Purpose: To assess the effects of a short-term taper on the ability to perform repeated high-intensity efforts, depending on players’ fatigue level following an intensive training block. Method: After a 3-day off-season camp, 13 players followed the same 3-week preseason training block followed by a 7-day exponential taper. Performance was assessed by a repeated high-intensity effort test before and after the taper. Total sprint time, percentage of decrement, and the number of sprints equal to or higher than 90% of the best sprint were retained for analysis. Players were a posteriori classified in normal training or acute fatigue groups based on their readiness to perform prior to the taper, assessed through the magnitude of difference in psychological (Profile of Mood State Questionnaire), cardiovascular (submaximal constant-duration cycling), and neuromuscular (countermovement jump) tests between the preintensive and postintensive training blocks. Results: Training load declined by 55% (9%) during the taper (P = .001, g = −2.54). The overall group showed a small improvement in total sprint time (−3.40% [3.90%], P = .04, g = −0.39) following the taper. Relative changes tended to be higher in the acute fatigue compared with the normal training group (−5.07% [4.52%] vs −1.45% [1.88%], respectively; P = .08; d = 1.01). No taper-induced improvement was observed in percentage of decrement or number of sprints equal to or higher than 90% of the best sprint. Conclusion: A 7-day taper consisting of 55% training load reduction improved repeated high-intensity effort performance in young elite rugby union players. Pretaper level of fatigue seems to be a key determinant in the taper supercompensation process, as acutely fatigued players at the end of the intensive training block tended to benefit more from the taper.
Adrien Vachon, Nicolas Berryman, Iñigo Mujika, Jean-Baptiste Paquet, and Laurent Bosquet
Jonne A. Kapteijns, Kevin Caen, Maarten Lievens, Jan G. Bourgois, and Jan Boone
Purpose: To determine if there is a link between the demands of competitive game activity and performance profiles of elite female field hockey players. Methods: Global positioning systems (GPS) were used to quantify running performance of elite female field hockey players (N = 20) during 26 competitive games. Performance profiles were assessed at 2 time points (preseason and midseason) for 2 competitive seasons. A battery of anthropometric and performance field-based tests (30–15 intermittent fitness test, incremental run test, 10–30-m speed test, T test, and vertical jump test) were used to determine the performance profiles of the players. Results: Players covered a mean total distance of 5384 (835) m, of which 19% was spent at high intensities (zone 5: 796  m; zone 6: 274  m). Forwards covered the lowest mean total distance (estimated marginal means 4586 m; 95% confidence interval, 4275–4897), whereas work rate was higher in forwards compared with midfielders (P = .006, d = 0.43) and central defenders (P = .001, d = 1.41). Players showed an improvement in body composition and anaerobic performance from preseason to midseason. Aerobic performance capacity (maximal oxygen uptake and speed at the 4-mM lactate threshold) was positively correlated with high-intensity activities. Conclusions: There is a clear relationship between running performance and aerobic performance profiles in elite female hockey players. These results highlight the importance of a well-developed aerobic performance capacity in order to maintain a high performance level during hockey games.
Alejandro Pérez-Castilla, Daniel Boullosa, and Amador García-Ramos
Objective: To evaluate the sensitivity of the iLOAD® application to detect the changes in mean barbell velocity of complete sets following power- and strength-oriented resistance training (RT) programs. Methods: Twenty men were randomly assigned to a power training group (countermovement jump and bench press throw at 40% of the 1-repetition maximum [1RM]) or strength training group (back squat and bench press at 70% to 90% of 1RM). Single sets of 10 repetitions at 25% and 70% of 1RM during the back squat and bench press exercises were assessed before and after the 4-week RT programs simultaneously with the iLOAD® application and a linear velocity transducer. Results: The power training group showed a greater increment in velocity performance at the 25% of 1RM (effect size range = 0.66–1.53) and the 70% of 1RM (effect size range = 0.11–0.30). The percent change in mean velocity after the RT programs highly correlated between the iLOAD® application and the linear velocity transducer for the back squat (r range = .85–.88) and bench press (r range = .87–.93). However, the iLOAD® application revealed a 2% greater increase in mean velocity after training compared to the linear velocity transducer. Conclusions: The iLOAD® application is a cost-effective, portable, and easy-to-use tool which can be used to detect changes in mean barbell velocity after power- and strength-oriented RT programs.
Coral L. Hanson, Paul Kelly, Lis Neubeck, Jordan Bell, Holly Gibb, and Kai Jin
Background: Physical activity (PA) levels vary across specific population groups, contributing to health inequalities. Little is known about how local authority leisure centers contribute to population PA and whether this differs by age, sex, or socioeconomic group. Methods: The authors calculated weekly leisure center–based moderate/vigorous PA for 20,904 registered adult users of local authority leisure facilities in Northumberland, United Kingdom, between July 2018 and June 2019, using administrative data. The authors categorized activity levels (<30, 30–149, and ≥150 min/wk) and used ordinal regression to examine predictors for activity category achieved. Results: Registered users were mainly female (58.7%), younger (23.9% of users aged 18–29 y vs 10.1% of those aged 70+ y), and from the 2 most affluent socioeconomic quintiles (53.7%). Median weekly moderate/vigorous leisure center–based activity was 55 minutes per week (interquartile range: 30–99). Being female (odds ratio: 2.09; 95% confidence interval, 1.95–2.35), older (odds ratio: 1.14; 95% confidence interval, 1.11–1.16), and using a large facility (odds ratio: 1.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.03–1.42) were positive predictors of leisure center–based PA. Conclusion: Older adults and females were more likely to be active and achieve the recommended PA levels through usage of the centers. Widespread use of this novel measure of leisure center–based activity would improve the understanding of how local authority leisure centers can address physical inactivity and its associated inequalities.
Danae Dinkel, Kelsey Lu, Jemima John, Kailey Snyder, and Lisette T. Jacobson
Background: Physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior, and sleep are interconnected, promoting optimal health. Few studies have examined these factors holistically. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to capture the 24-hour activity cycles of the US population by examining PA, sedentary behavior, and sleep based on the presence of a child within the home, as well as gender and weight. Methods: Cross-sectional health-related variables from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used for analysis. The primary variables were the total and type of PA (recreation, work, and active transportation), sedentary behavior, and sleep. Chi-square and regression models were applied to compare the outcomes across participants’ characteristics. Results: The adults with children within the home reported less recreational PA, more work activity, less sedentary activity, and less sleep, but no differences in total PA. The females with children in the home not only had the lowest levels of recreational activity and sleep, but also the lowest levels of sedentary behavior. The obese individuals with children in the home had less sedentary time than the adults without children in the home, regardless of weight status. Conclusions: Unhealthy sleep and PA behaviors are prevalent in adults with children living at home, and women are particularly impacted.
Kim Gammage, Alyson Crozier, Alison Ede, Christopher Hill, Sean Locke, Eric Martin, Desi McEwan, Kathleen Mellano, Eva Pila, Matthew Stork, and Svenja Wolf
David Thivel, Pauline Genin, Alicia Fillon, Marwa Khammassi, Johanna Roche, Kristine Beaulieu, Graham Finlayson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Martine Duclos, Angelo Tremblay, Bruno Pereira, and Lore Metz
Background: While mental work has been shown to favor overconsumption, the present study compared the effect of a cognitive task alone, followed by acute exercise, or performed on a cycling desk, on short-term food intake and appetite in adults. Methods: A total of 19 normal-weight adults randomly completed: resting session (CON), 30-minute cognitive task (CT), 30-minute cognitive task followed by a 15-minute high-intensity interval exercise bout (CT–EX), and 30-minute cognitive task performed on a cycling desk (CT-CD). Energy expenditure was estimated (heart rate–workload relationship), and energy intake (EI; ad libitum) and appetite (visual analog scales) were assessed. Results: Energy expenditure was higher in CT-EX (P < .001) compared with the other conditions and in CT-CD compared with CON and CT (P < .01). EI was higher in CON (P < .05) and CT-CD compared with CT (P < .01). Relative EI was higher in CON compared with CT (P < .05) and lower in CT-EX compared with CT, CT-CD, and CON (all Ps < .001). Area under the curve desire to eat was higher in CON compared with CT (P < .05) and CT-EX (P < .01). Area under the curve prospective food consumption was higher in CON compared with CT-EX (P < .01). Overall composite appetite score was not different between conditions. Conclusion: While cycling desks are recommended to break up sedentary time, the induced increase in energy expenditure might not be enough to significantly reduce overall short-term relative EI after mental work.
Travis Anderson, Laurie Wideman, Flavio A. Cadegiani, and Claudio E. Kater
The cortisol awakening response (CAR) is a distinct component of the circadian cortisol profile and has promise as a biomarker for the monitoring of athlete readiness and training status. Although some studies have suggested the CAR may be affected by the development of overtraining syndrome (OTS), this has yet to be systematically investigated. Purpose: To compare the CAR and diurnal cortisol slope between athletes diagnosed with OTS, healthy athletes, and sedentary controls. Methods: This study was a secondary analysis of data from the Endocrine and Metabolic Responses on Overtraining study. Male participants were recruited to either OTS, healthy athlete, or sedentary control groups. The participants produced saliva samples immediately after waking (S1), 30 minutes after waking (S2), at 16:00 hours, and at 23:00 hours. Salivary cortisol concentration was determined by an electrochemiluminescence assay. Mixed-effects models were used to assess the conditional effect of group (sedentary controls, OTS, and healthy athletes) on the change in cortisol over time. Separate models were fit for the awakening samples (S1 and S2) and for the diurnal slope (linear change across S1, 16:00 h, and 23:00 h). Results: The models demonstrated significant time-by-group interaction for OTS for the 2 cortisol concentrations collected during the awakening period (β = −9.33, P < .001), but not for the diurnal cortisol slope (β = 0.02, P = .80). Conclusions: These results suggest the CAR may be associated with OTS and should be considered within a panel of biomarkers. Further research is necessary to determine whether alterations in the CAR may precede the diagnosis of OTS.
Thomas Haugen, Will Hopkins, Felix Breitschädel, Gøran Paulsen, and Paul Solberg
Purpose: To determine if generic off-ice physical fitness tests can provide useful predictions of ice hockey players’ match performance. Methods: Approximately 40 to 60 defenders and 70 to 100 forwards from the Norwegian male upper ice hockey league were tested for strength (1-repetition maximum in squat and bench press), power (40-m sprint and countermovement jump), and endurance (hanging sit-ups, chins, and 3000-m run) annually at the end of every preseason period between 2008 and 2017. Measures of match performance were each player’s season mean counts per match of assists, points, goals, penalty minutes, and plus-minus score. Results: Overall, match performance measures displayed trivial to small correlations with the fitness tests. More specifically, points per game had at most small correlations with measures of strength (range, approximately −0.2 to 0.3), speed (approximately −0.2 to 0.3), and endurance (approximately −0.1 to 0.3). After adjustments for age that showed moderate to large correlations with player match performance, multiple-regression analyses of each test measure still provided some predictability among players of the same age. However, players selected for the national team had substantially better mean scores for most tests and match performance measures than those not selected, with a moderate to large difference for age, 1-repetition maximum squat, and 1-repetition maximum bench press. Conclusions: Fitness tests had only marginal utility for predicting match performance in Norwegian hockey players, but those selected into the national team had better general fitness.
Erica H. Gavel, Heather M. Logan-Sprenger, Joshua Good, Ira Jacobs, and Scott G. Thomas
Purpose: The effects of menthol (MEN) mouth rinse (MR) on performance, physiological, and perceptual variables in female cyclists during a 30-km independent time trial (ITT) were tested. Methods: The participants (n = 9) cycled for 30 km in hot conditions (30°C [0.6°C], 70% [1%] relative humidity, 12  km/h wind speed) on 2 test occasions: with a placebo MR and with MEN MR. Handgrip and a 5-second sprint were measured before, following the first MR, and after the ITT. Ratings of perceived exertion Borg 6 to 20, thermal sensation, and thermal pleasantness were recorded every 5 km. Core temperature and heart rate were recorded throughout. Results: The ITT performance significantly improved with MEN MR by 2.3% (2.7%) relative to the placebo (62.6 [5.7] vs 64.0 [4.9] min P = .034; d = 0.85; 95% confidence interval, 0.14 to 2.8 min). The average power output was significantly higher in the MEN trial (P = .031; d = 0.87; 95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 15.0 W). No significant interaction of time and MR for handgrip (P = .581, η2 = .04) or sprint was observed (P = .365, η2 = .103). Core temperature, heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, and thermal sensation did not significantly differ between trials at set distances (P > .05). Pleasantness significantly differed between the placebo and MEN only at 5 km, with no differences at other TT distances. Conclusion: These results suggest that a nonthermal cooling agent can improve 30-km ITT performance in female cyclists, although the improved performance with MEN MR is not due to altered thermal perception.