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  • Author: Pedro Figueiredo x
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Pedro Figueiredo, George P. Nassis and João Brito

Purpose: To quantify the association between salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and training load in elite football players. Methods: Data were obtained on 4 consecutive days during the preparation camp for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Saliva samples of 18 elite male football players were collected prior to breakfast. The session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) and external training-load metrics from global positioning systems (GPS) were recorded. Within-subject correlation coefficients between training load and sIgA concentration, and magnitude of relationships, were calculated. Results: sIgA presented moderate to large negative correlations with s-RPE (r = −.39), total distance covered (r = −.55), accelerations (r = −.52), and decelerations (r = −.48). Trivial to small associations were detected between sIgA and distance covered per minute (r = .01), high-speed distance (r = −.23), and number of sprints (r = −.18). sIgA displayed a likely moderate decrease from day 1 to day 2 (d = −0.7) but increased on day 3 (d = 0.6). The training-load variables had moderate to very large rises from day 1 to day 2 (d = 0.7 to 3.2) but lowered from day 2 to day 3 (d = −5.0 to −0.4), except for distance per minute (d = 0.8) and sprints (unclear). On day 3, all training-load variables had small to large increments compared with day 1 (d = 0.4 to 1.5), except for accelerations (d = −0.8) and decelerations (unclear). Conclusions: In elite football, sIgA might be more responsive to training volume than to intensity. External load such as GPS-derived variables presented stronger association with sIgA than with s-RPE. sIgA can be used as an additional objective tool in monitoring football players.

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Gabriela Fischer, Pedro Figueiredo and Luca P. Ardigò

Purpose:

To investigate physiological performance determinants of the partial laps and an overall 22-km handbiking (HB) time trial in athletes with high paraplegia.

Methods:

Seven male HB athletes with spinal cord injury (lesion levels thoracic 2-8) performed a laboratory maximal incremental test under cardiorespiratory-mechanical monitoring including respiratory-exchange ratio (RER), oxygen uptake (V̇O2), and mechanical power output (PO). Individual first and second ventilatory thresholds (V̇O2VT1 and V̇O2VT2), V̇O2peak, and POpeak were posteriorly identified. Athletes also performed a simulated HB time trial along a 4-lap bike circuit under cardiorespiratory measurement. Overall metabolic cost (C) and %V̇O2peak (ratio of V̇O2 to V̇O2peak) were calculated from race data. Race performance was defined as mean race velocity (v).

Results:

athletes completed the 22-km HB time trial in 45 ± 6 min, at 29.9 ± 3.6 km/h, with %V̇O2peak = 0.86 ± 0.10 and RER = 1.07 ± 0.17. V̇O2peak (r = .89, P = .01), POpeak (r = .85, P = .02), V̇O2VT1 (r = .96, P = .001), V̇O2VT2 (r = .92, P = .003), and C (2nd lap, r = .78; 3rd lap, r = .80; and 4th lap, r = .80) were significantly (P < .05) positively correlated with race performance. Within-subjects correlation coefficient revealed a large and significant (r = .68, P < .001) relationship between %V̇O2peak and v.

Conclusions:

V̇O2peak, POpeak, ventilatory thresholds, %V̇O2peak, and C appeared to be important physiological performance determinants of HB time trial.

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Kelly de Jesus, Karla de Jesus, Pedro A. Figueiredo, Pedro Gonçalves, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

We aimed to analyze the effects of fatigue on kinematical parameters during submaximal and maximal butterfly. Seven female swimmers performed two randomized 100-m butterfly bouts, at submaximal velocity and at maximal velocity in 25-m pool. During the 1st and 4th laps of each 100 m, kinematic data were recorded by two video cameras (above and below water) on the sagittal plane. Velocity, stroke length, stroke frequency, intracyclic horizontal velocity variation, horizontal and vertical displacements of the hand and foot and stroke phases’ duration were computed for each stroke cycle. Velocity, stroke length, stroke frequency were lower for 4th than 1st lap, at both intensities. Dropped elbow and foot vertical amplitude of 1st and 2nd downbeats were higher for 4th than 1st lap, at both intensities. At submaximal and maximal intensity, swimmers spent more time during push and recovery phases. At submaximal intensity, swimmers experienced fewer difficulties to cope with fatigue between 1st and 4th lap, which allowed the maintenance of intracyclic velocity variation. However, at maximal intensity, swimmers were probably more fatigued and, as a consequence, less mechanically efficient, showing an increase in intracyclic velocity variation.

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Pedro Figueiredo, Ana Silva, António Sampaio, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

The aim of this study was to evaluate the determinants of front crawl sprint performance of young swimmers using a cluster analysis. 103 swimmers, aged 11- to 13-years old, performed 25-m front crawl swimming at 50-m pace, recorded by two underwater cameras. Swimmers analysis included biomechanics, energetics, coordinative, and anthropometric characteristics. The organization of subjects in meaningful clusters, originated three groups (1.52 ± 0.16, 1.47 ± 0.17 and 1.40 ± 0.15 m/s, for Clusters 1, 2 and 3, respectively) with differences in velocity between Cluster 1 and 2 compared with Cluster 3 (p = .003). Anthropometric variables were the most determinants for clusters solution. Stroke length and stroke index were also considered relevant. In addition, differences between Cluster 1 and the others were also found for critical velocity, stroke rate and intracycle velocity variation (p < .05). It can be concluded that anthropometrics, technique and energetics (swimming efficiency) are determinant domains to young swimmers sprint performance.

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Ana Sousa, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pendergast, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Swimming has become an important area of sport science research since the 1970s, with the bioenergetic factors assuming a fundamental performance-influencing role. The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical evaluation of the literature concerning oxygen-uptake (VO2) assessment in swimming, by describing the equipment and methods used and emphasizing the recent works conducted in ecological conditions. Particularly in swimming, due to the inherent technical constraints imposed by swimming in a water environment, assessment of VO2max was not accomplished until the 1960s. Later, the development of automated portable measurement devices allowed VO2max to be assessed more easily, even in ecological swimming conditions, but few studies have been conducted in swimming-pool conditions with portable breath-by-breath telemetric systems. An inverse relationship exists between the velocity corresponding to VO2max and the time a swimmer can sustain it at this velocity. The energy cost of swimming varies according to its association with velocity variability. As, in the end, the supply of oxygen (whose limitation may be due to central—O2 delivery and transportation to the working muscles—or peripheral factors—O2 diffusion and utilization in the muscles) is one of the critical factors that determine swimming performance, VO2 kinetics and its maximal values are critical in understanding swimmers’ behavior in competition and to develop efficient training programs.

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Pedro Figueiredo, Renata Willig, Francisco Alves, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Purpose:

To examine the effect of swimming speed (v) on the biomechanical and physiological responses of a trained front-crawl swimmer with a unilateral arm amputation.

Methods:

A 13-y-old girl with a unilateral arm amputation (level of the elbow) was tested for stroke length (SL, horizontal displacement cover with each stroke cycle), stroke frequency (SF, inverse of the time to complete each stroke cycle), adapted index of coordination (IdCadapt, lag time between propulsive phases), intracycle velocity variation (IVV, coefficient of variation of the instantaneous velocity–time data), active drag (D, hydrodynamic resistance), and energy cost (C, ratio of metabolic power to speed) during trials of increasing v.

Results:

Swimmer data showed a positive relationship between v and SF (R 2 = 1, P < .001), IVV (R 2 = .98, P = .002), D (R 2 = .98, P < .001), and C (R 2 = .95, P = .001) and a negative relationship with the SL (R 2 = .99, P = .001). No relation was found between v and IdCadapt (R 2 = .35, P = .22). A quadratic regression best fitted the relationship between v and general kinematical parameters (SL and SF); a cubic relationship fit the IVV best. The relationship between v and D was best expressed by a power regression, and the linear regression fit the C and IdCadapt best.

Conclusions:

The subject’s adaptation to increased v was different from able-bodied swimmers, mainly on interarm coordination, maintaining the lag time between propulsive phases, which influence the magnitude of the other parameters. These results might be useful to develop specific training and enhance swimming performance in swimmers with amputations.

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Ana Silva, Pedro Figueiredo, Susana Soares, Ludovic Seifert, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Our aim was to characterize front crawl swimming performed at very high intensity by young practitioners. 114 swimmers 11–13 years old performed 25 m front crawl swimming at 50 m pace. Two underwater cameras was used to assess general biomechanical parameters (velocity, stroke rate, stroke length and stroke index) and interarm coordination (Index of Coordination), being also identified each front crawl stroke phase. Swimmers presented lower values in all biomechanical parameters than data presented in studies conducted with older swimmers, having the postpubertal group closest values to adult literature due to their superior anthropometric and maturational characteristics. Boys showed higher velocity and stroke index than girls (as reported for elite swimmers), but higher stroke rate than girls (in opposition to what is described for adults). In addition, when considering the total sample, a higher relationship was observed between velocity and stroke length (than with stroke rate), indicating that improving stroke length is a fundamental skill to develop in these ages. Furthermore, only catch-up coordination mode was adopted (being evident a lag time between propulsion of the arms), and the catch and the pull phases presented the highest and smallest durations, respectively.

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Ana Sousa, João Paulo Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Pedro Figueiredo

Purpose:

To establish appropriate work intensity for interval training that would elicit maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) for well-trained swimmers.

Methods:

Twelve male competitive swimmers completed an incremental protocol to determine the minimum velocity at VO2max (νVO2max) and, in randomized order, 3 square-wave exercises from rest to 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max. Temporal aspects of the VO2 response were examined in these latter.

Results:

Swimming at 105% of νVO2max took less (P < .04) absolute time to achieve 90%, 95%, and 100% of VO2max intensities (35.0 ± 7.7, 58.3 ± 15.9, 58.3 ± 19.3 s) compared with 95% (72.1 ± 34.3, 106.7 ± 43.9, 151.1 ± 52.4 s) and 100% (55.8 ± 24.5, 84.2 ± 35.4, 95.6 ± 29.8 s) of VO2max. However, swimming at 95% of νVO2max resulted in longer absolute time (P < .001) at or above the desired intensities (90%: 268.3 ± 72.5 s; 95%: 233.8 ± 74.3 s; 100%: 173.6 ± 78.2 s) and more relative time at or above 95% of VO2max than 105% of νVO2max (68.6% ± 13.5% vs 55.3% ± 11.5%, P < .03), and at or above 100% of VO2max than 100% and 105% of νVO2max (52.7% ± 16.3% vs 28.2% ± 10.5% and 34.0% ± 11.3%, P < .001). At 60 s of effort, swimmers achieved 85.8% ± 11.2%, 88.3% ± 5.9%, and 94.7% ± 5.5% of the VO2max when swimming at 95%, 100%, and 105% of νVO2max, respectively.

Conclusions:

When training to elicit VO2max, using higher swimming intensities will promote a faster VO2 response but a shorter time spent above these intensities. However, lower intensities allow maintaining the desired response for a longer period of time. Moreover, using the 60-s time period seem to be a more adequate stimulus than shorter ones (~30-s), especially when performed at 105% of νVO2max intensity.

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Ricardo Peterson Silveira, Flávio Antônio de Souza Castro, Pedro Figueiredo, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Paola Zamparo

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of swimming pace on the relative contribution of leg kick to swimming speed and to compare arm-stroke efficiency (ηF) assessed when swimming with the arms only (SAO) and while swimming front crawl (FCS) using individual and fixed adjustments to arm-stroke and leg-kick contribution to forward speed.

Methods:

Twenty-nine master swimmers (21 men, 8 women) performed SAO and FCS at 6 self-selected speeds from very slow to maximal. The average swimming speed (v), stroke frequency (SF), and stroke length (SL) were assessed in the central 10 m of the swimming pool. Then, a 2nd-order polynomial regression was used to obtain values of v at paired SF. The percentage difference in v between FCS and SAO, for each paired SF, was used to calculate the relative contributions of the arm stroke (AC) and leg kick (LC) to FCS. Then ηF was calculated using the indirect “paddle-wheel” approach in 3 different ways: using general, individual, and no adjustments to AC.

Results:

The LC increased with SF (and speed) from –1% ± 4% to 11% ± 1% (P < .05). At the lower FCS speeds, ηF calculated using general adjustments was lower than ηF calculated using individual adjustments (P < .05), but differences disappear at the fastest speeds. Finally, ηF calculated using individual adjustments to LC in the FCS condition did not differ with ηF assessed in the SAO condition at all the investigated speeds.

Conclusions:

The relative contributions of the arm stroke and leg kick should be individually estimated to reduce errors when calculating arm-stroke efficiency at different speeds and in different swimmers.

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Ana F. Silva, Pedro Figueiredo, Sara Morais, João P. Vilas-Boas, Ricardo J. Fernandes and Ludovic Seifert

This study aimed to examine young swimmers’ behavioral flexibility when facing different task constraints, such as swimming speed and stroke frequency. Eighteen (five boys and 13 girls) 13- to 15-year-old swimmers performed a 15 × 50-m front crawl with five trials, at 100%, 90%, and 70% each of their 50 m maximal swimming speed and randomly at 90%, 95%, 100%, 105%, and 110% of their preferred stroke frequency. Seven aerial and six underwater cameras were used to assess kinematics (one cycle), with upper-limb coordination computed through a continuous relative phase and index of coordination. A cluster analysis identified six patterns of coordination used by swimmers when facing various speed and stroke frequency constraints. The patterns’ nature and the way the swimmers shifted between them are more important than getting the highest number of patterns (range of repertoire), that is, a change in the motor pattern in order to adapt correctly is more important than being able to execute a great number of patterns.