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David B. Pyne, Joshua H. Guy and Andrew M. Edwards

Heat and immune stress can affect athletes in a wide range of sports and environmental conditions. The classical thermoregulatory model of heat stress has been well characterized, as has a wide range of practical strategies largely centered on cooling and heat-acclimation training. In the last decade evidence has emerged of an inflammatory pathway that can also contribute to heat stress. Studies are now addressing the complex and dynamic interplay between hyperthermia, the coagulation cascade, and a systemic inflammatory response occurring after transient damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Damage to the intestinal mucosal membrane increases permeability, resulting in leakage of endotoxins into the circulation. Practical strategies that target both thermoregulatory and inflammatory causes of heat stress include precooling; short-term heat-acclimation training; nutritional countermeasures including hydration, energy replacement, and probiotic supplementation; pacing strategies during events; and postevent cooling measures. Cooperation between international, national, and local sporting organizations is required to ensure that heat-management policies and strategies are implemented effectively to promote athletes’ well-being and performance.

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Matt Spencer, David Pyne, Juanma Santisteban and Iñigo Mujika

Variations in rates of growth and development in young football players can influence relationships among various fitness qualities.

Purpose:

To investigate the relationships between repeated-sprint ability and other fundamental fitness qualities of acceleration, agility, explosive leg power, and aerobic conditioning through the age groups of U1 1 to U18 in highly trained junior football players.

Methods:

Male players (n = 119) across the age groups completed a fitness assessment battery over two testing sessions. The first session consisted of countermovement jumps without and with arm swing, 15-m sprint run, 15-m agility run, and the 20-m Shuttle Run (U11 to U15) or the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test, Level 1 (U16 to U18). The players were tested for repeated-sprint ability in the second testing session using a protocol of 6 × 30-m sprints on 30 s with an active recovery.

Results:

The correlations of repeated-sprint ability with the assorted fitness tests varied considerably between the age groups, especially for agility (r = .02 to .92) and explosive leg power (r = .04 to .84). Correlations of repeated sprint ability with acceleration (r = .48 to .93) and aerobic conditioning (r = .28 to .68) were less variable with age.

Conclusion:

Repeated-sprint ability associates differently with other fundamental fitness tests throughout the teenage years in highly trained football players, although stabilization of these relationships occurs by the age of 18 y. Coaches in junior football should prescribe physical training accounting for variations in short-term disruptions or impairment of physical performance during this developmental period.

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Carl Petersen, David Pyne, Marc Portus and Brian Dawson

Purpose:

The validity and reliability of three commercial global positioning system (GPS) units (MinimaxX, Catapult, Australia; SPI-10, SPI-Pro, GPSports, Australia) were quantified.

Methods:

Twenty trials of cricket-specific locomotion patterns and distances (walking 8800 m, jogging 2400 m, running 1200 m, striding 600 m, sprinting 20- to 40-m intervals, and run-a-three) were compared against criterion measures (400-m athletic track, electronic timing). Validity was quantified with the standard error of the estimate (SEE) and reliability estimated using typical error expressed as a coefficient of variation.

Results:

The validity (mean ± 90% confidence limits) for locomotion patterns walking to striding ranged from 0.4 ± 0.1 to 3.8 ± 1.4%, whereas for sprinting distances over 20 to 40 m including run-a-three (approx. 50 m) the SEE ranged from 2.6 ± 1.0 to 23.8 ± 8.8%. The reliability (expressed as mean [90% confidence limits]) of estimating distance traveled by walking to striding ranged from 0.3 (0.2 to 0.4) to 2.9% (2.3 to 4.0). Similarly, mean reliability of estimating different sprinting distances over 20 to 40 m ranged from 2.0 (1.6 to 2.8) to 30.0% (23.2 to 43.3).

Conclusions:

The accuracy and bias was dependent on the GPS brand employed. Commercially available GPS units have acceptable validity and reliability for estimating longer distances (600–8800 m) in walking to striding, but require further development for shorter cricket-specifc sprinting distances.

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Paul G. Montgomery, David B. Pyne and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose:

To characterize the physical and physiological responses during different basketball practice drills and games.

Methods:

Male basketball players (n = 11; 19.1 ± 2.1 y, 1.91 ± 0.09 m, 87.9 ± 15.1 kg; mean ± SD) completed offensive and defensive practice drills, half court 5on5 scrimmage play, and competitive games. Heart rate, VO2 and triaxial accelerometer data (physical demand) were normalized for individual participation time. Data were log-transformed and differences between drills and games standardized for interpretation of magnitudes and reported with the effect size (ES) statistic.

Results:

There was no substantial difference in the physical or physiological variables between offensive and defensive drills; physical load (9.5%; 90% confidence limits ±45); mean heart rate (-2.4%; ±4.2); peak heart rate (-0.9%; ±3.4); and VO2 (–5.7%; ±9.1). Physical load was moderately greater in game play compared with a 5on5 scrimmage (85.2%; ±40.5); with a higher mean heart rate (12.4%; ±5.4). The oxygen demand for live play was substantially larger than 5on5 (30.6%; ±15.6).

Conclusions:

Defensive and offensive drills during basketball practice have similar physiological responses and physical demand. Live play is substantially more demanding than a 5on5 scrimmage in both physical and physiological attributes. Accelerometers and predicted oxygen cost from heart rate monitoring systems are useful for differentiating the practice and competition demands of basketball.

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Iñigo Mujika, Rafa González De Txabarri and David Pyne

Energicer is a new solution which purportedly increases evaporative cooling during exercise in the heat.

Purpose:

To evaluate the effect of Energicer on performance during indoor rowing in a warm environment.

Methods:

Eighteen highly trained rowers (age 23.3 ± 6.7 y, height 181.3 ± 6.0 cm, mass 76.7 ± 5.0 kg, peak aerobic power (PAP) 322.1 ± 24.3 W; mean ± SD) performed two indoor rowing trials at 25.0°C and 65.0% relative humidity. Each trial consisted of 10 min at 55% PAP, 5 min of rest, 10 min at 70% PAP, 10 min of rest, and 2000 m time trial. Subjects were randomly assigned to an experimental (COOL) or a placebo (PLA) condition, using a double-blind, crossover design. During COOL, subjects wore sweatbands soaked in Energicer on both forearms; during PLA, they wore identical sweatbands soaked in cool water. Physiological measures and rowing performance were analyzed in a post-test-only crossover design. Magnitude of the difference between treatments was interpreted using the Cohen’s effect statistic.

Results:

No substantial differences were observed in heart rate, blood lactate and RPE between treatments during the submaximal row (COOL 163 ± 10 bpm, 4.3 ± 1.0 mM, 14.5 ± 1.8; PLA 165 ± 11 bpm, 4.8 ± 1.4 mM, 14.6 ± 1.6) and the time trial (COOL 179 ± 9 bpm, 10.7 ± 2.3 mM, 20 ± 0; PLA 179 ± 10 bpm, 11.1 ± 2.2 mM, 20 ± 0). Time (419 ± 11 vs 420 ± 12 s), mean power (305 ± 24 vs 304 ± 26 W), sweat loss (1013 ± 186 vs 981 ± 161 mL) and pacing strategy during the time trial were similar in COOL and PLA. The magnitude of differences between treatments was trivial for all measured variables.

Conclusion:

Energicer failed to provide a substantial benefit during indoor rowing in a warm environment. Whether Energicer is beneficial during more prolonged exercise and/or under more stressful environmental conditions remains to be elucidated.

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Iñigo Mujika, Luis Villanueva, Marijke Welvaert and David B. Pyne

Context/Background : International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. Purpose: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. Methods: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer’s season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. Results: Faster performance (−0.79% [0.67%]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38% of all observations vs 62% no change or regression (1.10% [0.88%]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (−0.87% [0.91%]), finalists (−0.16% [0.97%]), and US swimmers (−0.44% [1.08%]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. Conclusions: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.

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David B. Pyne, Megan E. Anderson and Will G. Hopkins

Purpose:

To characterize within-subject changes in anthropometric characteristics of elite swimmers within and between seasons.

Methods:

The subjects were 77 elite swimmers (31 females, 46 males, age 15 to 30 years) monitored over 0.4 to 9.2 years. One anthropometrist recorded their body mass (M) and sum of 7 skin-fold thicknesses (S) on 2042 occasions over 14 years from phase to phase within a season and over consecutive seasons. We estimated change in lean mass using a newly derived index (LMI) that tracked changes in M controlled for changes in S.

Results:

The LMI is M/Sx, where x = 0.16 ± 0.04 for females and 0.15 ± 0.05 for males (mean ± SD). The LMI of males increased 1.1% (95% confidence limits ± 0.2%) between preseason and taper phases, almost twice as much as that of females (0.6% ± 0.3%). During the same period, M and S fell by ~1% and ~11%, respectively. From season to season LMI increased by 0.9% (0.8% to 1.0%) for males and 0.5% (0.3% to 0.7%) for females. All these within-subject effects on LMI were well defined (±~0.3%). The typical variation (SD) of an individual’s LMI was 1.2% for assessments within a season and 1.9% between seasons, with a short-term technical error of measurement of ~0.5%.

Conclusion:

Coaches and conditioners should typically expect a twofold greater increase in lean mass in male swimmers within and between seasons than in females. An LMI of the form M/Sx should be useful for monitoring individual swimmers and athletes in other sports in which body composition affects performance.

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Israel Halperin, Andrew D. Vigotsky, Carl Foster and David B. Pyne

Exercise and sport sciences continue to grow as a collective set of disciplines investigating a broad array of basic and applied research questions. Despite the progress, there is room for improvement. A number of problems pertaining to reliability and validity of research practices hinder advancement and the potential impact of the field. These problems include inadequate validation of surrogate outcomes, too few longitudinal and replication studies, limited reporting of null or trivial results, and insufficient scientific transparency. The purpose of this review is to discuss these problems as they pertain to exercise and sport sciences based on their treatment in other disciplines, namely psychology and medicine, and to propose a number of solutions and recommendations.

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Philippe Hellard, Robin Pla, Ferran A. Rodríguez, David Simbana and David B. Pyne

Purpose: To compare the dynamics of maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2), blood lactate ([La]b), total energy expenditure (E tot), and contributions of the aerobic (E aer), alactic anaerobic (E an,al), and lactic anaerobic (E an,lac) metabolic energy pathways over 4 consecutive 25-m laps (L0–25, L25–50, etc) of a 100-m maximal freestyle swim. Methods: Elite swimmers comprising 26 juniors (age = 16 [1] y) and 23 seniors (age = 24 [5] y) performed 100 m at maximal speed and then 3 trials (25, 50, and 75 m) at the same pace as that of the 100 m. [La]b was collected, and V˙O2 was measured 20 s postexercise. Results: The estimated energetic contributions for the 100-m trial are presented as mean (SD): E aer, 51% (8%); E an,al, 18% (2%); E an,lac, 31% (9%). V˙O2 increased from L0–25 to L25–50 (mean = 3.5 L·min−1; 90% confidence interval [CI], 3.4–3.7 L·min−1 to mean = 4.2 L·min−1; 90% CI, 4.0–4.3 L·min−1) and then stabilized in the 2nd 50 m (mean = 4.1 L·min−1; 90% CI, 3.9–4.3 L·min−1 to mean = 4.2 L·min−1; 90% CI, 4.0–4.4 L·min−1). E tot (juniors, 138 [18] kJ; seniors, 168 [26] kJ), E an,al (juniors, 27 [3] kJ; seniors, 30 [3] kJ), and E an,lac (juniors, 38 [12] kJ; seniors, 62 [24] kJ) were 11–58% higher in seniors. Faster swimmers (n = 26) had higher V˙O2(4.6L·min1, 90% CI 4.4–4.8 L·min−1 vs 3.9 L·min−1, 90% CI 3.6–4.2 L·min−1), and E aer power was associated with fast performances (P < .001). Conclusion: Faster swimmers were characterized by higher V˙O2 and less time to reach the highest V˙O2 at ∼50 m of the 100-m swim. Anaerobic qualities become more important with age.

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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.