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François Bieuzen, Jeanick Brisswalter, Christopher Easthope, Fabrice Vercruyssen, Thierry Bernard and Christophe Hausswirth

Background:

Compression garments are increasingly popular in long-distance running events where they are used to limit cumulative fatigue and symptoms associated with mild exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). However, the effective benefits remain unclear.

Objective:

This study examined the effect of wearing compression stockings (CS) on EIMD indicators. Compression was applied during or after simulated trail races performed at competition pace in experienced off-road runners.

Methods:

Eleven highly trained male runners participated in 3 simulated trail races (15.6 km: uphill section 6.6 km, average gradient 13%, and downhill section 9.0 km, average gradient –9%) in a randomized crossover trial. The effect of wearing CS while running or during recovery was tested and compared with a control condition (ie, run and recovery without CS; non- CS). Indicators of muscle function, muscle damage (creatine kinase; CK), inflammation (interleukin-6; IL-6), and perceived muscle soreness were recorded at baseline (1 h before warm-up) and 1, 24, and 48 h after the run.

Results:

Perceived muscle soreness was likely to be lower when participants wore CS during trail running compared with the control condition (1 h postrun, 82% chance; 24 h postrun, 80% chance). A likely or possibly beneficial effect of wearing CS during running was also found for isometric peak torque at 1 h postrun (70% chance) and 24 h postrun (60% chance) and throughout the recovery period on countermovement jump, compared with non-CS. Possible, trivial, or unclear differences were observed for CK and IL-6 between all conditions.

Conclusion:

Wearing CS during simulated trail races mainly affects perceived leg soreness and muscle function. These benefits are visible very shortly after the start of the recovery period.

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George P. Elias, Victoria L. Wyckelsma, Matthew C. Varley, Michael J. McKenna and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

The efficacy of a single exposure to 14 min of contrast water therapy (CWT) or cold-water immersion (COLD) on recovery postmatch in elite professional footballers was investigated.

Method:

Twenty-four elite footballers participated in a match followed by 1 of 3 recovery interventions. Recovery was monitored for 48 h postmatch. Repeat-sprint ability (6 × 20-m), static and countermovement jump performance, perceived soreness, and fatigue were measured prematch and immediately, 24 h, and 48 h after the match. Soreness and fatigue were also measured 1 h postmatch. Postmatch, players were randomly assigned to complete passive recovery (PAS; n = 8), COLD (n = 8), or CWT (n = 8).

Results:

Immediately postmatch, all groups exhibited similar psychometric and performance decrements, which persisted for 48 h only in the PAS group. Repeatsprinting performance remained slower at 24 and 48 h for PAS (3.9% and 2.0%) and CWT (1.6% and 0.9%) but was restored by COLD (0.2% and 0.0%). Soreness after 48 h was most effectively attenuated by COLD (ES 0.59 ± 0.10) but remained elevated for CWT (ES 2.39 ± 0.29) and PAS (ES 4.01 ± 0.97). Similarly, COLD more successfully reduced fatigue after 48 h (ES 1.02 ± 0.72) than did CWT (ES 1.22 ± 0.38) and PAS (ES 1.91 ± 0.67). Declines in static and countermovement jump were ameliorated best by COLD.

Conclusions:

An elite professional football match results in prolonged physical and psychometric deficits for 48 h. COLD was more successful at restoring physical performance and psychometric measures than CWT, with PAS being the poorest.

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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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Anne Hecksteden, Werner Pitsch, Ross Julian, Mark Pfeiffer, Michael Kellmann, Alexander Ferrauti and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

Assessment of muscle recovery is essential for the daily fine-tuning of training load in competitive sports, but individual differences may limit the diagnostic accuracy of group-based reference ranges. This article reports an attempt to develop individualized reference ranges using a Bayesian approach comparable to that developed for the Athlete Biological Passport.

Methods:

Urea and creatine kinase (CK) were selected as indicators of muscle recovery. For each parameter, prior distributions and repeated-measures SDs were characterized based on data of 883 squad athletes (1758 data points, 1–8 per athlete, years 2013–2015). Equations for the individualization procedure were adapted from previous material to allow for discrimination of 2 physiological states (recovered vs nonrecovered). Evaluation of classificatory performance was carried out using data from 5 consecutive weekly microcycles in 14 elite junior swimmers and triathletes. Blood samples were collected every Monday (recovered) and Friday according to the repetitive weekly training schedule over 5 wk. On the group level, changes in muscle recovery could be confirmed by significant differences in urea and CK and validated questionnaires. Group-based reference ranges were derived from that same data set to avoid overestimating the potential benefit of individualization.

Results:

For CK, error rates were significantly lower with individualized classification (P vs group-based: test-pass error rate P = .008; test-fail error rate P < .001). For urea, numerical improvements in error rates failed to reach significance.

Conclusions:

Individualized reference ranges seem to be a promising tool to improve accuracy of monitoring muscle recovery. Investigating application to a larger panel of indicators is warranted.

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Michael S. Green, Benjamin T. Corona, J. Andrew Doyle and Christopher P. Ingalls

This study examined the effects of carbohydrate (CHO), carbohydrate-protein (CHO+PRO), or placebo (PLA) beverages on recovery from novel eccentric exercise. Female participants performed 30 min of downhill treadmill running (–12% grade, 8.0 mph), followed by consumption of a CHO, CHO+PRO, or PLA beverage immediately, 30, and 60 min after exercise. CHO and CHO+PRO groups (n = 6 per group) consumed 1.2 g · kg body weight–1 · hr–1 CHO, with the CHO+PRO group consuming an additional 0.3 g · kg body weight–1 · hr–1 PRO. The PLA group (n = 6) received an isovolumetric noncaloric beverage. Maximal isometric quadriceps strength (QUAD), lower extremity muscle soreness (SOR), and serum creatine kinase (CK) were assessed preinjury (PRE) and immediately and 1, 2, and 3 d postinjury to assess exercise-induced muscle injury and rate of recovery. There was no effect of treatment on recovery of QUAD (p = .21), SOR (p = .56), or CK (p = .59). In all groups, QUAD was reduced compared with PRE by 20.6% ± 1.5%, 17.2% ± 2.3%, and 11.3% ± 2.3% immediately, 1, and 2 d postinjury, respectively (p < .05). SOR peaked at 2 d postinjury (PRE vs. 2 d, 3.1 ± 1.0 vs. 54.0 ± 4.8 mm, p < .01), and serum CK peaked 1 d postinjury (PRE vs. 1 d, 138 ± 47 vs. 757 ± 144 U/L, p < .01). In conclusion, consuming a CHO+PRO or CHO beverage immediately after novel eccentric exercise failed to enhance recovery of exercise-induced muscle injury differently than what was observed with a PLA drink.

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Sonja Terblanche, Timothy D. Noakes, Steven C. Dennis, De Wet Marais and Michael Eckert

This study examined the effect of magnesium supplementation on muscle magnesium content, on running performance during a 42-kni marathon footrace, and on muscle damage and the rate of recovery of muscle function following the race. Twenty athletes were divided equally into two matched groups and were studied for 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after a marathon in a double-blind trial; the experimental group received magnesium supplement (365 mg per day) and the control group, placebo. Magnesium supplementation did not increase either muscle or serum magnesium concentrations and had no measurable effect on 42-km marathon running performance. Extra magnesium ingestion also had no influence on the extent of muscle damage or the rate of recovery of muscle function. The latter was significantly reduced immediately after the marathon but returned to normal within 1 week. Thus, magnesium supplementation in magnesium-replete subjects did not enhance performance or increase resistance to muscle damage during the race, or the rate of recovery of muscle function following the race.

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Michael L. Madigan

The purpose of this study was to investigate agerelated differences in muscle power during a surrogate task of trip recovery. Participants included 10 healthy young men (19–23 years old) and 10 healthy older men (65–83). The task involved releasing participants from a forward-leaning posture. After release, participants attempted to recover their balance using a single step of the right foot. Muscle power at the hip, knee, and ankle of the stepping limb were determined from the product of joint angular velocity and joint torque. Muscle powers during balance recovery followed a relatively consistent pattern in both young and older men, and showed effects of both lean and age. Interestingly, the effects of age did not always involve smaller peak power values in the older men as expected from the well-documented loss of muscle power with aging. Older men exhibited smaller peak muscle power at the knee and larger peak muscle power at the ankle and hip compared to young men. The increases in muscle power at the ankle and hip may result from a neuromuscular adaptation aimed at improving balance recovery ability by compensating for the age-related loss of muscle function.

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Borut Fonda and Nejc Sarabon

It has been reported in practice that the application of lower-body negative pressure (LBNP) to elite athletes during periods of intense training can help aid recovery.

Purpose:

To examine the effects of LBNP on biochemical, pain, and performance parameters during a 5-d recovery period after a damaging plyometric-exercise bout.

Design:

Randomized controlled study.

Methods:

24 healthy young female adults were randomly allocated into 2 groups. Before and 1, 24, 48, and 96 h after the damaging exercise for hamstrings (50 drop jumps and 50 leg curls), participants underwent a series of tests (blood samples, pain sensation, countermovement jump, maximal isometric torque production, maximal explosive isometric torque production, and 10-m sprint). After the damaging exercise, the experimental group was exposed to intermittent LBNP therapy daily for 60 min.

Results:

There was a statistically significant interaction (P < .05) between the experimental and control groups for maximal strength, explosive strength, pain sensation, and vertical jumps (maximal power and force). No statistically significant interaction was present for the biochemical markers, jump height, and 100-m sprint.

Conclusions:

LBNP therapy could improve recovery by limiting the loss in muscle strength and power and limiting the presence of pain.

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Kevin De Pauw, Bart Roelands, Jef Vanparijs and Romain Meeusen

Purpose:

To determine the effect of active recovery (AR), passive rest (PR), and cold-water immersion (CWI) after 90 min of intensive cycling on a subsequent 12-min time trial (TT2) and the applied pacing strategy in TT2.

Methods:

After a maximal test and familiarization trial, 9 trained male subjects (age 22 ± 3 y, VO2max 62.1 ± 5.3 mL · min−1 · kg−1) performed 3 experimental trials in the heat (30°C). Each trial consisted of 2 exercise tasks separated by 1 h. The first was a 60-min constant-load trial at 55% of the maximal power output followed by a 30-min time trial (TT1). The second comprised a 12-min simulated time trial (TT2). After TT1, AR, PR, or CWI was applied for 15 min.

Results:

No significant TT2 performance differences were observed, but a 1-sample t test (within each condition) revealed different pacing strategies during TT2. CWI resulted in an even pacing strategy, while AR and PR resulted in a gradual decline of power output after the onset of TT2 (P ≤ .046). During recovery, AR and CWI showed a trend toward faster blood lactate ([BLa]) removal, but during TT2 significantly higher [BLa] was only observed after CWI compared with PR (P = .011).

Conclusion:

The pacing strategy during subsequent cycling performance in the heat is influenced by the application of different postexercise recovery interventions. Although power was not significantly altered between groups, CWI enabled a differently shaped power profile, likely due to decreased thermal strain.

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Malte Krüger, Markus de Mareés, Karl-Heinrich Dittmar, Billy Sperlich and Joachim Mester

Purpose:

To examine the effects of a whole-body cryotherapy (WBC) protocol (3 min at –110°C) on acute recovery and key variables of endurance performance during high-intensity intermittent exercise in a thermoneutral environment.

Methods:

Eleven endurance athletes were tested twice in a randomized crossover design in which 5 × 5 min of high-intensity running (HIR) were followed by 1 h of passive rest at ~22°C, including either 3 min of whole-body exposure to –110°C (WBC) or a placebo intervention of 3 min walking (PBO). A ramp-test protocol was performed before HIR (R1) and after the 1-h recovery period (R2). Time to exhaustion (t lim) was measured along with alterations in oxygen content of the vastus lateralis (TSI), oxygen consumption (VO2), capillary blood lactate, heart rate (HR), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during submaximal and maximal running.

Results:

The difference in t lim between R1 and R2 was lower in WBC than in PBO (P < .05, effect size d = 1.13). During R2, TSI was higher in WBC during submaximal and maximal running (P < .01, d = 0.68−1.01). In addition, VO2, HR, and RPE were lower at submaximal level of R2 after WBC than in PBO (P = .04 to <.01, d = 0.23−0.83).

Conclusion:

WBC improves acute recovery during high-intensity intermittent exercise in thermoneutral conditions. The improvements might be induced by enhanced oxygenation of the working muscles, as well as a reduction in cardiovascular strain and increased work economy at submaximal intensities.