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Bryan Saunders, Craig Sale, Roger C. Harris and Caroline Sunderland

Purpose:

To investigate the separate and combined effects of sodium bicarbonate and beta-alanine supplementation on repeated sprints during simulated match play performed in hypoxia.

Methods:

Study A: 20 recreationally active participants performed two trials following acute supplementation with either sodium bicarbonate (0.3 g·kg−1BM) or placebo (maltodextrin). Study B: 16 recreationally active participants were supplemented with either a placebo or beta-alanine for 5 weeks (6.4 g·day−1 for 4 weeks, 3.2 g·day−1 for 1 week), and performed one trial before supplementation (with maltodextrin) and two following supplementation (with sodium bicarbonate and maltodextrin). Trials consisted of 3 sets of 5 × 6 s repeated sprints performed during a football specific intermittent treadmill protocol performed in hypoxia (15.5% O2). Mean (MPO) and peak (PPO) power output were recorded as the performance measures.

Results:

Study A: Overall MPO was lower with sodium bicarbonate than placebo (p = .02, 539.4 ± 84.5 vs. 554.0 ± 84.6 W), although there was no effect across sets (all p > .05). Study B: There was no effect of beta-alanine, or cosupplementation with sodium bicarbonate, on either parameter, although there was a trend toward higher MPO with sodium bicarbonate (p = .07).

Conclusions:

The effect of sodium bicarbonate on repeated sprints was equivocal, although there was no effect of beta-alanine or cosupplementation with sodium bicarbonate. Individual variation may have contributed to differences in results with sodium bicarbonate, although the lack of an effect with beta-alanine suggests this type of exercise may not be influenced by increased buffering capacity.

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Adam Beard, John Ashby, Ryan Chambers, Franck Brocherie and Grégoire P. Millet

This may have good carryover to rugby union, which has a high number of repeated-sprint requirements. 2 Although RSA training is well accepted to improve this quality, 5 utilizing RSA in hypoxic conditions (the so-called “repeated-sprint training in hypoxia,” [RSH]) has shown superior results when

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Jonathan M. Taylor, Tom W. Macpherson, Iain R. Spears and Matthew Weston

The ability to repeatedly perform sprints has traditionally been viewed as a key performance measure in team sports, and the relationship between repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and performance has been explored extensively. However, when reviewing the repeated-sprint profile of team-sports match play it appears that the occurrence of repeated-sprint bouts is sparse, indicating that RSA is not as important to performance as commonly believed. Repeated sprints are, however, a potent and time-efficient training strategy, effective in developing acceleration, speed, explosive leg power, aerobic power, and high-intensity-running performance—all of which are crucial to team-sport performance. As such, we propose that repeated-sprint exercise in team sports should be viewed as an independent variable (eg, a means of developing fitness) as opposed to a dependent variable (eg, a means of assessing fitness/performance).

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James R. Broatch, David J. Bishop and Shona Halson

Repeated-sprint exercise (RSE) is characterized by multiple efforts of brief (≤6-s) maximal or near-maximal exercise, interspersed with relatively short (≤60-s) moderate-/low-intensity recovery periods. 1 This activity pattern is common to many team sports and is considered an integral component

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Martina A. Maggioni, Matteo Bonato, Alexander Stahn, Antonio La Torre, Luca Agnello, Gianluca Vernillo, Carlo Castagna and Giampiero Merati

properly with strong evidence-based support. Ball-drills and repeated sprint ability training have begun to be widely used by coaches to improve physical fitness. 7 Ball-drills training consists of a series of short duration matches with a small number of players and which replicate match-like technical

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Callum G. Brownstein, Derek Ball, Dominic Micklewright and Neil V. Gibson

Repeated sprints are an effective and time-efficient method of training team-sport athletes ( 29 ). Studies investigating the use of repeated sprints on performance, recovery, and metabolic response have attempted to optimize the training stimulus by varying work-to-rest ratios ( 20 ), numbers of

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Brian Dawson

Repeated-sprint ability (RSA) is now well accepted as an important fitness component in team-sport performance. It is broadly described as the ability to perform repeated short (~3–4 s, 20–30 m) sprints with only brief (~10–30 s) recovery between bouts. Over the past 25 y a plethora of RSA tests have been trialed and reported in the literature. These range from a single set of ~6–10 short sprints, departing every 20–30 s, to team-sport game simulations involving repeating cycles of walk-jog-stride-sprint movements over 45–90 min. Such a wide range of RSA tests has not assisted the synthesis of research findings in this area, and questions remain regarding the optimal methods of training to best improve RSA. In addition, how RSA test scores relate to player “work rate,” match performance, or both requires further investigation to improve the application of RSA testing and training to elite team-sport athletes.

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Pedro L. Valenzuela, Guillermo Sánchez-Martínez, Elaia Torrontegi, Javier Vázquez-Carrión, Manuela González, Zigor Montalvo and Grégoire P. Millet

Repeated-sprint ability is a major determinant of performance in intermittent sports (eg, team and racket sports). 1 Repeated-sprint training (RS) has shown to be effective for performance enhancement in these sports, increasing maximal oxygen uptake and peak and mean speed during a repeated-sprint

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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.