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      Methods of the international study on soccer at altitude 3600 m (ISA3600)


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          We describe here the 3-year process underpinning a multinational collaboration to investigate soccer played at high altitude—La Paz, Bolivia (3600 m). There were two main aims: first, to quantify the extent to which running performance would be altered at 3600 m compared with near sea level; and second, to characterise the time course of acclimatisation of running performance and underlying physiology to training and playing at 3600 m. In addition, this project was able to measure the physiological changes and the effect on running performance of altitude-adapted soccer players from 3600 m playing at low altitude.


          A U20 Bolivian team (‘The Strongest’ from La Paz, n=19) played a series of five games against a U17 team from sea level in Australia (The Joeys, n=20). 2 games were played near sea level (Santa Cruz 430 m) over 5 days and then three games were played in La Paz over the next 12 days. Measures were (1) game and training running performance—including global positioning system (GPS) data on distance travelled and velocity of movement; (2) blood—including haemoglobin mass, blood volume, blood gases and acid–base status; (3) acclimatisation—including resting heart rate variability, perceived altitude sickness, as well as heart rate and perceived exertion responses to a submaximal running test; and (4) sleep patterns.


          Pivotal to the success of the project were the strong professional networks of the collaborators, with most exceeding 10 years, the links of several of the researchers to soccer federations, as well as the interest and support of the two head coaches.

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          Most cited references 14

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          The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test : a useful tool for evaluation of physical performance in intermittent sports.

          The two Yo-Yo intermittent recovery (IR) tests evaluate an individual's ability to repeatedly perform intense exercise. The Yo-Yo IR level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) test focuses on the capacity to carry out intermittent exercise leading to a maximal activation of the aerobic system, whereas Yo-Yo IR level 2 (Yo-Yo IR2) determines an individual's ability to recover from repeated exercise with a high contribution from the anaerobic system. Evaluations of elite athletes in various sports involving intermittent exercise showed that the higher the level of competition the better an athlete performs in the Yo-Yo IR tests. Performance in the Yo-Yo IR tests for young athletes increases with rising age. The Yo-Yo IR tests have shown to be a more sensitive measure of changes in performance than maximum oxygen uptake. The Yo-Yo IR tests provide a simple and valid way to obtain important information of an individual's capacity to perform repeated intense exercise and to examine changes in performance.
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            Monitoring endurance running performance using cardiac parasympathetic function.

            The aims of the present study were to (1) assess relationships between running performance and parasympathetic function both at rest and following exercise, and (2) examine changes in heart rate (HR)-derived indices throughout an 8-week period training program in runners. In 14 moderately trained runners (36 +/- 7 years), resting vagal-related HR variability (HRV) indices were measured daily, while exercise HR and post-exercise HR recovery (HRR) and HRV indices were measured fortnightly. Maximal aerobic speed (MAS) and 10 km running performance were assessed before and after the training intervention. Correlations (r > 0.60, P 0.5% (responders), resting vagal-related indices showed a progressively increasing trend (time effect P = 0.03) and qualitative indications of possibly and likely higher values during week 7 [+7% (90% CI -3.7;17.0)] and week 9 [+10% (90% CI -1.5;23)] compared with pre-training values, respectively. Post-exercise HRV showed similar changes, despite less pronounced between-group differences. HRR showed a relatively early possible decrease at week 3 [-20% (90% CI -42;10)], with only slight reductions near the end of the program. The results illustrate the potential of resting, exercise and post-exercise HR measurements for both assessing and predicting the impact of aerobic training on endurance running performance.
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              Monitoring changes in physical performance with heart rate measures in young soccer players.

              The aim of the present study was to verify the validity of using exercise heart rate (HRex), HR recovery (HRR) and post-exercise HR variability (HRV) during and after a submaximal running test to predict changes in physical performance over an entire competitive season in highly trained young soccer players. Sixty-five complete data sets were analyzed comparing two consecutive testing sessions (3-4 months apart) collected on 46 players (age 15.1 ± 1.5 years). Physical performance tests included a 5-min run at 9 km h(-1) followed by a seated 5-min recovery period to measure HRex, HRR and HRV, a counter movement jump, acceleration and maximal sprinting speed obtained during a 40-m sprint with 10-m splits, repeated-sprint performance and an incremental running test to estimate maximal cardiorespiratory function (end test velocity V (Vam-Eval)). Possible changes in physical performance were examined for the players presenting a substantial change in HR measures over two consecutive testing sessions (greater than 3, 13 and 10% for HRex, HRR and HRV, respectively). A decrease in HRex or increase in HRV was associated with likely improvements in V (Vam-Eval); opposite changes led to unclear changes in V (Vam-Eval). Moderate relationships were also found between individual changes in HRR and sprint [r = 0.39, 90% CL (0.07;0.64)] and repeated-sprint performance [r = -0.38 (-0.05;-0.64)]. To conclude, while monitoring HRex and HRV was effective in tracking improvements in V (Vam-Eval), changes in HRR were moderately associated with changes in (repeated-)sprint performance. The present data also question the use of HRex and HRV as systematic markers of physical performance decrements in youth soccer players.

                Author and article information

                Br J Sports Med
                Br J Sports Med
                British Journal of Sports Medicine
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                December 2013
                : 47
                : Suppl 1 , Altitude Training and Team Sports
                : i80-i85
                [1 ]Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport , Canberra, Australia
                [2 ]National Institute of Sports Studies, University of Canberra , Canberra, Australia
                [3 ]Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Flinders University , Adelaide, Australia
                [4 ]Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University , Melbourne, Australia
                [5 ]Western Bulldogs Football Club , Melbourne, Australia
                [6 ]ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence , Doha, Qatar
                [7 ]Facultad de Medicina, Instituto Boliviano de Biología de Altura (IBBA), Universidad Mayor de San Andrés , La Paz, Bolivia
                [8 ]Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University , Adelaide, Australia
                [9 ]Department of Sports Medicine/Sports Physiology, University of Bayreuth , Bayreuth, Germany
                [10 ]Football Program, Australian Institute of Sport , Canberra, Australia
                [11 ]Football Federation of Australia , Sydney, Australia
                [12 ]The Strongest , La Paz, Bolivia
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Professor Christopher J Gore, Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, PO Box 176, Belconnen, ACT, 2617, Australia; chris.gore@ 123456ausport.gov.au
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 3.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/

                Original Article
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                Sports medicine

                soccer, measurement, altitude


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