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Robin T. Thorpe, Anthony J. Strudwick, Martin Buchheit, Greg Atkinson, Barry Drust and Warren Gregson

Purpose:

To determine the sensitivity of a range of potential fatigue measures to daily training load accumulated over the previous 2, 3, and 4 d during a short in-season competitive period in elite senior soccer players (N = 10).

Methods:

Total highspeed-running distance, perceived ratings of wellness (fatigue, muscle soreness, sleep quality), countermovement-jump height (CMJ), submaximal heart rate (HRex), postexercise heart-rate recovery (HRR), and heart-rate variability (HRV: Ln rMSSD) were analyzed during an in-season competitive period (17 d). General linear models were used to evaluate the influence of 2-, 3-, and 4-d total high-speed-running-distance accumulation on fatigue measures.

Results:

Fluctuations in perceived ratings of fatigue were correlated with fluctuations in total high-speed-running-distance accumulation covered on the previous 2 d (r = –.31; small), 3 d (r = –.42; moderate), and 4 d (r = –.28; small) (P < .05). Changes in HRex (r = .28; small; P = .02) were correlated with changes in 4-d total high-speed-running-distance accumulation only. Correlations between variability in muscle soreness, sleep quality, CMJ, HRR%, and HRV and total high-speed-running distance were negligible and not statistically significant for all accumulation training loads.

Conclusions:

Perceived ratings of fatigue and HRex were sensitive to fluctuations in acute total high-speed-running-distance accumulation, although sensitivity was not systematically influenced by the number of previous days over which the training load was accumulated. The present findings indicate that the sensitivity of morning-measured fatigue variables to changes in training load is generally not improved when compared with training loads beyond the previous day’s training.

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Robin T. Thorpe, Anthony J. Strudwick, Martin Buchheit, Greg Atkinson, Barry Drust and Warren Gregson

Purpose:

To quantify the mean daily changes in training and match load and any parallel changes in indicators of morningmeasured fatigue across in-season training weeks in elite soccer players.

Methods:

After each training session and match (TL), session ratings of perceived exertion (s-RPE) were recorded to calculate overall session load (RPE-TL) in 29 English Premier League players from the same team. Morning ratings of fatigue, sleep quality, and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), as well as submaximal exercise heart rate (HRex), postexercise heart-rate recovery (HRR%), and heart-rate variability (HRV) were recorded before match day and 1, 2, and 4 d postmatch. Data were collected for a median duration of 3 wk (range 1–13) and reduced to a typical weekly cycle including no midweek match and a weekend match day. Data were analyzed using withinsubject linear mixed models.

Results:

RPE-TL was approximately 600 arbitrary units (AU) (95% confidence interval 546–644) higher on match day than following day (P < .001). RPE-TL progressively decreased by »60 AU per day over the 3 days before a match (P < .05). Morning-measured fatigue, sleep quality, and DOMS tracked the changes in RPE-TL, being 35–40% worse on postmatch day vs prematch day (P < .001). Perceived fatigue, sleep quality, and DOMS improved by 17–26% from postmatch day to 3 d postmatch, with further smaller (7%–14%) improvements occurring between 4 d postmatch and prematch day (P < .01). There were no substantial or statistically significant changes in HRex, HRR%, or HRV over the weekly cycle (P > .05).

Conclusions:

Morning-measured ratings of fatigue, sleep quality, and DOMS are clearly more sensitive than HR-derived indices to the daily fluctuations in session load experienced by elite soccer players in a standard in-season week.

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Michael J. Saunders, Rebecca W. Moore, Arie K. Kies, Nicholas D. Luden and Casey A. Pratt

This study examined whether a carbohydrate + casein hydrolysate (CHO+ProH) beverage improved time-trial performance vs. a CHO beverage delivering ~60 g CHO/hr. Markers of muscle disruption and recovery were also assessed. Thirteen male cyclists (VO2peak = 60.8 ± 1.6 ml · kg−1 · min−1) completed 2 computer-simulated 60-km time trials consisting of 3 laps of a 20-km course concluding with a 5-km climb (~5% grade). Participants consumed 200 ml of CHO (6%) or CHO+ProH beverage (6% + 1.8% protein hydrolysate) every 5 km and 500 ml of beverage immediately postexercise. Beverage treatments were administered using a randomly counterbalanced, double-blind design. Plasma creatine phosphokinase (CK) and muscle-soreness ratings were assessed immediately before and 24 hr after cycling. Mean 60-km times were 134.4 ± 4.6 and 135.0 ± 4.0 min for CHO+ProH and CHO beverages, respectively. All time differences between treatments occurred during the final lap, with protein hydrolysate ingestion explaining a significant (p < .05) proportion of betweentrials differences over the final 20 km (44.3 ± 1.6, 45.0 ± 1.6 min) and final 5 km (16.5 ± 0.6, 16.9 ± 0.6 min). Plasma CK levels and muscle-soreness ratings increased significantly after the CHO trial (161 ± 53, 399 ± 175 U/L; 15.8 ± 5.1, 37.6 ± 5.7 mm) but not the CHO+ProH trial (115 ± 21, 262 ± 88 U/L; 20.9 ± 5.3, 32.2 ± 7.1 mm). Late-exercise time-trial performance was enhanced with CHO+ProH beverage ingestion compared with a beverage containing CHO provided at maximal exogenous oxidation rates during exercise. CHO+ProH ingestion also prevented increases in plasma CK and muscle soreness after exercise.

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Armand E.O. Bettonviel, Naomi Y.J. Brinkmans, Kris Russcher, Floris C. Wardenaar and Oliver C. Witard

The nutritional status of elite soccer players across match, postmatch, training and rest days has not been defined. Recent evidence suggests the pattern of dietary protein intake impacts the daytime turnover of muscle proteins and, as such, influences muscle recovery. We assessed the nutritional status and daytime pattern of protein intake in senior professional and elite youth soccer players and compared findings against published recommendations. Fourteen senior professional (SP) and 15 youth elite (YP) soccer players from the Dutch premier division completed nutritional assessments using a 24-hr web-based recall method. Recall days consisted of a match, postmatch, rest, and training day. Daily energy intake over the 4-day period was similar between SP (2988 ± 583 kcal/day) and YP (2938 ± 465 kcal/day; p = .800). Carbohydrate intake over the combined 4-day period was lower in SP (4.7 ± 0.7 g·kg-1 BM·day-1) vs. YP (6.0 ± 1.5 g·kg-1 BM·day-1, p = .006) and SP failed to meet recommended carbohydrate intakes on match and training days. Conversely, recommended protein intakes were met for SP (1.9 ± 0.3 g·kg-1 BM·day-1) and YP (1.7 ± 0.4 g·kg-1 BM·day-1), with no differences between groups (p = .286). Accordingly, both groups met or exceeded recommended daily protein intakes on individual match, postmatch, rest and training days. A similar “balanced” daytime pattern of protein intake was observed in SP and YP. To conclude, SP increased protein intake on match and training days to a greater extent than YP, however at the expense of carbohydrate intake. The daytime distribution of protein intake for YP and SP aligned with current recommendations of a balanced protein meal pattern.

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David S. Rowlands, Rhys M. Thorp, Karin Rossler, David F. Graham and Mike J. Rockell

Carbohydrate ingestion after prolonged strenuous exercise enhances recovery, but protein might also be important. In a crossover with 2-wk washout, 10 cyclists completed 2.5 h of intervals followed by 4-h recovery feeding, provided 218 g protein, 435 g carbohydrate, and 79 g fat (protein enriched) or 34 g protein, 640 g carbohydrate, and 79 g fat (isocaloric control). The next morning, cyclists performed 10 maximal constant-work sprints on a Velotron cycle ergometer, each lasting ~2.5 min, at ~5-min intervals. Test validity was established and test reliability and the individual response to the protein-enriched condition estimated by 6 cyclists’ repeating the intervals, recovery feeding, and performance test 2 wk later in the protein-enriched condition. During the 4-h recovery, the protein-enriched feeding had unclear effects on mean concentrations of plasma insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone, but testosterone was 25% higher (90% confidence limits, ± 14%). Protein enrichment also reduced plasma creatine kinase by 33% (±38%) the next morning and reduced tiredness and leg-soreness sensations during the sprints, but effects on mean sprint power were unclear (–1.4%, ±4.3%). The between-subjects trial-to-trial coefficient of variation in overall mean sprint power was 3.1% (±3.4%), whereas the variation in the protein-enriched condition was 5.9% (±6.9%), suggesting that individual responses to the protein-enriched treatment contributed to the unclear performance outcome. To conclude, protein-enriched recovery feeding had no clear effect on next-day performance.

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Jason R. Karp, Jeanne D. Johnston, Sandra Tecklenburg, Timothy D. Mickleborough, Alyce D. Fly and Joel M. Stager

Nine male, endurance-trained cyclists performed an interval workout followed by 4 h of recovery, and a subsequent endurance trial to exhaustion at 70% VO2max, on three separate days. Immediately following the first exercise bout and 2 h of recovery, subjects drank isovolumic amounts of chocolate milk, fluid replacement drink (FR), or carbohydrate replacement drink (CR), in a single-blind, randomized design. Carbohydrate content was equivalent for chocolate milk and CR. Time to exhaustion (TTE), average heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and total work (WT) for the endurance exercise were compared between trials. TTE and WT were significantly greater for chocolate milk and FR trials compared to CR trial. The results of this study suggest that chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid between two exhausting exercise bouts.

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John K. Malone, Catherine Blake and Brian Caulfield

Purpose:

To investigate the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) during acute recovery between 2 bouts of maximal aerobic exercise.

Methods:

On 3 separate days, 19 trained male cyclists (28 ± 7 y, 76.4 ± 10.4 kg, power output at maximal aerobic power [pVo2max] 417 ± 44 W) performed a 3-min maximal cycling bout at 105% PVo2max before a 30-min randomly assigned recovery intervention of passive (PAS: resting), active (ACT: 30% PVo2max), or NMES (5 Hz, 4 pulses at 500 μs). Immediately afterward, a cycle bout at 95% PVo2max to exhaustion (TLIM) was performed. Heart rate (HR) and blood lactate (BLa) were recorded at designated time points. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA with a Tukey honestly significantly different post hoc test. Statistical significance threshold was P < .05.

Results:

The TLIM was significantly shorter for NMES than for ACT (199.6 ± 69.4 s vs 250.7 ± 105.5 s: P = .016) but not PAS recovery (199.6 ± 69.4 s vs 216.4 ± 77.5 s: P = .157). The TLIM was not significantly different between ACT and PAS (250.7 ± 105.5 s vs 216.4 ± 77.5 s: P = .088). The decline in BLa was significantly greater during ACT than NMES and PAS recovery (P < .001), with no difference between NMES and PAS. In addition, HR was significantly higher during ACT than NMES and PAS recovery (P < .001), with no difference between NMES and PAS.

Conclusions:

NMES was less effective than ACT and comparable to PAS recovery when used between 2 bouts of maximal aerobic exercise in trained male cyclists.

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Ian M. Wilcock, John B. Cronin and Wayne A. Hing

Purpose:

To assess the effect that post exercise immersion in water has on subsequent exercise performance.

Methods:

A literary search and review of water-immersion and performance studies was conducted.

Results:

Seven articles were examined. In 2, significant benefits to performance were observed. Those 2 articles revealed a small to large effect on jump performance and isometric strength.

Practical Application and Conclusions:

It is possible that water immersion might improve recovery from plyometric or muscle-damaging exercise. Such a statement needs to be verified, however, because of the scarcity of research on water immersion as a recovery strategy.

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Justin M. Stanek

Clinical Scenario:

The popularity of compression socks has increased substantially among athletes, particularly those participating in endurance events such as running and triathlon. Companies are increasingly marketing compression stockings to runners, triathletes, and other endurance athletes for the benefits of improved performance and/or decreased recovery time. Originally developed for the treatment of deep-vein thrombosis, compression socks are now marketed as a tool to improve venous return, thus believed to improve both performance and recovery in athletes. The use of compression socks during training aims to help the skeletal-muscle pump, increase deep venous velocity, and/or decrease blood pooling in the calf veins and alleviate delayed-onset muscle soreness. The scenario is a 28-y-old recreational triathlete seeking your advice while training for her first half-Ironman. She occasionally complains of tightness in the calves both during and after running. She wants your opinion on the effectiveness of using compression socks to help her performance and recovery.

Focused Clinical Question:

What is the effectiveness of using graduated compression socks for improving athletic performance and decreasing recovery time in healthy endurance athletes?

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Mindy Millard-Stafford, Gordon L. Warren, Leah Moore Thomas, J. Andrew Doyle, Teresa Snow and Kristen Hitchcock

Post-exercise nutrition is critical to facilitate recovery from training. To determine if added protein (P) or increased carbohydrate (CHO) differentially improves recovery, eight runners ingested: 6% CHO (CHO6), 8% CHO + 2% protein (CHOP), and isocaloric 10% CHO (CHO10) following a 21-km run plus treadmill run to fatigue (RTF) at 90% VO2max. RTF was repeated after 2 h recovery. After 24 h, a 5 km time trial was performed. Insulin and blood glucose were higher (P < 0.05) following CHO10 compared to CHO-P and CHO6, but did not affect improvement from the first to second RTF (29.6% ± 6, 40.5% ± 8.8, 40.5% ± 14.5) or 5 km time (1100 ± 36.3, 1110 ± 37.3, 1118 ± 36.5 s). CK was not different, but perceived soreness with CHO-P (2.1 ± 0.5) was lower than CHO10 (5.2 ± 0.7). Additional calories from CHO or P above that provided in sports drinks does not improve subsequent performance after recovery; but less soreness suggests benefits with CHO-P.