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Andrea Nicolò, Ilenia Bazzucchi and Massimo Sacchetti

Purpose:

To verify the accuracy of predicting performance in the severe-intensity domain by means of end-test power output (EP) and the work performed above EP (WEP) obtained from a 3-min all-out test in competitive cyclists.

Methods:

Ten welltrained cyclists performed a ramp incremental test and a 3-min all-out familiarization test. Subsequently, they performed a 3-min all-out experimental test to obtain EP and WEP and a 10-min time trial (TT). The actual 10-min-TT mean power output was then compared with the power output predicted as P = WEP/T lim + EP, where T lim corresponds to 600 s. The ramp-test peak power output (PPO) was compared with PPO predicted as PPO=EP+2WEP S, where S represents the ramp slope (0.5 W/s).

Results:

The actual (347 ± 30 W) and predicted (376 ± 48 W) 10-min TT mean power output were correlated (r = .87, P = .001) but significantly different (P < .01). The coefficient of variation (CV) between the predicted and actual performance was 5.6% ± 4.4%. The error of prediction was positively correlated to EP (r = .80, P = .005) and negatively correlated to WEP (r = –.71, P = .021). No significant difference was found between the 10-min-TT mean power output and EP (351 ± 53 W). The actual (438 ± 30 W) and predicted (472 ± 41 W) ramp PPO were correlated (r = .88, P < .001) but significantly different (P < .001). The CV between the predicted and actual PPO was 5.2% ± 3%. The error of prediction was positively correlated to EP (r = .63, P = .051).

Conclusions:

EP and WEP obtained from a 3-min all-out test overestimate severe-intensity performance in competitive cyclists.

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Antonis Kesisoglou, Andrea Nicolò and Louis Passfield

Purpose: To examine the effect of cycling exercise intensity and duration on subsequent performance and to compare the resulting acute performance decrement (APD) with total work done (TWD) and corresponding training-load (TL) metrics. Methods: A total of 14 male cyclists performed a 5-minute time trial (TT) as a baseline and after 4 initial exercise bouts of varying exercise intensity and duration. The initial exercise bouts were performed in a random order and consisted of a 5- and a 20-minute TT and a 20- and a 40-minute submaximal ride. The resulting APD was calculated as the percentage change in 5-minute TT from baseline, and this was compared with the TWD and TL metrics for the corresponding initial exercise bout. Results: Average power output was different for each of the 4 initial exercise bouts (ηp2=.971; P < .001), and all bouts resulted in an APD. But APD was only different when comparing maximal with submaximal bouts (ηp2=.862; P < .001). The APD contradicted TWD and TL metrics and was not different when comparing 5- and 20-minute maximal TTs or the 20- and 40-minute submaximal bouts. In contrast, TL metrics were different for all training sessions (ηp2=.970; P < .001). Conclusion: An APD is found after initial exercise bouts consisting of 5- and 20-minute TTs and after 20- and 40-minute of submaximal exercise that is not consistent with the corresponding values for TWD or TL. This discrepancy highlights important shortcomings when using TWD and TL to compare exercise bouts of different intensity and duration.

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Ilenia Bazzucchi, Federica Patrizio, Francesco Felici, Andrea Nicolò and Massimo Sacchetti

Purpose:

To determine whether repeated carbohydrate (CHO) mouth rinsing would improve neuromuscular performance during high-intensity fatiguing contractions.

Methods:

Eighteen young men (age 26.1 ± 5.0 y, BMI 22.9 ± 1.9) performed 3 maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVICPRE). Immediately after, they completed 10-second mouth rinse with 6.4% maltodextrin solution (MAL), 7.1% glucose solution (GLU), water (W), artificially sweetened solution (PLA), or a control trial with no rinse (CON) in a crossover protocol. Subjects performed 5 sets of 30 isokinetic fatiguing contractions at 180°/s, and an MVICPOST with their elbow flexors was performed after each mouth rinse. Mechanical and electromyographic (EMG) signals were recorded from the biceps brachii and parameters of interest analyzed.

Results:

When rinsing the mouth with a solution containing CHO, independently of the sweetness, isokinetic performance was enhanced as shown by the greater total work achieved in comparison with CON. The decay of torque and mean fiber-conduction velocity (MFCV) recorded at the end of the fatiguing task was lower when rinsing the mouth with GLU than with CON. The torque recorded during the MVICPOST was greater with CHO with respect to CON, and this was associated to a lower decay of MFCV.

Conclusions:

CHO mouth rinse counteracts fatigue-induced decline in neuromuscular performance, supporting the notion that CHO rinse may activate positive afferent signals able to modify motor output. Repeated mouth rinsing with sweet and nonsweet CHO-containing solutions can improve neuromuscular performance during an isokinetic intermittent fatiguing task.

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Andrea Nicolò, Ilenia Bazzucchi, Mauro Lenti, Jonida Haxhi, Alessandro Scotto di Palumbo and Massimo Sacchetti

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of work-to-rest-ratio manipulation on neuromuscular and metabolic responses during 2 high-intensity intermittent training (HIT) protocols to exhaustion. Since different exercise durations were expected, the authors hypothesized that the protocol registering a longer duration would have a more pronounced effect on neuromuscular responses, while the other would challenge the cardiopulmonary system more.

Methods:

Thirteen competitive cyclists (age 19 ± 2 y) performed a preliminary incremental test to identify their maximal power output and 2 intermittent protocols to exhaustion (40:20s and 30:30s) at a fixed work rate of 135%Pmax interspersed by passive recovery. Surface electromyographic (sEMG) parameters (including muscle-fiber conduction velocity), cardiopulmonary parameters, and blood lactate concentration [La] were recorded.

Results:

Time to exhaustion and total work were significantly higher for the 30:30s (38 ± 13 min, 495 ± 161 kJ) than for the 40:20s (10 ± 3 min, 180 ± 51 kJ). No differences were found in sEMG parameters for the 2 protocols. Mean and peak values of VO2, heart rate, ventilatory parameters (except for the peak value of respiratory frequency), and [La] were significantly higher in the 40:20s than in the 30:30s.

Conclusions:

These results do not support the hypothesis that a longer time spent at high intensity has a more pronounced effect on neuromuscular responses, as no differences in EMG parameters were found in the 2 HIT protocols. Regarding metabolic responses, while the 40:20s led to maximal values of VO2, [La], and ventilatory parameters within a few minutes, the 30:30s allowed maintenance of moderately high values for a considerably longer period, especially for [La] and ventilatory parameters.

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Andrea Nicolò, Marco Montini, Michele Girardi, Francesco Felici, Ilenia Bazzucchi and Massimo Sacchetti

Purpose: Variables currently used in soccer training monitoring fail to represent the physiological demand of the player during movements like accelerations, decelerations, and directional changes performed at high intensity. We tested the hypothesis that respiratory frequency (f R) is a marker of physical effort during soccer-related high-intensity exercise. Methods: A total of 12 male soccer players performed a preliminary intermittent incremental test and 2 shuttle-run high-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols, in separate visits. The 2 HIIT protocols consisted of 12 repetitions over 9 minutes and differed in the work-to-recovery ratio (15:30 vs 30:15 s). Work rate was self-paced by participants to achieve the longest possible total distance in each HIIT protocol. Results: Work-phase average metabolic power was higher (P < .001) in the 15:30-second protocol (31.7 [3.0] W·kg−1) compared with the 30:15-second protocol (22.8 [2.0] W·kg−1). Unlike heart rate and oxygen uptake, f R showed a fast response to the work–recovery alternation during both HIIT protocols, resembling changes in metabolic power even at supramaximal intensities. Large correlations (P < .001) were observed between f R and rating of perceived exertion during both 15:30-second (r = .87) and 30:15-second protocols (r = .85). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that f R is a good marker of physical effort during shuttle-run HIIT in soccer players. These findings have implications for monitoring training in soccer and other team sports.