and %D = −14.34 + 0.11 × BF +0.18 × Bronco − 9.92 × 20 m. These models explain 88.8% and 68.2% of the variance, respectively. Conclusion: Body composition, lower-body power, and aerobic fitness were highly related with RHIE ability. However, backs expressed a different profile than forwards, suggesting that further research with larger sample sizes is needed to better understand the fitness determinants of backs’ RHIE ability.

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Peter Leo, James Spragg, Iñigo Mujika, Andrea Giorgi, Dan Lorang, Dieter Simon, and Justin S. Lawley

Purpose: The aim of this study was to compare the power profile, internal and external workloads, and racing performance between U23 and professional cyclists and between varying rider types across 2 editions of a professional multistage race. Methods: Nine U23 cyclists from a Union Cycliste Internationale “Continental Team” (age 20.8 [0.9] y; body mass 71.2 [6.3] kg) and 8 professional cyclists (28.1 [3.2] y; 63.0 [4.6] kg) participated in this study. Rider types were defined as all-rounders, general classification (GC) riders, and domestiques. Data were collected during 2 editions of a 5-day professional multistage race and split into the following 4 categories: power profile, external and internal workloads, and race performance. Results: The professional group, including domestiques and GC riders, recorded higher relative power profile values after certain amounts of total work (1000–3000 kJ) than the U23 group or all-rounders (P ≤ .001–.049). No significant differences were found for external workload measures between U23 and professional cyclists, nor among rider types. Internal workloads were higher in U23 cyclists and all-rounders (P ≤ .001–.043) compared with professionals, domestiques, and GC riders, respectively. The power profile significantly predicted percentage general classification and Union Cycliste Internationale points (R 2 = .90–.99), whereas external and internal workloads did not. Conclusion: These findings reveal that the power profile represents a practical tool to discriminate between professionals and U23 cyclists as well as rider types. The power profile after 1000 to 3000 kJ of total work could be used by practitioners to evaluate the readiness of U23 cyclists to move into the professional ranks, as well as differentiate between rider types.

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Stefan Altmann, Rainer Neumann, Sascha Härtel, Alexander Woll, and Martin Buchheit

Purpose: To assess the value of monitoring changes in fitness in professional soccer players, using changes in heart rate at submaximal intensity (HR12km/h) over the velocity at a lactate concentration of 4 mmol/L (v4mmol/L). The authors reexamined (1) a range of threshold magnitudes, which may improve detecting substantial individual changes and (2) the agreement between changes in these 2 variables. Methods: On at least 2 occasions during different moments of the season, 97 professional soccer players from Germany (first, second, and fourth division) completed an incremental test to determine HR12km/h and v4mmol/L. Optimal thresholds for changes in HR12km/h and v4mmol/L were assessed, using various methods (eg, smallest worthwhile change + typical error [TE], successive reiterations approach). Agreement between both variable changes was examined for the whole sample (225 comparisons), 4 different subgroups (depending on the moment of the season), and in an individual over 6 years (n = 23 tests). Results: Changes of 4.5% and 6.0% for HR12km/h and v4mmol/L, respectively, were rated as optimal to indicate substantial changes in fitness. Depending on the (sub)groups analyzed, these thresholds yielded 0% to 2% full mismatches, 22% to 38% partial agreements, and 60% to 78% full agreements in terms of fitness change interpretation between both variables. Conclusions: When lactate sampling during incremental tests is not possible, practitioners willing to monitor adult professional soccer players’ (Germany; first, second, and fourth division) training status can confidently implement short, 3-minute submaximal runs, with 4.5% changes in HR12km/h being indicative of true substantial fitness changes, with 60% to 78% accuracy. Future studies should investigate the potential role of confounding factors of HR12km/h to improve changes in fitness prediction.