The Effect Of Three Consecutive Days Of Time Trial Testing On Performance Measures In Young And Veteran Cyclists

Por: Glenn Harrison, James Fell e Luke Haseler.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Introduction
There is a common belief amongst athletes that a progressive decline in the speed of recovery from training and
competition occurs with advancing age. Age associated declines in physiological function and athletic performance
have been repeatedly confirmed within the research literature, adding support to this speculation. However, while there
is some research supporting age related differences in exercise induced muscle damage and adaptive potential [1], much
of this research has been completed on animals or sedentary humans, and has used fatigue/damage protocols that are
extreme and unrealistic to most athletes. To date there is no study that has adequately compared young and aged
athletes for the effects of fatigue and recovery induced by intense ‘typical’ exercise experienced through training or
competition.

Methods
Nine young (18-31years) and ten veteran (39-57years) cyclists or triathletes were recruited to perform a thirty-minute
time trial at the same time on three consecutive days (T1, T2, T3). An initial familiarisation session enabled the
measurement of anthropometric variables, diet and habitual physical activity, and then during an incremental test to
exhaustion, peak values for oxygen consumption, heart rate and power, as well as the calculation of the lactate
anaerobic threshold (AT - [modified D-max method]) were determined. On three further visits to the laboratory
participants were required to complete a 30-minute time trial (TT30) on the cycle ergometer (Excalibur®). Average
power was used to determine any changes in performance due to fatigue over the three days. Average lactate (Laav),
heart rate (HRav) and perceived exertion (RPEav) were also recorded during the time trial. Before and after the TT30,
tests for leg soreness (SOR), isometric leg strength (FOR), vertical jump (VJ), ten-second cycle sprint (10ST) and
venous blood collection were also performed. Each day subjects rated their perception of fatigue (FAT) and total
quality of recovery (TQR) prior to any testing. The mean and standard deviation for each of the variables measured
were calculated and compared using a mixed between-within subjects ANOVA to compare changes over time and
between groups (young/veteran). Paired and independent t-tests were also used to compare means. Significance was
accepted at p<0.05.

Results
There were no differences between the veteran and young cyclists for any variable except for age (45 ± 6 and 24 ± 5
years respectively). Height, mass, training status and fitness (peak power, 2 O V and AT) were matched between
groups. Both groups responded similarly to the three days of time trial efforts. When comparing the pooled results
across the three days there were significant changes in the mean scores for SOR, FAT, TQR, VJ, HRav and Laav but no
change in the performance measure of average power output during the TT30 (Figure 1).

Discussion/Conclusions
Although there was a perception of increasing fatigue and soreness across the three days this did not affect cycling time
trial performance for the subjects in this study. As well as the decline in VJ there was a non-significant trend for
performance measures such as FOR and 10ST to decline over the three days suggesting some non-specific fatigue. It is
possible that time-trial performance was not significantly impaired due to the requirement for participants to limit their
normal training during the period of the study. A reduction in training volume, while maintaining training intensity has
been reported as an effective tapering strategy for performance improvement [2] and this may account for the slight rise in TT30 average watts in the young group over T1-T3 not evident in the veteran cyclists (Figure 1). It is concluded that
three days of consecutive cycling time-trials does not induce performance limiting fatigue in young and veteran
competitive cyclists.

NOTA: O texto com a iconografia está no anexo.

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