Physiological Field Measurements Between Junior And Preadolescent Rhythmic Sports Gymnasts

Por: A. Avloniti, Argyris G. Toubekis, H. Douda e Savvas Tokmakidis.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction
In Rhythmic Sports Gymnastics (RSG), athletes follow a serious specific training program from the early age of 6 years
till adolescence in order to achieve a successful performance. Nevertheless, it takes about 8 to 10 years of strenuous
training for a beginner to reach a competitive status among elite-level athletes. In addition, the competitive routines last
about 60 to 90 seconds in length and require a high intensity effort with dexterous manipulation of the apparatus,
including leaps, jumps, balances, tours and flexibility exercises. To study the effort of these specific demands during
routines is a very difficult task since the adaptations to exercise training depend on many interrelated factors including
the initial level of sport training intensity, self-selection in the sport and different competitive age (Douda et al., 2002).
These are the major reasons that there is limited information about the metabolic demands during the competitive
efforts in RSG. Furthermore, most of the studies examined the physiological characteristics of gymnasts at the age of 13
to 16 years old (Guidetti et al., 2000, Alexander, 1991), so there is no available data for the earlier ages. The purpose of
this study was to determine the metabolic demands using field tests during RSG routines on different apparatus between
junior and preadolescent gymnasts.

Methods
Thirty-three RSG athletes (n=33) participated in the study and were divided into two groups: junior (n=16) aged 8-10
yrs and preadolescent (n=17) aged 11-12 yrs. Laboratory tests (VO2max, HR, La) and field measurements (VO2, HR, La)
were performed on different routines during training according their competitive level (without apparatus as well as
with rope, ball and hoop). VO2max was measured in the laboratory by employing a maximal rate of exercise on a cycle
ergometer. Energy demands were also assessed with direct field measurements of oxygen uptake immediately after
routine performance. In addition, heart rate was continuously monitored while blood lactate was measured 3min after
maximal exercise and field measurements respectively. Two-Way Anova, post-hoc Scheffe and t-test procedures were
used.

Results
The analysis of data indicated that preadolescent gymnasts presented higher values during the graded cycle ergometer
test in VO2max (p<0.01), HR (p<0.001) and La (p<0.05) as compared to junior athletes (Fig.1, 2). Also, they obtained
higher values during training (p<0.01) in rope and without apparatus routines. In contrast, no significant differences
were presented in ball routines between the two groups (p>0.05). In addition, the metabolic demands (VO2, HR, La)
between laboratory tests and field measurements were similar in both groups p>0.05).

References
[1]. Alexander, M.J.L. (1991). Journal of Human Movement Studies, 20, 49-69.
[2]. Douda H., Laparidis K., Tokmakidis S. (2002). European Journal of Sport Science, Vol 2, 3.
[3]. Guidetti L., Baldari C., Capranica L., Persichini C., Figura F. (2000). International Journal of Sports Medicine,
21: 205-209.

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