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Pitre C. Bourdon, Marco Cardinale, Warren Gregson and N. Timothy Cable

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Scott Cocking, Mathew G. Wilson, David Nichols, N. Timothy Cable, Daniel J. Green, Dick H. J. Thijssen and Helen Jones

Introduction: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) may enhance endurance performance. No previous study has directly compared distinct IPC protocols for optimal benefit. Purpose: To determine whether a specific IPC protocol (ie, number of cycles, amount of muscle tissue, and local vs remote occlusion) elicits greater performance outcomes. Methods: Twelve cyclists performed 5 different IPC protocols 30 min before a blinded 375-kJ cycling time trial (TT) in a laboratory. Responses to traditional IPC (4 × 5-min legs) were compared with those to 8 × 5-min legs and sham (dose cycles), 4 × 5-min unilateral legs (dose tissue), and 4 × 5-min arms (remote). Rating of perceived exertion and blood lactate were recorded at each 25% TT completion. Power (W), heart rate (beats/min), and oxygen uptake (V˙O2) (mL · kg−1 · min−1) were measured continuously throughout TTs. Magnitude-based-inference statistics were employed to compare variable differences to the minimal practically important difference. Results: Traditional IPC was associated with a 17-s (0, 34) faster TT time than sham. Applying more dose cycles (8 × 5 min) had no impact on performance. Traditional IPC was associated with likely trivial higher blood lactate and possibly beneficial lower V˙O2 responses vs sham. Unilateral IPC was associated with 18-s (−11, 48) slower performance than bilateral (dose tissue). TT times after remote and local IPC were not different (0 [−16, 16] s). Conclusion: The traditional 4 × 5-min (local or remote) IPC stimulus resulted in the fastest TT time compared with sham; there was no benefit of applying a greater number of cycles or employing unilateral IPC.

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Pitre C. Bourdon, Marco Cardinale, Andrew Murray, Paul Gastin, Michael Kellmann, Matthew C. Varley, Tim J. Gabbett, Aaron J. Coutts, Darren J. Burgess, Warren Gregson and N. Timothy Cable

Monitoring the load placed on athletes in both training and competition has become a very hot topic in sport science. Both scientists and coaches routinely monitor training loads using multidisciplinary approaches, and the pursuit of the best methodologies to capture and interpret data has produced an exponential increase in empirical and applied research. Indeed, the field has developed with such speed in recent years that it has given rise to industries aimed at developing new and novel paradigms to allow us to precisely quantify the internal and external loads placed on athletes and to help protect them from injury and ill health. In February 2016, a conference on “Monitoring Athlete Training Loads—The Hows and the Whys” was convened in Doha, Qatar, which brought together experts from around the world to share their applied research and contemporary practices in this rapidly growing field and also to investigate where it may branch to in the future. This consensus statement brings together the key findings and recommendations from this conference in a shared conceptual framework for use by coaches, sport-science and -medicine staff, and other related professionals who have an interest in monitoring athlete training loads and serves to provide an outline on what athlete-load monitoring is and how it is being applied in research and practice, why load monitoring is important and what the underlying rationale and prospective goals of monitoring are, and where athlete-load monitoring is heading in the future.