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Ana Anton-Solanas, Barry V. O’Neill, Tessa E. Morris and Joe Dunbar

Purpose:

To assess changes in body composition and monitor cognitive function, subjective well-being, and physiological stress, as measured by salivary hormones and markers of mucosal immunity, during an Antarctic expedition.

Methods:

A 36-y-old man (188.2 cm height, 94.5 kg body mass) took part in a world-record attempt. A total-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan and measurement of 8 skinfolds and 5 girths were performed before and after the expedition. In addition, daily subjective data were recorded (sleep quality, total hours of sleep, energy levels, perceived exertion, mood, muscle soreness, and muscle/joint pain) along with distance covered and hours of physical activity per day. As a measure of cognitive function, the athlete completed a computerized battery of tasks (Axon Sports Cognitive Priming Application) every third morning. Saliva samples were collected before, during, and after the expedition to determine salivary cortisol (sCort), testosterone (sT), alpha amylase (sAA), and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA).

Results:

The athlete lost 5.3 kg body mass and sum of 8 skinfolds decreased from 73 mm to 59 mm from preexpedition to postexpedition. Psychomotor speed declined over the course of the expedition. sT increased and sCort decreased throughout, and sAA and sIgA peaked toward the end of the expedition.

Conclusions:

This case study provides novel data about the physiological and cognitive impact of an Antarctic expedition. The findings may inform strategies for future expeditions, allowing individuals undertaking expeditions of this nature to better prepare for success.

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Leilani A. Madrigal and Patrick B. Wilson

This study assessed the hormonal and psychological responses to a free-throw shooting competition in twelve NCAA Division I female collegiate basketball players. Salivary cortisol, alpha-amylase, and testosterone were collected before and after the competition, in addition to a self-reported measure of anxiety. Using nonparametric statistics, cortisol (Z = –3.06, p = .002) and testosterone (Z = –2.67, p = .008) levels were significantly higher precompetition compared with postcompetition. There were no statistically significant differences between winners and losers for anxiety or hormone responses. Concentration disruption (rho = .63, p = .03) and total competitive anxiety (rho = .68, p = .02) were positively correlated with precompetition cortisol. Concentration disruption also correlated positively with postcompetition cortisol (rho = .62 p = .03) and postcompetition testosterone (rho = .64, p = .03). Future studies are needed to examine the psychological and physiological stress responses of basketball players during different competition tasks.

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Caoimhe Tiernan, Mark Lyons, Tom Comyns, Alan M. Nevill and Giles Warrington

, Hanon C , Gendreau N , Bonneau D , Guével A , Chennaoui M . Salivary hormones response to preparation and pre-competitive training of world-class level athletes . Front Physiol . 2015 ; 16 ( 6 ): 333 . 32. Kraemer WJ , Looney DP , Martin GJ , et al . Changes in creatine kinase

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Christopher M. Gaviglio, Blair T. Crewther, Liam P. Kilduff, Keith A. Stokes and Christian J. Cook

Purpose:

To assess the measures of salivary free testosterone and cortisol concentrations across selected rugby union matches according to game outcome.

Methods:

Twenty-two professional male rugby union players were studied across 6 games (3 wins and 3 losses). Hormone samples were taken 40 min before the game and 15 min after. The hormonal data were grouped and compared against competition outcomes. These competition outcomes included wins and losses and a game-ranked performance score (1–6).

Results:

Across the entire team, pregame testosterone concentrations were significantly higher during winning games than losses (P = 5.8 × 10−5). Analysis by playing position further revealed that, for the backs, pregame testosterone concentrations (P = 3.6 × 10−5) and the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio T:C (P = .038) were significantly greater before a win than a loss. Game-ranked performance score correlated to the team’s pregame testosterone concentrations (r = .81, P = .049). In backs, pregame testosterone (r = .91, P = .011) and T:C (r = .81, P = .05) also correlated to game-ranked performance. Analysis of the forwards’ hormone concentrations did not distinguish between game outcomes, nor did it correlate with game-ranked performance. Game venue (home vs away) only affected postgame concentrations of testosterone (P = .018) and cortisol (P = 2.58 × 10−4).

Conclusions:

Monitoring game-day concentrations of salivary free testosterone may help identify competitive readiness in rugby union matches. The link between pregame T:C and rugby players in the back position suggests that monitoring weekly training loads and enhancing recovery modalities between games may also assist with favorable performance and outcome in rugby union matches.

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Jinger S. Gottschall, Joshua J. Davis, Bryce Hastings and Heather J. Porter

( 7 ): 1287 – 1294 . PubMed ID: 21131861 doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318207f87b 21131861 12. Gatti R , De Palo EF . An update: salivary hormones and physical exercise . Scand J Med Sci Sports . 2011 ; 21 ( 2 ): 157 – 169 . PubMed ID: 21129038 doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2010.01252.x 21129038 13

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Henry Davis IV, Sari M. van Anders, Elton T. Ngan, Todd S. Woodward, Jared X. Van Snellenberg, Helen S. Mayberg and Mario Liotti

In this follow-up study, self-referential videos of success and failure were used for mood provocation to investigate mood, neural, and endocrine activity among 26 internationally competitive athletes using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and salivary hormone measures. The initial sample of 14 athletes who had experienced career-threatening failure was contrasted to 12 athletes with exceptional success. Endocrine data were added to the preliminary report to round

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C. Martyn Beaven, Christian Cook, David Gray, Paul Downes, Ian Murphy, Scott Drawer, John R. Ingram, Liam P. Kilduff and Nicholas Gill

Rugby preseason training involves high-volume strength and conditioning training, necessitating effective management of the recovery-stress state to avoid overtraining and maximize adaptive gains.

Purpose:

Compression garments and an electrostimulation device have been proposed to improve recovery by increasing venous blood flow. These devices were assessed using salivary testosterone and cortisol, plasma creatine kinase, and player questionnaires to determine sleep quality, energy level, mood, and enthusiasm.

Methods:

Twenty-five professional rugby players were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments (compression garment or a concurrent combination of electrostimulation and compression) in a crossover design over 2 × 2-wk training blocks.

Results:

Substantial benefits were observed in self-assessed energy levels (effect size [ES] 0.86), and enthusiasm (ES 0.80) as a result of the combined treatment when compared with compression-garment use. The combination treatment had no discernable effect on salivary hormones, with no treatment effect observed. The electrostimulation device did tend to accelerate the return of creatine kinase to baseline levels after 2 preseason rugby games when compared with the compression-garment intervention (ES 0.61; P = .08).

Conclusions:

Electrostimulation elicited psychometric and physiological benefits reflective of an improved recovery-stress state in professional male rugby players when combined with a lower-body compression garment.

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Blake D. McLean, Aaron J. Coutts, Vince Kelly, Michael R. McGuigan and Stuart J. Cormack

Introduction:

The purpose of this study was to examine the changes in neuromuscular, perceptual and hormonal measures following professional rugby league matches during different length between-match microcycles.

Methods:

Twelve professional rugby league players from the same team were assessed for changes in countermovement jump (CMJ) performance (fight time and relative power), perceptual responses (fatigue, well-being and muscle soreness) and salivary hormone (testosterone [T] and cortisol [C]) levels during 5, 7 and 9 d between-match training microcycles. All training was prescribed by the club coaches and was monitored using the session-RPE method.

Results:

Lower mean daily training load was completed on the 5 d compared with the 7 and 9 d microcycles. CMJ fight time and relative power, perception of fatigue, overall well-being and muscle soreness were signifcantly reduced in the 48 h following the match in each microcycle (P < .05). Most CMJ variables returned to near baseline values following 4 d in each microcycle. Countermovement jump relative power was lower in the 7 d microcycle in comparison with the 9 d microcycle (P < .05). There was increased fatigue at 48 h in the 7 and 9 d microcycles (P < .05) but had returned to baseline in the 5 d microcycle. Salivary T and C did not change in response to the match.

Discussion:

Neuromuscular performance and perception of fatigue are reduced for at least 48 h following a rugby league match but can be recovered to baseline levels within 4 d. These fndings show that with appropriate training, it is possible to recover neuromuscular and perceptual measures within 4 d after a rugby league match.

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Mark Russell, Aden King, Richard. M. Bracken, Christian. J. Cook, Thibault Giroud and Liam. P. Kilduff

Purpose:

To assess the effects of different modes of morning (AM) exercise on afternoon (PM) performance and salivary hormone responses in professional rugby union players.

Methods:

On 4 occasions (randomized, crossover design), 15 professional rugby players provided AM (~8 AM) and PM (~2 PM) saliva samples before PM assessments of countermovement-jump height, reaction time, and repeated-sprint ability. Control (passive rest), weights (bench press: 5 × 10 repetitions, 75% 1-repetition maximum, 90-s intraset recovery), cycling (6 × 6-s maximal sprint cycling, 7.5% body mass load, 54-s intraset recovery), and running (6 × 40-m maximal sprints, 20-s intraset recovery) interventions preceded (~5 h) PM testing.

Results:

PM sprint performance improved (P < .05) after weights (>0.15 ± 0.19 s, >2.04% ± 2.46%) and running (>0.15 ± 0.17 s, >2.12% ± 2.22%) but not cycling (P > .05). PM jump height increased after cycling (0.012 ± 0.009 m, 2.31% ± 1.76%, P < .001) and running (0.020 ± 0.009 m, 3.90% ± 1.79%, P < .001) but not weights (P = .936). Reaction time remained unchanged between trials (P = .379). Relative to control (131 ± 21 pg/mL), PM testosterone was greater in weights (21 ± 23 pg/mL, 17% ± 18%, P = .002) and running (28 ± 26 pg/mL, 22% ± 20%, P = .001) but not cycling (P = .072). Salivary cortisol was unaffected by AM exercise (P = .540).

Conclusions:

All modes of AM exercise improved at least 1 marker of PM performance, but running appeared the most beneficial to professional rugby union players. A rationale therefore exists for preceding PM competition with AM exercise.

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Christian J. Cook, Liam P. Kilduff and C. Martyn Beaven

Purpose:

To examine the effects of moderate-load exercise with and without blood-flow restriction (BFR) on strength, power, and repeated-sprint ability, along with acute and chronic salivary hormonal parameters.

Methods:

Twenty male semiprofessional rugby union athletes were randomized to a lower-body BFR intervention (an occlusion cuff inflated to 180 mmHg worn intermittently on the proximal thighs) or a control intervention that trained without occlusion in a crossover design. Experimental sessions were performed 3 times a week for 3 wk with 5 sets of 5 repetitions of bench press, leg squat, and pull-ups performed at 70% of 1-repetition maximum.

Results:

Greater improvements were observed (occlusion training vs control) in bench press (5.4 ± 2.6 vs 3.3 ± 1.4 kg), squat (7.8 ± 2.1 vs 4.3 ± 1.4 kg), maximum sprint time (−0.03 ± 0.03 vs –0.01 ± 0.02 s), and leg power (168 ± 105 vs 68 ± 50 W). Greater exercise-induced salivary testosterone (ES 0.84–0.61) and cortisol responses (ES 0.65–0.20) were observed after the occlusion intervention sessions compared with the nonoccluded controls; however, the acute cortisol increases were attenuated across the training block.

Conclusions:

Occlusion training can potentially improve the rate of strength-training gains and fatigue resistance in trained athletes, possibly allowing greater gains from lower loading that could be of benefit during high training loads, in competitive seasons, or in a rehabilitative setting. The clear improvement in bench-press strength resulting from lower-body occlusion suggests a systemic effect of BFR training.