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Mark Evans, Peter Tierney, Nicola Gray, Greg Hawe, Maria Macken and Brendan Egan

An important determinant of success in team sports is repeated sprint performance (RSP; Girard et al., 2011 ). RSP involves maximal or near-maximal short-duration sprints repeated in succession with brief recovery periods. Fatigue manifests as a sprint performance decrement (S dec ; %) over time

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Kristy Martin, Disa Smee, Kevin G. Thompson and Ben Rattray

Purpose:

Nitrate supplementation improves endurance exercise and single bouts of high-intensity activity, but its effect on repeated sprints is unclear. This study is the first to investigate the effects of acute dietary nitrate supplementation during a high-intensity intermittent-sprint test to exhaustion.

Methods:

Team-sport athletes (9 male, age 22.3 ± 2.1 y, VO2max 57.4 ± 8.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1; 7 female, age 20.7 ± 1.3 y, VO2max 47.2 ± 8.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1) were assigned to a double-blind, randomized, crossover design. Participants consumed 70 mL of concentrated beetroot juice containing a minimum of 0.3 g of nitrate (NT) or 70 mL of placebo (PL) 2 h before a repeated-sprint protocol involving repeated 8-s sprints with 30-s recovery on a cycle ergometer to exhaustion.

Results:

Fewer sprints (NT = 13 ± 5 vs PL = 15 ± 6, P = .005, d = 0.41) and less total work (NT = 49.2 ± 24.2 kJ vs PL = 57.8 ± 34.0 kJ, P = .027, d = 0.3) were completed in NT relative to PL. However there was no difference in overall mean power output or the mean power output for each individual 8-s sprint.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that dietary nitrate is not beneficial for improving repeated-sprint performance, at least when such sprints are near-maximal and frequent in nature. The lack of an effect of nitrate at near-maximal oxygen uptake supports the suggestion that at greater exercise intensities nitrate does not have an ergogenic effect.

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Elizabeth L. Abbey and Janet Walberg Rankin

Maintenance of repeated-sprint performance is a goal during team-sport competition such as soccer. Quercetin has been shown to be an adenosine-receptor antagonist and may reduce oxidative stress via inhibition of the enzyme xanthine oxidase (XO). The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of quercetin consumption on performance of repeated sprints and, secondarily, the XO and inflammatory-marker response induced by repeated-sprint exercise. Fifteen recreationally active, young adult men completed 2 repeated-sprint tests (RST), 12 × 30-m maximal-effort sprints (S1–S12), each after 1 wk supplementation with a placebo, a 6% carbohydrate commercial sports drink, or that drink with 500 mg of quercetin-3-glucoside, consumed twice a day (1,000 mg/d). Blood samples were collected before supplementation (B0), at baseline before each RST (B1), immediately after RST (B2), and 1 hr after RST (B3). Mean sprint time increased progressively and was significantly higher by S9 for both treatments (5.9%); however, there were no significant differences between treatments. Percent fatigue decrement (%FD) for placebo (3.8% ± 2.3%) was significantly less than with quercetin (5.1% ± 2.7%). Changes in blood XO, IL-6, and uric acid from B1 to B2 were +47%, +77%, and +25%, respectively, with no difference by treatment. In conclusion, repeated-sprint performance was not improved by quercetin supplementation and was worse than with placebo when expressed as %FD. Quercetin did not attenuate indicators of XO activity or IL-6, a marker of the inflammatory response after sprint exercise.

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Nnamdi Gwacham and Dale R. Wagner

Consumption of energy drinks is common among athletes; however, there is a lack of research on the efficacy of these beverages for short-duration, intense exercise. The purpose of this research was to investigate the acute effects of a low-calorie caffeine-taurine energy drink (AdvoCare Spark) on repeated sprint performance and anaerobic power in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I football players. Twenty football players (age 19.7 ± 1.8 yr, height 184.9 ± 5.3 cm, weight 100.3 ± 21.7 kg) participated in a double-blind, randomized crossover study in which they received the energy drink or an isoenergetic, isovolumetric, noncaffeinated placebo in 2 trials separated by 7 days. The Running Based Anaerobic Sprint Test, consisting of six 35-m sprints with 10 s of rest between sprints, was used to assess anaerobic power. Sprint times were recorded with an automatic electronic timer. The beverage treatment did not significantly affect power (F = 3.84, p = .066) or sprint time (F = 3.06, p = .097). However, there was a significant interaction effect between caffeine use and the beverage for sprint times (F = 4.62, p = .045), as well as for anaerobic power (F = 5.40, p = .032), indicating a confounding effect. In conclusion, a caffeine-taurine energy drink did not improve the sprint performance or anaerobic power of college football players, but the level of caffeine use by the athletes likely influenced the effect of the drink.

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Asma Aloui, Anis Chaouachi, Hamdi Chtourou, Del P. Wong, Monoem Haddad, Karim Chamari and Nizar Souissi

Purpose:

This study examined the effects of Ramadan on cycling repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and corresponding diurnal variations.

Methods:

Twelve active men performed an RSA test (5 × 6-s maximal sprints interspersed with 24 s passive recovery) during morning and afternoon sessions 1 wk before Ramadan (BR), during the second (R2) and the fourth (R4) weeks of Ramadan, and 2 wk after Ramadan (AR). Maximal voluntary contraction was assessed before (MVCpre), immediately after (MVCpost), and 5 min after the RSA test (MVCpost5). Moreover, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma sodium and potassium (K+) concentrations were measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost.

Results:

Overall, peak power (Ppeak) during the RSA test decreased throughout the 5 sprints. Ppeak measured in the first sprint and MVCpre were lower during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning BR and AR (P < .05). However, this diurnal rhythmicity was not found for the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, and MVCpost5 in all testing periods. Furthermore, the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, MVCpost5, and morning MVCpre were not affected by Ramadan. [K+] measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost were higher during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning during Ramadan (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Fatigability is higher in the afternoon during Ramadan, and, therefore, training and competition should be scheduled at the time of day when physical performance is less affected.

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Anissa Cherif, Romain Meeusen, Abdulaziz Farooq, Joong Ryu, Mohamed Amine Fenneni, Zoran Nikolovski, Sittana Elshafie, Karim Chamari and Bart Roelands

Purpose:

To examine the effects of 3 d of intermittent fasting (3d-IF: abstaining from eating/drinking from dawn to sunset) on physical performance and metabolic responses to repeated sprints (RSs).

Methods:

Twenty-one active males performed an RS test (2 sets: 5 × 5-s maximal sprints with 25 s of recovery between and 3 min of recovery between sets on an instrumented treadmill) in 2 conditions: counterbalanced fed/control session (CS) and fasting session (FS). Biomechanical and biochemical markers were assessed preexercise and postexercise.

Results:

Significant main effects of IF were observed for sprints: maximal speed (P = .016), mean speed (P = .015), maximal power (P = .035), mean power (P = .049), vertical stiffness (P = .032), and vertical center-of-mass displacement (P = .047). Sprint speed and vertical stiffness decreased during the 1st (P = .003 and P = .005) and 2nd sprints (P = .046 and P = .048) of set 2, respectively. Postexercise insulin decreased in CS (P = .023) but not in FS (P = .230). Free-fatty-acid levels were higher in FS than in CS at preexercise (P < .001) and at postexercise (P = .009). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was higher at postexercise in FS (1.32 ± 0.22 mmol/L) than in CS (1.26 ± 0.21 mmol/L, P = .039). The triglyceride (TG) concentration was decreased in FS (P < .05) compared with CS.

Conclusions:

3d-IF impaired speed and power through a decrease in vertical stiffness during the initial runs of the 2nd set of RS. The findings of the current study confirmed the benefits of 3d-IF: improved HDL-C and TG profiles while maintaining total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Moreover, improving muscle power might be a key factor to retain a higher vertical stiffness and to partly counteract the negative effects of intermittent fasting.

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Jonathan P. Little, Philip D. Chilibeck, Dawn Ciona, Albert Vandenberg and Gordon A. Zello

The glycemic index (GI) of a pre exercise meal may affect substrate utilization and performance during continuous exercise.

Purpose:

To examine the effects of low- and high-GI foods on metabolism and performance during high-intensity, intermittent exercise.

Methods:

Seven male athletes participated in three experimental trials (low-GI, high-GI, and fasted control) separated by ~7 days. Foods were consumed 3 h before (~1.3 g·kg−1 carbohydrate) and halfway through (~0.2 g·kg−1 carbohydrate) 90 min of intermittent treadmill running designed to simulate the activity pattern of soccer. Expired gas was collected during exercise to estimate substrate oxidation. Performance was assessed by the distance covered on fve 1-min sprints during the last 15 min of exercise.

Results:

Respiratory exchange ratio was higher and fat oxidation lower during exercise in the high-GI condition compared with fasting (P < .05). The mean difference in total distance covered on the repeated sprint test between low GI and fasting (247 m; 90% confidence limits ±352 m) represented an 81% (likely, probable) chance that the low-GI condition improved performance over fasting. The mean difference between high GI and fasted control (223 m; ±385 m) represented a 76% (likely, probable) chance of improved performance. There were no differences between low and high GI.

Conclusions:

When compared with fasting, both low- and high-GI foods consumed 3 h before and halfway through prolonged, high-intensity intermittent exercise improved repeated sprint performance. High-GI foods impaired fat oxidation during exercise but the GI did not appear to influence high-intensity, intermittent exercise performance.

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Peter Le Rossignol, Tim J. Gabbett, Dan Comerford and Warren R. Stanton

Purpose:

To investigate the relationship between selected physical capacities and repeated-sprint performance of Australian Football League (AFL) players and to determine which physical capacities contributed to being selected for the first competition game.

Methods:

Sum of skinfolds, 40-m sprint (with 10-, 20-, 30-, and 40-m splits), repeated-sprint ability (6 × 30-m sprints), and 3-km-run time were measured during the preseason in 20 AFL players. The physical qualities of players selected to play the first match of the season and those not selected were compared. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine the relationship among variables, and a regression analysis identified variables significantly related to repeated-sprint performance.

Results:

In the regression analysis, maximum velocity was the best predictor of repeated-sprint time, with 3-km-run time also contributing significantly to the predictive model. Sum of skinfolds was significantly correlated with 10-m (r = .61, P < .01) and 30-m (r = .53, P < .05) sprint times. A 2.6% ± 2.1% difference in repeated-sprint time (P < .05, ES = 0.88 ± 0.72) was observed between those selected (25.26 ± 0.55 s) and not selected (25.82 ± 0.80 s) for the first game of the season.

Conclusions:

The findings indicate that maximum-velocity training using intervals of 30–40 m may contribute more to improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL players than short 10- to 20-m intervals from standing starts. Further research is warranted to establish the relative importance of endurance training for improving repeated-sprint performance in AFL football.

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In the article by Aloui A, Chaouachi A, Chtourou H, et al, “Effects of Ramadan on the Diurnal Variations of Repeated-Sprint Performance,” in Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 8(3), p. 255, we printed two incorrect times of day. In the second paragraph under the Participants heading, “dinner between 10 and 11 PM) and sleeping habits (sleeping between 8 and 9 PM” should read “dinner between 8 and 9 PM) and sleeping habits (sleeping between 10 and 11 PM.” We apologize for the error.

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Keeron J. Stone, Jonathan L. Oliver, Michael G. Hughes, Michael R. Stembridge, Daniel J. Newcombe and Robert W. Meyers

Existing procedures for the simulation of soccer match play fail to incorporate multidirectional and repeated-sprint activities, even though these movements are considered fundamental to match play. In the current study, selected physiological and performance responses were assessed during an adapted version of an existing soccer simulation protocol. Mean heart rates of 163 ± 14 beats·min–1, mean blood lactates of 4.9 ± 2.3 mmol·L-1 and decrements in single-sprint and repeated-sprint performances were observed. The presented adaptations to an existing soccer simulation protocol better reflect the movement characteristics as well as the physiological and performance responses of soccer match play.