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Emma L. Sweeney, Daniel J. Peart, Irene Kyza, Thomas Harkes, Jason G. Ellis and Ian H. Walshe

Experimental sleep restriction (SR) has demonstrated reduced insulin sensitivity in healthy individuals. Exercise is well-known to be beneficial for metabolic health. A single bout of exercise has the capacity to increase insulin sensitivity for up to 2 days. Therefore, the current study aimed to determine if sprint interval exercise could attenuate the impairment in insulin sensitivity after one night of SR in healthy males. Nineteen males were recruited for this randomized crossover study which consisted of four conditions—control, SR, control plus exercise, and sleep restriction plus exercise. Time in bed was 8 hr (2300–0700) in the control conditions and 4 hr (0300–0700) in the SR conditions. Conditions were separated by a 1-week entraining period. Participants slept at home, and compliance was assessed using wrist actigraphy. Following the night of experimental sleep, participants either conducted sprint interval exercise or rested for the equivalent duration. An oral glucose tolerance test was then conducted. Blood samples were obtained at regular intervals for measurement of glucose and insulin. Insulin concentrations were higher in SR than control (p = .022). Late-phase insulin area under the curve was significantly lower in sleep restriction plus exercise than SR (862 ± 589 and 1,267 ± 558; p = .004). Glucose area under the curve was not different between conditions (p = .207). These findings suggest that exercise improves the late postprandial response following a single night of SR.

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Samuel T. Tebeck, Jonathan D. Buckley, Clint R. Bellenger and Jamie Stanley

Purpose: To investigate the effect of a 5-day short-term heat acclimation (STHA) protocol in dry (43°C and 20% relative humidity) or humid (32°C and 80% relative humidity) environmental conditions on endurance cycling performance in temperate conditions (21°C). Methods: In a randomized, cross-over design, 11 cyclists completed each of the two 5-day blocks of STHA matched for heat index (44°C) and total exposure time (480 min), separated by 30 days. Pre- and post-STHA temperate endurance performance (4-min mean maximal power, lactate threshold 1 and 2) was assessed; in addition, a heat stress test was used to assess individual levels of heat adaptation. Results: Differences in endurance performance were unclear. Following dry STHA, gross mechanical efficiency was likely reduced (between-condition effect size dry vs humid −0.59; 90% confidence interval, −1.05 to −0.15), oxygen uptake was likely increased for a given workload (0.64 [0.14 to 1.07]), and energy expenditure likely increased (0.59 [0.17 to 1.03]). Plasma volume expansion at day 5 of acclimation was similar (within-condition outcome 4.6% [6.3%] and 5.3% [5.1%] dry and humid, respectively) but was retained for 3 to 4 days longer after the final humid STHA exposure (−0.2% [8.1%] and 4.5% [4.2%] dry and humid, respectively). Sweat rate was very likely increased during dry STHA (0.57 [0.25 to 0.89]) and possibly increased (0.18 [−0.15 to 0.50]) during humid STHA. Conclusion: STHA induced divergent adaptations between dry and humid conditions, but did not result in differences in temperate endurance performance.

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Liam Sayer, Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez, Paola Rodriguez-Giustiniani, Christopher Irwin, Danielle McCartney, Gregory R. Cox, Stuart D.R. Galloway and Ben Desbrow

This study investigated the effect of drinking rate on fluid retention of milk and water following exercise-induced dehydration. In Part A, 12 male participants lost 1.9% ± 0.3% body mass through cycle exercise on four occasions. Following exercise, plain water or low-fat milk equal to the volume of sweat lost during exercise was provided. Beverages were ingested over 30 or 90 min, resulting in four beverage treatments: water 30 min, water 90 min, milk 30 min, and milk 90 min. In Part B, 12 participants (nine males and three females) lost 2.0% ± 0.3% body mass through cycle exercise on four occasions. Following exercise, plain water equal to the volume of sweat lost during exercise was provided. Water was ingested over 15 min (DR15), 45 min (DR45), or 90 min (DR90), with either DR15 or DR45 repeated. In both trials, nude body mass, urine volume, urine specific gravity and osmolality, plasma osmolality, and subjective ratings of gastrointestinal symptoms were obtained preexercise and every hour for 3 hr after the onset of drinking. In Part A, no effect of drinking rate was observed on the proportion of fluid retained, but milk retention was greater (p < .01) than water (water 30 min: 57% ± 16%, water 90 min: 60% ± 20%, milk 30 min: 83% ± 6%, and milk 90 min: 85% ± 7%). In Part B, fluid retention was greater in DR90 (57% ± 13%) than DR15 (50% ± 11%, p < .05), but this was within test–retest variation determined from the repeated trials (coefficient of variation: 17%). Within the range of drinking rates investigated the nutrient composition of a beverage has a more pronounced impact on fluid retention than the ingestion rate.

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Peter A. van de Hoef, Jur J. Brauers, Maarten van Smeden, Frank J.G. Backx and Michel S. Brink

Background: Plyometric training is a specific form of strength training that is used to improve the physical performance of athletes. An overview of the effects of plyometric training on soccer-specific outcomes in adult male soccer players is not available yet. Purpose: To systematically review and meta-analyze the effects of plyometric training on soccer-specific outcome measures in adult male soccer players and to identify which programs are most effective. Methods: PubMed, Embase/Medline, Cochrane, PEDro, and Scopus were searched. Extensive quality and risk of bias assessments were performed using the Cochrane ROBINS 2.0 for randomized trials. A random effects meta-analysis was performed using Cochrane Review Manager 5.3. Results: Seventeen randomized trials were included in the meta-analysis. The impact of plyometric training on strength, jump height, sprint speed, agility, and endurance was assessed. Only jump height, 20-m sprint speed, and endurance were significantly improved by plyometric training in soccer players. Results of the risk of bias assessment of the included studies resulted in overall scores of some concerns for risk of bias and high risk of bias. Conclusion: This review and meta-analysis showed that plyometric training improved jump height, 20-m sprint speed, and endurance, but not strength, sprint speed over other distances, or agility in male adult soccer players. However, the low quality of the included studies and substantial heterogeneity means that results need to be interpreted with caution. Future high-quality research should indicate whether or not plyometric training can be used to improve soccer-specific outcomes and thereby enhance performance.

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Ed Maunder, Andrew E. Kilding, Christopher J. Stevens and Daniel J. Plews

A common practice among endurance athletes is to purposefully train in hot environments during a “heat stress camp.” However, combined exercise-heat stress poses threats to athlete well-being, and therefore, heat stress training has the potential to induce maladaptation. This case study describes the monitoring strategies used in a successful 3-week heat stress camp undertaken by 2 elite Ironman triathletes, namely resting heart rate variability, self-report well-being, and careful prescription of training based on previously collected physiological data. Despite the added heat stress, training volume very likely increased in both athletes, and training load very likely increased in one of the athletes, while resting heart rate variability and self-report well-being were maintained. There was also some evidence of favorable metabolic changes during routine laboratory testing following the camp. The authors therefore recommend that practitioners working with endurance athletes embarking on a heat stress training camp consider using the simple strategies employed in the present case study to reduce the risk of maladaptation and nonfunctional overreaching.

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Richard Ebreo, Louis Passfield and James Hopker

Purpose: To evaluate the reliability of calculating gross efficiency (GE) conventionally and using a back extrapolation (BE) method during high-intensity exercise (HIE). Methods: A total of 12 trained participants completed 2 HIE bouts (P1 = 4 min at 80% maximal aerobic power [MAP]; P2 = 4 min at 100%MAP). GE was calculated conventionally in the last 3 minutes of submaximal (50%MAP) cycling bouts performed before and after HIE (Pre50%MAP and Post50%MAP). To calculate GE using BE (BGE), a linear regression of GE submaximal values post-HIE were back extrapolated to the end of the HIE bout. Results: BGE was significantly correlated with Post50%MAP GE in P1 (r = .63; P = .01) and in P2 (r = .85; P = .002). Reliability data for P1 and P2 BGE demonstrate a mean coefficient of variation of 7.8% and 9.8% with limits of agreement of 4.3% and 4.5% in relative GE units, respectively. P2 BGE was significantly lower than P2 Post50%MAP GE (18.1% [1.6%] vs 20.3% [1.7%]; P = .01). Using a declining GE from the BE method, there was a 44% greater anaerobic contribution compared with assuming a constant GE during 4-minute HIE at 100%MAP. Conclusion: HIE acutely reduced BGE at 100%MAP. A greater anaerobic contribution to exercise as well as excess postexercise oxygen consumption at 100%MAP may contribute to this decline in efficiency. The BE method may be a reliable and valid tool in both estimating GE during HIE and calculating aerobic and anaerobic contributions.

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Gavriil G. Arsoniadis, Gregory C. Bogdanis, Gerasimos Terzis and Argyris G. Toubekis

Purpose: To examine the acute effect of dry-land strength training on physiological and biomechanical parameters in a subsequent swim training session. Methods: Twelve male swimmers (age: 19.0 [2.2] y, peak oxygen uptake: 65.5 [11.4] mL·kg−1·min−1) performed a 5 × 200-m test with progressively increasing intensity. Blood lactate (BL) concentration was measured after each 200-m bout, and the speed corresponding to 4 mmol·L−1 (V4) was calculated. In the experimental (EXP) and control (CON) conditions, swimmers participated in a swim training session consisting of 1000-m warm-up, a bout of 10-second tethered swimming sprint, and 5 × 400 m at V4. In EXP condition, swimmers completed a dry-land strength training session (load: 85% of 1-repetition maximum) 15 minutes before the swimming session. In CON condition, swimmers performed the swimming session only. Oxygen uptake, BL concentration, arm-stroke rate, arm-stroke length, and arm-stroke efficiency were measured during the 5 × 400 m. Results: Force in the 10-second sprint was not different between conditions (P = .61), but fatigue index was higher in the EXP condition (P = .03). BL concentration was higher in EXP condition and showed large effect size at the fifth 400-m repetition compared with CON condition (6.4 [2.7] vs 4.6 [2.8] mmol·L−1, d = 0.63). During the 5 × 400 m, arm-stroke efficiency remained unchanged, arm-stroke length was decreased from the third repetition onward (P = .01), and arm-stroke rate showed a medium increment in EXP condition (d = 0.23). Conclusions: Strength training completed 15 minutes before a swim training session caused moderate changes in biomechanical parameters and increased BL concentration during swimming. Despite these changes, swimmers were able to maintain force and submaximal speed during the endurance training session.

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Joel M. Garrett, Stuart R. Graham, Roger G. Eston, Darren J. Burgess, Lachlan J. Garrett, John Jakeman and Kevin Norton

Purpose: To determine the typical variation of variables from a countermovement jump (CMJ) test and a submaximal run test (SRT), along with comparing the sensitivity of each test for the detection of practically important changes within high-performance Australian rules football players. Methods: A total of 23 professional and semiprofessional Australian rules football players performed 6 CMJs and three 8-second 50-m runs every 30 seconds (SRT), 7 days apart. Absolute and trial-to-trial reliability was represented as a coefficient of variation, CV (±90% confidence intervals). Test–retest reliability was examined using the magnitude of the difference (effect size [±90% confidence interval]) from week 1 to week 2. The smallest worthwhile change was calculated as 0.25 × SD. Results: Good reliability (CVs = 6.6%–9.3%) was determined for all variables except eccentric displacement (CV = 12.8%), with no clear changes observed in any variables between week 1 and week 2. All variables from the SRT possessed a CV less than smallest worthwhile change, indicating an ability to detect practically important changes in performance. Only peak velocity from the CMJ test possessed a CV less than smallest worthwhile change, exhibiting a limitation of this test in detecting practically meaningful changes within this environment. Conclusions: The results suggest that while all variables possess acceptable reliability, a SRT might offer to be a more sensitive monitoring tool than a CMJ test within high-performance Australian rules football, due to its greater ability for detecting practically important changes in performance.

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Helmi Chaabene, Yassine Negra, Jason Moran, Olaf Prieske, Senda Sammoud, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo and Urs Granacher

Purpose: This study examined the effects of an 8-week Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) training on components of physical performance in young female handball players. Methods: Participants were allocated to an experimental group (EG; n = 10; age: 15.9 [0.2] y) and a control group (CG; n = 9; age: 15.9 [0.3] y). The EG performed NHE (2–3 sessions/wk) in replacement of some handball-specific drills, whereas the CG followed regular handball training. Pretraining and posttraining tests were carried out for the assessment of sprint speed (5 m, 10 m, and 20 m), jump performance (countermovement jump [CMJ] height), change-of-direction (t test), and repeated-sprint ability (RSA total time [RSAtotal], RSA best time [RSAbest], and RSA fatigue index [RSAFI]). Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences. Results: Within-group analyses for the EG showed moderate performance improvements for 5, 10, and 20 m (effect size [ES] = 0.68–0.82), t test (ES = 0.74), and CMJ (ES = 0.85). Trivial to small improvements were observed for RSA (ES = −0.06 to 0.35). For the CG, within-group outcomes showed performance decrements with moderate (t test [ES = 0.71]), small (5 m [ES = 0.46] and RSAbest [ES = 0.20]), and trivial magnitude (10 m [ES = 0.10], 20 m [ES = 0.16], and RSAtotal [ES = 0.00]). Furthermore, trivial to small performance improvements were found for CMJ (ES = 0.10) and RSAFI (ES = 0.5). Between-group analyses revealed small to large effects in favor of EG for 5 m (ES = 1.07), 10 m (ES = 0.66), 20 m (ES = 0.53), t test (ES = 1.38), and RSA (ES = 0.68–0.78). A trivial between-group difference was demonstrated for CMJ (ES = −0.01). Conclusions: The NHE training intervention, in replacement of some handball-specific drills, was more effective than regular handball training in improving physical performance (ie, linear sprint time, jumping, change-of-direction, and RSA) in young female handball players.