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  • Author: Luis Villanueva x
  • Sport and Exercise Science/Kinesiology x
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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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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Antonio Casajús and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effects of a low-volume repeated-power-ability (RPA) training program on repeated-sprint and changeof-direction (COD) ability and functional jumping performance.

Methods:

Twenty-two male elite young basketball players (age 16.2 ± 1.2 y, height 190.0 ± 10.0 cm, body mass 82.9 ± 10.1 kg) were randomly assigned either to an RPA-training group (n = 11) or a control group (n = 11). RPA training consisted of leg-press exercise, twice a week for 6 wk, of 1 or 2 blocks of 5 sets × 5 repetitions with 20 s of passive recovery between sets and 3 min between blocks with the load that maximized power output. Before and after training, performance was assessed by a repeated-sprint-ability (RSA) test, a repeated-COD-ability test, a hop for distance, and a drop jump followed by tests of a double unilateral hop with the right and left legs.

Results:

Within-group and between-groups differences showed substantial improvements in slowest (RSAs) and mean time (RSAm) on RSA; best, slowest and mean time on repeated-COD ability; and unilateral right and left hop in the RPA group in comparison with control. While best time on RSA showed no improvement in any group, there was a large relationship (r = .68, 90% CI .43;.84) between the relative decrement in RSAm and RSAs, suggesting better sprint maintenance with RPA training. The relative improvements in best and mean repeated-COD ability were very largely correlated (r = .89, 90% CI .77;.94).

Conclusions:

Six weeks of low-volume (4–14 min/wk) RPA training improved several physical-fitness tests in basketball players.

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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, José Antonio Casajús and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To compare the effects of unilateral and bilateral resistance training on single-leg power output, between-limbs imbalance (BLI), bilateral deficit (BLD), change of direction (COD), and linear sprinting and jumping performance in young elite basketball players.

Methods:

Twenty-two young (U-16–U-19) male basketball players were randomly assigned either to an exclusive unilateral (UNI) (n = 11) or a bilateral (BIL) (n = 11) resistance-training group during a 6-wk period. Both groups training consisted of 3 unilateral or bilateral 90° back-squat sets. A postdetermined number of repetitions was set until power output dropped to <10% of maximum power (MP) output. In addition, both groups performed 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral drop jumps and 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral countermovement jumps (CMJ). Pre- and posttraining, performance was assessed by an incremental bilateral and unilateral squat-load test, a multiple-COD test (V-cut test), a 15-m-sprint test (7.5 + 7.5 m) with one 180° COD performed with both right (180° RCOD) and left (180° LCOD) legs, a 25-m-sprint test (5- and 15-m split time), and a CMJ test.

Results:

Within-group analyses showed substantial improvements in 180° RCOD, bilateral and unilateral MP, 25-m-sprint test, and CMJ in both groups. Between-groups analyses showed substantially better results in 180° LCOD, MP with right and left legs, BLI, and BLD in UNI than in BIL.

Conclusions:

Both training programs substantially improved most of the physical-fitness tests, but only UNI reduced between-limbs asymmetry and achieved greater enhancements in actions that mostly required applying force unilaterally in basketball players.

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F. Javier Núñez, Luis J. Suarez-Arrones, Paul Cater and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

The aim of this study was to examine the kinematics and kinetics (force, velocity, and acceleration) and blood lactate concentration with the VersaPulley (VP) device in comparison with free-weight (FW) exercise at a similar external load. Fifteen rugby players randomly performed 2 training sessions of 6 sets of 6 repetitions with 20 s of recovery between sets of the high-pull exercise with the VP and the FW. The training sessions were separated by 72 h. Barbell displacement (cm), peak velocity (m/s), peak acceleration (m/s2), mean propulsive velocity (m/s), mean propulsive acceleration (m/s2), propulsive phase (%), and mean and maximal force (N) were continuously recorded during each repetition. Blood lactate concentration was measured after each training session (end) and 3 min and 5 min later. Barbell displacement (+4.8%, small ES), peak velocity (+4.5% small ES), mean propulsive acceleration (+8.8%, small ES), and eccentric force (+26.7, large ES) were substantially higher with VP than with FW. Blood lactate concentration was also greater after the VP exercise (end +32.9%, 3 min later +36%, 5 min later +33.8%; large ES). Maximal concentric force was substantially higher with FW than VP during the 6th set (+6.4%, small ES). In the cohort and exercise investigated in the current study, VP training can be considered an efficient training device to induce an accentuated eccentric overload and augmented metabolic demands (ie, blood lactate concentration).

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Javier Núñez, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Javier Gálvez and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effect of repeated-sprint training (RST) vs combined RST and resistance training with superimposed vibrations on repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and lower-body power output in male rugby players.

Methods:

Players were divided into 2 training groups. One group performed RST (n = 10) 2 d/wk and the other performed RST 1 d/wk and squat resistance training with superimposed vibrations on the second day (RS+ST; n = 10). The squat training was carried out with a volume similar (ie, number of sets and repetitions) to that of the RST. The training period lasted 6 wk, and it was carried out as a supplement to the regular rugby training sessions.

Results:

Substantial improvements in RSA mean time (RSAmean; +2.3%/ES: 0.77 vs +4.1%/ES: 0.91), RSA percent decrement (%Dec; –25.6%/ES: 1.70 vs –23.2%/ES: 0.99), and squat absolute power output (+5.0%/ES:0.36 vs +17.2%/ES: 0.93) were obtained in RST and RS+ST, respectively. Substantial improvements in RSA best time (RSAbest; +2.6%/ES: 0.61) and squat power output normalized to body mass (+18.6%/ES: 0.76) only occurred in RS+ST. Both pretest and posttest RSAmean were largely correlated with the RSAbest. However, there were only unclear, small to moderate correlations between individual changes in squat power output and either RSAmean or RSAbest.

Conclusion:

Combined RST and resistance training induced improvements of greater magnitude in both repeated-sprint performance and muscle power output than the RST alone. The lack of substantial correlations between individual changes in repeated-sprint and muscle-power performance suggests that the same subjects were not systematically low or high responders to both RST and strength training.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Javier Núñez, Diego Munguía-Izquierdo, Javier Portillo and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effects of several matches per day on running performance and cardiovascular stress in referees during a national Rugby Sevens championship.

Methods:

Seven referees, who refereed 3 matches/day, were monitored by GPS during 21 matches.

Results:

Referees’ movement patterns were relatively stable from the 1st to the 2nd match, although a substantial decrease was observed in the 2nd match for maximal and average sprint distance. A substantial decrease in the number of sprints, maximal speed, walking, distance covered at medium intensity, total and >14 km/h distance covered per minute was observed in the 3rd match in comparison with the 2nd. Compared with the 1st match, in the 3rd game referees showed a substantial decrease in maximal and average sprint distance, total walking at medium intensity, distance covered >14 km/h, and high-intensity running distance. Referees exhibited a substantial decrease in average heart rate (HR), percentage of time at >70%HRmax, and percentage of time at >90%HRmax in the 2nd match compared with the 1st. Referees’ HR responses were relatively stable from the 2nd to the 3rd match except for the HR zones of 71–80%HRmax and 81–90%HRmax and performance-efficiency index (Effindex). Substantial differences were observed in the 3rd match compared with the 1st in average HR, 81–90%HRmax, >90%HRmax, and Effindex.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence of reduced overall running performance and pronounced reduction in high-intensity running performance during the last match in Rugby Sevens referees refereeing 3 matches in the same day.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Carlos Arenas, Guillermo López, Bernardo Requena, Oliver Terrill and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

This study describes the physical match demands relative to positional group in male rugby sevens.

Methods:

Ten highly trained players were investigated during competitive matches (N = 23) using GPS technology, heart rate (HR), and video recording.

Results:

The relative distance covered by the players throughout the match was 102.3 ± 9.8 m/min. As a percentage of total distance, 35.8% (36.6 ± 5.9 m/min) was covered walking, 26.0% (26.6 ± 5.5 m/min) jogging, 10.0% (10.2 ± 2.4 m/min) running at low intensity, 14.2% (14.5 ± 4.0 m/min) at medium intensity, 4.6% (4.7 ± 1.6 m/min) at high intensity, and 9.5% (9.7 ± 3.7 m/min) sprinting. For the backs, a substantial decrease in total distance and distance covered at low, medium, and high intensity was observed in the second half. Forwards exhibited a substantial decrease in the distance covered at medium intensity, high intensity, and sprinting in the 2nd half. Backs covered substantially more total distance at medium and sprinting speeds than forwards. In addition, the maximum length of sprint runs was substantially greater for the backs than forwards. On the contrary, forwards performed more tackles. The mean HR during the match in backs and forwards was similar, with the exception of time spent at HR intensities >90%HRmax, which was substantially higher in forwards.

Conclusion:

These findings provide a description of the different physical demands placed on rugby sevens backs and forwards. This information may be helpful in the development of positional and/or individualized physical-fitness training programs.

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Miguel Angel Campos-Vazquez, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Jose Antonio Gonzalez-Jurado, Juan Antonio León-Prados, Alfredo Santalla and Luis Suarez-Arrones

Purpose:

To describe the internal training load (ITL) of common training sessions performed during a typical week and to determine the relationships between different indicators of ITL commonly employed in professional football (soccer).

Methods:

Session-rating-of-perceived-exertion TL (sRPE-TL) and heart-rate- (HR) derived measurements of ITL as Edwards TL and Stagno training impulses (TRIMPMOD) were used in 9 players during 3 periods of the season. The relationships between them were analyzed in different training sessions during a typical week: skill drills/circuit training + small-sided games (SCT+SSGs), ball-possession games + technical-tactical exercises (BPG+TTE), tactical training (TT), and prematch activation (PMa).

Results:

HR values obtained during SCT+SSGs and BPG+TTE were substantially greater than those in the other 2 sessions, all the ITL markers and session duration were substantially greater in SCT+SSGs than in any other session, and all ITL measures in BPG+TTE were substantially greater than in TT and PMa sessions. Large relationships were found between HR >80% HRmax and HR >90% HRmax vs sRPE-TL during BPG+TTE and TT sessions (r = .61−.68). Very large relationships were found between Edwards TL and sRPE-TL and between TRIMPMOD and sRPE-TL in sessions with BPG+TTE and TT (r = .73−.87). Correlations between the different HR-based methods were always extremely large (r = .92−.98), and unclear correlations were observed for other relationships between variables.

Conclusion:

sRPE-TL provided variable-magnitude within-individual correlations with HR-derived measures of training intensity and load during different types of training sessions typically performed during a week in professional soccer. Caution should be applied when using RPE- or HR-derived measures of exercise intensity/load in soccer training interchangeably.

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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Carlos Valero-Campo, César Berzosa, Ana Vanessa Bataller, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Gerard Moras and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of 2 different eccentric-overload training (EOT) programs, using a rotational conical pulley, on functional performance in team-sport players. A traditional movement paradigm (ie, squat) including several sets of 1 bilateral and vertical movement was compared with a novel paradigm including a different exercise in each set of unilateral and multi-directional movements.

Methods:

Forty-eight amateur or semiprofessional team-sport players were randomly assigned to an EOT program including either the same bilateral vertical (CBV, n = 24) movement (squat) or different unilateral multidirectional (VUMD, n = 24) movements. Training programs consisted of 6 sets of 1 exercise (CBV) or 1 set of 6 exercises (VUMD) × 6–10 repetitions with 3 min of passive recovery between sets and exercises, biweekly for 8 wk. Functional-performance assessment included several change-of-direction (COD) tests, a 25-m linear-sprint test, unilateral multidirectional jumping tests (ie, lateral, horizontal, and vertical), and a bilateral vertical-jump test.

Results:

Within-group analysis showed substantial improvements in all tests in both groups, with VUMD showing more robust adaptations in pooled COD tests and lateral/horizontal jumping, whereas the opposite occurred in CBV respecting linear sprinting and vertical jumping. Between-groups analyses showed substantially better results in lateral jumps (ES = 0.21), left-leg horizontal jump (ES = 0.35), and 10-m COD with right leg (ES = 0.42) in VUMD than in CBV. In contrast, left-leg countermovement jump (ES = 0.26) was possibly better in CBV than in VUMD.

Conclusions:

Eight weeks of EOT induced substantial improvements in functional-performance tests, although the force-vector application may play a key role to develop different and specific functional adaptations.