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Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training in Hypoxia on Taekwondo Performance

Tomás Chacón Torrealba, Jaime Aranda Araya, Nicolas Benoit, and Louise Deldicque

Purpose: To evaluate the effects of a 6-week taekwondo-specific high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in simulated normobaric hypoxia on physical fitness and performance in taekwondoists. Methods: Eighteen male and female black-belt taekwondoists trained twice a week for 6 weeks in normoxia or in hypoxia (FiO2 = 0.143 O2). The HIIT was composed of specific taekwondo movements and simulated fights. Body composition analyses and a frequency speed of kick test during 10 seconds (FSKT10s) and 5 × 10 seconds (FSKTmult), countermovement jump (CMJ) test, Wingate test, and an incremental treadmill test were performed before and after training. Blood lactate concentrations were measured after the FSKTmult and Wingate tests, and a fatigue index during the tests was calculated. Results: A training effect was found for FSKT10s (+35%, P < .001), FSKTmult (+32%, P < .001), and fatigue index (−48%, P = .002). A training effect was found for CMJ height (+5%, P = .003) during the CMJ test. After training, CMJ height increased in hypoxia only (+7%, P = .005). No effect was found for the parameters measured during Wingate test. For the incremental treadmill test, a training effect was found for peak oxygen consumption (P = .002), the latter being 10% lower after than before training in normoxia only (P = .002). Conclusions: In black-belt taekwondoists, hypoxic HIIT twice a week for 6 weeks provides tiny additional gains on key performance parameters compared with normoxic HIIT. Whether the trivial effects reported here might be of physiological relevance to improve performance remains debatable and should be tested individually.

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Contribution of Nonesterified Fatty Acids to Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Activation in Human Skeletal Muscle During Endurance Exercise

Hermann Zbinden-Foncea, Luc J. C. van Loon, Jean-Marc Raymackers, Marc Francaux, and Louise Deldicque

Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are activated in skeletal muscle during endurance exercise, but the upstream molecular events are incompletely resolved. As an increase in plasma nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) is a common feature of long-lasting exercise, the authors tested the hypothesis that NEFA contribute to the activation of MAPK during endurance exercise. Acipimox was used before and during endurance exercise to prevent the elevation of plasma NEFA levels in healthy subjects and patients with diabetes. In 2 separate studies, healthy subjects cycled for 2 hr and patients with diabetes for 1 hr at 50% Wmax. In control conditions, plasma NEFA concentrations increased from 0.35 to 0.90 mM during exercise in healthy subjects and from 0.55 to 0.70 mM in patients with diabetes (p < .05). Phosphorylation states of extracellularly regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), p38, and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK) were significantly increased after exercise in the vastus lateralis in both groups. Acipimox blocked the increase in plasma NEFA concentrations and almost completely repressed any rise in ERK1/2 and p38 but not in JNK. In conclusion, the data support a role for plasma NEFA in the activation of p38 and ERK1/2 in skeletal-muscle tissue of healthy and diabetic subjects during endurance exercise. Further investigation will be required to determine the molecular link between NEFA and MAPK activation during exercise in human skeletal muscle.

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Effects of Caffeine on Countermovement-Jump Performance Variables in Elite Male Volleyball Players

Hermann Zbinden-Foncea, Isabel Rada, Jesus Gomez, Marco Kokaly, Trent Stellingwerff, Louise Deldicque, and Luis Peñailillo

Purpose: To examine the effects of a moderate dose of caffeine in elite male volleyball players on countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance, as well as temporal concentric- and eccentric-phase effects. Methods: Ten elite male volleyball players took part in 2 experimental days via a randomized crossover trial 1 wk apart in which they ingested either 5 mg/kg of caffeine or a placebo in double-blind fashion. Heart rate and blood pressure were measured at rest and 60 min postingestion. Afterward, subjects also performed 3 CMJ trials 60 min postingestion, of which the average was used for further analysis. They filled out a questionnaire on possible side effects 24 h posttrial. Results: Caffeine intake, compared with placebo, increased CMJ peak concentric force (6.5% ± 6.4%; P = .01), peak power (16.2% ± 8.3%; P < .01), flight time (5.3% ± 3.4%; P < .01), velocity at peak power (10.6% ± 8.0%; P < .01), peak displacement (10.8% ± 6.5%; P < .01), peak velocity (12.6% ± 7.4%; P < .01), peak acceleration (13.5% ± 8.5%; P < .01), and the force developed at peak power (6.0% ± 4.0%; P < .01) and reduced the time between peak power and peak force (16.7% ± 21.6%, P = .04). Caffeine increased diastolic blood pressure by 13.0% ± 8.9% (P < .05), whereas no adverse side effects were found. Conclusions: The ingestion of 5 mg/kg of anhydrous caffeine improves overall CMJ performance without inducing side effects.