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Martin Buchheit, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Marc Quod, Thomas Quesnel and Said Ahmaidi

Purpose:

The aim of the current study was to compare the effects of speed/agility (S/A) training with sprint interval training (SIT) on acceleration and repeated sprint ability (RSA) in well-trained male handball players.

Methods:

In addition to their normal training program, players performed either S/A (n = 7) or SIT (n = 7) training for 4 wk. Speed/agility sessions consisted of 3 to 4 series of 4 to 6 exercises (eg, agility drills, standing start and very short sprints, all of <5 s duration); each repetition and series was interspersed with 30 s and 3 min of passive recovery, respectively. Sprint interval training consisted of 3 to 5 repetitions of 30-s all-out shuttle sprints over 40 m, interspersed with 2 min of passive recovery. Pre- and posttests included a countermovement jump (CMJ), 10-m sprint (10m), RSA test and a graded intermittent aerobic test (30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test, VIFT).

Results:

S/A training produced a very likely greater improvement in 10-m sprint (+4.6%, 90% CL 1.2 to 7.8), best (+2.7%, 90% CL 0.1 to 5.2) and mean (+2.2%, 90% CL –0.2 to 4.5) RSA times than SIT (all effect sizes [ES] greater than 0.79). In contrast, SIT resulted in an almost certain greater improvement in VIFT compared with S/A (+5.2%, 90% CL 3.5 to 6.9, with ES = –0.83).

Conclusion:

In well-trained handball players, 4 wk of SIT is likely to have a moderate impact on intermittent endurance capacity only, whereas S/A training is likely to improve acceleration and repeated sprint performance.

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Ida A. Heikura, Marc Quod, Nicki Strobel, Roger Palfreeman, Rita Civil and Louise M. Burke

Purpose: To assess energy and carbohydrate (CHO) availability and changes in blood hormones in 6 professional male cyclists over multiple single-day races. Methods: The authors collected weighed-food records, power-meter data, and morning body mass measurements across 8 d. CHO intakes were compared with contemporary guidelines. Energy availability (EA) was calculated as energy intake minus exercise energy expenditure, relative to fat-free mass (FFM). Skinfold thickness and blood metabolic and reproductive hormones were measured prestudy and poststudy. Statistical significance was defined as P ≤ .05. Results: Body mass (P = .11) or skinfold thickness (P = .75) did not change across time, despite alternate-day low EA (14 [9] vs 57 [10] kcal·kg−1 FFM·d−1, race vs rest days, respectively; P < .001). Cyclists with extremely low EA on race days (<10 kcal·kg−1 FFM·d−1; n = 2) experienced a trend toward decreased testosterone (−14%) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (−25%), despite being high EA (>46 kcal·kg−1 FFM·d−1) on days between. CHO intakes were significantly higher on race versus rest days (10.7 [1.3] vs 6.4 [0.8] g·kg−1·d−1, respectively; P < .001). The cyclists reached contemporary prerace fueling targets (3.4 [0.7] g·kg−1·3 h−1 CHO; P = .24), while the execution of CHO guidelines during race (51 [9] g·h−1; P = .048) and within acute (1.6 [0.5] g·kg−1·3 h−1; P = .002) and prolonged (7.4 [1.0] g·kg−1·24 h−1; P = .002) postrace recovery was poor. Conclusions: The authors are the first to report the day-by-day periodization of energy and CHO in a small sample of professional cyclists. They also examined the logistics of conducting a field study under stressful conditions in which major cooperation from the subjects and team management is needed. Their commentary around these challenges and possible solutions is a major novelty of the article.

Open access

Alan J. Metcalfe, Paolo Menaspà, Vincent Villerius, Marc Quod, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Andrew D. Govus and Chris R Abbiss

Purpose:

To describe the within-season external workloads of professional male road cyclists for optimal training prescription.

Methods:

Training and racing of 4 international competitive professional male cyclists (age 24 ± 2 y, body mass 77.6 ± 1.5 kg) were monitored for 12 mo before the world team-time-trial championships. Three within-season phases leading up to the team-time-trial world championships on September 20, 2015, were defined as phase 1 (Oct–Jan), phase 2 (Feb–May), and phase 3 (June–Sept). Distance and time were compared between training and racing days and over each of the various phases. Times spent in absolute (<100, 100–300, 400–500, >500 W) and relative (0–1.9, 2.0–4.9, 5.0–7.9, >8 W/kg) power zones were also compared for the whole season and between phases 1–3.

Results:

Total distance (3859 ± 959 vs 10911 ± 620 km) and time (240.5 ± 37.5 vs 337.5 ± 26 h) were lower (P < .01) in phase 1 than phase 2. Total distance decreased (P < .01) from phase 2 to phase 3 (10911 ± 620 vs 8411 ± 1399 km, respectively). Mean absolute (236 ± 12.1 vs 197 ± 3 W) and relative (3.1 ± 0 vs 2.5 ± 0 W/kg) power output were higher (P < .05) during racing than training, respectively.

Conclusion:

Volume and intensity differed between training and racing over each of 3 distinct within-season phases.

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Shona L. Halson, Marc J. Quod, David T. Martin, Andrew S. Gardner, Tammie R. Ebert and Paul B. Laursen

Cold water immersion (CWI) has become a popular means of enhancing recovery from various forms of exercise. However, there is minimal scientific information on the physiological effects of CWI following cycling in the heat.

Purpose:

To examine the safety and acute thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine, and inflammatory responses to CWI following cycling in the heat.

Methods:

Eleven male endurance trained cyclists completed two simulated ~40-min time trials at 34.3 ± 1.1°C. All subjects completed both a CWI trial (11.5°C for 60 s repeated three times) and a control condition (CONT; passive recovery in 24.2 ± 1.8°C) in a randomized cross-over design. Capillary blood samples were assayed for lactate, glucose, pH, and blood gases. Venous blood samples were assayed for catecholamines, cortisol, testosterone, creatine kinase, C-reactive protein, IL-6, and IGF-1 on 7 of the 11 subjects. Heart rate (HR), rectal (Tre), and skin temperatures (Tsk) were measured throughout recovery.

Results:

CWI elicited a significantly lower HR (CWI: Δ116 ± 9 bpm vs. CONT: Δ106 ± 4 bpm; P = .02), Tre (CWI: Δ1.99 ± 0.50°C vs. CONT: Δ1.49 ± 0.50°C; P = .01) and Tsk. However, all other measures were not significantly different between conditions. All participants subjectively reported enhanced sensations of recovery following CWI.

Conclusion:

CWI did not result in hypothermia and can be considered safe following high intensity cycling in the heat, using the above protocol. CWI significantly reduced heart rate and core temperature; however, all other metabolic and endocrine markers were not affected by CWI.