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Chris R. Abbiss, Kevin G. Thompson, Marcin Lipski, Tim Meyer and Sabrina Skorski

The purpose of this study was to compare the pacing profiles between distance- and duration-based trials of short and long duration. Thirteen trained cyclists completed 2 time-based (6 and 30 min) and 2 distance-based (4 and 20 km) self-paced cycling time trials. Participants were instructed to complete each trial with the highest average power output. Ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) were measured throughout the trials. Average power output was not different between the 4-km and 6-min trials (324 ± 46 vs 325 ± 45 W; P = .96) or between the 20-km and 30-min trials (271 ± 44 vs 267 ± 38 W; P = .24). Power output was greater on commencement of the distance-based trials when short and long trials were analyzed together. Furthermore, the rate of decline in power output over the 1st 40% of the trial was greater in the 20-km trial than in the 30-min trial (P = .01) but not different between the 4-km and the 6-min trials (P = .13). RPE was greater in the 4-km trial than in the 6-min trial but not different between the 20-km and 30-min trials. These findings indicate that athletes commenced distance-based time trials at relatively higher power outputs than a similar time-based trial. Such findings may result from discrete differences in our ability to judge or predict an exercise endpoint when performing time- and distance-based trials.

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Courtney J. McGowan, David B. Pyne, Kevin G. Thompson and Ben Rattray

Purpose:

Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises within the warm-up can enhance sprint freestyle performance. The authors investigated if these interventions would also elicit improvements in sprint breaststroke swimming performance.

Methods:

Ten national and internationally competitive swimmers (~805 FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) 2014 scoring points; 6 men, mean ± SD 20 ± 1 y; 4 women, 21 ± 3 y) completed a standardized pool warm-up (1550 m) followed by a 30-min transition phase and a 100-m breaststroke time trial. In the transition phase, swimmers wore a conventional tracksuit and remained seated (control) or wore tracksuit pants with integrated heating elements and performed a 5-min dryland-based exercise routine (combo) in a crossover design.

Results:

Performance in the 100-m time trial (control: 68.6 ± 4.0 s, combo: 68.4 ± 3.9 s, P = .55) and start times to 15 m (control: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; combo: 7.3 ± 0.6 s; P = .81) were not different between conditions. It was unclear (P = .36) whether combo (–0.12°C ± 0.19°C [mean ± 90% confidence limits]) elicited an improvement in core temperature maintenance in the transition phase compared with control (–0.31°C ± 0.19°C). Skin temperature immediately before commencement of the time trial was higher (by ~1°C, P = .01) within combo (30.13°C ± 0.88°C [mean ± SD]) compared with control (29.11°C ± 1.20°C). Lower-body power output was not different between conditions before the time trial.

Conclusions:

Targeted passive heating and completion of dryland-based activation exercises in the transition phase does not enhance sprint breaststroke performance despite eliciting elevated skin temperature immediately before time trial commencement.

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Amy L. Woods, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Anthony J. Rice and Kevin G. Thompson

The aim of the current study was to determine if a single ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 metabolic cart provides valid and reliable measurement of RMR in comparison with the criterion Douglas Bag method (DB). Ten endurance-trained participants completed duplicate RMR measurements on 2 consecutive days using the ParvoMedics system in exercise mode, with the same expirate analyzed using DB. Typical error (TE) in mean RMR between the systems was 578.9 kJ or 7.5% (p = .01). In comparison with DB, the ParvoMedics system over-estimated RMR by 946.7 ± 818.6 kJ. The bias between systems resulted from ParvoMedics VE(STPD) values. A regression equation was developed to correct the bias, which reduced the difference to -83.3 ± 631.9 kJ. TE for the corrected ParvoMedics data were 446.8 kJ or 7.2% (p = .70). On Day 1, intraday reliability in mean RMR for DB was 286.8 kJ or 4.3%, (p = .54) and for ParvoMedicsuncorrected, 359.3 kJ or 4.4%, (p = .35), with closer agreement observed on Day 2. Interday reliability for DB was 455.3 kJ or 6.6% (p = .61) and for ParvoMedicsuncorrected, 390.2 kJ or 6.3% (p = .54). Similar intraday and interday TE was observed between ParvoMedicsuncorrected and ParvoMedicscorrected data. The ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 provided valid and reliable RMR values compared with DB when the VE(STPD) error was corrected. This will enable widespread monitoring of RMR using the ParvoMedics system in a range of field-based settings when DB is not available.

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Graham J. Mytton, David T. Archer, Alan St Clair Gibson and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose:

To assess the reliability and stability of 400-m swimming and 1500-m running competitions to establish the number of samples needed to obtain a stable pacing profile. Coaches, athletes, and researchers can use these methods to ensure that sufficient data are collected before training and race strategies are constructed or research conclusions are drawn.

Method:

Lap times were collected from 5 world and European championship finals between 2005 and 2011, resulting in the capture of data from 40 swimmers and 55 runners. A cumulative mean for each lap was calculated, starting with the most recent data, and the number of races needed for this to stabilize to within 1% was reported. Typical error for each lap was calculated for athletes who had competed in more than 1 final.

Results:

International swimmers demonstrated more reproducible performances than runners in 3 of the 4 laps of the race (P < .01). Variance in runners’ lap times significantly decreased by 1.7–2.7% after lap 1, whereas variance in swimmers’ lap times tended to increase by 0.1–0.5% after lap 1. To establish a stable profile, at least ten 400-m swimmers and forty-four 1500-m runners must be included.

Conclusions:

A stable race profile was observed from the analysis of 5 events for 1500-m running and 3 events for 400-m swimming. Researchers and athletes can be more certain about the pacing information collected from 400-m swimming than 1500-m running races, as the swimming data are less variable, despite both events being of similar duration.

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Graham J. Mytton, David T. Archer, Kevin G. Thompson, Andrew Renfree and Alan St Clair Gibson

The collection of retrospective lap times from video footage is a potentially useful research tool to analyze the pacing strategies in any number of competitive events. The aim of this study was to validate a novel method of obtaining running split-time data from publically available video footage. Videos of the 1500-m men’s final from the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, 2005 and 2009 World Championships, and 2010 European Championships were obtained from the YouTube Web site, and split times were collected from all competitors using frame-by-frame playback. The typical error of video split times ranged between 0.02 s and 0.11 s for the 4 laps when compared with official split times. Video finishing times were also similar to official finishing times (typical error of 0.04 s). The method was shown to be highly reliable with a typical error of 0.02 s when the same video was analyzed on 2 occasions separated by 8 mo. Video data of track races are widely available; however, camera angles are not always perpendicular to the start/finish line, and some slower athletes may cross the line after the camera has panned away. Nevertheless, the typical errors reported here show that when appropriate camera angles are available this method is both valid and reliable.

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Matthew Weston, Angela E. Hibbs, Kevin G. Thompson and Iain R. Spears

Purpose:

To quantify the effects of a 12-wk isolated core-training program on 50-m front-crawl swim time and measures of core musculature functionally relevant to swimming.

Methods:

Twenty national-level junior swimmers (10 male and 10 female, 16 ± 1 y, 171 ± 5 cm, 63 ± 4 kg) participated in the study. Group allocation (intervention [n = 10], control [n = 10]) was based on 2 preexisting swim-training groups who were part of the same swimming club but trained in different groups. The intervention group completed the core training, incorporating exercises targeting the lumbopelvic complex and upper region extending to the scapula, 3 times/wk for 12 wk. While the training was performed in addition to the normal pool-based swimming program, the control group maintained their usual pool-based swimming program. The authors made probabilistic magnitude-based inferences about the effect of the core training on 50-m swim time and functionally relevant measures of core function.

Results:

Compared with the control group, the core-training intervention group had a possibly large beneficial effect on 50-m swim time (–2.0%; 90% confidence interval –3.8 to –0.2%). Moreover, it showed small to moderate improvements on a timed prone-bridge test (9.0%; 2.1–16.4%) and asymmetric straight-arm pull-down test (23.1%; 13.7–33.4%), and there were moderate to large increases in peak EMG activity of core musculature during isolated tests of maximal voluntary contraction.

Conclusion:

This is the first study to demonstrate a clear beneficial effect of isolated core training on 50-m front-crawl swim performance.

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Thomas I. Gee, Duncan N. French, Karl C. Gibbon and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose:

This study investigated the pacing strategy adopted and the consistency of performance and related physiological parameters across three 2000-m rowing-ergometer tests.

Methods:

Fourteen male well-trained rowers took part in the study. Each participant performed three 2000-m rowing-ergometer tests interspersed by 3–7 d. Throughout the trials, respiratory exchange and heart rate were recorded and power output and stroke rate were analyzed over each 500 m of the test. At the completion of the trial, assessments of blood lactate and rating of perceived exertion were measured.

Results:

Ergometer performance was unchanged across the 3 trials; however, pacing strategy changed from trial 1, which featured a higher starting power output and more progressive decrease in power, to trials 2 and 3, which were characterized by a more conservative start and an end spurt with increased power output during the final 500 m. Mean typical error (TE; %) across the three 2000-m trials was 2.4%, and variability was low to moderate for all assessed physiological variables (TE range = 1.4−5.1%) with the exception of peak lactate (TE = 11.5%).

Conclusions:

Performance and physiological responses during 2000-m rowing ergometry were found to be consistent over 3 trials. The variations observed in pacing strategy between trial 1 and trials 2 and 3 suggest that a habituation trial is required before an intervention study and that participants move from a positive to a reverse-J-shaped strategy, which may partly explain conflicting reports in the pacing strategy exhibited during 2000-m rowing-ergometer trials.

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Courtney J. McGowan, David B. Pyne, Kevin G. Thompson, John S. Raglin and Ben Rattray

Context:

An exercise bout completed several hours prior to an event may improve competitive performance later that same day.

Purpose:

To examine the influence of morning exercise on afternoon sprint-swimming performance.

Methods:

Thirteen competitive swimmers (7 male, mean age 19 ± 3 y; 6 female, mean age 17 ± 3 y) completed a morning session of 1200 m of variedintensity swimming (SwimOnly), a combination of varied-intensity swimming and a resistance-exercise routine (SwimDry), or no morning exercise (NoEx). After a 6-h break, swimmers completed a 100-m time trial.

Results:

Time-trial performance was faster in SwimOnly (1.6% ± 0.6, mean ± 90% confidence limit, P < .01) and SwimDry (1.7% ± 0.7%, P < .01) than in NoEx. Split times for the 25- to 50-m distance were faster in both SwimOnly (1.7% ± 1.2%, P = .02) and SwimDry (1.5% ± 0.8%, P = .01) than in NoEx. The first 50-m stroke rate was higher in SwimOnly (0.70 ± 0.21 Hz, mean ± SD, P = .03) and SwimDry (0.69 ± 0.18 Hz, P = .05) than in NoEx (0.64 ± 0.16 Hz). Before the afternoon session, core (0.2°C ± 0.1°C [mean ± 90% confidence limit], P = .04), body (0.2°C ± 0.1°C, P = .02), and skin temperatures (0.3°C ± 0.3°C, P = .02) were higher in SwimDry than in NoEx.

Conclusions:

Completion of a morning swimming session alone or together with resistance exercise can substantially enhance sprint-swimming performance completed later the same day.

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Jocelyn K. Mara, Kevin G. Thompson, Kate L. Pumpa and Nick B. Ball

Purpose:

To investigate the variation in training demands, physical performance, and player well-being across a women’s soccer season.

Methods:

Seventeen elite female players wore GPS tracking devices during every training session (N = 90) throughout 1 national-league season. Intermittent high-speed-running capacity and 5-, 15-, and 25-m-sprint testing were conducted at the beginning of preseason, end of preseason, midseason, and end of season. In addition, subjective well-being measures were selfreported daily by players over the course of the season.

Results:

Time over 5 m was lowest at the end of preseason (mean 1.148 s, SE 0.017 s) but then progressively deteriorated to the end of the season (P < .001). Sprint performance over 15 m improved by 2.8% (P = .013) after preseason training, while 25-m-sprint performance peaked at midseason, with a 3.1% (P = .05) improvement from the start of preseason, before declining at the end of season (P = .023). Training demands varied between phases, with total distance and high-speed distance greatest during preseason before decreasing (P < .001) during the early- and late-season phases. Endurance capacity and well-being measures did not change across training phases.

Conclusions:

Monitoring training demands and subsequent physical performance in elite female soccer players allow coaches to ensure that training periodization goals are being met and related positive training adaptations are being elicited.

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Michael J. Davies, Bradley Clark, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Marijke Welvaert, Christopher J. Gore and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose: To determine if a series of trials with fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) content deception could improve 4000-m cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: A total of 15 trained male cyclists (mean [SD] body mass 74.2 [8.0] kg, peak oxygen uptake 62 [6] mL·kg−1·min−1) completed six 4000-m cycling TTs in a semirandomized order. After a familiarization TT, cyclists were informed in 2 initial trials they were inspiring normoxic air (NORM, FiO2 0.21); however, in 1 trial (deception condition), they inspired hyperoxic air (NORM-DEC, FiO2 0.36). During 2 subsequent TTs, cyclists were informed they were inspiring hyperoxic air (HYPER, FiO2 0.36), but in 1 trial, normoxic air was inspired (HYPER-DEC). In the final TT (NORM-INFORM), the deception was revealed and cyclists were asked to reproduce their best TT performance while inspiring normoxic air. Results: Greater power output and faster performances occurred when cyclists inspired hyperoxic air in both truthful (HYPER) and deceptive (NORM-DEC) trials than NORM (P < .001). However, performance only improved in NORM-INFORM (377 W; 95% confidence interval [CI] 325–429) vs NORM (352 W; 95% CI 299–404; P < .001) when participants (n = 4) completed the trials in the following order: NORM-DEC, NORM, HYPER-DEC, HYPER. Conclusions: Cycling performance improved with acute exposure to hyperoxia. Mechanisms for the improvement were likely physiological; however, improvement in a deception trial suggests an additional placebo effect. Finally, a particular sequence of oxygen deception trials may have built psychophysiological belief in cyclists such that performance improved in a subsequent normoxic trial.