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Laurent Mourot, Nicolas Fabre, Aldo Savoldelli and Federico Schena

To determine the most accurate method based on spectral analysis of heart-rate variability (SA-HRV) during an incremental and continuous maximal test involving the upper body, the authors tested 4 different methods to obtain the heart rate (HR) at the second ventilatory threshold (VT2). Sixteen ski mountaineers (mean ± SD; age 25 ± 3 y, height 177 ± 8 cm, mass 69 ± 10 kg) performed a roller-ski test on a treadmill. Respiratory variables and HR were continuously recorded, and the 4 SA-HRV methods were compared with the gas-exchange method through Bland and Altman analyses. The best method was the one based on a time-varying spectral analysis with high frequency ranging from 0.15 Hz to a cutoff point relative to the individual’s respiratory sinus arrhythmia. The HR values were significantly correlated (r 2 = .903), with a mean HR difference with the respiratory method of 0.1 ± 3.0 beats/min and low limits of agreements (around –6/+6 beats/min). The 3 other methods led to larger errors and lower agreements (up to 5 beats/min and around –23/+20 beats/min). It is possible to accurately determine VT2 with an HR monitor during an incremental test involving the upper body if the appropriate HRV method is used.

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Nicolas Fabre, Stéphane Perrey, Loïc Arbez and Jean-Denis Rouillon

Purpose:

This study aimed (1) to determine whether paced breathing (synchronization of the expiration phase with poling time) would reduce the metabolic rate and dictate a lower rate of perceived exertion (RPE) than does spontaneous breathing and (2) to analyze the effects of paced breathing on poling forces and stride-mechanics organization during roller-ski skating exercises.

Methods:

Thirteen well-trained cross-country skiers performed 8 submaximal roller-skiing exercises on a motorized driven treadmill with 4 modes of skiing (2 skating techniques, V2 and V2A, at 2 exercise intensities) by using 2 patterns of breathing (unconscious vs conscious). Poling forces and stride-mechanics organization were measured with a transducer mounted in ski poles. Oxygen uptake (VO2) was continuously collected. After each bout of exercise RPE was assessed by the subject.

Results:

No difference was observed for VO2 between spontaneous and paced breathing conditions, although RPE was lower with paced breathing (P < .05). Upper-limb cycle time and recovery time were significantly (P < .05) increased by paced breathing during V2A regardless of the exercise intensity, but no changes for poling time were observed. A slight trend of increased peak force with paced breathing was observed (P = .055).

Conclusion:

The lack of a marked effect of paced breathing on VO2 and some biomechanical variables could be explained by the extensive experience of our subjects in cross-country skiing.

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Nicolas Fabre, Laurent Mourot, Livio Zerbini, Barbara Pellegrini, Lorenzo Bortolan and Federico Schena

This study tested the hypothesis that the DMAX (for maximal distance) method could be applied to ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), to propose a novel method for individual detection of the lactate threshold (LT) using RPE alone during an incremental test to exhaustion. Twenty-one participants performed an incremental test on a cycle ergometer. At the end of each stage, lactate concentration was measured and the participants estimated RPE using the Borg CR100 scale. The intensity corresponding to the fixed lactate values of 2 or 4 mmol · L−1(2mM and 4mM), the ventilatory threshold (VT), the respiratory-compensation point (RCP), and the instant of equality of pulmonary gas exchange (RER=1.00) were determined. Lactate (DMAX La) and RPE (DMAX RPE) thresholds were determined using the DMAX method. Oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate, and power output measured at DMAX RPE and at DMAX La were not statistically different. Bland-Altman plots showed small bias and good agreements when DMAX RPE was compared with the DMAX La and RER=1.00 methods (bias = −0.05% and −2% of VO2max, respectively). Conversely, VO2 from the DMAX RPE method was lower than VO2 at 4 mM and at RCP and was higher than VO2 at 2 mM and at VT. VO2 at DMAX RPE was strongly correlated with VO2 at DMAX La (r = .97), at RER=1.00 (r = .97), at 2 mM (r = .85), at 4 mM (r = .93), at VT (r = .95), and at RCP (r = .95). The combination of the DMAX method with the RPE responses permitted precise and individualized estimates of LT using the DMAX method.

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Laurent Mourot, Nicolas Fabre, Erik Andersson, Sarah Willis, Martin Buchheit and Hans-Christer Holmberg

Postexercise heart-rate (HR) recovery (HRR) indices have been associated with running and cycling endurance-exercise performance. The current study was designed (1) to test whether such a relationship also exists in the case of cross-country skiing (XCS) and (2) to determine whether the magnitude of any such relationship is related to the intensity of exercise before obtaining HRR indices. Ten elite male cross-country skiers (mean ± SD; 28.2 ± 5.4 y, 181 ± 8 cm, 77.9 ± 9.4 kg, 69.5 ± 4.3 mL · min−1 · kg−1 maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max]) performed 2 sessions of roller-skiing on a treadmill: a 2 × 3-km time trial and the same 6-km at an imposed submaximal speed followed by a final 800-m time trial. VO2 and HR were monitored continuously, while HRR and blood lactate (BLa) were assessed during 2 min immediately after each 6-km and the 800-m time trial. The 6-km time-trial time was largely negatively correlated with VO2max and BLa. On the contrary, there was no clear correlation between the 800-m time-trial time and VO2, HR, or BLa. In addition, in no case was any clear correlation between any of the HRR indices and performance time or VO2max observed. These findings confirm that XCS performance is largely correlated with VO2max and the ability to tolerate high levels of BLa; however, postexercise HRR showed no clear association with performance. The homogeneity of the group of athletes involved and the contribution of the arms and upper body to the exercise preceding determination of HRR may explain this absence of a relationship.