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  • Author: Iain R. Spears x
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Shaun J. McLaren, Michael Graham, Iain R. Spears and Matthew Weston

Purpose:

To investigate the sensitivity of differential ratings of perceived exertion (dRPE) as measures of internal load.

Methods:

Twenty-two male university soccer players performed 2 maximal incremental-exercise protocols (cycle, treadmill) on separate days. Maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), maximal heart rate (HRmax), peak blood lactate concentration (B[La]peak), and the preprotocol-to-postprotocol change in countermovement-jump height (ΔCMJH) were measured for each protocol. Players provided dRPE (CR100) for breathlessness (RPE-B) and leg-muscle exertion (RPE-L) immediately on exercise termination (RPE-B0, RPE-L0) and 30 min postexercise (RPE-B30, RPE-L30). Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences.

Results:

There were clear between-protocols differences for V̇O2max (cycle 46.5 ± 6.3 vs treadmill 51.0 ± 5.1 mL · kg−1 · min−1, mean difference –9.2%; ±90% confidence limits 3.7%), HRmax (184.7 ± 12.7 vs 196.7 ± 7.8 beats/min, –6.0%; ±1.7%), B[La]peak (9.7 ± 2.1 vs 8.5 ± 2.0 mmol/L, 15%; ±10%), and ΔCMJH (–7.1 ± 4.2 vs 0.6 ± 3.6 cm, –23.2%; ±5.4%). Clear between-protocols differences were recorded for RPE-B0 (78.0 ± 11.7 vs 94.7 ± 9.5 AU, –18.1%; ±4.5%), RPE-L0 (92.6 ± 9.7 vs 81.3 ± 14.1 AU, 15.3%; ±7.6%), RPE-B30 (70 ± 11 vs 82 ± 13 AU, –13.8%; ±7.3%), and RPE-L30 (86 ± 12 vs 65 ± 19 AU, 37%; ±17%). A substantial timing effect was observed for dRPE, with moderate to large reductions in all scores 30 min postexercise compared with scores collected on exercise termination.

Conclusion:

dRPE enhance the precision of internal-load measurement and therefore represent a worthwhile addition to training-load-monitoring procedures.

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Jonathan M. Taylor, Tom W. Macpherson, Iain R. Spears and Matthew Weston

The ability to repeatedly perform sprints has traditionally been viewed as a key performance measure in team sports, and the relationship between repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and performance has been explored extensively. However, when reviewing the repeated-sprint profile of team-sports match play it appears that the occurrence of repeated-sprint bouts is sparse, indicating that RSA is not as important to performance as commonly believed. Repeated sprints are, however, a potent and time-efficient training strategy, effective in developing acceleration, speed, explosive leg power, aerobic power, and high-intensity-running performance—all of which are crucial to team-sport performance. As such, we propose that repeated-sprint exercise in team sports should be viewed as an independent variable (eg, a means of developing fitness) as opposed to a dependent variable (eg, a means of assessing fitness/performance).

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Matthew Weston, Angela E. Hibbs, Kevin G. Thompson and Iain R. Spears

Purpose:

To quantify the effects of a 12-wk isolated core-training program on 50-m front-crawl swim time and measures of core musculature functionally relevant to swimming.

Methods:

Twenty national-level junior swimmers (10 male and 10 female, 16 ± 1 y, 171 ± 5 cm, 63 ± 4 kg) participated in the study. Group allocation (intervention [n = 10], control [n = 10]) was based on 2 preexisting swim-training groups who were part of the same swimming club but trained in different groups. The intervention group completed the core training, incorporating exercises targeting the lumbopelvic complex and upper region extending to the scapula, 3 times/wk for 12 wk. While the training was performed in addition to the normal pool-based swimming program, the control group maintained their usual pool-based swimming program. The authors made probabilistic magnitude-based inferences about the effect of the core training on 50-m swim time and functionally relevant measures of core function.

Results:

Compared with the control group, the core-training intervention group had a possibly large beneficial effect on 50-m swim time (–2.0%; 90% confidence interval –3.8 to –0.2%). Moreover, it showed small to moderate improvements on a timed prone-bridge test (9.0%; 2.1–16.4%) and asymmetric straight-arm pull-down test (23.1%; 13.7–33.4%), and there were moderate to large increases in peak EMG activity of core musculature during isolated tests of maximal voluntary contraction.

Conclusion:

This is the first study to demonstrate a clear beneficial effect of isolated core training on 50-m front-crawl swim performance.