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Kristin E. MacLeod, Sean F. Nugent, Susan I. Barr, Michael S. Koehle, Benjamin C. Sporer and Martin J. MacInnis

Beetroot juice (BR) has been shown to lower the oxygen cost of exercise in normoxia and may have similar effects in hypoxia. We investigated the effect of BR on steady-state exercise economy and 10-km time trial (TT) performance in normoxia and moderate hypoxia (simulated altitude: ~2500 m). Eleven trained male cyclists (VO2peak ≥ 60 ml·kg-1·min-1) completed four exercise trials. Two hours before exercise, subjects consumed 70 mL BR (~6 mmol nitrate) or placebo (nitrate-depleted BR) in a randomized, double-blind manner. Subjects then completed a 15-min self-selected cycling warm-up, a 15-min steady-state exercise bout at 50% maximum power output, and a 10-km time trial (TT) in either normoxia or hypoxia. Environmental conditions were randomized and single-blind. BR supplementation increased plasma nitrate concentration and fraction of exhaled nitric oxide relative to PL (p < .05 for both comparisons). Economy at 50% power output was similar in hypoxic and normoxic conditions (p > .05), but mean power output was greater in the normoxic TT relative to the hypoxic TT (p < .05). BR did not affect economy, steady-state SpO2, mean power output, or 10-km TT completion time relative to placebo in either normoxia or hypoxia (p > .05 in all comparisons). In conclusion, BR did not lower the oxygen cost of steady-state exercise or improve exercise performance in normoxia or hypoxia in a small sample of well-trained male cyclists.

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Øyvind Skattebo, Thomas Losnegard and Hans Kristian Stadheim

athletes were tested. Hence, as exercise economy and fractional utilization of VO 2 peak are known to be increasingly important with prolonged competition duration, 29 it could be argued that the reduced submaximal O 2 cost and similar lactate threshold as a function of speed may be of even greater

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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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Thomas Losnegard, Håvard Myklebust, Øyvind Skattebo, Hans Kristian Stadheim, Øyvind Sandbakk and Jostein Hallén

Purpose:

In the double-poling (DP) cross-country-skiing technique, propulsive forces are transferred solely through the poles. The aim of the current study was to investigate how pole length influences DP performance, O2 cost, and kinematics during treadmill roller skiing.

Methods:

Nine male competitive cross-country skiers (24 ± 3 y, 180 ± 5 cm, 72 ± 5 kg, VO2max running 76 ± 6 mL · kg–1 · min–1) completed 2 identical test protocols using self-selected (84% ± 1% of body height) and long poles (self-selected + 7.5 cm; 88% ± 1% of body height) in a counterbalanced fashion. Each test protocol included a 5-min warm-up (2.5 m/s; 2.5°) and three 5-min submaximal sessions (3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 m/s; 2.5°) for assessment of O2 cost, followed by a selfpaced 1000-m time trial (~3 min, >5.0 m/s; 2.5°). Temporal patterns and kinematics were assessed using accelerometers and 2D video.

Results:

Long poles reduced 1000-m time (mean ± 90% confidence interval; –1.0% ± 0.7%, P = .054) and submaximal O2 cost (–2.7% ± 1.0%, P = .002) compared with self-selected poles. The center-of-mass (CoM) vertical range of displacement tended to be smaller for long than for self-selected poles (23.3 ± 3.0 vs 24.3 ± 3.0 cm, P = .07). Cycle and reposition time did not differ between pole lengths at any speeds tested, whereas poling time tended to be shorter for self-selected than for long poles at the lower speeds (≤3.5 m/s, P ≤ .10) but not at the higher speeds (≥4.0 m/s, P ≥ .23).

Conclusions:

DP 1000-m time, submaximal O2 cost, and CoM vertical range of displacement were reduced in competitive cross-country skiers using poles 7.5 cm longer than self-selected ones.

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Lawrence E. Armstrong and Carl M. Maresh

Exercise-heat tolerance (EHT) in children is influenced by many physiological factors, including sweat gland activity, cardiac output, exercise economy, ability to acclimate to heat, and maturation of organ systems. It is generally believed that children cannot tolerate hot environments as well as adults, although some children exhibit EHT that is superior to that of adults. There has been no research showing large exercise-induced differences between the core body temperatures of children versus adults, but differences in the time to onset of syncope and fatigue have been observed. This suggests that the greatest risk of heat illness for children is heat exhaustion (i.e., cardiovascular instability) and not heat stroke (i.e., hyperthermia). Therefore this review (a) examines the conclusions of previous studies to clarify misinterpretations of data, and (b) identifies research questions that require future study.

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Thomas W. Rowland

In adults, maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) serves as a useful indicator of cardiopulmonary reserve as well as performance in endurance exercise events. Whether VO2max can be interpreted in the same manner in children is less certain, since maximal oxygen uptake per kg body weight remains essentially stable during the growing years while endurance performance improves dramatically. Gains in ability in endurance events may be achieved through improved submaximal exercise economy, qualitative changes in oxygen delivery not indicated by VO2max, or the development of nonaerobic factors (speed, strength). Maximal oxygen uptake in children may therefore be a less valid indicator of cardiopulmonary function, endurance capacity, and response to training than in adult subjects.

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Darrell L. Bonetti, Will G. Hopkins and Andrew E. Kilding

Context:

Live-high train-low altitude training produces worthwhile gains in performance for endurance athletes, but the benefits of adaptation to various forms of artificial altitude are less clear.

Purpose:

To quantify the effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure on kayak performance.

Methods:

In a crossover design with a 6-week washout, we randomized 10 subelite male sprint kayak paddlers to hypoxia or control groups for 3 weeks (5 days/week) of intermittent hypoxic exposure using a nitrogen-filtration device. Each day's exposure consisted of alternately breathing hypoxic and ambient air for 5 minutes each over 1 hour. Performance tests were an incremental step test to estimate peak power, maximal oxygen uptake, exercise economy, and lactate threshold; a 500-m time trial; and 5 × 100-m sprints. All tests were performed on a wind-braked kayak ergometer 7 and 3 days pretreatment and 3 and 10 days post treatment. Hemoglobin concentration was measured at 1 day pretreatment, 5 and 10 days during treatment, and 3 days after treatment.

Results:

Relative to control, at 3 days post treatment the hypoxia group showed the following increases: peak power 6.8% (90% confidence limits, ± 5.2%), mean repeat sprint power 8.3% (± 6.7%), and hemoglobin concentration 3.6% (± 3.2%). Changes in lactate threshold, mean 500-m power, maximal oxygen uptake, and exercise economy were unclear. Large effects for peak power and mean sprint speed were still present 10 days posthypoxia.

Conclusion:

These effects of intermittent hypoxic exposure should enhance performance in kayak racing. The effects might be mediated via changes in oxygen transport.

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Peter Peeling, Gregory R. Cox, Nicola Bullock and Louise M. Burke

We assessed the ingestion of a beetroot juice supplement (BR) on 4-min laboratory-based kayak performance in national level male (n = 6) athletes (Study A), and on 500 m on-water kayak time-trial (TT) performance in international level female (n = 5) athletes (Study B). In Study A, participants completed three laboratory-based sessions on a kayak ergometer, including a 7 × 4 min step test, and two 4 min maximal effort performance trials. Two and a half hours before the warm-up of each 4 min performance trial, athletes received either a 70 ml BR shot containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). The distance covered over the 4 min TT was not different between conditions; however, the average VO2 over the 4 min period was significantly lower in BR (p = .04), resulting in an improved exercise economy (p = .05). In Study B, participants completed two field-based 500 m TTs, separated by 4 days. Two hours before each trial, athletes received either two 70 ml BR shots containing ~9.6 mmol of nitrate, or a placebo equivalent (BRPLA). BR supplementation significantly enhanced TT performance by 1.7% (p = .01). Our results show that in national-level male kayak athletes, commercially available BR shots (70 ml) containing ~4.8 mmol of nitrate improved exercise economy during laboratory-based tasks predominantly reliant on the aerobic energy system. Furthermore, greater volumes of BR (140 ml; ~9.6 mmol nitrate) provided to international-level female kayak athletes resulted in enhancements to TT performance in the field.

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

Purpose:

To determine the effect of dietary nitrate (NO3 ) supplementation on physiology and performance in well-trained cyclists after 6–8 d of NO3 supplementation.

Methods:

Eight competitive male cyclists (mean ± SD age 26 ± 8 y, body mass 76.7 ± 6.9 kg, VO2peak 63 ± 4 mL · kg–1 · min–1) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover-design study in which participants ingested 70 mL of beetroot juice containing ~4 mmol NO3 (NIT) or a NO3 -depleted placebo (PLA), each for 8 d. Replicating pretreatment measures, participants undertook an incremental ramp assessment to determine VO2peak and first (VT1) and second (VT2) ventilatory thresholds on d 6 (NIT6 and PLA6), moderate-intensity cycling economy on d 7 (NIT7 and PLA7), and a 4-km time trial (TT) on d 8 (NIT8 and PLA8).

Results:

Relative to PLA, 6 d of NIT supplementation produced unclear effects for VO2peak (mean ± 95% confidence limit: 1.8% ± 5.5%) and VT1 (3.7% ± 12.3%) and trivial effects for both VT2 (–1.0% ± 3.0%) and exercise economy on d 7 (–1.0% ± 1.6%). However, effects for TT performance time (–0.7% ± 0.9%) and power (2.4% ± 2.5%) on d 8 were likely beneficial.

Conclusions:

Despite mostly unclear outcomes for standard physiological determinants of performance, 8 d of NO3 supplementation resulted in likely beneficial improvements to 4-km TT performance in well-trained male endurance cyclists.