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Katja Tomazin, Jean-Benoit Morin and Guillaume Y. Millet

Purpose:

To compare neuromuscular fatigue induced by repeated-sprint running vs cycling.

Methods:

Eleven active male participants performed 2 repeated-maximal-sprint protocols (5×6 s, 24-s rest periods, 4 sets, 3 min between sets), 1 in running (treadmill) and 1 in cycling (cycle ergometer). Neuromuscular function, evaluated before (PRE); 30 s after the first (S1), the second (S2), and the last set (LAST); and 5 min after the last set (POST5) determined the knee-extensor maximal voluntary torque (MVC); voluntary activation (VA); single-twitch (Tw), high- (Db100), and low- (Db10) frequency torque; and maximal muscle compound action potential (M-wave) amplitude and duration of vastus lateralis.

Results:

Peak power output decreased from 14.6 ± 2.2 to 12.4 ± 2.5 W/kg in cycling (P < .01) and from 21.4 ± 2.6 to 15.2 ± 2.6 W/kg in running (P < .001). MVC declined significantly from S1 in running but only from LAST in cycling. VA decreased after S2 (~–7%, P < .05) and LAST (~–9%, P < .01) set in repeated-sprint running and did not change in cycling. Tw, Db100, and Db10/Db100 decreased to a similar extent in both protocols (all P < .001 post-LAST). Both protocols induced a similar level of peripheral fatigue (ie, low-frequency peripheral fatigue, no changes in M-wave characteristics), while underlying mechanisms probably differed. Central fatigue was found only after running.

Conclusion:

Findings about neuromuscular fatigue resulting from RS cycling cannot be transferred to RS running.

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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.

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Joshua Christen, Carl Foster, John P. Porcari and Richard P. Mikat

Purpose:

The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) has gained popularity as a “user friendly” method for evaluating internal training load. sRPE has historically been obtained 30 min after exercise. This study evaluated the effect of postexercise measurement time on sRPE after steady-state and interval cycle exercise.

Methods:

Well-trained subjects (N = 15) (maximal oxygen consumption = 51 ± 4 and 36 ± 4 mL/kg [cycle ergometer] for men and women, respectively) completed counterbalanced 30-minute steady-state and interval training bouts. The steady-state ride was at 90% of ventilatory threshold. The work-to-rest ratio of the interval rides was 1:1, and the interval segment durations were 1, 2, and 3 min. The high-intensity component of each interval bout was 75% peak power output, which was accepted as a surrogate of the respiratory compensation threshold, critical power, or maximal lactate steady state. Heart rate, blood lactate, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured. The sRPE (category ratio scale) was measured at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 60 min and 24 h after each ride using a visual analog scale (VAS) to prevent bias associated with specific RPE verbal anchors.

Results:

sRPE at 30 min postexercise followed a similar trend: steady state = 3.7, 1 min = 3.9, 2 min = 4.7, 3 min = 6.2. No significant differences (P > .05) in sRPE were found based on postexercise sampling times, from 5 min to 24 h postexercise.

Conclusions:

Postexercise time does not appear to have a significant effect on sRPE after either steady-state or interval exercise. Thus, sRPE appears to be temporally robust and is not necessarily limited to the 30-min-postexercise window historically used with this technique, although the presence or absence of a cooldown period after the exercise bout may be important.

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Jesse Fleming, Matthew J. Sharman, Neva G. Avery, Dawn M. Love, Ana L. Gómez, Timothy P. Scheett, William J. Kraemer and Jeff S. Volek

The effects of adaptation to a high-fat diet on endurance performance are equivocal, and there is little data regarding the effects on high-intensity exercise performance. This study examined the effects of a high-fat/moderate protein diet on submaximal, maximal, and supramaximal performance. Twenty non-highly trained men were assigned to either a high-fat/moderate-protein (HFMP; 61% fat) diet (n = 12) or a control (C; 25% fat) group (n = 8). A maximal oxygen consumption test, two 30-s Wingate anaerobic tests, and a 45-min timed ride were performed before and after 6 weeks of diet and training. Body mass decreased significantly (–2.2 kg; p ≤ .05) in HFMP subjects. Maximal oxygen consumption significantly decreased in the HFMP group (3.5 ± 0.14 to 3.27 ± 0.09 L · min−1) but was unaffected when corrected for body mass. Perceived exertion was significantly higher during this test in the HFMP group. Main time effects indicated that peak and mean power decreased significantly during bout 1 of the Wingate sprints in the HFMP (–10 and –20%, respectively) group but not the C (–8 and –16%, respectively) group. Only peak power was lower during bout 1 in the HFMP group when corrected for body mass. Despite significantly reduced RER values in the HFMP group during the 45-min cycling bout, work output was significantly decreased (–18%). Adaptation to a 6-week HFMP diet in non-highly trained men resulted in increased fat oxidation during exercise and small decrements in peak power output and endurance performance. These deleterious effects on exercise performance may be accounted for in part by a reduction in body mass and/or increased ratings of perceived exertion.

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Dajo Sanders, Mathieu Heijboer, Ibrahim Akubat, Kenneth Meijer and Matthijs K. Hesselink

Purpose:

To assess if short-duration (5 to ~300 s) high-power performance can accurately be predicted using the anaerobic power reserve (APR) model in professional cyclists.

Methods:

Data from 4 professional cyclists from a World Tour cycling team were used. Using the maximal aerobic power, sprint peak power output, and an exponential constant describing the decrement in power over time, a power-duration relationship was established for each participant. To test the predictive accuracy of the model, several all-out field trials of different durations were performed by each cyclist. The power output achieved during the all-out trials was compared with the predicted power output by the APR model.

Results:

The power output predicted by the model showed very large to nearly perfect correlations to the actual power output obtained during the all-out trials for each cyclist (r = .88 ± .21, .92 ± .17, .95 ± .13, and .97 ± .09). Power output during the all-out trials remained within an average of 6.6% (53 W) of the predicted power output by the model.

Conclusions:

This preliminary pilot study presents 4 case studies on the applicability of the APR model in professional cyclists using a field-based approach. The decrement in all-out performance during high-intensity exercise seems to conform to a general relationship with a single exponential-decay model describing the decrement in power vs increasing duration. These results are in line with previous studies using the APR model to predict performance during brief all-out trials. Future research should evaluate the APR model with a larger sample size of elite cyclists.

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Michael L. Newell, Angus M. Hunter, Claire Lawrence, Kevin D. Tipton and Stuart D. R. Galloway

In an investigator-blind, randomized cross-over design, male cyclists (mean± SD) age 34.0 (± 10.2) years, body mass 74.6 (±7.9) kg, stature 178.3 (±8.0) cm, peak power output (PPO) 393 (±36) W, and VO2max 62 (±9) ml·kg−1min−1 training for more than 6 hr/wk for more than 3y (n = 20) completed four experimental trials. Each trial consisted of a 2-hr constant load ride at 95% of lactate threshold (185 ± 25W) then a work-matched time trial task (~30min at 70% of PPO). Three commercially available carbohydrate (CHO) beverages, plus a control (water), were administered during the 2-hr ride providing 0, 20, 39, or 64g·hr−1 of CHO at a fluid intake rate of 1L·hr−1. Performance was assessed by time to complete the time trial task, mean power output sustained, and pacing strategy used. Mean task completion time (min:sec ± SD) for 39g·hr−1 (34:19.5 ± 03:07.1, p = .006) and 64g·hr−1 (34:11.3 ± 03:08.5 p = .004) of CHO were significantly faster than control (37:01.9 ± 05:35.0). The mean percentage improvement from control was −6.1% (95% CI: −11.3 to −1.0) and −6.5% (95% CI: −11.7 to −1.4) in the 39 and 64g·hr−1 trials respectively. The 20g·hr−1 (35:17.6 ± 04:16.3) treatment did not reach statistical significance compared with control (p = .126) despite a mean improvement of −3.7% (95% CI −8.8−1.5%). No further differences between CHO trials were reported. No interaction between CHO dose and pacing strategy occurred. 39 and 64g·hr−1 of CHO were similarly effective at improving endurance cycling performance compared with a 0g·hr−1 control in our trained cyclists.

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Rachel Borne, Christophe Hausswirth and François Bieuzen

Purpose:

To investigate the effect of different limb blood-flow levels on cycling-performance recovery, blood lactate concentration, and heart rate.

Methods:

Thirty-three high-intensity intermittent-trained athletes completed two 30-s Wingate anaerobic test sessions, 3 × 30-s (WAnT 1–3) and 1 × 30-s (WAnT 4), on a cycling ergometer. WAnT 1–3 and WAnT 4 were separated by a randomly assigned 24-min recovery intervention selected from among blood-flow restriction, passive rest, placebo stimulation, or neuromuscular electrical-stimulation-induced blood flow. Calf arterial inflow was measured by venous occlusion plethysmography at regular intervals throughout the recovery period. Performance was measured in terms of peak and mean power output during WAnT 1 and WAnT 4.

Results:

After the recovery interventions, a large (r = .68 [90% CL .42; .83]) and very large (r = .72 (90% CL .49; .86]) positive correlation were observed between the change in calf arterial inflow and the change in mean and peak power output, respectively. Calf arterial inflow was significantly higher during the neuromuscular-electrical-stimulation recovery intervention than with the blood-flow-restriction, passive-rest, and placebo-stimulation interventions (P < .001). This corresponds to the only intervention that allowed performance recovery (P > .05). No recovery effect was linked to heart rate or blood lactate concentration levels.

Conclusions:

For the first time, these data support the existence of a positive correlation between an increase in blood flow and performance recovery between bouts of high-intensity exercise. As a practical consideration, this effect can be obtained by using neuromuscular electrical stimulation-induced blood flow since this passive, simple strategy could be easily applied during short-term recovery.

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Jonathan. P. Little, Scott C. Forbes, Darren G. Candow, Stephen M. Cornish and Philip D. Chilibeck

Creatine (Cr) supplementation increases muscle mass, strength, and power. Arginine α-ketoglutarate (A-AKG) is a precursor for nitric oxide production and has the potential to improve blood flow and nutrient delivery (i.e., Cr) to muscles. This study compared a commercial dietary supplement of Cr, A-AKG, glutamine, taurine, branchedchain amino acids, and medium-chain triglycerides with Cr alone or placebo on exercise performance and body composition. Thirty-five men (~23 yr) were randomized to Cr + A-AKG (0.1 g · kg−1 · d−1 Cr + 0.075 g · kg−1 · d−1 A-AKG, n = 12), Cr (0.1 g · kg−1 · d−1, n = 11), or placebo (1 g · kg−1 · d−1 sucrose, n = 12) for 10 d. Body composition, muscle endurance (bench press), and peak and average power (Wingate tests) were measured before and after supplementation. Bench-press repetitions over 3 sets increased with Cr + A-AKG (30.9 ==6.6 → 34.9 ± 8.7 reps; p < .01) and Cr (27.6 ± 5.9 → 31.0 ± 7.6 reps; p < .01), with no change for placebo (26.8 ± 5.0 → 27.1 ± 6.3 reps). Peak power significantly increased in Cr + A-AKG (741 ± 112 → 794 ± 92 W; p < .01), with no changes in Cr (722 ± 138 → 730 ± 144 W) and placebo (696 ± 63 → 705 ± 77 W). There were no differences in average power between groups over time. Only the Cr-only group increased total body mass (79.9 ± 13.0→81.1 ± 13.8 kg; p < .01), with no significant changes in lean-tissue or fat mass. These results suggest that Cr alone and in combination with A-AKG improves upper body muscle endurance, and Cr + A-AKG supplementation improves peak power output on repeated Wingate tests.

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Geoff Minett, Rob Duffield and Stephen P. Bird

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an acute multinutrient supplement on game-based running performance, peak power output, anaerobic by-products, hormonal profiles, markers of muscle damage, and perceived muscular soreness before, immediately after, and 24 h following competitive rugby union games.

Methods:

Twelve male rugby union players ingested either a comprehensive multinutrient supplement (SUPP), [RE-ACTIVATE:01], or a placebo (PL) for 5 d. Participants then performed a competitive rugby union game (with global positioning system tracking), with associated blood draws and vertical jump assessments pre, immediately post and 24 h following competition.

Results:

SUPP ingestion resulted in moderate to large effects for augmented 1st half very high intensity running (VHIR) mean speed (5.9 ± 0.4 vs 4.8 ± 2.3 m·min−1; d = 0.93). Further, moderate increases in 2nd half VHIR distance (137 ± 119 vs 83 ± 89 m; d = 0.73) and VHIR mean speed (5.9 ± 0.6 v 5.3 ± 1.7 m·min−1; d = 0.56) in SUPP condition were also apparent. Postgame aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 44.1 ± 11.8 vs 37.0 ± 3.2 UL; d = 1.16) and creatine kinase (CK; 882 ± 472 vs. 645 ± 123 UL; d = 0.97) measures demonstrated increased values in the SUPP condition, while AST and CK values correlated with 2nd half VHIR distance (r = −0.71 and r = −0.76 respectively). Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was observed postgame in both conditions; however, it was significantly blunted with SUPP (P = .05).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest SUPP may assist in the maintenance of VHIR during rugby union games, possibly via the buffering qualities of SUPP ingredients. However, correlations between increased work completed at very high intensities and muscular degradation in SUPP conditions, may mask any anticatabolic properties of the supplement.

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Matthew W. Driller, John R. Gregory, Andrew D. Williams and James W. Fell

Recent research has reported performance improvements after chronic NaHCO3 ingestion in conjunction with high-intensity interval training (HIT) in moderately trained athletes. The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of altering plasma H+ concentration during HIT through NaHCO3 ingestion over 4 wk (2 HIT sessions/wk) in 12 Australian representative rowers (M ± SD; age 22 ± 3 yr, mass 76.4 ± 4.2 kg, VO2peak 65.50 ± 2.74 ml · kg−1 · min−1). Baseline testing included a 2,000-m time trial and an incremental exercise test. After baseline testing, rowers were allocated to either a chronic NaHCO3 (ALK) or placebo (PLA) group. Starting 90 min before each HIT session, subjects ingested a 0.3-g/kg body mass dose of NaHCO3 or a placebo substance. Fingertip blood samples were taken throughout the study to analyze bicarbonate and pH levels. The ALK group did not produce any additional improvements in 2,000-m rowing performance time compared with PLA (p > .05). Magnitude-based inferential analysis indicated an unclear or trivial effect on 2,000-m power, 2,000-m time, peak power output, and power at 4 mmol/L lactate threshold in the ALK group compared with the PLA group. Although there was no difference between groups, during the study there was a significant mean (± SD) 2,000-m power improvement in both the ALK and PLA groups of 17.8 ± 14.5 and 15.2 ± 18.3 W, respectively. In conclusion, despite overall improvements in rowing performance after 4 wk of HIT, the addition of chronic NaHCO3 supplementation during the training period did not significantly enhance performance further.