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Paolo Menaspà, Ermanno Rampinini, Lara Tonetti and Andrea Bosio

Purpose:

To describe the physical fitness of a top-level lower limb amputee (LLA) cyclist and paracycling time-trial (TT) race demands.

Methods:

The 40-y-old male unilateral transfemoral amputee TT World Champion was tested in a laboratory for peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), ventilatory threshold (VT2), power output (PO), and hemoglobin mass (Hb-mass). Moreover, several measures (eg, PO, heart rate [HR], cadence) were collected during 4 international TT competitions in the same season. The races’ intensity was evaluated as time spent below, at, or above VT2.

Results:

The cyclist (1.73 m, 55.0 kg) had a VO2peak of 3.372 L/min (61.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1). The laboratory peak PO was 315 W (5.7 W/kg). The maximal HR was 208 beats/min, and his Hb-mass was 744 g (13.5 g/kg). The TTs were meanly 18 ± 4.5 km in length, and the mean PO was 248 ± 8 W with a cadence of 92 ± 1 rpm. During the TTs, the cyclist spent 23% ± 9% of total time at VT2, 59% ± 10% below, and 18% ± 5% above this intensity.

Conclusions:

The subject’s relative VO2peak is higher than previously published data on LLA, and surprisingly it is even higher than “good” ACSM normative data for nondisabled people. The intensity of the races was found to be similar to cycling TTs of the same duration in elite female cyclists. These results might be useful to develop specific training schedules and enhance performance of LLA cyclists.

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Pietro Luigi Invernizzi, Eloisa Limonta, Andrea Riboli, Andrea Bosio, Raffaele Scurati and Fabio Esposito

Purpose:

To assess the effects of acute combined L-carnosine and β-alanine (Carn-BA) supplementation on isometric and dynamic tasks.

Methods:

Twelve healthy participants performed knee-extensor maximal voluntary contractions (MVCs) and countermovement jumps (CMJs) before and after a fatiguing protocol (45-s continuous CMJs). Isometric and dynamic tests were performed 4 h after ingestion of Carn-BA (2 g of L-carnosine and 2 g of β-alanine) or placebo (PLA), in random order. After the fatiguing protocol, blood lactate concentration ([La]), general and muscular rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and muscle pain (24 and 48 h after the end of the fatiguing protocol) were assessed.

Results:

During the fatiguing protocol, significant decreases in jump height and increases in contact time were found in both groups from the 15th second onward to the end of the fatiguing protocol. Average contact time and jump height were respectively lower (−7%; P = .018) and higher (+6%; P = .025) in Carn-BA than in PLA. After the fatiguing protocol, MVC decreased in both PLA and Carn-BA, but it was higher in Carn-BA than in PLA (+15%, P = 0.012), while CMJ did not change. Moreover, general RPE was lower and muscle pain at 24 h was higher in Carn-BA than in PLA, whereas muscle RPE and [La] did not differ between conditions.

Conclusions:

Ingesting Carn-BA before exercise induced positive effects on MVC and CMJ after the fatiguing protocol and improved CMJ performance during the 45-s continuous jumping effort, even when acutely supplemented. Furthermore, Carn-BA reduced the general RPE and increased muscle pain 24 h after the fatiguing task.

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Davide Ferioli, Andrea Bosio, Johann C. Bilsborough, Antonio La Torre, Michele Tornaghi and Ermanno Rampinini

Purpose: To investigate the effect of the preparation period on neuromuscular characteristics of 12 professional (PRO) and 16 semiprofessional (SEMIPRO) basketball players and relationships between training-load indices and changes in neuromuscular physical performance. Methods: Before and after the preparation period, players underwent a countermovement jump (CMJ) test followed by a repeated change-of-direction (COD) test consisting of 4 levels with increasing intensities. The peripheral neuromuscular functions of the knee extensors (peak torque [PT]) were measured using electrical stimulations after each level (PT1, PT2, PT3, and PT4). Furthermore, PT Max (the highest value of PT) and PT Dec (PT decrement from PT Max to PT4) were calculated. Results: Trivial to small (effect size [ES] = −0.17 to 0.46) improvements were found in CMJ variables, regardless of competitive level. After the preparation period, peripheral fatigue induced by a COD test was similarly reduced in both PRO (PT Dec: from 27.8% [21.3%] to 11.4% [13.7%]; ES = −0.71; 90% confidence interval [CI], ±0.30) and SEMIPRO (PT Dec: from 26.1% [21.9%] to 10.2% [8.2%]; ES = −0.69; 90% CI, ±0.32). Moderate to large relationships were found between session rating of perceived exertion training load and changes in peak power output (PPO) measured during the CMJs (r s [90% confidence interval]: PPOabs, −.46 [±.26]; PPOrel, −.53 [±.23]) and in some PTs measured during the COD test (PT1, −.45 [±.26]; PT2, −.44 [±.26]; PT3, −.40 [±.27]; and PT Max, −.38 [±.28]). Conclusions: The preparation period induced minimal changes in the CMJ, while the ability to sustain repeated COD efforts was improved. Reaching high session rating of perceived exertion training loads might partially and negatively affect the ability to produce strength and power.

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Davide Ferioli, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Antonio La Torre and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To examine differences between adult male basketball players of different competitive levels (study 1) and changes over a basketball season (study 2) of knee-extensor peripheral muscle function during multistage change-of-direction exercise (MCODE). Methods: In study 1, 111 players from 4 different divisions completed the MCODE during the regular season. In study 2, the MCODE was performed before (T1) and after (T2) the preparation period and during the competitive season (T3) by 32 players from divisions I, II, and III. The MCODE comprised 4 levels of increasing intensity for each player. The twitch peak torque (PT) of knee extensors was measured after each level. PTmax (the highest value of PT) and fatigue were calculated. Results: In study 1, the authors found possibly small differences (effect size [ES] [90% confidence interval] −0.24 [0.39]) in fatigue between divisions I and II. Division I was characterized by likely (ES 0.30–0.65) and very likely to almost certain (ES 0.74–1.41) better PTmax and fatigue levels than divisions III and VI, respectively. In study 2, fatigue was very likely reduced (ES −0.91 to −0.51) among all divisions from T1 to T2, whereas PTmax was likely to very likely reduced (ES −0.51 to −0.39) in divisions II and III. Conclusions: Professional basketball players are characterized by a better peripheral muscle function during MCODE. Most of the seasonal changes in peripheral muscle function occurred after the preparation period. These findings inform practitioners on the development of training programs to enhance the ability to sustain repeated change-of-direction efforts.