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Rachel Borne, Christophe Hausswirth and François Bieuzen

Purpose:

To investigate the effect of different limb blood-flow levels on cycling-performance recovery, blood lactate concentration, and heart rate.

Methods:

Thirty-three high-intensity intermittent-trained athletes completed two 30-s Wingate anaerobic test sessions, 3 × 30-s (WAnT 1–3) and 1 × 30-s (WAnT 4), on a cycling ergometer. WAnT 1–3 and WAnT 4 were separated by a randomly assigned 24-min recovery intervention selected from among blood-flow restriction, passive rest, placebo stimulation, or neuromuscular electrical-stimulation-induced blood flow. Calf arterial inflow was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography at regular intervals throughout the recovery period. Performance was measured in terms of peak and mean power output during WAnT 1 and WAnT 4.

Results:

After the recovery interventions, a large (r = .68 [90% CL .42; .83]) and very large (r = .72 (90% CL .49; .86]) positive correlation were observed between the change in calf arterial inflow and the change in mean and peak power output, respectively. Calf arterial inflow was significantly higher during the neuromuscular-electrical-stimulation recovery intervention than with the blood-flow-restriction, passive-rest, and placebo-stimulation interventions (P < .001). This corresponds to the only intervention that allowed performance recovery (P > .05). No recovery effect was linked to heart rate or blood lactate concentration levels.

Conclusions:

For the first time, these data support the existence of a positive correlation between an increase in blood flow and performance recovery between bouts of high-intensity exercise. As a practical consideration, this effect can be obtained by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation-induced blood flow since this passive, simple strategy could be easily applied during short-term recovery.

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Anthony Couderc, Claire Thomas, Mathieu Lacome, Julien Piscione, Julien Robineau, Rémi Delfour-Peyrethon, Rachel Borne and Christine Hanon

Purpose:

To investigate the running demands and associated metabolic perturbations during an official rugby sevens tournament.

Methods:

Twelve elite players participated in 7 matches wearing GPS units. Maximal sprinting speed (MSS) and maximal aerobic speed (MAS) were measured. High-intensity threshold was individualized relative to MAS (>100% of MAS), and very-high-intensity distance was reported relative to both MAS and MSS. Blood samples were taken at rest and after each match.

Results:

Comparison of prematch and postmatch samples revealed significant (P < .01) changes in pH (7.41–7.25), bicarbonate concentration ([HCO3]) (24.8–13.6 mmol/L), and lactate concentration ([La]) (2.4–11.9 mmol/L). Mean relative total distance covered was 91 ± 13 m/min with ~17 m/min at high-intensity. Player status (whole-match or interchanged players), match time, and total distance covered had no significant impact on metabolic indices. Relative distance covered at high intensity was negatively correlated with pH and [HCO3] (r = .44 and r = .42, respectively; P < .01) and positively correlated with [La] (r = .36; P < .01). Total distance covered and distance covered at very high intensity during the 1-min peak activity in the last 3 min of play were correlated with [La] (r = .39 and r = .39, respectively; P < .01).

Conclusions:

Significant alterations in blood-metabolite indices from prematch to postmatch sampling suggest that players were required to tolerate a substantial level of acidosis related to metabolite accumulation. In addition, the ability to produce energy via the glycolytic energy pathway seems to be a major determinant in match-related running performance.