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David Morawetz, Tobias Dünnwald, Martin Faulhaber, Hannes Gatterer, and Wolfgang Schobersberger

It is well known that acute hypoxia has negative effects on balance performance. An attempt to compensate for the influence of hypoxia on competition performance was made by the application of hyperoxic gases (inspiratory fraction of oxygen > 0.2095) prior to exercise. Purpose: To investigate whether hyperoxic preconditioning (pure-oxygen supplementation prior to exercise) improves balance ability and postural stability during normobaric hypoxia (3500 m) in highly skilled skiers. Methods: In this single-blind randomized, crossover study, 19 subjects performed a 60-s balance test (MFT S3-Check) in a normobaric hypoxic chamber. After a short period of adaptation to hypoxia (60 min), they received either pure oxygen or chamber air for 5 min prior to a balance test (hyperoxic preconditioning vs nonhyperoxic preconditioning). Capillary blood was collected 3 times. Results: Balance performance, indexed by sensory (P = .097), stability (P = .937), and symmetry (P = .202) scores, was not significantly different after the hyperoxic preconditioning phase. Balance performance decreased over time (no group difference). After hyperoxic preconditioning, arterial partial pressure of oxygen increased from 52.7 (4.5) mm Hg to 212.5 (75.8) mm Hg, and oxygen saturation of hemoglobin increased from 85.8% (3.5%) to 98.9% (0.7%) and remained significantly elevated to 90.1% (2.0%) after the balance test. Conclusion: A hyperoxic preconditioning phase does not affect balance performance under hypoxic environmental conditions. A performance-enhancing effect, at least in terms of coordinative functions, was not supported by this study.

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Francesco Campa, Hannes Gatterer, Henry Lukaski, and Stefania Toselli

Purpose: The exercise-induced increase in skin and body temperature, cutaneous blood flow, and electrolyte accumulation on the skin affects the validity of bioimpedance analysis to assess postexercise changes in hydration. This study aimed to assess the influence of a 10-min cold (22°C) shower on the time course of impedance measurements after controlled exercise. Methods: In total, 10 male athletes (age 26.2 [4.1] y and body mass index 23.9 [1.7] kg/m2) were tested on 2 different days. During both trials, athletes ran for 30 min on a treadmill in a room at 23°C. In a randomized crossover trial, the participants underwent a 10-min cold shower on the trial occasion and did not shower in the control trial. Bioimpedance analysis variables were measured before running (ie, baseline [T0]), immediately after exercising (T1), and 20 (T2), 40 (T3), and 60 min (T4) after the exercise. The shower was performed after T1 in the shower trial. Results: Body weight decreased similarly in both trials (−0.4% [0.1%], P < .001; −0.4% [0.1%], P < .001). Resistance and vector length returned to baseline at T2 in the shower trial, whereas baseline values were achieved at T3 in the control trial (P > .05). In the control trial, reactance remained at a lower level for the entire testing period (38.1 [6.9] vs 37.3 [6.7], P < .001). Forehead skin temperature returned to baseline values at T2 with shower, whereas it was still high at T4 without shower (P < .001). Conclusions: The present data show that a 10-min cold shower enables the stabilization of bioimpedance analysis measurements within 20 min after exercise, which might facilitate the assessment of hydration change after exercise.

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Christian Mariacher, Hannes Gatterer, Joachim Greilberger, Radoslav Djukic, Michaela Greilberger, Marc Philippe, and Martin Burtscher


To compare the effects of a 3-week supplementation between two different mixtures of antioxidants and placebo on aerobic exercise performance in acute normobaric hypoxia.


Seventeen subjects were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to receive a broad-based antioxidants supplement containing beta-carotene, ascorbic acid, d-alpha-tocopherol-succinate, N-acetylcysteine, riboflavin, zinc, and selenium (antioxidant capsule group [AO group]), or a combination of alpha-ketoglutaric acid (α-KG) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF; CYL concentrate supplementation group [CS group]), or placebo (PL group). Before and after supplementation, subjects performed two incremental cycle-exercise tests until exhaustion. The first test was conducted under normoxic conditions (LA, FiO2 of 20.9%, ~547 m) and the second after the 3-week supplementation period under normobaric hypoxic conditions (AHA, FiO2 of 12.9%, ~4300m).


In CS peak cycling performance (peak power) declined from LA to AHA 7.3% (90% CI: 2.2–12.4) less compared with PL (p = .04) and 6.7% (90%CI: 3.2–10.2) less compared with AO (p = .03). Better maintenance of aerobic exercise capacity in CS was associated with an attenuated reduction in maximal heart rate in hypoxia.


Aerobic exercise performance was less impaired in acute normobaric hypoxia after 3 weeks with supplementation of α-KG and 5-HMF compared with a broad-based antioxidants supplement or PL.

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David Morawetz, Tobias Dünnwald, Martin Faulhaber, Hannes Gatterer, Lukas Höllrigl, Christian Raschner, and Wolfgang Schobersberger

Background: The altering effects of hypoxia on aerobic/anaerobic performance are well documented and form the basis of this study. Application of hyperoxic gases (inspiratory fraction of oxygen [FiO2] > 0.2095) prior to competition or training (hyperoxic preconditioning) can compensate for the negative influence of acute hypoxia. Purpose: To investigate whether oxygen supplementation immediately prior to exercise (FiO2 = 1.0) improves all-out exercise performance in normobaric hypoxia (3500 m) in highly skilled skiers. Methods: In this single-blind, randomized, crossover study, 17 subjects performed a 60-second constant-load, all-out test in a normobaric hypoxic chamber. After a short period of adaptation to hypoxia (60 min), they received either pure oxygen or chamber air for 5 minutes prior to the all-out test (hyperoxic preconditioning vs nonhyperoxic preconditioning). Capillary blood was collected 3 times, and muscle oxygenation was assessed with near-infrared spectroscopy. Results: Absolute and relative peak power (P = .073 vs P = .103) as well as mean power (P = .330 vs P = .569) did not significantly differ after the hyperoxic preconditioning phase. PaO2 increased from 51.3 (3) to 451.9 (89.0) mm Hg, and SaO2 increased from 88.2% (1.7%) to 100% (0.2%) and dropped to 83.8% (4.2%) after the all-out test. Deoxygenation (P = .700) and reoxygenation rates (P = .185) did not significantly differ for both preconditioned settings. Conclusions: Therefore, the authors conclude that hyperoxic preconditioning did not enhance 60-second all-out exercise performance in acute hypoxia (3500 m).

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Matteo Levi Micheli, Luca Pagani, Mario Marella, Massimo Gulisano, Antonio Piccoli, Fabrizio Angelini, Martin Burtscher, and Hannes Gatterer


Bioelectrical-impedance standards (resistance, reactance, and phase angle) are well established for the normal population or in the clinical setting and are considered indicators for cell mass, cell function, and hydration status. However, such standards do not exist for the male soccer population. Therefore, the goal of the current investigation was to provide a set of bioelectrical-impedance data of a large sample of soccer players with different performance levels.


A sample of 893 players, registered in all Italian soccer divisions, was divided into 5 groups according to their performance level. Whole-body impedance measurements were performed during the first half of the competitive period. Besides estimation of body composition, bioelectrical-impedance vector analysis (BIVA) was performed. BIVA does not depend on equations and displays differences in hydration and body-cell mass (BCM). Individual vectors can be classified by using the 50%, 75%, and 95% tolerance ellipse.


In comparison with the other divisions and the normal population, the mean vector of the elite level showed a shift to the left (P < .001). Compared with the elite level, players of a lower performance level had lower phase angles, BCM, and fat-free mass.


In conclusion, soccer players belong to a specific population. Muscle mass and function, as indicated by BCM and phase angle, increase with increasing performance level. The soccer-specific tolerance ellipses might be used for classifying individual vectors and to define target regions for low-level players.