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Kerry McGawley and Hans-Christer Holmberg

Purpose:

Cross-country-ski races place complex demands on athletes, with events lasting between approximately 3 min and 2 h. The aim of the current study was to compare the aerobic and anaerobic measures derived from a short time trial (TT) between male and female skiers using diagonal cross-country skiing.

Methods:

Twenty-four highly trained cross-country skiers (12 male and 12 female, age 17.4 ± 1.4 y, body mass 68.2 ± 8.9 kg, height 174 ± 8 cm) participated. The submaximal VO2–speed relationship and VO2max were derived from an incremental ramp test to exhaustion (RAMP), while the accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD), peak VO2, and performance time were measured during a 600-m TT.

Results:

The female skiers took longer to complete the TT than the males (209 ± 9 s vs 166 ± 7 s, P < .001) and exhibited a lower relative anaerobic contribution (20% ± 4% vs 24% ± 3%, P = .015) and a higher fractional utilization of VO2max (84% ± 4% vs 79% ± 5%, P = .007) than males. Although there was no significant difference in AOD between the sexes (40.9 ± 9.5 and 47.3 ± 7.4 mL/kg for females and males, respectively; P = .079), the mean difference ± 90% confidence intervals of 6.4 ± 6.0 mL/kg reflected a likely practical difference (ES = 0.72). The peak VO2 during the TT was significantly higher than VO2max during the RAMP for all participants combined (62.3 ± 6.8 vs 60.5 ± 7.2 mL · kg−1 · min−1, P = .011), and the mean difference ± 90% confidence intervals of 1.8 ± 1.1 mL · kg−1 · min−1 reflected a possible practical difference (ES = 0.25).

Conclusions:

These results show that performance and physiological responses to a self-paced TT lasting approximately 3 min differ between sexes. In addition, a TT may provide a valid measure of VO2max.

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Nicolas Fabre, Laurent Mourot, Livio Zerbini, Barbara Pellegrini, Lorenzo Bortolan and Federico Schena

This study tested the hypothesis that the DMAX (for maximal distance) method could be applied to ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), to propose a novel method for individual detection of the lactate threshold (LT) using RPE alone during an incremental test to exhaustion. Twenty-one participants performed an incremental test on a cycle ergometer. At the end of each stage, lactate concentration was measured and the participants estimated RPE using the Borg CR100 scale. The intensity corresponding to the fixed lactate values of 2 or 4 mmol · L−1(2mM and 4mM), the ventilatory threshold (VT), the respiratory-compensation point (RCP), and the instant of equality of pulmonary gas exchange (RER=1.00) were determined. Lactate (DMAX La) and RPE (DMAX RPE) thresholds were determined using the DMAX method. Oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate, and power output measured at DMAX RPE and at DMAX La were not statistically different. Bland-Altman plots showed small bias and good agreements when DMAX RPE was compared with the DMAX La and RER=1.00 methods (bias = −0.05% and −2% of VO2max, respectively). Conversely, VO2 from the DMAX RPE method was lower than VO2 at 4 mM and at RCP and was higher than VO2 at 2 mM and at VT. VO2 at DMAX RPE was strongly correlated with VO2 at DMAX La (r = .97), at RER=1.00 (r = .97), at 2 mM (r = .85), at 4 mM (r = .93), at VT (r = .95), and at RCP (r = .95). The combination of the DMAX method with the RPE responses permitted precise and individualized estimates of LT using the DMAX method.

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Humberto M. Carvalho, Manuel J. Coelho-e-Silva, Joey C. Eisenmann and Robert M. Malina

Relationships among chronological age (CA), maturation, training experience, and body dimensions with peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) were considered in male basketball players 14–16 y of age. Data for all players included maturity status estimated as percentage of predicted adult height attained at the time of the study (Khamis-Roche protocol), years of training, body dimensions, and VO2max (incremental maximal test on a treadmill). Proportional allometric models derived from stepwise regressions were used to incorporate either CA or maturity status and to incorporate years of formal training in basketball. Estimates for size exponents (95% CI) from the separate allometric models for VO2max were height 2.16 (1.23–3.09), body mass 0.65 (0.37–0.93), and fat-free mass 0.73 (0.46–1.02). Body dimensions explained 39% to 44% of variance. The independent variables in the proportional allometric models explained 47% to 60% of variance in VO2max. Estimated maturity status (11–16% of explained variance) and training experience (7–11% of explained variance) were significant predictors with either body mass or estimated fat-free mass (P ≤ .01) but not with height. Biological maturity status and training experience in basketball had a significant contribution to VO2max via body mass and fat-free fat mass and also had an independent positive relation with aerobic performance. The results highlight the importance of considering variation associated with biological maturation in aerobic performance of late-adolescent boys.

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Ana Sousa, Pedro Figueiredo, David Pendergast, Per-Ludvik Kjendlie, João P. Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Swimming has become an important area of sport science research since the 1970s, with the bioenergetic factors assuming a fundamental performance-influencing role. The purpose of this study was to conduct a critical evaluation of the literature concerning oxygen-uptake (VO2) assessment in swimming, by describing the equipment and methods used and emphasizing the recent works conducted in ecological conditions. Particularly in swimming, due to the inherent technical constraints imposed by swimming in a water environment, assessment of VO2max was not accomplished until the 1960s. Later, the development of automated portable measurement devices allowed VO2max to be assessed more easily, even in ecological swimming conditions, but few studies have been conducted in swimming-pool conditions with portable breath-by-breath telemetric systems. An inverse relationship exists between the velocity corresponding to VO2max and the time a swimmer can sustain it at this velocity. The energy cost of swimming varies according to its association with velocity variability. As, in the end, the supply of oxygen (whose limitation may be due to central—O2 delivery and transportation to the working muscles—or peripheral factors—O2 diffusion and utilization in the muscles) is one of the critical factors that determine swimming performance, VO2 kinetics and its maximal values are critical in understanding swimmers’ behavior in competition and to develop efficient training programs.

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Thomas Losnegard, Martin Andersen, Matt Spencer and Jostein Hallén

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an active and a passive recovery protocol on physiological responses and performance between 2 heats in sprint cross-country skiing.

Methods:

Ten elite male skiers (22 ± 3 y, 184 ± 4 cm, 79 ± 7 kg) undertook 2 experimental test sessions that both consisted of 2 heats with 25 min between start of the first and second heats. The heats were conducted as an 800-m time trial (6°, >3.5 m/s, ~205 s) and included measurements of oxygen uptake (VO2) and accumulated oxygen deficit. The active recovery trial involved 2 min standing/walking, 16 min jogging (58% ± 5% of VO2peak), and 3 min standing/walking. The passive recovery trial involved 15 min sitting, 3 min walk/jog (~ 30% of VO2peak), and 3 min standing/walking. Blood lactate concentration and heart rate were monitored throughout the recovery periods.

Results:

The increased 800-m time between heat 1 and heat 2 was trivial after active recovery (effect size [ES] = 0.1, P = .64) and small after passive recovery (ES = 0.4, P = .14). The 1.2% ± 2.1% (mean ± 90% CL) difference between protocols was not significant (ES = 0.3, P = .3). In heat 2, peak and average VO2 was increased after the active recovery protocol.

Conclusions:

Neither passive recovery nor running at ~58% of VO2peak between 2 heats changed performance significantly.

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Andrew M. Murray, Joong Hyun Ryu, John Sproule, Anthony P. Turner, Phil Graham-Smith and Marco Cardinale

Purpose:

Running performance is influenced by the interaction of biomechanical and physiological factors. Miniaturized accelerometers worn by athletes can be used to quantify mechanical aspects of running and as a noninvasive tool to assess training status and progression. The aim of this study was to define and validate a method to assess running regularity and allow the estimation of an individual’s oxygen uptake (V̇O2) and/or blood lactate—[La]b—based on data collected with accelerometers and heart rate.

Methods:

Male adolescent endurance athletes completed an incremental submaximal aerobic stage test where V̇O2 and [La]b were measured. The test was terminated when [La]b concentration at the end of the stage exceeded 4 mmol/L. Two wireless triaxial accelerometers were placed on participants’ right shank and lower back throughout the test. The root mean square (RMS) and sample entropy (SampEn) were calculated for the vertical, mediolateral, and anteroposterior components of acceleration.

Results:

There were significant positive correlations of acceleration and entropy variables with [La]b and V̇O2, with moderate to high coefficients (r = .43–.87). RMS of the shank acceleration was the most highly related with both physiological variables. When the accelerometer was attached on the trunk, SampEn of the vertical acceleration had the strongest relationship with V̇O2 (r = .76, P < .01).

Conclusions:

The described method analyzing running complexity may allow an assessment of gait variability, which noninvasively tracks V̇O2 and/or [La]b, allowing monitoring of fatigue or training readiness for trained adolescent individuals.

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Stamatis Agiovlasitis, Jeffrey A. McCubbin, Joonkoo Yun, Michael J. Pavol and Jeffrey J. Widrick

This study examined whether the net rate of oxygen uptake (VO2net) and the net oxygen uptake per kilometer (VO2net/km) are affected during walking in adults with Down syndrome (DS) and whether their preferred walking speed (PWS) minimizes the VO2net/km. Respiratory gases were collected as 14 adults with DS and 15 adults without DS completed a series of treadmill walking trials. PWS was measured over 15 meters in a hallway. The VO2net and the VO2net/km were higher in adults with DS than adults without DS. The overground PWS normalized for leg length was the same for both groups and did not appear to minimize the VO2net/km. Thus, adults with DS are less economical during walking than adults without DS. The overground PWS does not minimize the metabolic cost during treadmill walking.

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Oliver Faude, Tim Meyer and Wilfried Kindermann

Purpose:

The work rate (WR) corresponding to ventilatory threshold (VT) is an appropriate intensity for regenerative and low-intensity training sessions. During incremental ramp exercise, VO2 increase lags behind WR increase. Traditionally, a VO2 time delay (t d) of 45 seconds is used to calculate the WR at VT from such tests. Considerable inaccuracies were observed when using this constant t d. Therefore, this study aimed at reinvestigating the temporal relationship between VO2 and WR at VT.

Methods:

20 subjects (VO2peak 49.9 to 72.6 mL · min–1 · kg–1) performed a ramp test in order to determine VT and a subsequent steady-state test during which WR was adjusted to elicit the VO2 corresponding to VT. The difference in WR and heart rate at VT was calculated between the ramp and the steady-state test (WRdiff, HRdiff) as well as the time delay corresponding to WRdiff during ramp exercise.

Results:

Mean values were t d = 85 ± 26 seconds (range 38 to 144), WRdiff = 45 ± 12 W (range 23 to 67), HRdiff = 1 ± 9 beats/min (range –21 to +15). The limits of agreement for the difference between WR at VT during ramp and steady-state exercise were ± 24 W. No signifi cant influence on t d, WRdiff, or HRdiff from differences in endurance capacity (VO2peak and VT; P > .10 for all correlations) or ramp increment (P = .26, .49, and .85, respectively) were observed.

Conclusion:

The wide ranges of t d, WRdiff, and HRdiff prevent the derivation of exact training guidelines from single-ramp tests. It is advisable to perform a steady-state test to exactly determine the WR corresponding to VT.

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Dietmar Wallner, Helmut Simi, Gerhard Tschakert and Peter Hofmann

Purpose:

To analyze the acute physiological response to aerobic short-interval training (AESIT) at various high-intensity running speeds. A minor anaerobic glycolytic energy supply was aimed to mimic the characteristics of slow continuous runs.

Methods:

Eight trained male runners (maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max] 55.5 ± 3.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1) performed an incremental treadmill exercise test (increments: 0.75 km · h−1 · min−1). Two lactate turn points (LTP1, LTP2) were determined. Subsequently, 3 randomly assigned AESIT sessions with high-intensity running-speed intervals were performed at speeds close to the speed (v) at VO2max (vVO2max) to create mean intensities of 50%, 55%, and 60% of vLTP1. AESIT sessions lasted 30 min and consisted of 10-s work phases, alternated by 20-s passive recovery phases.

Results:

To produce mean velocities of 50%, 55%, and 60% of vLTP1, running speeds were calculated as 18.6 ± 0.7 km/h (93.4% vVO2max), 20.2 ± 0.6 km/h (101.9% vVO2max), and 22.3 ± 0.7 km/h (111.0% vVO2max), which gave a mean blood lactate concentration (La) of 1.09 ± 0.31 mmol/L, 1.57 ± 0.52 mmol/L, and 2.09 ± 0.99 mmol/L, respectively. La at 50% of vLTP1 was not significantly different from La at vLTP1 (P = .8894). Mean VO2 was found at 54.0%, 58.5%, and 64.0% of VO2max, while at the end of the sessions VO2 rose to 71.1%, 80.4%, and 85.6% of VO2max, respectively.

Conclusion:

The results showed that AESIT with 10-s work phases alternating with 20 s of passive rest and a running speed close to vVO2max gave a systemic aerobic metabolic profile similar to slow continuous runs.

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Santiago Lopez, Jan G. Bourgois, Enrico Tam, Paolo Bruseghini and Carlo Capelli

Purpose:

To explore the cardiovascular and metabolic responses of 9 Optimist sailors (12.7 ± 0.8 y, 153 ± 9 cm, 41 ± 6 kg, sailing career 6.2 ± 1 y, peak oxygen uptake [V̇O2peak] 50.5 ± 4.5 mL · min−1 · kg−1) during on-water upwind sailing with various wind intensities (W).

Methods:

In a laboratory session, peak V̇O2, beat-by-beat cardiac output (Q̇), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), and heart rate (f H) were measured using a progressive cycle ramp protocol. Steady-state V̇O2, Q̇, MAP, and f H at 4 submaximal workloads were also determined. During 2 on-water upwind sailing tests (constant course and with tacks), W, Q̇, MAP, and f H were measured for 15 min. On-water V̇O2 was estimated on the basis of steady-state f H measured on water and of the individual ΔV̇O2f H relationship obtained in the laboratory.

Results:

V̇O2, f H, and Q̇ expressed as percentage of the corresponding peak values were linearly related with W; exercise intensity during on-water sailing corresponded to 46–48% of V̇O2peak. MAP and total vascular peripheral resistance (TPR = MAP/Q̇) were larger (P < .005) during on-water tests (+39% and +50%, respectively) than during cycling, and they were correlated with W. These responses were responsible for larger values of the double (DP) and triple (TP) products of the heart during sailing than during cycling (P < .005) (+37% and +32%, respectively).

Conclusions:

These data indicate that the cardiovascular system was particularly stressed during upwind sailing even though the exercise intensity of this activity was not particularly high.