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  • Author: Tiaki B. Smith x
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Tiaki B. Smith, Will G. Hopkins and Tim E. Lowe

There is a need for markers that would help determine when an athlete’s training load is either insufficient or excessive. In this study we examined the relationship between changes in performance and changes in physiological and psychological markers during and following a period of overload training in 10 female and 10 male elite rowers. Change in performance during a 4-wk overload was determined with a weekly 30-min time-trial on a rowing ergometer, whereas an incremental test provided change in lactate-threshold power between the beginning of the study and following a 1-wk taper after the overload. Various psychometric, steroid-hormone, muscle-damage, and inflammatory markers were assayed throughout the overload. Plots of change in performance versus the 4-wk change in each marker were examined for evidence of an inverted-U relationship that would characterize undertraining and excessive training. Linear modeling was also used to estimate the effect of changes in the marker on changes in performance. There was a suggestion of an inverted U only for performance in the incremental test versus some inflammatory markers, due to the relative underperformance of one rower. There were some clear linear relationships between changes in markers and changes in performance, but relationships were inconsistent within classes of markers. For some markers, changes considered to predict excessive training (eg, creatine kinase, several proinflammatory cytokines) had small to large positive linear relationships with performance. In conclusion, some of the markers investigated in this study may be useful for adjusting the training load in individual elite rowers.

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Francisco Tavares, Martyn Beaven, Júlia Teles, Dane Baker, Phil Healey, Tiaki B. Smith and Matthew Driller

Purpose: Although the acute effects of cold-water immersion (CWI) have been widely investigated, research analyzing the effects of CWI over a chronic period in highly trained athletes is scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of CWI during an intense 3-wk preseason phase in elite rugby athletes. Methods: A total of 23 elite male rugby union athletes were randomized to either CWI (10 min at 10°C, n = 10) or a passive recovery control (CON, n = 13) during 3 wk of high-volume training. Athletes were exposed to either CWI or CON after each training day (12 d in total). Running loads, conditioning, and gym sessions were kept the same between groups. Measures of countermovement jump, perceived muscle soreness, and wellness were obtained twice a week, and saliva samples for determining cortisol and interleukin-6 were collected once per week. Results: Although no significant differences were observed between CWI and CON for any measure, CWI resulted in lower fatigue markers throughout the study as demonstrated by the moderate effects on muscle soreness (d = 0.58–0.91) and interleukin-6 (d = −0.83) and the small effects (d = 0.23–0.38) on countermovement jump in comparison with CON. Conclusions: CWI may provide some beneficial effect by reducing fatigue and soreness during an intense 3-wk training phase in elite rugby athletes.