Monitoring fitness, fatigue and running performance during a pre-season training camp in elite football players

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Journal Article
Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2013, 16 (6), pp. 550 - 555
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Objectives: To examine the usefulness of selected physiological and perceptual measures to monitor fitness, fatigue and running performance during a pre-season, 2-week training camp in eighteen professional Australian Rules Football players (21.9. ±. 2.0 years). Design: Observational. Methods: Training load, perceived ratings of wellness (e.g. fatigue, sleep quality) and salivary cortisol were collected daily. Submaximal exercise heart rate (HRex) and a vagal-related heart rate variability index (LnSD1) were also collected at the start of each training session. Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 test (Yo-YoIR2, assessed pre-, mid- and post-camp, temperate conditions) and high-speed running distance during standardized drills (HSR, >14.4kmh-1, 4 times throughout, outdoor) were used as performance measures. Results: There were significant (P<0.001 for all) day-to-day variations in training load (coefficient of variation, CV: 66%), wellness measures (6-18%), HRex (3.3%), LnSD1 (19.0%), but not cortisol (20.0%, P=0.60). While the overall wellness (+0.06, 90% CL (-0.14; 0.02)AUday-1) did not change substantially throughout the camp, HRex decreased (-0.51 (-0.58; -0.45)%day-1), and cortisol (+0.31 (0.06; 0.57)nmolL-1day-1), LnSD1 (+0.1 (0.04; 0.06)msday-1), Yo-YoIR2 performance (+23.7 (20.8; 26.6)mday-1, P<0.001), and HSR (+4.1 (1.5; 6.6)mday-1, P<0.001) increased. Day-to-day δHRex (r=0.80, 90% CL (0.75; 0.85)), δLnSD1 (0.51 (r=0.40; 0.62)) and all wellness measures (0.28 (-0.39; -0.17)
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