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The Physiological Characteristics of an 83-Year-Old Champion Female Master Runner

Thomas Cattagni, Vincent Gremeaux, and Romuald Lepers

Purpose: To examine the cardiorespiratory, muscular, and skeletal characteristics of an 83-year-old champion female master athlete (called DL in this study) who had set multiple world running records in the 80-to-84-year-old age group. Methods: Measures of maximal oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate, maximal isometric torque for knee extensor muscles, thigh and triceps surae muscle volumes, and bone mineral density (BMD) of the proximal femur region were evaluated. Based on previously published equations, physiological age was determined for maximal oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate, and maximal isometric torque. Muscle volumes for the dominant leg were compared with previously published sex- and age-matched data using z scores. For BMD, T score and z score were calculated. Results: DL had the highest maximal oxygen uptake (42.3 mL·min−1·kg−1) ever observed for a female older than 80 years of age, which gave her a remarkable physiological age (27 y). By contrast, she had a physiological age closer to her biological age for maximal isometric torque (90 y) and maximal heart rate (74 y). The z scores for thigh (0.4) and triceps surae (1.1) muscle volumes revealed that DL’s leg muscles were affected almost as much as her sex- and age-matched peers. The T score (−1.7) for BMD showed that DL had osteopenia but no osteoporosis, and the z score (0.7) showed that DL’s BMD was similar to that of females of the same age. Conclusion: This single case study shows that the remarkable cardiorespiratory fitness coupled with intensive endurance training observed in a female master athlete was not associated with specific preservation of her muscular and skeletal characteristics.

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Successful Return to Performance After COVID-19 Infection in an Elite Athlete

Cyril Besson, Kenny Guex, Laurent Schmitt, Boris Gojanovic, and Vincent Gremeaux

Purpose : To present training load (TL) and heart-rate variability (HRV) in an elite sprinter monitored before, during, and after a COVID-19 infection until successful return to performance. Methods : TL, subjective morning fatigue (MF), and supine HRV were monitored during a 12-week period. Results: During a high-TL period (training camp), MF and heart rate increased and vagally mediated HRV variables decreased. MF increased and stayed high 3 days after the camp despite decrease in TL. In contrast, 4 days after the camp, heart rate decreased and vagally mediated HRV variables increased, reflecting parasympathetic hyperactivity. Elevated MF and suboptimal training performance led to a PCR test decision, which returned positive. After a 10-day training suspension, TL was progressively increased with low MF and high vagal tone. The athlete was able to return to competition 17 days after medical clearance for return to participation and 1 week later beat his indoor 60-m personal best. Conclusions : In this athlete, COVID-19 infection induced parasympathetic hyperactivity with subjective fatigue. This case report presents how performance capacity was only negatively influenced by a COVID-19 infection in the short term, with a quick and successful return to performance, thanks to state-of-the-art medical management. This highlights the importance of TL and HRV monitoring in return-to-participation and return-to-competition decisions.

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Reliability of Isokinetic Assessment of Shoulder-Rotator Strength: A Systematic Review of the Effect of Position

Pascal Edouard, Pierre Samozino, Marc Julia, Sophie Gleizes Cervera, William Vanbiervliet, Paul Calmels, and Vincent Gremeaux


Isokinetic assessment of shoulder internal- (IR) and external-rotator (ER) strength is commonly used with many different postures (sitting, standing, or supine) and shoulder positions (frontal or scapular plane with 45° or 90° of abduction).


To conduct a systematic review to determine the influence of position on the intersession reliability of the assessment of IR and ER isokinetic strength, to identify the most reliable position, and to determine which isokinetic variable appears to be most stable in intersession reliability.

Evidence Acquisition:

A systematic literature search through MEDLINE and Pascal Biomed databases was performed in October 2009. Criteria for inclusion were that studies be written in English or French, describe the isokinetic evaluation methods, and describe statistical analysis.

Evidence Synthesis:

Sixteen studies meeting the inclusion criteria were included. Variable reliability of ER and IR peak torque (PT) were generally reported for all assessment positions; intraclass correlation coefficients were .44–.98 in the seated position with 45° of shoulder abduction, .09–.77 in the seated position with 90° of shoulder abduction, .86–.99 (coefficient of variation: 7.5–29.8%) in the supine position with 90° of shoulder abduction, .82–.84 in the supine position with 45° of shoulder abduction, and .75–.94 in standing. The ER:IR ratio reliability was low for all positions.


The seated position with 45° of shoulder abduction in the scapular plane seemed the most reliable for IR and ER strength assessment. The standing position or a shoulder posture with 90° of shoulder abduction or in the frontal plane must be used with caution given the low reliability for peak torque. Good reliability of ER and IR PT was generally reported, but ER:IR ratio reliability was low.