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The Influence of Blood Removal on Pacing During a 4-Minute Cycling Time Trial

Nathan G. Lawler, Chris R. Abbiss, Aaron Raman, Timothy J. Fairchild, Garth L. Maker, Robert D. Trengove, and Jeremiah J. Peiffer

Purpose:

To examine the influence of manipulating aerobic contribution after whole-blood removal on pacing patterns, performance, and energy contribution during self-paced middle-distance cycling.

Methods:

Seven male cyclists (33 ± 8 y) completed an incremental cycling test followed 20 min later by a 4-min self-paced cycling time trial (4MMP) on 6 separate occasions over 42 d. The initial 2 sessions acted as familiarization and baseline testing, after which 470 mL of blood was removed, with the remaining sessions performed 24 h, 7 d, 21 d, and 42 d after blood removal. During all 4MMP trials, power output, oxygen uptake, and aerobic and anaerobic contribution to power were determined.

Results:

4MMP average power output significantly decreased by 7% ± 6%, 6% ± 8%, and 4% ± 6% at 24 h, 7 d, and 21 d after blood removal, respectively. Compared with baseline, aerobic contribution during the 4MMP was significantly reduced by 5% ± 4%, 4% ± 5%, and 4% ± 10% at 24 h, 7 d, and 21 d, respectively. The rate of decline in power output on commencement of the 4MMP was significantly attenuated and was 76% ± 20%, 72% ± 24%, and 75% ± 35% lower than baseline at 24 h, 21 d, and 42 d, respectively.

Conclusion:

Removal of 470 mL of blood reduces aerobic energy contribution, alters pacing patterns, and decreases performance during self-paced cycling. These findings indicate the importance of aerobic energy distribution during self-paced middle-distance events.

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Improvement of Sprint Triathlon Performance in Trained Athletes With Positive Swim Pacing

Sam S.X. Wu, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Peter Peeling, Jeanick Brisswalter, Wing Y. Lau, Kazunori Nosaka, and Chris R. Abbiss

Purpose:

To investigate the effect of 3 swim-pacing profiles on subsequent performance during a sprint-distance triathlon (SDT).

Methods:

Nine competitive/trained male triathletes completed 5 experimental sessions including a graded running exhaustion test, a 750-m swim time trial (STT), and 3 SDTs. The swim times of the 3 SDTs were matched, but pacing was manipulated to induce positive (ie, speed gradually decreasing from 92% to 73% STT), negative (ie, speed gradually increasing from 73% to 92% STT), or even pacing (constant 82.5% STT). The remaining disciplines were completed at a self-selected maximal pace. Speed over the entire triathlon, power output during the cycle discipline, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) for each discipline, and heart rate during the cycle and run were determined.

Results:

Faster cycle and overall triathlon times were achieved with positive swim pacing (30.5 ± 1.8 and 65.9 ± 4.0 min, respectively), as compared with the even (31.4 ± 1.0 min, P = .018 and 67.7 ± 3.9 min, P = .034, effect size [ES] = 0.46, respectively) and negative (31.8 ± 1.6 min, P = .011 and 67.3 ± 3.7 min, P = .041, ES = 0.36, respectively) pacing. Positive swim pacing elicited a lower RPE (9 ± 2) than negative swim pacing (11 ± 2, P = .014). No differences were observed in the other measured variables.

Conclusions:

A positive swim pacing may improve overall SDT performance and should be considered by both elite and age-group athletes during racing.

Open access

Within-Season Distribution of External Training and Racing Workload in Professional Male Road Cyclists

Alan J. Metcalfe, Paolo Menaspà, Vincent Villerius, Marc Quod, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Andrew D. Govus, and Chris R Abbiss

Purpose:

To describe the within-season external workloads of professional male road cyclists for optimal training prescription.

Methods:

Training and racing of 4 international competitive professional male cyclists (age 24 ± 2 y, body mass 77.6 ± 1.5 kg) were monitored for 12 mo before the world team-time-trial championships. Three within-season phases leading up to the team-time-trial world championships on September 20, 2015, were defined as phase 1 (Oct–Jan), phase 2 (Feb–May), and phase 3 (June–Sept). Distance and time were compared between training and racing days and over each of the various phases. Times spent in absolute (<100, 100–300, 400–500, >500 W) and relative (0–1.9, 2.0–4.9, 5.0–7.9, >8 W/kg) power zones were also compared for the whole season and between phases 1–3.

Results:

Total distance (3859 ± 959 vs 10911 ± 620 km) and time (240.5 ± 37.5 vs 337.5 ± 26 h) were lower (P < .01) in phase 1 than phase 2. Total distance decreased (P < .01) from phase 2 to phase 3 (10911 ± 620 vs 8411 ± 1399 km, respectively). Mean absolute (236 ± 12.1 vs 197 ± 3 W) and relative (3.1 ± 0 vs 2.5 ± 0 W/kg) power output were higher (P < .05) during racing than training, respectively.

Conclusion:

Volume and intensity differed between training and racing over each of 3 distinct within-season phases.

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Concurrent Heat and Intermittent Hypoxic Training: No Additional Performance Benefit Over Temperate Training

Erin L. McCleave, Katie M. Slattery, Rob Duffield, Stephen Crowcroft, Chris R. Abbiss, Lee K. Wallace, and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To examine whether concurrent heat and intermittent hypoxic training can improve endurance performance and physiological responses relative to independent heat or temperate interval training. Methods: Well-trained male cyclists (N = 29) completed 3 weeks of moderate- to high-intensity interval training (4 × 60 min·wk−1) in 1 of 3 conditions: (1) heat (HOT: 32°C, 50% relative humidity, 20.8% fraction of inspired oxygen, (2) heat + hypoxia (H+H: 32°C, 50% relative humidity, 16.2% fraction of inspired oxygen), or (3) temperate environment (CONT: 22°C, 50% relative humidity, 20.8% fraction of inspired oxygen). Performance 20-km time trials (TTs) were conducted in both temperate (TTtemperate) and assigned condition (TTenvironment) before (base), immediately after (mid), and after a 3-week taper (end). Measures of hemoglobin mass, plasma volume, and blood volume were also assessed. Results: There was improved 20-km TT performance to a similar extent across all groups in both TTtemperate (mean ±90% confidence interval HOT, −2.8% ±1.8%; H+H, −2.0% ±1.5%; CONT, −2.0% ±1.8%) and TTenvironment (HOT, −3.3% ±1.7%; H+H, −3.1% ±1.6%; CONT, −3.2% ±1.1%). Plasma volume (HOT, 3.8% ±4.7%; H+H, 3.3% ±4.7%) and blood volume (HOT, 3.0% ±4.1%; H+H, 4.6% ±3.9%) were both increased at mid in HOT and H+H over CONT. Increased hemoglobin mass was observed in H+H only (3.0% ±1.8%). Conclusion: Three weeks of interval training in heat, concurrent heat and hypoxia, or temperate environments improve 20-km TT performance to the same extent. Despite indications of physiological adaptations, the addition of independent heat or concurrent heat and hypoxia provided no greater performance benefits in a temperate environment than temperate training alone.

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Relationships Between Triathlon Performance and Pacing Strategy During the Run in an International Competition

Yann Le Meur, Thierry Bernard, Sylvain Dorel, Chris R. Abbiss, Gérard Honnorat, Jeanick Brisswalter, and Christophe Hausswirth

Purpose:

The purpose of the present study was to examine relationships between athlete’s pacing strategies and running performance during an international triathlon competition.

Methods:

Running split times for each of the 107 finishers of the 2009 European Triathlon Championships (42 females and 65 males) were determined with the use of a digital synchronized video analysis system. Five cameras were placed at various positions of the running circuit (4 laps of 2.42 km). Running speed and an index of running speed variability (IRSVrace) were subsequently calculated over each section or running split.

Results:

Mean running speed over the frst 1272 m of lap 1 was 0.76 km-h–1 (+4.4%) and 1.00 km-h–1 (+5.6%) faster than the mean running speed over the same section during the three last laps, for females and males, respectively (P < .001). A significant inverse correlation was observed between RSrace and IRSVrace for all triathletes (females r = -0.41, P = .009; males r = -0.65, P = .002; and whole population -0.76, P = .001). Females demonstrated higher IRSVrace compared with men (6.1 ± 0.5 km-h–1 and 4.0 ± 1.4 km-h–1, for females and males, respectively, P = .001) due to greater decrease in running speed over uphill sections.

Conclusions:

Pacing during the run appears to play a key role in high-level triathlon performance. Elite triathletes should reduce their initial running speed during international competitions, even if high levels of motivation and direct opponents lead them to adopt an aggressive strategy.

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Effects of Short-Term Training With Uncoupled Cranks in Trained Cyclists

Jack M. Burns, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Chris R. Abbiss, Greig Watson, Angus Burnett, and Paul B. Laursen

Purpose:

Manufacturers of uncoupled cycling cranks claim that their use will increase economy of motion and gross efficiency. Purportedly, this occurs by altering the muscle-recruitment patterns contributing to the resistive forces occurring during the recovery phase of the pedal stroke. Uncoupled cranks use an independent-clutch design by which each leg cycles independently of the other (ie, the cranks are not fixed together). However, research examining the efficacy of training with uncoupled cranks is equivocal. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of short-term training with uncoupled cranks on the performance-related variables economy of motion, gross efficiency, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and muscle-activation patterns.

Methods:

Sixteen trained cyclists were matched-paired into either an uncoupled-crank or a normal-crank training group. Both groups performed 5 wk of training on their assigned cranks. Before and after training, participants completed a graded exercise test using normal cranks. Expired gases were collected to determine economy of motion, gross efficiency, and VO2max, while integrated electromyography (iEMG) was used to examine muscle-activation patterns of the vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and gastrocnemius.

Results:

No significant changes between groups were observed for economy of motion, gross efficiency, VO2max, or iEMG in the uncoupled- or normal-crank group.

Conclusions:

Five weeks of training with uncoupled cycling cranks had no effect on economy of motion, gross efficiency, muscle recruitment, or VO2max compared with training on normal cranks.

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Single- Versus Double-Leg Cycling: Small Muscle Mass Exercise Improves Exercise Capacity to a Greater Extent in Older Compared With Younger Population

Toni Haddad, Angela L. Spence, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Gregory M. Blain, Jeanick Brisswalter, and Chris R. Abbiss

Manipulating the amount of muscle mass engaged during exercise can noninvasively inform the contribution of central cardiovascular and peripheral vascular-oxidative functions to endurance performance. To better understand the factors contributing to exercise limitation in older and younger individuals, exercise performance was assessed during single-leg and double-leg cycling. 16 older (67 ± 5 years) and 14 younger (35 ± 5 years) individuals performed a maximal exercise using single-leg and double-leg cycling. The ratio of single-leg to double-leg cycling power (RatioPower SL/DL) was compared between age groups. The association between fitness (peak oxygen consumption, peak power output, and physical activity levels) and RatioPower SL/DL was explored. The RatioPower SL/DL was greater in older compared with younger individuals (1.14 ± 0.11 vs. 1.06 ± 0.08, p = .041). The RatioPower SL/DL was correlated with peak oxygen consumption (r = .886, p < .001), peak power output relative to body mass (r = .854, p < .001), and levels of physical activity (r = .728, p = .003) in the younger but not older subgroup. Reducing the amount of muscle mass engaged during exercise improved exercise capacity to a greater extent in older versus younger population and may reflect a greater reduction in central cardiovascular function compared with peripheral vascular-oxidative function with aging.