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Oliver Faude, Tim Meyer and Wilfried Kindermann

Purpose:

The work rate (WR) corresponding to ventilatory threshold (VT) is an appropriate intensity for regenerative and low-intensity training sessions. During incremental ramp exercise, VO2 increase lags behind WR increase. Traditionally, a VO2 time delay (t d) of 45 seconds is used to calculate the WR at VT from such tests. Considerable inaccuracies were observed when using this constant t d. Therefore, this study aimed at reinvestigating the temporal relationship between VO2 and WR at VT.

Methods:

20 subjects (VO2peak 49.9 to 72.6 mL · min–1 · kg–1) performed a ramp test in order to determine VT and a subsequent steady-state test during which WR was adjusted to elicit the VO2 corresponding to VT. The difference in WR and heart rate at VT was calculated between the ramp and the steady-state test (WRdiff, HRdiff) as well as the time delay corresponding to WRdiff during ramp exercise.

Results:

Mean values were t d = 85 ± 26 seconds (range 38 to 144), WRdiff = 45 ± 12 W (range 23 to 67), HRdiff = 1 ± 9 beats/min (range –21 to +15). The limits of agreement for the difference between WR at VT during ramp and steady-state exercise were ± 24 W. No signifi cant influence on t d, WRdiff, or HRdiff from differences in endurance capacity (VO2peak and VT; P > .10 for all correlations) or ramp increment (P = .26, .49, and .85, respectively) were observed.

Conclusion:

The wide ranges of t d, WRdiff, and HRdiff prevent the derivation of exact training guidelines from single-ramp tests. It is advisable to perform a steady-state test to exactly determine the WR corresponding to VT.

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Sabrina Skorski, Stefan Skorski, Oliver Faude, Daniel Hammes and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To investigate whether anthropometric profiles and fitness measures vary according to birth-date distribution in the German national youth soccer teams and to analyze whether there is a difference in the chance of becoming a professional soccer player depending on birth quarter (BQ).

Methods:

First, 554 players were divided into 6 age groups (U16–U21), each subdivided into 4 BQs. Every player performed at least one 30-m sprint, a countermovement jump, and an incremental test to determine individual anaerobic threshold. For players performing more than 1 test within a team, the best 1 was included. Since some players were part of several different teams, a total of 832 data sets from 495 individual soccer players, all born from 1987 to 1995, divided into 6 age categories (U16–U21) were included.

Results:

Overall, more players were born in BQ1 than in all other BQs (P < .05). No significant difference between BQs could be observed in any anthropometric or performance characteristics (P > .18). Players born in BQ4 were more likely to become professional than those born in BQ1 (odds ratio 3.04, confidence limits 1.53–6.06).

Conclusion:

A relative age effect exists in elite German youth soccer, but it is not explained by an advantage in anthropometric or performance-related parameters. Younger players selected into national teams have a greater chance to become professionals later in their career.

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Oliver Faude, Anke Steffen, Michael Kellmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To analyze performance and fatigue effects of small-sided games (SSG) vs high-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed during a 4-wk in-season period in high-level youth football.

Methods:

Nineteen players from 4 youth teams (16.5 [SD 0.8] y, 1.79 [0.06] m, 70.7 [5.6] kg) of the 2 highest German divisions completed the study. Teams were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 training sequences (2 endurance sessions per wk): One training group started with SSG, whereas the other group conducted HIIT during the first half of the competitive season. After the winter break, training programs were changed between groups. Before and after the training periods the following tests were completed: the Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes, creatine kinase and urea concentrations, vertical-jump height (countermovement jump [CMJ], drop jump), straight sprint, agility, and an incremental field test to determine individual anaerobic threshold (IAT).

Results:

Significant time effects were observed for IAT (+1.3%, ηp 2 = .31), peak heart rate (–1.8%, ηp 2 = .45), and CMJ (–2.3%, ηp 2 = .27), with no significant interaction between groups (P > .30). Players with low baseline IAT values (+4.3%) showed greater improvements than those with high initial values (±0.0%). A significant decrease was found for total recovery (–5.0%, ηp 2 = .29), and an increase was found for urea concentration (+9.2%, ηp 2 = .44).

Conclusion:

Four weeks of in-season endurance training can lead to relevant improvements in endurance capacity. The decreases in CMJ height and total-recovery score together with the increase in urea concentration might be interpreted as early signs of fatigue. Thus, the danger of overtaxing players should be considered.

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Ralf Roth, Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner and Oliver Faude

For performance and injury prevention in sport, core strength and endurance are focused prerequisites. Therefore we evaluated characteristics of trunk muscle activation and performance during strength-endurance related trunk field tests. Strength-endurance ability, as total time to failure, and activation of trunk muscles was measured in 39 football players of the highest German female football league (Bundesliga) (N = 18, age: 20.7 y [SD 4.4]) and the highest national male under-19 league (N = 21, age: 17.9 y [0.7]) in prone plank, side plank, and dorsal position. Maximal isometric force was assessed during trunk extension and flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion to normalize EMG and to compare with the results of strength-endurance tests. For all positions of endurance strength tests, a continuous increase in normalized EMG activation was observed (P < .001). Muscle activation of the rectus abdominis and external oblique in prone plank position exceeded the maximal voluntary isometric contraction activation, with a significantly higher activation in females (P = .02). We conclude, that in the applied strength-endurance testing, the activation of trunk muscles was high, especially in females. As high trunk muscle activation can infer fatigue, limb strength can limit performance in prone and side plank position, particularly during high trunk muscle activation.

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Sabrina Skorski, Oliver Faude, Seraina Caviezel and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To analyze the reproducibility of pacing in elite swimmers during competitions and to compare heats and finals within 1 event.

Methods:

Finals and heats of 158 male swimmers (age 22.8 ± 2.9 y) from 29 nations were analyzed in 2 competitions (downloaded from swimrankings.net). Of these, 134 were listed in the world’s top 50 in 2010; the remaining 24 were finalists of the Pan Pacific Games or European Championships. The level of both competitions for the analysis had to be at least national championships (7.7 ± 5.4 wk apart). Standard error of measurement expressed as percentage of the subject’s mean score (CV) with 90% confidence limits (CL) for each 50-m split time and for total times were calculated. In addition, mixed general modeling was used to determine standard deviations between and within swimmers.

Results:

CV for total time in finals ranged between 0.8% and 1.3% (CL 0.6–2.2%). Regarding split times, 200-m freestyle showed a consistent pacing over all split times (CV 0.9–1.6%). During butterfly, backstroke, and 400-m freestyle, CVs were low in the first 3 and 7 sections, respectively (CV 0.9–1.7%), with greater variability in the last section (1.9–2.2%). In breaststroke, values were higher in all sections (CV 1.2–2.3%). Within-subject SDs for changes between laps were between 0.9% and 2.6% in all finals. Split-time variability for finals and heats ranged between 0.9% and 2.5% (CL 0.3–4.9%).

Conclusion:

Pacing profiles are consistent between different competitions. Variability of pacing seems to be a result of the within-subject variation rather than a result of different competitions

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Michael Fuchs, Oliver Faude, Melissa Wegmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To overcome the limitations of traditional 1-dimensional fitness tests in analyzing physiological properties of badminton players, a badminton-specific endurance test (BST) was created. This study aimed at analyzing the influence of various fitness dimensions on BST performance.

Methods:

18 internationally competing male German badminton players (22.4 ± 3.2 y, 79.2 ± 7.7 kg, 1.84 ± 0.06 m, world-ranking position [WRP] 21–501) completed a straight-sprint test, a change-of-direction speed test, various jump tests (countermovement jump, drop jump, standing long jump), a multistage running test (MST), and the BST. During this on-court field test players have to respond to a computerized sign indicating direction and speed of badminton-specific movements by moving into the corresponding corners.

Results:

Significant correlations were found between performance in MST and BST (individual anaerobic threshold [IAT], r = .63, P = .005; maximum velocity [Vmax], r = .60, P = .009). A negative correlation (r = –.59, P = .014) was observed between IAT in BST and drop-jump contact time. No further associations between performance indices could be detected. Apart from a small portion explained by MST results (IAT, R 2 = .40; Vmax, R 2 = .36), the majority of BST performance cannot be explained by the determined physiological correlates. Moreover, it was impossible to predict the WRP of a player on the basis of BST results (r = –.15, P = .55).

Conclusions:

Neither discipline-specific performance nor basic physiological properties were appropriately reflected by a BST in elite badminton players. This does not substantiate its validity for regular use as a testing tool. However, it may be useful for monitoring on-court training sessions.

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Wigand Poppendieck, Oliver Faude, Melissa Wegmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

Cooling after exercise has been investigated as a method to improve recovery during intensive training or competition periods. As many studies have included untrained subjects, the transfer of those results to trained athletes is questionable.

Methods:

Therefore, the authors conducted a literature search and located 21 peer-reviewed randomized controlled trials addressing the effects of cooling on performance recovery in trained athletes.

Results:

For all studies, the effect of cooling on performance was determined and effect sizes (Hedges’ g) were calculated. Regarding performance measurement, the largest average effect size was found for sprint performance (2.6%, g = 0.69), while for endurance parameters (2.6%, g = 0.19), jump (3.0%, g = 0.15), and strength (1.8%, g = 0.10), effect sizes were smaller. The effects were most pronounced when performance was evaluated 96 h after exercise (4.3%, g = 1.03). Regarding the exercise used to induce fatigue, effects after endurance training (2.4%, g = 0.35) were larger than after strength-based exercise (2.4%, g = 0.11). Cold-water immersion (2.9%, g = 0.34) and cryogenic chambers (3.8%, g = 0.25) seem to be more beneficial with respect to performance than cooling packs (−1.4%, g= −0.07). For cold-water application, whole-body immersion (5.1%, g = 0.62) was significantly more effective than immersing only the legs or arms (1.1%, g = 0.10).

Conclusions:

In summary, the average effects of cooling on recovery of trained athletes were rather small (2.4%, g = 0.28). However, under appropriate conditions (whole-body cooling, recovery from sprint exercise), postexercise cooling seems to have positive effects that are large enough to be relevant for competitive athletes.

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Sabrina Skorski, Oliver Faude, Chris R. Abbiss, Seraina Caviezel, Nina Wengert and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To date, there has been limited research examining the influence of pacing pattern (PP) on middle-distance swimming performance. As such, the purpose of the current study was to examine the influence of PP manipulation on 400-m freestyle swimming performance.

Methods:

15 front-crawl swimmers (5 female, 10 male; age 18 ± 2 y) performed 3 simulated 400-m swimming events. The initial trial was self-selected pacing (PPSS). The following 2 trials were performed in a counterbalanced order and required participants to complete the first 100 m more slowly (PPSLOW: 4.5% ± 2.2%) or quickly (PPFAST: 2.4% ± 1.6%) than the PPSS trial. 50-m split times were recorded during each trial.

Results:

Overall performance time was faster in PPSS (275.0 ± 15.9 s) than in PPFAST (278.5 ± 16.4 s, P = .05) but not significantly different from PPSLOW (277.5 ± 16.2 s, P = .22). However, analysis for practical relevance revealed that pacing manipulation resulted in a “likely” (>88.2%) decrease in performance compared with PPSS.

Conclusion:

Moderate manipulation of the starting speed during simulated 400-m freestyle races seems to affect overall performance. The observed results indicate that PPSS is optimal in most individuals, yet it seems to fail in some swimmers. Future research should focus on the identification of athletes possibly profiting from manipulations.

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Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner, Mareike Cordes, Henner Hanssen, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss and Oliver Faude

The study investigated physiological responses during 2-km walking at a certain intensity of a previously performed maximal exercise test where moderate perceived exertion was reported. Twenty seniors were examined by an incremental walking treadmill test to obtain maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). A submaximal 2-km walking test was applied 1 wk later. The corresponding moderate perceived exertion (4 on the CR-10 scale) during the VO2max test was applied to the 2-km treadmill test. Moderate exertion (mean rating of perceived exertion [RPE]: 4 ± 1) led to 76% ± 8% of VO2max and 79% ± 6% of maximal heart rate. RPE values drifted with a significant time effect (p = .001, ηp = .58) during the 2-km test from 3 ± 0.7 to 4.6 ± 0.8. Total energy expenditure (EE) was 3.3 ± 0.5 kcal/kg. No gender differences in ventilatory, heart-rate, or EE data occurred. Brisk walking at moderate RPE of 3–5 would lead to a beneficial physiological response during endurance training and a weekly EE of nearly 1,200 kcal when exercising 5 times/wk for 30 min.

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Lars Donath, Oliver Faude, Stephanie A. Bridenbaugh, Ralf Roth, Martin Soltermann, Reto W. Kressig and Lukas Zahner

This study examined transfer effects of fall training on fear of falling (Falls Efficacy Scale—International [FES–I]), balance performance, and spatiotemporal gait characteristics in older adults. Eighteen community-dwelling older adults (ages 65–85) were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The intervention group completed 12 training sessions (60 min, 6 weeks). During pre- and posttesting, we measured FES–I, balance performance (double limb, closed eyes; single limb, open eyes; double limb, open eyes with motor-interfered task), and gait parameters (e.g., velocity; cadence; stride time, stride width, and stride length; variability of stride time and stride length) under single- and motor-interfered tasks. Dual tasks were applied to appraise improvements of cognitive processing during balance and gait. FES–I (p = .33) and postural sway did not significantly change (0.36 < p < .79). Trends toward significant interaction effects were found for step width during normal walking and stride length variability during the motor dual task (p = .05, ηp 2 = .22). Fall training did not sufficiently improve fear of falling, balance, or gait performance under single- or dual-task conditions in healthy older adults.