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Petros G. Botonis, Ioannis Malliaros, Gavriil G. Arsoniadis, Theodoros I. Platanou and Argyris G. Toubekis

Purpose: To examine the acute physiological responses and internal training load of long-interval swimming and water polo–specific drills in high-level water polo players. Methods: A total of 10 water polo players performed both a high-intensity swimming without ball (SW) with intensity corresponding to 90% of their maximum speed previously attained during a 300-m swimming test or a counterattack ball drill (CA). Both SW and CA conditions were designed to provide equal time exposure. Thus, 3 bouts of 4 minutes duration and a 3-minute passive rest were performed in each condition. The players’ physiological responses were assessed by continuous monitoring heart rate (HR) during CA and SW as well as by measuring blood lactate at the end of each condition. Rating of perceived exertion was recorded at the end of each bout. The Edwards summated HR zones were used to measure internal training load. Results: Both peak and mean HR were similar between SW and CA, and no difference was detected between conditions in the percentage time spent at 90% to 100% of HRpeak. Postexercise blood lactate (8.5 [4.1] vs 11.5 [1.9] mmol·L−1) and rating of perceived exertion (8.1 [0.8] vs 8.7 [0.5] a.u.) values were lower in CA compared with SW (P < .05). Conclusions: SW compared with CA showed similar cardiac stress but increased anaerobic metabolism activation and higher rating of perceived exertion. Either CA or SW may be both used in training practice as a means to effectively train physical conditioning of water polo players, whereas CA may also facilitate tactical preparation.

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Jordan L. Fox, Robert Stanton, Charli Sargent, Cody J. O’Grady and Aaron T. Scanlan

Purpose: To quantify and compare external and internal game workloads according to contextual factors (game outcome, game location, and score-line). Methods: Starting semiprofessional, male basketball players were monitored during 19 games. External (PlayerLoad and inertial movement analysis variables) and internal (summated-heart-rate-zones and rating of perceived exertion [RPE]) workload variables were collected for all games. Linear mixed-effect models and effect sizes were used to compare workload variables based on each of the contextual variables assessed. Results: The number of jumps, absolute and relative (in min−1) high-intensity accelerations and decelerations, and relative changes-of-direction were higher during losses, whereas session RPE was higher during wins. PlayerLoad the number of absolute and relative jumps, high-intensity accelerations, absolute and relative total decelerations, total changes-of-direction, summated-heart-rate-zones, session RPE, and RPE were higher during away games, whereas the number of relative high-intensity jumps was higher during home games. PlayerLoad, the number of high-intensity accelerations, total accelerations, absolute and relative decelerations, absolute and relative changes-of-direction, summated-heart-rate-zones, sRPE, and RPE were higher during balanced games, whereas the relative number of total and high-intensity jumps were higher during unbalanced games. Conclusions: Due to increased intensity, starting players may need additional recovery following losses. Given the increased external and internal workload volumes encountered during away games and balanced games, practitioners should closely monitor playing times during games. Monitoring playing times may help identify when players require additional recovery or reduced training volumes to avoid maladaptive responses across the in-season.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Neal Wen, Joshua H. Guy, Nathan Elsworthy, Michele Lastella, David B. Pyne, Daniele Conte and Vincent J. Dalbo

Purpose: To examine correlations between peak force and impulse measures attained during the isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) and basketball-specific sprint and jump tests. Methods: Male, adolescent basketball players (N = 24) completed a battery of basketball-specific performance tests. Testing consisted of the IMTP (absolute and normalized peak force and impulse at 100 and 250 ms); 20-m sprint (time across 5, 10, and 20 m); countermovement jump (CMJ; absolute and normalized peak force and jump height); standing long jump (distance); and repeated lateral bound (distance). Correlation and regression analyses were conducted between IMTP measures and other attributes. Results: An almost perfect correlation was evident between absolute peak force attained during the IMTP and CMJ (r = .94, R 2 = 56%, P < .05). Moderate to very large correlations (P < .05) were observed between IMTP normalized peak force and 5-m sprint time (r = −.44, R 2 = 19%), 10-m sprint time (r = −.45, R 2 = 20%), absolute (r = .57, R 2 = 33%), normalized (r = .86, R 2 = 73%) CMJ peak force, and standing long-jump distance (r = .51, R 2 = 26%). Moderate to very large correlations were evident between impulse measures during the IMTP and 5-m sprint time (100 ms, r = −.40, R 2 = 16%, P > .05) and CMJ absolute peak force (100 ms, r = .73, R 2 = 54%; 250 ms, r = .68, R 2 = 47%; P < .05). Conclusions: The IMTP may be used to assess maximal and rapid force expression important across a range of basketball-specific movements.

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Grégoire P. Millet and Kilian Jornet

Purpose: To present the acclimatization strategy employed by an elite athlete prior to 2 successful ascents to Mount Everest (including a “fastest known time”) in 1 wk. Methods: Training volume, training content, and altitude exposure were recorded daily. Vertical velocity was recorded by GPS (global positioning system) heart-rate monitor. Results: The subject first used a live high–train low and high preacclimatization method in normobaric hypoxia (NH). Daily, he combined sleeping in a hypoxic tent (total hours: ∼260) and exercising “as usual” in normoxia but also in NH (altitude >6000 m: 30 h), including at high intensity. The hypoxic sessions were performed at the second threshold on treadmill in NH at 6000 m, and the pulse saturation increased from 70% to 85% over 1 mo. Then, the subject was progressively exposed to hypobaric hypoxia, first in the Alps and then in the Himalayas. On day 18, he reached for the second time an altitude >8000 m with the fastest vertical velocity (350 m/h) ever measured between 6300 and 8400 m. Afterward, he climbed twice in a week to the summit of Mount Everest (8848 m, including a “fastest known time” of 26.5 h from Rongbuk Monastery, 5100 m). Conclusion: Overall, this acclimatization was successful and in line with the most recent recommendations: first, using live high–train low and high, and second, using hypobaric hypoxia at increasing altitudes for a better translation of the NH benefits to hypobaric hypoxia. This case study reports the preparation for the most outstanding performance ever acheived at an extreme altitude.

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Kamila Grandolfi, Vandre Sosciarelli and Marcos Polito

Purpose: To compare performance in successive 1-repetition maximum (1RM) tests with the load known or unknown. Methods: Thirty-two resistance-trained men were randomly divided into 2 groups: load blinding (BLI; n = 16; age 28.1 [6.9] y, body mass 83.1 [11.5] kg, height 175.3 [5.8] cm) and load nonblinding (nBLI; n = 16; age 27.7 [4.1] y, body mass 83.2 [12.8] kg, height 178.7 [7.3] cm). The groups performed a 1RM test during 4 days (with an interval of 24–48 h) in the horizontal bench press with free weight. Results: In the BLI, there were no significant changes throughout the tests, with a difference of 1.6% between the first and fourth 1RM tests. In the nBLI, there was a significant interaction with time, and the values of the second (P = .03), third (P = .02), and fourth (P = .01) tests were higher than the first test; in addition, the fourth test was significantly higher than the second test (P = .02). The percentage difference between the last and first 1RM tests was 7.1%. The comparison between the groups demonstrated differences in the third (P = .04) and fourth (P = .02) tests with higher values in the nBLI. The intraclass correlation coefficient between the first and fourth 1RM tests was .93 for the BLI and .91 for the nBLI. Conclusion: BLI does not influence 1RM testing in the bench press exercise.

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Robyn F. Madden, Kelly A. Erdman, Jane Shearer, Lawrence L. Spriet, Reed Ferber, Ash T. Kolstad, Jessica L. Bigg, Alexander S.D. Gamble and Lauren C. Benson

Purpose: To determine the effects of low-dose caffeine supplementation (3 mg/kg body mass) consumed 1 h before the experiment on rating of perceived exertion (RPE), skills performance (SP), and physicality in male college ice hockey players. Methods: Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover experimental design, 15 college ice hockey players participated in SP trials and 14 participated in scrimmage (SC) trials on a total of 4 d, with prescribed ice hockey tasks occurring after a 1-h high-intensity practice. In the SP trials, time to complete and error rate for each drill of the validated Western Hockey League Combines Testing Standard were recorded. Peak head accelerations, trunk contacts, and offensive performance were quantified during the SC trials using accelerometery and video analysis. RPE was assessed in both the SP and SC trials. Results: RPE was significantly greater in the caffeine (11.3 [2.0]) than placebo (9.9 [1.9]) condition postpractice (P = .002), with a trend toward greater RPE in caffeine (16.9 [1.8]) than placebo (15.7 [2.8]) post-SC (P = .05). There was a greater number of peak head accelerations in the caffeine (4.35 [0.24]) than placebo (4.14 [0.24]) condition (P = .028). Performance times, error rate, and RPE were not different between intervention conditions during the SP trials (P > .05). Conclusions: A low dose of caffeine has limited impact on sport-specific skill performance and RPE but may enhance physicality during ice hockey SCs.

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Paul Comfort, Thomas Dos’Santos, Paul A. Jones, John J. McMahon, Timothy J. Suchomel, Caleb Bazyler and Michael H. Stone

Purpose: To determine the reliability of early force production (50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 ms) relative to peak force (PF) during an isometric mid-thigh pull and to assess the relationships between these variables. Methods: Male collegiate athletes (N = 29; age 21.1 [2.9] y, height 1.71 [0.07] m, body mass 71.3 [13.6] kg) performed isometric mid-thigh pulls during 2 separate testing sessions. Net PF and net force produced at each epoch were calculated. Within- and between-session reliabilities were determined using intraclass correlation coefficients and coefficient of variation percentages. In addition, Pearson correlation coefficients and coefficient of determination were calculated to examine the relationships between PF and time-specific force production. Results: Net PF and time-specific force demonstrated very high to almost perfect reliability both within and between sessions (intraclass correlation coefficients .82–.97; coefficient of variation percentages 0.35%–1.23%). Similarly, time-specific force expressed as a percentage of PF demonstrated very high to almost perfect reliability both within and between sessions (intraclass correlation coefficients .76–.86; coefficient of variation percentages 0.32%–2.51%). Strong to nearly perfect relationships (r = .615–.881) exist between net PF and time-specific net force, with relationships improving over longer epochs. Conclusion: Based on the smallest detectable difference, a change in force at 50 milliseconds expressed relative to PF > 10% and early force production (100, 150, 200, and 250 ms) expressed relative to PF of >2% should be considered meaningful. Expressing early force production as a percentage of PF is reliable and may provide greater insight into the adaptations to the previous training phase than PF alone.

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Jason R. Boynton, Fabian Danner, Paolo Menaspà, Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Chris R. Abbiss

Purpose: To examine the effect of environmental temperature (T A) on performance and physiological responses (eg, body temperature, cardiopulmonary measures) during a high-intensity aerobic interval session. It was hypothesized that power output would be highest in the 13°C condition and lower in the 5°C, 22°C, and 35°C conditions. Methods: Eleven well-trained cyclists randomly completed 4 interval sessions at 5°C, 13°C, 22°C, and 35°C (55% [13%] relative humidity), each involving five 4-min intervals interspersed with 5 min of recovery. During the intervals, power output, core temperature (T C), skin temperature, VO2, and heart rate were recorded. Results: Mean session power output for 13°C (366 [32] W) was not higher than 5°C (363 [32] W; P = 1.00, effect size = 0.085), 22°C (364 [36] W; P = 1.00, effect size = 0.061), or 35°C (352 [31] W; P = .129, effect size = 0.441). The 5th interval of the 35°C condition had a lower power output compared with all other T A. T C was higher in 22°C compared with both 5°C and 13°C (P = .001). VO2 was not significantly different across T A (P = .187). Heart rate was higher in the 4th and 5th intervals of 35°C compared with 5°C and 13°C. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that while mean power outputs for intervals are similar across T A, hot T A (≥35°C) reduces interval power output later in a training session. Well-trained cyclists performing maximal high-intensity aerobic intervals can achieve near-optimal power output over a broader range of T A than previous literature would indicate.

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Michele Merlini, Greg Whyte, Sam Marcora, Mike Loosemore, Neil Chester and John Dickinson

Purpose: To investigate the impact of twice-daily inhalation of 100 µg of salmeterol (SAL) or 12 µg of formoterol (FOR) in addition to a strength- and power-training program over a 5-wk period on a 30-m sprint, strength, power, mood, stress, and skinfold thickness. Methods: In a randomized, single-blind study, 23 male and 15 female nonasthmatic, recreationally active individuals were recruited (mean [SD] age 26.3 [5.4] y, weight 76.2 [11.5] kg, height 176.9 [8.5] cm). Participants completed 3 standardized whole-body strength- and power-training sessions per week for 5 wk during which they were assigned to an SAL, FOR, or placebo group. Participants used their inhaler twice per day as instructed and completed assessments of sprint, strength, and power at baseline and 1 wk after cessation of the training program. The assessments included a 30-m sprint, vertical jump, 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) bench press, 1RM leg press, peak torque flexion and extension, anthropometric evaluation, and Rest-Q questionnaires. Results: After 5 wk of strength and power training, 30-m sprint time reduced in the FOR (0.29 [0.11] s, P = .049) and SAL (0.35 [0.05] s, P = .040) groups compared with placebo (+0.01 [0.11] s). No significant change was found in other assessments of strength, mood, or skinfold thickness. Conclusions: When strength and power training are combined with the inhalation of FOR or SAL over a 5-wk period, moderately trained individuals experience an improvement in 30-m sprint performance.

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Teun van Erp, Marco Hoozemans, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: A valid measure for training load (TL) is an important tool for cyclists, trainers, and sport scientists involved in professional cycling. The aim of this study was to explore the influence of exercise intensity on the association between kilojoules (kJ) spent and different measures of TL to arrive at valid measures of TL. Methods: Four years of field data were collected from 21 cyclists of a professional cycling team, including 11,716 training and race sessions. kJ spent was obtained from power output measurements, and others TLs were calculated based on the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE), heart rate (Lucia training impulse [luTRIMP]), and power output (training stress score [TSS]). Exercise intensity was expressed by the intensity factor (IF). To study the effect of exercise intensity on the association between kJ spent and various other TLs (sRPE, luTRIMP, and TSS), data from low- and high-intensity sessions were subjected to regression analyses using generalized estimating equations. Results: This study shows that the IF is significantly different for training and race sessions (0.59 [0.03] vs 0.73 [0.03]). Significant regression coefficients show that kJ spent is a good predictor of sRPE, and luTRIMP, as well as TSS. However, IF does not influence the associations between kJ spent and sRPE and luTRIMP, while the association with TSS is different when sessions are done with low or high IF. Conclusion: It seems that the TSS reacts differently to exercise intensity than sRPE and luTRIMP. A possible explanation could be the quadratic relation between IF and TSS.