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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, 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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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, 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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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.

Open access

Maximilian Pelka, Alexander Ferrauti, Tim Meyer, Mark Pfeiffer, and Michael Kellmann

A recovery process with optimal prerequisites that is interrupted is termed disrupted recovery. Whether this process has an influence on performance-related factors needs to be investigated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine how a short disturbance of a recovery phase is assessed and whether subsequent repeated-sprint performance is affected by it. A quasi-experimental 2 × 2-factor crossover design with 34 sport-science undergraduate students (age 20.3 ± 2.1 y) was applied. Factors were the type of intervention (power nap vs systematic breathing; between-subjects) and the experimental condition (disturbed vs nondisturbed break; within-subject). Repeated-sprint performance was measured through 6 × 4-s sprint protocols (with 20-s breaks) before and after a 25-min recovery break on 2 test days. Subjective evaluation of the interventions was measured through the Short Recovery and Stress Scale and a manipulation check assessing whether participants experienced the recovery phase as efficacious and pleasant. Regarding the objective data, no significant difference between sprint performances in terms of average peak velocity (m/s) on the treadmill was found. The manipulation check revealed that disturbed conditions were rated significantly lower than regular conditions in terms of appreciation, t 31 = 3.09, P = .01. Short disturbances of recovery do not seem to affect subsequent performance; nevertheless, participants assessed disturbed conditions more negatively than regular conditions. In essence, the findings indicate a negligible role of short interruptions on an objective level. Subjectively, they affected the performance-related assessment of the participants and should be treated with caution.

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Steffen Held, Anne Hecksteden, Tim Meyer, and Lars Donath

Purpose: The present intervention study examined the effects of intensity-matched velocity-based strength training with a 10% velocity loss (VL10) versus traditional 1-repetition maximum (1RM) based resistance training to failure (TRF) on 1RM and maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) in a concurrent training setting. Methods: Using the minimization method, 21 highly trained rowers (4 females and 17 males; 19.6 [2.1] y, 1.83 [0.07] m, 74.6 [8.8] kg, V˙O2max:64.9[8.5]mL·kg1·min1) were either assigned to VL10 or TRF. In addition to rowing endurance training (about 75 min·d1), both groups performed strength training (5 exercises, 80% 1RM, 4 sets, 2–3 min interset recovery, 2 times/week) over 8 weeks. Squat, deadlift, bench row, and bench press 1RM and V˙O2max rowing-ergometer ramp tests were completed. Overall recovery and overall stress were monitored every evening using the Short Recovery and Stress Scale. Results: Large and significant group × time interactions (P < .03, ηp2>.23, standard mean differences [SMD] > 0.65) in favor of VL10 (averaged +18.0% [11.3%]) were observed for squat, bench row, and bench press 1RM compared with TRF (averaged +8.0% [2.9%]). V˙O2max revealed no interaction effects (P = .55, ηp2=.01, standard mean difference < .23) but large time effects (P < .05, ηp2>.27). Significant group × time interactions (P = .001, ηp2>.54, SMD > |0.525|) in favor of VL10 were also observed for overall recovery and overall stress 24 and 48 hours after strength training. Conclusions: VL10 serves as a promising means to improve strength capacity at lower repetitions and stress levels in highly trained athletes. Future research should investigate the interference effects of VL10 in strength endurance sports and its effects when increasing weekly VL10 sessions within one macrocycle.

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Jan Haut, Freya Gassmann, Eike Emrich, Tim Meyer, and Christian Pierdzioch

It is often claimed that elite sport success increases national pride as well as the international prestige of a country. To scrutinize this broad-shed assumption, we draw on data from an online survey carried out around the Rio 2016 Olympics, including questions on success, national identity and attitudes towards other countries and athletes. Exploratory analyses of open questions reveal that successful athletes celebrated at home are often ignored abroad. A country’s international image is rather shaped by negative perceptions regarding doping or unfairness. Statistical analyses of standardized questions support previous findings on the reception of sport events, such as the strong connection of national pride and desire for elite sport success. However, there is also strong indication for shared international standards of sportsmanship.

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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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Sabrina Skorski, Iñigo Mujika, Laurent Bosquet, Romain Meeusen, Aaron J. Coutts, and Tim Meyer

Physiological and psychological demands during training and competition generate fatigue and reduce an athlete’s sport-specific performance capacity. The magnitude of this decrement depends on several characteristics of the exercise stimulus (eg, type, duration, and intensity), as well as on individual characteristics (eg, fitness, profile, and fatigue resistance). As such, the time required to fully recover is proportional to the level of fatigue, and the consequences of exercise-induced fatigue are manifold. Whatever the purpose of the ensuing exercise session (ie, training or competition), it is crucial to understand the importance of optimizing the period between exercise bouts in order to speed up the regenerative processes and facilitate recovery or set the next stimulus at the optimal time point. This implies having a fairly precise understanding of the fatigue mechanisms that contribute to the performance decrement. Failing to respect an athlete’s recovery needs may lead to an excessive accumulation of fatigue and potentially “nonfunctional overreaching” or to maladaptive training. Although research in this area recently increased, considerations regarding the specific time frames for different physiological mechanisms in relation to exercise-induced fatigue are still missing. Furthermore, recommendations on the timing and dosing of recovery based on these time frames are limited. Therefore, the aim of this article is to describe time courses of recovery in relation to the exercise type and on different physiological levels. This summary supports coaches, athletes, and scientists in their decision-making process by considering the relationship of exercise type, physiology, and recovery.