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Jos J. de Koning and Dionne A. Noordhof

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Philip F. Skiba and Jos J. de Koning

Anaerobic capacity/anaerobically attributable power is an important parameter for athletic performance, not only for short high-intensity activities but also for breakaway efforts and end spurts during endurance events. Unlike aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity cannot be easily quantified. The 3 most commonly used methodologies to quantify anaerobic capacity are the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit method, the critical power concept, and the gross efficiency method. This review describes these methods, evaluates if they result in similar estimates of anaerobic capacity, and highlights how anaerobic capacity is used during sporting activities. All 3 methods have their own strengths and weaknesses and result in more or less similar estimates of anaerobic capacity but cannot be used interchangeably. The method of choice depends on the research question or practical goal.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Roy C.M. Mulder, Jos J. de Koning and Will G. Hopkins

Analysis of sport performance can provide effects of environmental and other venue-specific factors in addition to estimates of within-athlete variability between competitions, which determines smallest worthwhile effects.

Purpose:

To analyze elite long-track speed-skating events.

Methods:

Log-transformed performance times were analyzed with a mixed linear model that estimated percentage mean effects for altitude, barometric pressure, type of rink, and competition importance. In addition, coefficients of variation representing residual venue-related differences and within-athlete variability between races within clusters spanning ~8 d were determined. Effects and variability were assessed with magnitude-based inference.

Results:

A 1000-m increase in altitude resulted in very large mean performance improvements of 2.8% in juniors and 2.1% in seniors. An increase in barometric pressure of 100 hPa resulted in a moderate reduction in performance of 1.1% for juniors but an unclear effect for seniors. Only juniors competed at open rinks, resulting in a very large reduction in performance of 3.4%. Juniors and seniors showed small performance improvements (0.4% and 0.3%) at the more important competitions. After accounting for these effects, residual venue-related variability was still moderate to large. The within-athlete within-cluster race-to-race variability was 0.3–1.3%, with a small difference in variability between male (0.8%) and female juniors (1.0%) and no difference between male and female seniors (both 0.6%).

Conclusion:

The variability in performance times of skaters is similar to that of athletes in other sports in which air or water resistance limits speed. A performance enhancement of 0.1–0.4% by top-10 athletes is necessary to increase medal-winning chances by 10%.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Carl Foster, Marco J.M. Hoozemans and Jos J. de Koning

A meaningful association between changes (Δ) in push-off angle or effectiveness (e) and changes in skating velocity (v) has been found during 5000-m races, although no significant association was found between changes in knee (θ0) and trunk angle (θ1) and Δv. It might be that speed skating event, sex, and performance level influence these associations.

Purpose:

To study the effect of skating event, sex, and performance level on the association between Δe and Δv and between Δθ0 and Δθ1 and Δv.

Methods:

Video recordings were made from frontal (e) and sagittal views (θ0 and θ1) during 1500- and 5000-m men’s and women’s World Cup races. Radio-frequency identification tags provided data of v.

Results:

Skating event influenced the association between Δe and Δv, which resulted in a significant association between Δe and Δv for the 5000-m (β = –0.069, 95% confidence interval [–0.11, –0.030]) but not for the 1500-m (β = –0.011 [–0.032, 0.010]). The association between Δθ0 and Δθ1 and Δv was not significantly influenced by skating event. Sex and performance level did not substantially affect the association between Δe and Δv and between Δθ0 and Δθ1 and Δv.

Conclusions:

Skating event significantly influenced the association between Δe and Δv; a 1° change in e results in a 0.011-m/s decrease in v during the 1500-m and a 0.069-m/s decrease in v during the 5000-m. Thus, it seems especially important to maintain a small e during the 5000-m.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Thijs Schoots, Derk H. Hoekert and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to test the assumption that gross efficiency (GE) at sea level (SL) is representative of GE at altitude (AL). It was hypothesized that an increased cost of ventilation and heart rate, combined with a higher respiratory-exchange ratio, at AL might result in a decrease in GE.

Methods:

Trained men (N = 16) completed 2 maximal incremental tests and 2 GE tests, 1 at SL and 1 at an acute simulated AL of 1500 m (hypobaric chamber). GE was determined during submaximal exercise at 45%, 55%, and 65% of the altitude-specific power output attained at VO2max.

Results:

GE determined at the highest submaximal exercise intensity with a mean RER ≤1.0, matched for both conditions, was significantly lower at AL (AL 20.7% ± 1.1% and SL 21.4% ± 0.8%, t 15 = 2.9, P < .05).

Conclusion:

These results demonstrate that moderate AL resulted in a significantly lower GE during cycling exercise than SL. However, it might be that the lower GE at AL is caused by the lower absolute exercise intensity.

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Roy C.M. Mulder, Dionne A. Noordhof, Katherine R. Malterer, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Previous research showed that gross efficiency (GE) declines during exercise and therefore influences the expenditure of anaerobic and aerobic resources.

Purpose:

To calculate the anaerobic work produced during cycling time trials of different length, with and without a GE correction.

Methods:

Anaerobic work was calculated in 18 trained competitive cyclists during 4 time trials (500, 1000, 2000, and 4000-m). Two additional time trials (1000 and 4000 m) that were stopped at 50% of the corresponding “full” time trial were performed to study the rate of the decline in GE.

Results:

Correcting for a declining GE during time-trial exercise resulted in a significant (P < .001) increase in anaerobically attributable work of 30%, with a 95% confidence interval of [25%, 36%]. A significant interaction effect between calculation method (constant GE, declining GE) and distance (500, 1000, 2000, 4000 m) was found (P < .001). Further analysis revealed that the constant-GE calculation method was different from the declining method for all distances and that anaerobic work calculated assuming a constant GE did not result in equal values for anaerobic work calculated over different time-trial distances (P < .001). However, correcting for a declining GE resulted in a constant value for anaerobically attributable work (P = .18).

Conclusions:

Anaerobic work calculated during short time trials (<4000 m) with a correction for a declining GE is increased by 30% [25%, 36%] and may represent anaerobic energy contributions during high-intensity exercise better than calculating anaerobic work assuming a constant GE.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Roy C.M. Mulder, Katherine R. Malterer, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose:

To evaluate whether gross efficiency (GE), determined during submaximal cycling, is lower after time trials and if the magnitude of the decrease differs in relation to race distance. Secondary purposes were to study the rate of the decline in GE and whether changes in muscle-fiber recruitment could explain the decline.

Methods:

Cyclists completed 9 GE tests consisting of submaximal exercise performed before and after time trials of different length (500 m, 1000 m, 2000 m, 4000 m, 15,000 m, and 40,000 m). In addition, subjects performed time trials as if they were a 1000-m, 4000-m, or 40,000-m time trial during which they were stopped at 50% of the final time of the preceding “full” time trial. Power output, gas exchange, and EMG were measured continuously throughout the GE tests.

Results:

A significant interaction effect between distance and time was found for GE (P = .001). GE was significantly lower immediately after the time trials than before (P < .05), and the decline in GE differed between distances (P < .001). GE seemed to decline linearly during the relatively short trials, while it declined more hyperbolically during the 40,000-m. A significant effect of time (P = .04) on mean EMG amplitude was found. However, post hoc comparisons showed no significant differences in mean EMG amplitude between the different time points (before and after the time trials).

Conclusion:

GE decreases during time-trial exercise. Unfortunately, the cause of the decrease remains uncertain. Future modeling studies should consider using a declining instead of a constant GE. In sport situations, the declining GE has to be taken into account when selecting a pacing strategy.

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Dionne A. Noordhof, Carl Foster, Marco J.M. Hoozemans and Jos J. de Koning

Speed skating posture, or technique, is characterized by the push-off angle or effectiveness (e), determined as the angle between the push-off leg and the ice; the preextension knee angle (θ 0); and the trunk angle (θ 1). Together with muscle-power output and environmental conditions, skating posture, or technique, determines velocity (v).

Purpose:

To gain insight into technical variables that are important to skate efficiently and perform well, e, θ 0, θ 1, and skating v were determined every lap during a 5000-m World Cup. Second, the authors evaluated if changes (Δ) in e, θ 0, and θ 1 are associated with Δv.

Methods:

One camera filmed the skaters from a frontal view, from which e was determined. Another camera filmed the skaters from a sagittal view, from which θ 0 and θ 1 were determined. Radio-frequency identification tags around the ankles of the skaters measured v.

Results:

During the race, e progressively increased and v progressively decreased, while θ 0 and θ 1 showed a less consistent pattern of change. Generalized estimating equations showed that Δe is significantly associated with Δv over the midsection of the race (β = −0.10, P < .001) and that Δθ 0 and Δθ 1 are not significantly associated with Δv.

Conclusions:

The decrease in skating v over the race is not due to increases in power losses to air friction, as knee and trunk angle were not significantly associated with changes in velocity. The decrease in velocity can be partly ascribed to the decrease in effectiveness, which reflects a decrease in power production associated with fatigue.

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Wouter Schallig, Tim Veneman, Dionne A. Noordhof, José A. Rodríguez-Marroyo, John P. Porcari, Jos J. de Koning and Carl Foster

The rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) template is thought to regulate pacing and has been shown to be very robust in different circumstances. Purpose: The primary purpose was to investigate whether the RPE template can be manipulated by changing the race distance during the course of a time trial. The secondary purpose was to study how athletes cope with this manipulation, especially in terms of the RPE template. Method: Trained male subjects (N = 10) performed 3 cycling time trials: a 10-km (TT10), a 15-km (TT15), and a manipulated 15-km (TTman). During the TTman, subjects started the time trial believing that they were going to perform a 10-km time trial. However, at 7.5 km they were told that it was a 15-km time trial. Results: A significant main effect of time-trial condition on RPE scores until kilometer 7.5 was found (P = .016). Post hoc comparisons showed that the RPE values of the TT15 were lower than the RPE values of the TT10 (difference 0.60; CI95% 0.11, 1.0) and TTman (difference 0.73; CI95% 0.004, 1.5). After the 7.5 km, a transition phase occurs, in which an interaction effect is present (P = .011). After this transition phase, the RPE values of TTman and TT15 did not statistically differ (P = 1.00). Conclusions: This novel distance-endpoint manipulation demonstrates that it is possible to switch between RPE templates. A clear shift in RPE during the TTman is present between the RPE templates of the TT10 and TT15. The shift strongly supports suggestions that pacing is regulated using an RPE template.

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Sjors Groot, Lars H.J. van de Westelaken, Dionne A. Noordhof, Koen Levels and Jos J. de Koning

Background: Research has shown that gross efficiency (GE) declines during high-intensity exercise, but the time course of recovery of GE after high-intensity exercise has not yet been investigated. Purpose: To determine the time course of the recovery of GE after time trials (TTs) of different lengths. Methods: Nineteen trained male cyclists participated in this study. Before and after TTs of 2000 and 20,000 m, subjects performed submaximal exercise at 55% of the power output attained at maximal oxygen uptake (PVO2max). The postmeasurement continued until 30 min after the end of the TT, during which GE was determined over 3-min intervals. The magnitude-based-inferences approach was used for statistical analysis. Results: GE decreased substantially during the 2000-m and 20,000-m TTs (−11.8% [3.6%] and −6.2% [4.0%], respectively). A most likely and very likely recovery of GE was found during the first half of the submaximal exercise bout performed after the 2000-m, with only a possible increase in GE during the first part of the submaximal exercise bout performed after the 20,000-m. After both distances, GE did not fully recover to the initial pre-TT values, as the difference between the pre-TT value and average GE value of minutes 26–29 was still most likely negative for both the 2000- and 20,000-m (−6.1% [2.8%] and −7.0% [4.5%], respectively). Conclusions: It is impossible to fully recover GE after TTs of 2000- or 20,000-m during 30 min of submaximal cycling exercise performed at an intensity of 55% PVO2max.