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Matteo Bonato, Antonio La Torre, Marina Saresella, Ivana Marventano, Giampiero Merati, Giuseppe Banfi and Jacopo A. Vitale

Purpose: The authors compared sleep quality and salivary cortisol concentration after high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and small-sided games (SSGs) performed at the habitual training time in nonprofessional male soccer players. Methods: A total of 32 players (age = 24 [6] y, height = 1.77 [0.06] m, and body mass = 75 [12] kg) were randomized into an HIIT group or an SSG group. Actual sleep time, sleep efficiency (SE), sleep latency, immobility time (IT), moving time (MT), and fragmentation index were monitored using actigraphy before (PRE) and 2 nights after (POST 1 and POST 2) the training session. Salivary cortisol levels were measured before (PRE) and after (POST) training. Cortisol awakening response was evaluated. Results: Significant intragroup differences in the HIIT group were noted for actual sleep time (P < .0001), SE (P < .0001), sleep latency (P = .047), IT (P < .0001), MT (P < .0001), and fragmentation index (P < .0001) between PRE and POST 1 and for SE (P = .035), IT (P = .004), MT (P = .006), and fragmentation index (P = .048) between PRE and POST 2. Intergroup differences for actual sleep time (P = .014), SE (P = .048), IT (P < .0001), and MT (P = .046) were observed between the HIIT and the SSGs group at POST 1 were detected. Significant intragroup variations were observed in PRE and POST salivary cortisol levels (P < .0001 for HIIT; P = .0003 for SSGs) and cortisol awakening response (P < .0001 for HIIT; P < .0001 for SSGs). Significant intergroup differences between the HIIT and the SSGs group were found at POST (P < .0001) and in cortisol awakening response (P = .017). Conclusions: Changes in actigraphy-based sleep parameters and salivary cortisol levels were greater after an acute session of HIIT than SSGs in this sample of nonprofessional male soccer players.

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Piia Kaikkonen, Esa Hynynen, Arto Hautala and Juha P. Ahtiainen

Purpose: It is known that modifying the endurance-type training load of athletes may result in altered cardiac autonomic modulation that may be estimated with heart rate variability (HRV). However, the specific effects of intensive resistance-type training remain unclear. The main aim of this study was to find out whether an intensive 2-wk resistance training period affects the nocturnal HRV and strength performance of healthy participants. Methods: Young healthy men (N = 13, age 24 [2] y) performed 2-wk baseline training, 2-wk intensive training, and a 9-d tapering periods, with 2, 5, and 2 hypertrophic whole-body resistance exercise sessions per week, respectively. Maximal isometric and dynamic strength were tested at the end of these training periods. Nocturnal HRV was also analyzed at the end of these training periods. Results: As a main finding, the nocturnal root mean square of differences of successive R-R intervals decreased (P = .004; from 49 [18] to 43 [15] ms; 95% CI, 2.4–10.4; effect size = 0.97) during the 2-wk intensive resistance training period. In addition, maximal isometric strength improved slightly (P = .045; from 3933 [1362] to 4138 [1540] N; 95% CI, 5.4–404; effect size = 0.60). No changes were found in 1-repetition-maximum leg press or leg press repetitions at 80% 1-repetition maximum. Conclusions: The present data suggest that increased training load due to a short-term intensive resistance training period can be detected by nocturnal HRV. However, despite short-term accumulated physiological stress, a tendency of improvement in strength performance was detected.

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Ewan R. Williams, James McKendry, Paul T. Morgan and Leigh Breen

Purpose: Compression garments are widely used as a tool to accelerate recovery from intense exercise and have also gained traction as a performance aid, particularly during periods of limited recovery. This study tested the hypothesis that increased pressure levels applied via high-pressure compression garments would enhance “multiday” exercise performance. Methods: A single-blind crossover design, incorporating 3 experimental conditions—loose-fitting gym attire (CON), low-compression (LC), and high-compression (HC) garments—was adopted. A total of 10 trained male cyclists reported to the laboratory on 6 occasions, collated into 3 blocks of 2 consecutive visits. Each “block” consisted of 3 parts, an initial high-intensity protocol, a 24-hour period of controlled rest while wearing the applied condition/garment (CON, LC, and HC), and a subsequent 8-km cycling time trial, while wearing the respective garment. Subjective discomfort questionnaires and blood pressure were assessed prior to each exercise bout. Power output, oxygen consumption, and heart rate were continuously measured throughout exercise, with plasma lactate, creatine kinase, and myoglobin concentrations assessed at baseline and the end of exercise, as well as 30 and 60 minutes postexercise. Results: Time-trial performance was significantly improved during HC compared with both CON and LC (HC = 277 [83], CON = 266 [89], and LC = 265 [77] W; P < .05). In addition, plasma lactate was significantly lower at 30 and 60 minutes postexercise on day 1 in HC compared with CON. No significant differences were observed for oxygen consumption, heart rate, creatine kinase, or subjective markers of discomfort. Conclusion: The pressure levels exerted via lower-limb compression garments influence their effectiveness for cycling performance, particularly in the face of limited recovery.