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Robin T. Thorpe, Greg Atkinson, Barry Drust and Warren Gregson

The increase in competition demands in elite team sports over recent years has prompted much attention from researchers and practitioners to the monitoring of adaptation and fatigue in athletes. Monitoring fatigue and gaining an understanding of athlete status may also provide insights and beneficial information pertaining to player availability, injury, and illness risk. Traditional methods used to quantify recovery and fatigue in team sports, such as maximal physical-performance assessments, may not be feasible to detect variations in fatigue status throughout competitive periods. Faster, simpler, and nonexhaustive tests such as athlete self-report measures, autonomic nervous system response via heart-rate-derived indices, and to a lesser extent, jump protocols may serve as promising tools to quantify and establish fatigue status in elite team-sport athletes. The robust rationalization and precise detection of a meaningful fluctuation in these measures are of paramount importance for practitioners working alongside athletes and coaches on a daily basis. There are various methods for arriving at a minimal clinically important difference, but these have been rarely adopted by sport scientists and practitioners. The implementation of appropriate, reliable, and sensitive measures of fatigue can provide important information to key stakeholders in team-sport environments. Future research is required to investigate the sensitivity of these tools to fundamental indicators such as performance, injury, and illness.

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Thomas Zochowski, Elizabeth Johnson and Gordon G. Sleivert

Context:

Warm-up before athletic competition might enhance performance by affecting various physiological parameters. There are few quantitative data available on physiological responses to the warm-up, and the data that have been reported are inconclusive. Similarly, it has been suggested that varying the recovery period after a standardized warm-up might affect subsequent performance.

Purpose:

To determine the effects of varying post-warm-up recovery time on a subsequent 200-m swimming time trial.

Methods:

Ten national-caliber swimmers (5 male, 5 female) each swam a 1500-m warm-up and performed a 200-m time trial of their specialty stroke after either 10 or 45 min of passive recovery. Subjects completed 1 time trial in each condition separated by 1 wk in a counterbalanced order. Blood lactate and heart rate were measured immediately after warm-up and 3 min before, immediately after, and 3 min after the time trial. Rating of perceived exertion was measured immediately after the warm-up and time trial.

Results:

Time-trial performance was significantly improved after 10 min as opposed to 45 min recovery (136.80 ± 20.38 s vs 138.69 ± 20.32 s, P < .05). There were no significant differences between conditions for heart rate and blood lactate after the warm-up. Pre-time-trial heart rate, however, was higher in the 10-min than in the 45-min rest condition (109 ± 14 beats/min vs 94 ± 21 beats/min, P < .05).

Conclusions:

A post-warm-up recovery time of 10 min rather than 45 min is more beneficial to 200-m swimming time-trial performance.

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Nathan G. Versey, Shona L. Halson and Brian T. Dawson

Purpose:

To investigate whether contrast water therapy (CWT) assists acute recovery from high-intensity running and whether a dose-response relationship exists.

Methods:

Ten trained male runners completed 4 trials, each commencing with a 3000-m time trial, followed by 8 × 400-m intervals with 1 min of recovery. Ten minutes postexercise, participants performed 1 of 4 recovery protocols: CWT, by alternating 1 min hot (38°C) and 1 min cold (15°C) for 6 (CWT6), 12 (CWT12), or 18 min (CWT18), or a seated rest control trial. The 3000-m time trial was repeated 2 h later.

Results:

3000-m performance slowed from 632 ± 4 to 647 ± 4 s in control, 631 ± 4 to 642 ± 4 s in CWT6, 633 ± 4 to 648 ± 4 s in CWT12, and 631 ± 4 to 647 ± 4 s in CWT18. Following CWT6, performance (smallest worthwhile change of 0.3%) was substantially faster than control (87% probability, 0.8 ± 0.8% mean ± 90% confidence limit), however, there was no effect for CWT12 (34%, 0.0 ± 1.0%) or CWT18 (34%, –0.1 ± 0.8%). There were no substantial differences between conditions in exercise heart rates, or postexercise calf and thigh girths. Algometer thigh pain threshold during CWT12 was higher at all time points compared with control. Subjective measures of thermal sensation and muscle soreness were lower in all CWT conditions at some post-water-immersion time points compared with control; however, there were no consistent differences in whole body fatigue following CWT.

Conclusions:

Contrast water therapy for 6 min assisted acute recovery from high-intensity running; however, CWT duration did not have a dose-response effect on recovery of running performance.

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Michael J. Cramer, Charles L. Dumke, Walter S. Hailes, John S. Cuddy and Brent C. Ruby

A variety of dietary choices are marketed to enhance glycogen recovery after physical activity. Past research informs recommendations regarding the timing, dose, and nutrient compositions to facilitate glycogen recovery. This study examined the effects of isoenergetic sport supplements (SS) vs. fast food (FF) on glycogen recovery and exercise performance. Eleven males completed two experimental trials in a randomized, counterbalanced order. Each trial included a 90-min glycogen depletion ride followed by a 4-hr recovery period. Absolute amounts of macronutrients (1.54 ± 0.27 g·kg-1 carbohydrate, 0.24 ± 0.04 g·kg fat-1, and 0.18 ± 0.03g·kg protein-1) as either SS or FF were provided at 0 and 2 hr. Muscle biopsies were collected from the vastus lateralis at 0 and 4 hr post exercise. Blood samples were analyzed at 0, 30, 60, 120, 150, 180, and 240 min post exercise for insulin and glucose, with blood lipids analyzed at 0 and 240 min. A 20k time-trial (TT) was completed following the final muscle biopsy. There were no differences in the blood glucose and insulin responses. Similarly, rates of glycogen recovery were not different across the diets (6.9 ± 1.7 and 7.9 ± 2.4 mmol·kg wet weight- 1·hr-1 for SS and FF, respectively). There was also no difference across the diets for TT performance (34.1 ± 1.8 and 34.3 ± 1.7 min for SS and FF, respectively. These data indicate that short-term food options to initiate glycogen resynthesis can include dietary options not typically marketed as sports nutrition products such as fast food menu items.

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Jamie R. Skaggs, Elizabeth R. A. LaGuardia Joiner, Milo Sini, Tishya A.L. Wren, Regina P. Woon and David L. Skaggs

Context:

A commonly encountered clinical scenario in athletic training is determining what body position is best for pulmonary recovery after strenuous training. Coaches often advise athletes to put their hands behind their heads following rigorous training, but this practice has no scientific support.

Objective:

The purpose of this study is to determine how arm and body position affects ventilation in high school athletes. Our hypothesis is that a position in which the athlete is bent forward with the hands on the knees maximizes ventilation.

Design:

Case series.

Methods:

Seventeen healthy members of a high school track team, 8 females and 9 males with a mean age of 16.3 years (range: 14.6–18.5 years), performed a maximal voluntary ventilation (MVV) test using a portable spirometer in three different positions: standing with (1) hands behind the head, (2) arms at the sides, and (3) leaning forward with hands resting on the knees.

Results:

The MVV performed with hands on knees (120.2 ± 5.9 L/min) was significantly higher than the MVV performed with hands at sides (109.3 ± 7.0 L/min; p = .004) and with hands behind head (114.1 ± 5.9 L/min; p = .03). The MVV performed with hands behind head and with arms at side did not differ significantly (p = .20).

Conclusions:

This is the first study examining the best body position to maximize ventilation in athletes. Leaning forward and placing the hands on the knees led to a significantly greater MVV compared with standing with the arms at the side and standing with the hands behind the head.

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Robert Robergs, Keith Hutchinson, Shonn Hendee, Sean Madden and Jason Siegler

The purpose of this study was to measure the recovery kinetics of pH and lactate for the conditions of pre-exercise acidosis, alkalosis, and placebo states. Twelve trained male cyclists completed 3 exercise trials (110% workload at VO2max), ingesting either 0.3 g/kg of NH4Cl (ACD), 0.2 g/kg of Na+HCO3 - and 0.2 g/kg of sodium citrate (ALK), or a placebo (calcium carbonate) (PLAC). Blood samples (heated dorsal hand vein) were drawn before, during, and after exercise. Exercise-induced acidosis was more severe in the ACD and PLAC trials (7.15 ± 0.06, 7.21 ± 0.07, 7.16 ± 0.06, P < 0.05, for ACD, ALK, PLAC, respectively). Recovery kinetics for blood pH and lactate, as assessed by the monoexponential slope constant, were not different between trials (0.057 ± 0.01, 0.050 ± 0.01, 0.080 ± 0.02, for ACD, ALK, PLAC, respectively). Complete recovery of blood pH from metabolic acidosis can take longer than 45 min. Such a recovery profile is nonlinear, with 50% recovery occurring in approximately 12 min. Complete recovery of blood lactate can take longer than 60 min, with 50% recovery occurring in approximately 30 min. Induced alkalosis decreases metabolic acidosis and improves pH recovery compared to acidodic and placebo conditions. Although blood pH and lactate are highly correlated during recovery from acidosis, they recover at significantly different rates.

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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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James A. Betts, Milou Beelen, Keith A. Stokes, Wim H.M. Saris and Luc J.C. van Loon

Nocturnal endocrine responses to exercise performed in the evening and the potential role of nutrition are poorly understood. To gain novel insight, 10 healthy men ingested carbohydrate with (C+P) and without (C) protein in a randomized order and double-blind manner during 2 hr of interval cycling followed by resistancetype exercise and into early postexercise recovery. Blood samples were obtained hourly throughout 9 hr of postexercise overnight recovery for analysis of key hormones. Muscle samples were taken from the vastus lateralis before and after exercise and then again the next morning (7 a.m.) to calculate mixed-muscle protein fractional synthetic rate (FSR). Overnight plasma hormone concentrations were converted into overall responses (expressed as area under the concentration curve) and did not differ between treatments for either growth hormone (1,464 ± 257 vs. 1,432 ± 164 pg/ml · 540 min) or total testosterone (18.3 ± 1.2 vs. 17.9 ± 1.2 nmol/L · 540 min, C and C+P, respectively). In contrast, the overnight cortisol response was higher with C+P (102 ± 11 nmol/L · 540 min) than with C (81 ± 8 nmol/L · 540 min; p = .02). Mixed-muscle FSR did not differ between C and C+P during overnight recovery (0.062% ± 0.006% and 0.062% ± 0.009%/hr, respectively) and correlated significantly with the plasma total testosterone response (r = .7, p < .01). No correlations with FSR were apparent for the response of growth hormone (r = –.2, p = .4), cortisol (r = .1, p = .6), or the ratio of testosterone to cortisol (r = .2, p = .5). In conclusion, protein ingestion during and shortly after exercise does not modulate the endocrine response or muscle protein synthesis during overnight recovery.

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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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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.