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Mark Hayes, Paul C. Castle, Emma Z. Ross and Neil S. Maxwell

Purpose:

To examine the effect of a hot humid (HH) compared with a hot dry (HD) environment, matched for heat stress, on intermittent-sprint performance. In comparison with HD, HH environments compromise evaporative heat loss and decrease exercise tolerance. It was hypothesized that HH would produce greater physiological strain and reduce intermittent-sprint exercise performance compared with HD.

Method:

Eleven male team-sport players completed the cycling intermittent-sprint protocol (CISP) in 3 conditions, temperate (TEMP; 21.2°C ± 1.3°C, 48.6% ± 8.4% relative humidity [rh]), HH (33.7°C ± 0.5°C, 78.2% ± 2.3% rh), and HD (40.2°C ± 0.2°C, 33.1% ± 4.9% rh), with both heat conditions matched for heat stress.

Results:

All participants completed the CISP in TEMP, but 3 failed to completed the full protocol of 20 sprints in HH and HD. Peak power output declined in all conditions (P < .05) but was not different between any condition (sprints 1–14 [N = 11]: HH 1073 ± 150 W, HD 1104 ± 127 W, TEMP, 1074 ± 134; sprints 15–20 [N = 8]: HH 954 ± 114 W, HD 997 ± 115 W, TEMP 993 ± 94; P > .05). Physiological strain was not significantly different in HH compared with HD, but HH was higher than TEMP (P < .05).

Conclusion:

Intermittent-sprint exercise performance of 40 min duration is impaired, but it is not different in HH and HD environments matched for heat stress despite evidence of a trend toward greater physiological strain in an HH environment.

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Paul S.R. Goods, Brian T. Dawson, Grant J. Landers, Christopher J. Gore and Peter Peeling

Purpose:

This study aimed to assess the impact of 3 heights of simulated altitude exposure on repeat-sprint performance in teamsport athletes.

Methods:

Ten trained male team-sport athletes completed 3 sets of repeated sprints (9 × 4 s) on a nonmotorized treadmill at sea level and at simulated altitudes of 2000, 3000, and 4000 m. Participants completed 4 trials in a random order over 4 wk, with mean power output (MPO), peak power output (PPO), blood lactate concentration (Bla), and oxygen saturation (SaO2) recorded after each set.

Results:

Each increase in simulated altitude corresponded with a significant decrease in SaO2. Total work across all sets was highest at sea level and correspondingly lower at each successive altitude (P < .05; sea level < 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). In the first set, MPO was reduced only at 4000 m, but for subsequent sets, decreases in MPO were observed at all altitudes (P < .05; 2000 m < 3000 m < 4000 m). PPO was maintained in all sets except for set 3 at 4000 m (P < .05; vs sea level and 2000 m). BLa levels were highest at 4000 m and significantly greater (P < .05) than at sea level after all sets.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that “higher may not be better,” as a simulated altitude of 4000 m may potentially blunt absolute training quality. Therefore, it is recommended that a moderate simulated altitude (2000–3000 m) be employed when implementing intermittent hypoxic repeat-sprint training for team-sport athletes.

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Lieselot Decroix, Kevin De Pauw, Carl Foster and Romain Meeusen

Aim:

To review current cycling-related sport-science literature to formulate guidelines to classify female subject groups and to compare this classification system for female subject groups with the classification system for male subject groups.

Methods:

A database of 82 papers that described female subject groups containing information on preexperimental maximal cycle-protocol designs, terminology, biometrical and physiological parameters, and cycling experience was analyzed. Subject groups were divided into performance levels (PLs), according to the nomenclature. Body mass, body-mass index, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), peak power output (PPO), and training status were compared between PLs and between female and male PLs.

Results:

Five female PLs were defined, representing untrained, active, trained, well-trained, and professional female subjects. VO2max and PPO significantly increased with PL, except for PL3 and PL4 (P < .01). For each PL, significant differences were observed in absolute and relative VO2max and PPO between male and female subject groups. Relative VO2max is the most cited parameter for female subject groups and is proposed as the principal parameter to classify the groups.

Conclusion:

This systematic review shows the large variety in the description of female subject groups in the existing literature. The authors propose a standardized preexperimental testing protocol and guidelines to classify female subject groups into 5 PLs based on relative VO2max, relative PPO, training status, absolute VO2max, and absolute PPO.

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Joseph A. McQuillan, Deborah K. Dulson, Paul B. Laursen and Andrew E. Kilding

We aimed to compare the effects of two different dosing durations of dietary nitrate (NO3 -) supplementation on 1 and 4 km cycling time-trial performance in highly trained cyclists. In a double-blind crossover-design, nine highly trained cyclists ingested 140ml of NO3 --rich beetroot juice containing ~8.0mmol [NO3 -], or placebo, for seven days. Participants completed a range of laboratory-based trials to quantify physiological and perceptual responses and cycling performance: time-trials on day 3 and 6 (4km) and on day 4 and 7 (1km) of the supplementation period. Relative to placebo, effects following 3- and 4-days of NO3 - supplementation were unclear for 4 (-0.8; 95% CL, ± 2.8%, p = .54) and likely harmful for 1km (-1.9; ± 2.5% CL, p = .17) time-trial mean power. Effects following 6- and 7-days of NO3 - supplementation resulted in unclear effects for 4 (0.1; ± 2.2% CL, p = .93) and 1km (-0.9; ± 2.6%CL, p = .51) time-trial mean power. Relative to placebo, effects for 40, 50, and 60% peak power output were unclear for economy at days 3 and 6 of NO3 - supplementation (p > .05). Dietary NO3 - supplementation appears to be detrimental to 1km time-trial performance in highly trained cyclists after 4-days. While, extending NO3 - dosing to ≥ 6-days reduced the magnitude of harm in both distances, overall performance in short duration cycling time-trials did not improve relative to placebo.

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André X. Bigard, Pierre Lavier, Lionel Ullmann, Hélène Legrand, Philippe Douce and Charles Y. Guezennec

This study was conducted to test the hypothesis that a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation would minimize changes in body composition and alterations in plasma amino acid profile induced by prolonged exercises at altitude. Twenty-four highly trained subjects participated in six successive sessions of ski mountaineering (6-8 hr duration, altitude 2,500-4,100 m). Twelve subjects took a dietary supplement of BCAA (BCAA group) and 12 took a dietary supplement that was 98% carbohydrate (C group). Body weight decreased in C subjects (-2.1%,p < .01), while the body weight loss recorded in the BCAA group was not statistically significant (-1.2%, NS). Changes in body composition that resulted from repeated skiing exercise at altitude were not significantly minimized by BCAA administration. Peak power output recorded during an incremental bicycle exercise decreased in C subjects but did not change significantly in BCAA subjects. Results of this study demonstrate that neither changes in body composition related to the ski mountaineering program nor muscular performance during isometric contraction was significantly affected by BCAA administration.

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Iker Leoz-Abaurrea, Mikel Izquierdo, Miriam Gonzalez-Izal and Roberto Aguado-Jiménez

The efficacy of the use of an upper body compression garment (UBCG) as an ergogenic aid to reduce thermoregulatory strain in older adults remains unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of UBCG on thermoregulatory, cardiorespiratory, and perceptual responses during cycling in a temperate environment (~25 °C, 66% rh) in trained older adults. Twelve cyclists aged 66 ± 2 years performed an intermittent 1-hr cycling trial at 50% of the peak power output followed by 10 min of passive recovery. Participants were provided with either commercially available UBCG or a control garment in a randomized order. UBCG increased thermoregulatory strain during exercise, as indicated by a significantly higher core temperature (38.1 ± 0.3 °C vs. 37.9 ± 0.3 °C; p = .04), body temperature (36.9 ± 0.2 °C vs. 36.7 ± 0.2 °C; p = .01), and thermal sensation (8.0 ± 0.4 vs. 7.5 ± 1.0; p = .02). These results suggest that the use of UBCG in trained older adults does not reduce the thermoregulatory strain during moderate exercise.

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Kevin De Pauw, Bart Roelands, Stephen S. Cheung, Bas de Geus, Gerard Rietjens and Romain Meeusen

Purpose:

The aim of this systematic literature review was to outline the various preexperimental maximal cycle-test protocols, terminology, and performance indicators currently used to classify subject groups in sportscience research and to construct a classification system for cycling-related research.

Methods:

A database of 130 subject-group descriptions contains information on preexperimental maximal cycle-protocol designs, terminology of the subject groups, biometrical and physiological data, cycling experience, and parameters. Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, 1-way ANOVA, post hoc Bonferroni (P < .05), and trend lines were calculated on height, body mass, relative and absolute maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), and peak power output (PPO).

Results:

During preexperimental testing, an initial workload of 100 W and a workload increase of 25 W are most frequently used. Three-minute stages provide the most reliable and valid measures of endurance performance. After obtaining data on a subject group, researchers apply various terms to define the group. To solve this complexity, the authors introduced the neutral term performance levels 1 to 5, representing untrained, recreationally trained, trained, well-trained, and professional subject groups, respectively. The most cited parameter in literature to define subject groups is relative VO2max, and therefore no overlap between different performance levels may occur for this principal parameter. Another significant cycling parameter is the absolute PPO. The description of additional physiological information and current and past cycling data is advised.

Conclusion:

This review clearly shows the need to standardize the procedure for classifying subject groups. Recommendations are formulated concerning preexperimental testing, terminology, and performance indicators.

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David Montero and Carsten Lundby

Context:

Few recent studies indicate that short-term repeated-sprint (RS) training in hypoxia (RSH) improves RS performance compared with identical training under normoxic conditions (RSN) in endurance-trained subjects.

Purpose:

To determine the effects of RSH against RSN on RS performance under normoxic and moderate hypoxic conditions, using a randomized, doubleblind, crossover experimental design.

Methods:

Fifteen endurance-trained male subjects (age 25 ± 4 y) performed 4 wk of RS training (3 sessions/wk) in normobaric hypoxia (RSH, FiO2 = 13.8%) and normoxia (RSN, FiO2 = 20.9%) in a crossover manner. Before and after completion of training, RS tests were performed on a cycle ergometer with no prior exercise (RSNE), after an incremental exercise test (RSIE), and after a time-trial test (RSTT) in normoxia and hypoxia.

Results:

Peak power outputs at the incremental exercise test and time-trial performance were unaltered by RSH in normoxia and hypoxia. RS performance was generally enhanced by RSH, as well as RSN, but there were no additional effects of RSH over RSN on peak and mean sprint power output and the number of repeated sprints performed in the RSNE, RSIE, and RSTT trials under normoxic and hypoxic conditions.

Conclusions:

The present double-blind crossover study indicates that RSH does not improve RS performance compared with RSN in normoxic and hypoxic conditions in endurance-trained subjects. Therefore, caution should be exercised when proposing RSH as an advantageous method to improve exercise performance.

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Prue Cormie, Jeffrey M. McBride and Grant O. McCaulley

The purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of load on the power-, force- and velocity-time curves during the jump squat. The analysis of these curves for the entire movement at a sampling frequency of 200–500 Hz averaged across 18 untrained male subjects is the most novel aspect of this study. Jump squat performance was assessed in a randomized fashion across five different external loads: 0, 20, 40, 60, and 80 kg (equivalent to 0 ± 0, 18 ± 4, 37 ± 8, 55 ± 12, 74 ± 15% of 1RM, respectively). The 0-kg loading condition (i.e., body mass only) was the load that maximized peak power output, displaying a significantly (p ≤ .05) greater value than the 40, 60, and 80 kg loads. The shape of the force-, power-, and velocity-time curves changed significantly as the load applied to the jump squat increased. There was a significantly greater rate of power development in the 0 kg load in comparison with all other loads examined. As the first comprehensive illustration of how the entire power-, force-, and velocity-time curves change across various loading conditions, this study provides extensive evidence that a load equaling an individuals body mass (i.e., external load = 0 kg) maximizes power output in untrained individuals during the jump squat.

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Michail Lubomirov Michailov, Audry Morrison, Mano Mitkov Ketenliev and Boyanka Petkova Pentcheva

Traditional treadmill or bicycle ergometry neglects the upper-body musculature that predominantly limits or terminates rock-climbing performance (ie, the inability to continually pull up one’s body mass or “hang on”).

Purpose:

To develop an incremental maximal upper-body ergometer test (UBT) to evaluate climbers’ aerobic fitness and sport-specific work capacity and to compare these results with a traditional treadmill protocol.

Methods:

Eleven elite sport climbers (best redpoint grade Fr.8b) performed a UBT on a vertically mounted rowing ergometer and, on a separate occasion, performed a maximal incremental treadmill test (TMT). Cardiorespiratory parameters were measured continuously. Lactate (La) samples were collected.

Results:

Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and heart rate in UBT and TMT were 34.1 ± 4.1 vs 58.3 ± 2.6 mL · min−1 · kg−1 and 185 ± 8 vs 197 ± 8 beats/min, respectively, and both variables were of significantly lower magnitude during UBT (P < .001). End-of-test La levels for UBT (11.9 ± 1.7 mmol/L) and TMT (12.3 ± 2.5 mmol/L) were similar (P = .554). Treadmill VO2peak was not correlated with either upper-body (UB) VO2peak (P = .854) or redpoint and on-sight climbing grade ability (P > .05). UB VO2peak and peak power output per kg body mass were both strongly correlated (P < .05) with climbing grade ability. The highest correlation coefficient was calculated between current on-sight grade and UB VO2peak (r = .85, P = .001).

Conclusion:

UBT aerobic- and work-capacity results were strongly correlated to climbing-performance variables and reflected sport-specific fatigue, and TMT results were not. UBT is preferred to TMT to test and monitor dedicated and elite rock climbers’ training status.