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  • Author: Darrell L. Bonetti x
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Darrell L. Bonetti and Will G. Hopkins

Purpose:

To estimate variability in performance time and smallest worthwhile changes for elite fat-water canoeists competing in 200-, 500- or 1000-m events at international regattas.

Methods:

The data came from A and B finals held at 7 to 13 regattas in 2003 to 2007. A linear mixed-model analysis of log-transformed official race times provided estimates of variability as coefficients of variation and included terms to account for changes in performance between years, venues, and A and B finals.

Results:

For men, the within-athlete variation in A finals was similar in canoeing and kayaking events, with the 200-m men’s events demonstrating probably less variability than the longer events (by an overall factor of 0.75, ×/÷1.33) that may reflect differences in pacing strategies. In contrast, the within-athlete variation for women kayakers in A finals of the 500-m event was only half that of the other distances (ratio 0.54, ×/÷1.29), possibly because of differences in competitive experience or depth of competition. Predictability of performance in A finals was moderate to very high (interclass correlations 0.40 to 0.89). Within-athlete variation in the B finals was generally greater than in the A finals for the three distances for men, but there was no clear pattern for women.

Conclusion:

The smallest worthwhile changes in performance time (0.3× within-athlete variability) in canoeing and kayaking are approx. 0.3% to 0.6%. Effects of 1% to 2% in power output would be required to achieve such changes in this generally highly predictable sport.

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David S. Rowlands, Darrell L. Bonetti and Will G. Hopkins

Isotonic sports drinks are often consumed to offset the effects of dehydration and improve endurance performance, but hypotonic drinks may be more advantageous. The purpose of the study was to compare absorption and effects on performance of a commercially available hypotonic sports drink (Mizone Rapid: 3.9% carbohydrate [CHO], 218 mOsmol/kg) with those of an isotonic drink (PowerAde: 7.6% CHO, 281 mOsmol/kg), a hypertonic drink (Gatorade: 6% CHO, 327 mOsmol/kg), and a noncaloric placebo (8 mOsmol/kg). In a crossover, 11 cyclists consumed each drink on separate days at 250 ml/15 min during a 2-hr preload ride at 55% peak power followed by an incremental test to exhaustion. Small to moderate increases in deuterium oxide enrichment in the preload were observed with Mizone Rapid relative to PowerAde, Gatorade, and placebo (differences of 88, 45, and 42 parts per million, respectively; 90% confidence limits ±28). Serum osmolality was moderately lower with Mizone Rapid than with PowerAde and Gatorade (–1.9, –2.4; mOsmol/L; ±1.2 mOsmol/L) but not clearly different vs. placebo. Plasma volume reduction was small to moderate with Mizone Rapid, PowerAde, and Gatorade relative to placebo (–1.9%, –2.5%, –2.9%; ± 2.5%). Gut comfort was highest with Mizone Rapid but clearly different (8.4% ± 4.8%) only vs PowerAde. Peak power was highest with Mizone Rapid (380 W) vs. placebo and other drinks (1.2–3.0%; 99% confidence limits ±4.7%), but differences were inconclusive with reference to the smallest important effect (~1.2%). The outcomes are consistent with fastest fluid absorption with the hypotonic sports drink. Further research should determine whether the effect has a meaningful impact on performance.

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Darrell L. Bonetti, Will G. Hopkins and Andrew E. Kilding

Context:

Live-high train-low altitude training produces worthwhile gains in performance for endurance athletes, but the benefits of adaptation to various forms of artificial altitude are less clear.

Purpose:

To quantify the effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure on kayak performance.

Methods:

In a crossover design with a 6-week washout, we randomized 10 subelite male sprint kayak paddlers to hypoxia or control groups for 3 weeks (5 days/week) of intermittent hypoxic exposure using a nitrogen-filtration device. Each day's exposure consisted of alternately breathing hypoxic and ambient air for 5 minutes each over 1 hour. Performance tests were an incremental step test to estimate peak power, maximal oxygen uptake, exercise economy, and lactate threshold; a 500-m time trial; and 5 × 100-m sprints. All tests were performed on a wind-braked kayak ergometer 7 and 3 days pretreatment and 3 and 10 days post treatment. Hemoglobin concentration was measured at 1 day pretreatment, 5 and 10 days during treatment, and 3 days after treatment.

Results:

Relative to control, at 3 days post treatment the hypoxia group showed the following increases: peak power 6.8% (90% confidence limits, ± 5.2%), mean repeat sprint power 8.3% (± 6.7%), and hemoglobin concentration 3.6% (± 3.2%). Changes in lactate threshold, mean 500-m power, maximal oxygen uptake, and exercise economy were unclear. Large effects for peak power and mean sprint speed were still present 10 days posthypoxia.

Conclusion:

These effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure should enhance performance in kayak racing. The effects might be mediated via changes in oxygen transport.

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Darrell L. Bonetti, Will G. Hopkins, Timothy E. Lowe and Andrew E. Kilding

Purpose:

Adaptation to acutely intermittent hypoxic exposure appears to produce worthwhile enhancements in endurance performance, but the current 5-min duration of hypoxia and recovery intervals may not be optimal.

Methods:

Eighteen male competitive cyclists and triathletes were randomized to one of two intermittent-hypoxia groups, and nine similar athletes represented a control group. Athletes in the hypoxia groups were exposed to 60 min per day of intermittent hypoxia consisting of alternating intervals of hypoxia and normoxia lasting either 3 or 5 min. Exposures were performed at rest for 5 consecutive days per week for 3 wk. Oxygen saturation, monitored with pulse oximetry, was reduced progressively from 90% (day 1) to 76% (day 15). All athletes maintained their usual competitive-season training throughout the study. Incremental and repeated-sprint tests were performed pre, 3 d post, and 14 d post intervention. Venous blood at rest was sampled pre, mid-, and postintervention.

Results:

There were no clear differences between effects of the two hypoxic treatments on performance or various measures of oxygen transport, hematopoiesis, and inflammation. Compared with control, the combined hypoxic groups showed clear enhancements in peak power (4.7%; 90% confidence limits, ±3.1%), lactate-profile power (4.4%; ±3.0%), and heart-rate profle power (6.5%; ±5.3%) at 3 d post intervention, but at 14 d the effects were unclear. Changes in other measures at 3 and 14 d post intervention were either unclear or unremarkable.

Conclusion:

Acutely intermittent hypoxia produced substantial enhancement in endurance performance, but the relative benefit of 3- vs 5-min exposure intervals remains unclear.