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Steffen Held, Anne Hecksteden, Tim Meyer, and Lars Donath

Purpose: The present intervention study examined the effects of intensity-matched velocity-based strength training with a 10% velocity loss (VL10) versus traditional 1-repetition maximum (1RM) based resistance training to failure (TRF) on 1RM and maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) in a concurrent training setting. Methods: Using the minimization method, 21 highly trained rowers (4 females and 17 males; 19.6 [2.1] y, 1.83 [0.07] m, 74.6 [8.8] kg, V˙O2max:64.9[8.5]mL·kg1·min1) were either assigned to VL10 or TRF. In addition to rowing endurance training (about 75 min·d1), both groups performed strength training (5 exercises, 80% 1RM, 4 sets, 2–3 min interset recovery, 2 times/week) over 8 weeks. Squat, deadlift, bench row, and bench press 1RM and V˙O2max rowing-ergometer ramp tests were completed. Overall recovery and overall stress were monitored every evening using the Short Recovery and Stress Scale. Results: Large and significant group × time interactions (P < .03, ηp2>.23, standard mean differences [SMD] > 0.65) in favor of VL10 (averaged +18.0% [11.3%]) were observed for squat, bench row, and bench press 1RM compared with TRF (averaged +8.0% [2.9%]). V˙O2max revealed no interaction effects (P = .55, ηp2=.01, standard mean difference < .23) but large time effects (P < .05, ηp2>.27). Significant group × time interactions (P = .001, ηp2>.54, SMD > |0.525|) in favor of VL10 were also observed for overall recovery and overall stress 24 and 48 hours after strength training. Conclusions: VL10 serves as a promising means to improve strength capacity at lower repetitions and stress levels in highly trained athletes. Future research should investigate the interference effects of VL10 in strength endurance sports and its effects when increasing weekly VL10 sessions within one macrocycle.

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Ludwig Ruf, Barry Drust, Paul Ehmann, Sabrina Forster, Anne Hecksteden, and Tim Meyer

Purpose: To assess the short-term reliability of measurement instruments to quantify the acute psychophysiological response to load in adolescent soccer players in relation to biological maturity. Methods: Data were collected from 108 U12 to U17 soccer players on 2 consecutive weeks (pre, n = 32; at, n = 34; and post, n = 42 estimated peak height velocity). Measurements consisted of the Short Recovery and Stress Scale, a countermovement jump, assessment of leg stiffness, and a submaximal run to assess exercise heart rate and heart rate recovery. Test–retest reliability was assessed with the coefficient of variation (CV) and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Results: Items of the Short Recovery and Stress Scale showed poor reliability across maturity groups (CV = 7.0%–53.5%; ICC = .28 to .79). Only few countermovement jump variables (jump height, concentric impulse, and concentric velocity) possessed good reliability. For most variables of the countermovement jump, reliability was better for the post peak height velocity group followed by at-peak height velocity and prepeak height velocity. Very high levels of reliability across maturity groups were observed for exercise heart rate (CV < 1.8%; ICC > .94), while heart rate recovery was more variable (CV < 16.5%; ICC > .48). Conclusion: Results suggest that the majority of investigated variables have poor reliability, questioning their ability to detect small, yet meaningful changes in acute responses to load in adolescent soccer players.

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Anne Hecksteden, Werner Pitsch, Ross Julian, Mark Pfeiffer, Michael Kellmann, Alexander Ferrauti, and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

Assessment of muscle recovery is essential for the daily fine-tuning of training load in competitive sports, but individual differences may limit the diagnostic accuracy of group-based reference ranges. This article reports an attempt to develop individualized reference ranges using a Bayesian approach comparable to that developed for the Athlete Biological Passport.

Methods:

Urea and creatine kinase (CK) were selected as indicators of muscle recovery. For each parameter, prior distributions and repeated-measures SDs were characterized based on data of 883 squad athletes (1758 data points, 1–8 per athlete, years 2013–2015). Equations for the individualization procedure were adapted from previous material to allow for discrimination of 2 physiological states (recovered vs nonrecovered). Evaluation of classificatory performance was carried out using data from 5 consecutive weekly microcycles in 14 elite junior swimmers and triathletes. Blood samples were collected every Monday (recovered) and Friday according to the repetitive weekly training schedule over 5 wk. On the group level, changes in muscle recovery could be confirmed by significant differences in urea and CK and validated questionnaires. Group-based reference ranges were derived from that same data set to avoid overestimating the potential benefit of individualization.

Results:

For CK, error rates were significantly lower with individualized classification (P vs group-based: test-pass error rate P = .008; test-fail error rate P < .001). For urea, numerical improvements in error rates failed to reach significance.

Conclusions:

Individualized reference ranges seem to be a promising tool to improve accuracy of monitoring muscle recovery. Investigating application to a larger panel of indicators is warranted.

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Wigand Poppendieck, Melissa Wegmann, Anne Hecksteden, Alexander Darup, Jan Schimpchen, Sabrina Skorski, Alexander Ferrauti, Michael Kellmann, Mark Pfeiffer, and Tim Meyer

Purpose: Cold-water immersion is increasingly used by athletes to support performance recovery. Recently, however, indications have emerged suggesting that the regular use of cold-water immersion might be detrimental to strength training adaptation. Methods: In a randomized crossover design, 11 participants performed two 8-week training periods including 3 leg training sessions per week, separated by an 8-week “wash out” period. After each session, participants performed 10 minutes of either whole-body cold-water immersion (cooling) or passive sitting (control). Leg press 1-repetition maximum and countermovement jump performance were determined before (pre), after (post) and 3 weeks after (follow-up) both training periods. Before and after training periods, leg circumference and muscle thickness (vastus medialis) were measured. Results: No significant effects were found for strength or jump performance. Comparing training adaptations (pre vs post), small and negligible negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.42 to 1.26) and countermovement jump (g = 0.02; 95% CI, −0.82 to 0.86). Comparing pre versus follow-up, moderate negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.71; 95% CI, −0.30 to 1.72) and countermovement jump (g = 0.64; 95% CI, −0.36 to 1.64). A significant condition × time effect (P = .01, F = 10.00) and a large negative effect of cooling (g = 1.20; 95% CI, −0.65 to 1.20) were observed for muscle thickness. Conclusions: The present investigation suggests small negative effects of regular cooling on strength training adaptations.

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Michael Kellmann, Maurizio Bertollo, Laurent Bosquet, Michel Brink, Aaron J. Coutts, Rob Duffield, Daniel Erlacher, Shona L. Halson, Anne Hecksteden, Jahan Heidari, K. Wolfgang Kallus, Romain Meeusen, Iñigo Mujika, Claudio Robazza, Sabrina Skorski, Ranel Venter, and Jürgen Beckmann

The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.