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Andrew A. Flatt and Michael R. Esco

Purpose:

This study evaluated the 7-d mean and coefficient of variation (CV) of supine and standing ultrashort log-transformed root mean square of successive R-R intervals multiplied by 20 (lnRMSSDx20) obtained with a smartphone application (app) in response to varying weekly training load (TL). In addition, the authors aimed to determine if these values could be accurately assessed in as few as 5 or 3 d/wk.

Methods:

Nine women from a college soccer team performed daily heart-rate-variability measures with an app in supine and standing positions over 3 wk of moderate, high, and low TL. The mean and CV over 7, 5, and 3 d were compared within and between weeks.

Results:

The 5- and 3-d measures within each week provided very good to nearly perfect intraclass correlations (ICCs .74–.99) with typical errors ranging from 0.64 to 5.65 when compared with the 7-d criteria. The 7, 5, and 3-d supine CV and the 7-day standing CV were moderately lower during the low-load than the high-load week (P .003–.045, effect sizes 0.86–0.92), with no significant changes occurring in the other measures.

Conclusion:

This study supports the use of the mean and CV of lnRMSSD measured across at least 5 d for reflecting weekly values. The supine lnRMssDx20 CV as measured across 7, 5, and 3 d was the most sensitive marker to the changes in TL in the 3-wk period.

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Roberto A. González-Fimbres, German Hernández-Cruz, and Andrew A. Flatt

Purpose: To assess heart rate (HR) variability responses to various markers of training load, quantify associations between HR variability and fitness, and compare responses and associations between 1-minute ultrashort and 5-minute criterion measures among a girls’ field hockey team. Methods: A total of 11 players (16.8 [1.1] y) recorded the logarithm of the root mean square of successive differences (LnRMSSD) daily throughout a 4-week training camp. The weekly mean (LnRMSSDM) and coefficient of variation (LnRMSSDCV) were analyzed. The internal training load (ITL) and external training load (ETL) were acquired with session HR and accelerometry, respectively. Speed, agility, repeated sprint ability, and intermittent fitness were assessed precamp and postcamp. Results: Similar increases in the ultrashort and criterion LnRMSSDM were observed in week 3 versus week 1 (P < .05–.06, effect size [ES] = 0.28 to 0.36). The ultrashort and criterion LnRMSSDCV showed small ES reductions in week 2 (ES = −0.40 to −0.50), moderate reductions in week 3 (ES = −0.61 to −0.72), and small reductions in week 4 (ES = −0.42 to −0.51) versus week 1 (P > .05). Strong agreement was observed between the ultrashort and criterion values (intraclass correlation coefficient = .979). The ITL:ETL ratio peaked in week 1 (P < .05 vs weeks 2–4), displaying a weekly pattern similar to LnRMSSDCV, and inversely similar to LnRMSSDM. Changes in the ultrashort and criterion LnRMSSDCV from week 1 to 4 were associated with ITL (P < .01). The ultrashort and criterion LnRMSSDCV in week 4 were associated (P < .05) with postcamp fitness. Conclusions: The ultrashort HR variability parameters paralleled the criterion responses, and the associations with ITL and fitness were similar in magnitude.

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Lucas A. Pereira, Andrew A. Flatt, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Irineu Loturco, and Fabio Y. Nakamura

Purpose:

To compare the LnRMSSD and the LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during a 5-min stabilization period with the subsequent 5-min criterion period and to determine the time course for LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR stabilization at 1-min analysis in elite team-sport athletes.

Participants:

35 elite futsal players (23.9 ± 4.5 y, 174.2 ± 4.0 cm, 74.0 ± 7.5 kg, 1576.2 ± 396.3 m in the Yo-Yo test level 1).

Methods:

The RR-interval recordings were obtained using a portable heart-rate monitor continuously for 10 min in the seated position. The 2 dependent variables analyzed were LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR. To calculate the magnitude of the differences between time periods, effect-size (ES) analysis was conducted. To assess the levels of agreement, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman plots were used.

Results:

The LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during the stabilization period (0–5 min) presented very large to nearly perfect ICCs with the values obtained during the criterion period (5–10 min), with trivial ESs. In the ultra-short-term analysis (ie, 1-min segments) the data showed slightly less accurate results, but only trivial to small differences with very large to nearly perfect ICCs were found.

Conclusion:

LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR can be recorded in 5 min without traditional stabilization periods under resting conditions in team-sport athletes. The ultra-short-term analysis (1 min) also revealed acceptable levels of agreement with the criterion.

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Andrew A. Flatt, Jeff R. Allen, Clay M. Keith, Matthew W. Martinez, and Michael R. Esco

Purpose: To track cardiac-autonomic functioning, indexed by heart-rate variability, in American college football players throughout a competitive period. Methods: Resting heart rate (RHR) and the natural logarithm root mean square of successive differences (LnRMSSD) were obtained throughout preseason and ∼3 times weekly leading up to the national championship among 8 linemen and 12 nonlinemen. Seated 1-minute recordings were performed via mobile device and standardized for time of day and proximity to training. Results: Relative to preseason, linemen exhibited suppressed LnRMSSD during camp-style preparation for the playoffs (P = .041, effect size [ES] = −1.01), the week of the national semifinal (P < .001, ES = −1.27), and the week of the national championship (P = .005, ES = −1.16). As a combined group, increases in RHR (P < .001) were observed at the same time points (nonlinemen ES = 0.48–0.59, linemen ES = 1.03–1.10). For all linemen, RHR trended upward (positive slopes, R 2 = .02–.77) while LnRMSSD trended downward (negative slopes, R 2 = .02–.62) throughout the season. Preseason to postseason changes in RHR (r = .50, P = .025) and LnRMSSD (r = −.68, P < .001) were associated with body mass. Conclusions: Heart-rate variability tracking revealed progressive autonomic imbalance in the lineman position group, with individual players showing suppressed values by midseason. Attenuated parasympathetic activation is a hallmark of impaired recovery and may contribute to cardiovascular maladaptations reported to occur in linemen following a competitive season. Thus, a descending pattern may serve as an easily identifiable red flag requiring attention from performance and medical staff.