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Gabriela Fischer, Pedro Figueiredo and Luca P. Ardigò

Purpose:

To investigate physiological performance determinants of the partial laps and an overall 22-km handbiking (HB) time trial in athletes with high paraplegia.

Methods:

Seven male HB athletes with spinal cord injury (lesion levels thoracic 2-8) performed a laboratory maximal incremental test under cardiorespiratory-mechanical monitoring including respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), oxygen uptake (V̇O2), and mechanical power output (PO). Individual first and second ventilatory thresholds (V̇O2VT1 and V̇O2VT2), V̇O2peak, and POpeak were posteriorly identified. Athletes also performed a simulated HB time trial along a 4-lap bike circuit under cardiorespiratory measurement. Overall metabolic cost (C) and %V̇O2peak (ratio of V̇O2 to V̇O2peak) were calculated from race data. Race performance was defined as mean race velocity (v).

Results:

athletes completed the 22-km HB time trial in 45 ± 6 min, at 29.9 ± 3.6 km/h, with %V̇O2peak = 0.86 ± 0.10 and RER = 1.07 ± 0.17. V̇O2peak (r = .89, P = .01), POpeak (r = .85, P = .02), V̇O2VT1 (r = .96, P = .001), V̇O2VT2 (r = .92, P = .003), and C (2nd lap, r = .78; 3rd lap, r = .80; and 4th lap, r = .80) were significantly (P < .05) positively correlated with race performance. Within-subjects correlation coefficient revealed a large and significant (r = .68, P < .001) relationship between %V̇O2peak and v.

Conclusions:

V̇O2peak, POpeak, ventilatory thresholds, %V̇O2peak, and C appeared to be important physiological performance determinants of HB time trial.

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Gabriela Fischer, Jorge L.L. Storniolo and Leonardo A. Peyré-Tartaruga

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of acute fatigue on spring-mass model (SMM) parameters among recreational runners at different speeds. Eleven participants (5 males and 6 females) performed running trials at slower, self-selected, and faster speeds on an indoor track before and after performing a fatigue protocol (60 s of countermovement jumps). Maximal vertical force (Fmax), impact peak force (Fpeak), loading rate (LR), contact time (Tc), aerial time (Ta), step frequency (SF), step length (SL), maximal vertical displacement of the center of mass (ΔZ), vertical stiffness (Kvert), and leg work (Wleg) were measured using a force plate integrated into the track. A significant reduction (–43.1 ± 8.6%; P < .05) in mechanical power during jumps indicated that the subjects became fatigued. The results showed that under fatigue conditions, the runners adjusted their running mechanics at slower (≈2.7 ms–1; ΔZ –12% and SF +3.9%; P < .05), self-selected (≈3.3 ms–1; SF +3%, SL –6.8%, Ta –16%, and Fmax –3.3%; P < .05), and faster (≈3.6 ms–1 SL –6.9%, Ta –14% and Fpeak –9.8%; P < .05) speeds without significantly altering Kvert (P > .05). During constant running, the previous 60 s of maximal vertical jumps induced mechanical adjustments in the spatiotemporal parameters without altering Kvert.

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Rafael L. Kons, Kai Krabben, David L. Mann, Gabriela Fischer and Daniele Detanico

In judo competition for visual impairment, athletes of different classes compete against each other in the same category; B1 athletes are totally blind, whereas B2 and B3 athletes are partially sighted. To test for potential competition disparities due a single category of athletes, this study aimed to compare competitive and technical–tactical performance in visually impaired judo athletes with different degrees of visual impairment. The authors analyzed 340 judo matches from the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. The scores, penalties, efficiency index, and types of medals were examined, as well as the technical variation and temporal structure. The main finding was that blind judo athletes presented lower scores (p < .05; effect size [ES] = 0.43–0.73), medals (p < .05), and efficiency (p < .05; ES = 0.40–0.73); different patterns of play; and a shorter time to lose than partially sighted athletes (p = .027; ES = 0.10–0.14). However, the penalties were similar between classes (p > .05; ES = 0.07–0.14). The odds ratio of a winning medal was 3.5–8 times less in blind athletes than in partially sighted athletes (p < .01). In conclusion, blind judo athletes presented lower competitive and technical–tactical performance than athletes with some residual functional vision. These findings provide support for the development of new evidence-based criteria for judo classification based on vision impairment.