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Tapering. Hamid Agha Alinejad,PhD. Tarbiat Modares University. 1. Introduction.

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Tapering

Hamid Agha Alinejad,PhD

Tarbiat Modares University

1


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Introduction

  • The taper is a training phase before competition during which the training load is progressively reduced for a variable period of time to allow for physiological and psychological recovery from accumulated training stress, with the aim of maximizing competition performance.

  • The relationship between the reduced training load during the taper and performance benefits is well established, allowing investigators to make training recommendations to optimize pre-event tapering strategies


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Cardio respiratory Changes present knowledge on

Maximal Oxygen Uptake

Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) can increase or remain unchanged during periods of taper before competition in highly trained athletes.


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Effect of the taper on maximal oxygen uptake present knowledge on

Decrease in VO2max during the taper would most likely be indicative of a poorly planned tapering strategy in endurance athletes.


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  • Neary et al(2003) have reported present knowledge onVO2max enhancements of 6.0% in cyclists reducing their weekly training volume by 50% during 7 days.

  • Neither an increase in VO2max nor a simulated performance gain was observed in cyclists reducing training volume by 30% or 80% during a 7-day taper.


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  • The same group also reported present knowledge onan increase in VO2max (2.5%) and simulated performance (4.3%) in cyclists who maintained training intensity but reduced training volume.

  • In contrast, cyclists maintaining training volume but reducing intensity only showed statistically non-significant improvements in VO2max (1.1%) and simulated performance (2.2%).

  • intensity is a key factor for the maintenance or enhancement of training-induced adaptations and optimization of sports performance.


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  • Jeukendrup et al (1993) present knowledge on – cyclists - a 4.5% increase in VO2max, a 10% higher peak power output and 7.2% faster 8.5km outdoor time trial at the end of 2 weeks taper.

  • Margaritis et al (2003) – triathletes - 3% gains in both VO2max and simulated performance during a14-day taper.

  • Several investigators have observed unchanged VO2max values as a result of a taper.


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Economy of Movement present knowledge on

The economy of movement is defined as the oxygen cost of exercise at a given submaximal exercise intensity.

  • Houmard et al (1994) – distance runners - a 7% (0.9 kcal/min) decrease in calculated submaximal energy expenditure when running at 80% peak oxygen uptake on a treadmill.

  • Dressendorfer et al (2002) – cyclists – no marked improvement in economy in male cyclists tapering for 10 days.


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  • The investigators suggested that present knowledge onan elevation in the muscle’s mitochondrial capacity, along with neural, structural and biomechanical factors could explain improvements in economy with the taper


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Cardiac Function and Dimensions present knowledge on

Efect of the taper on resting, maximal & submaximal heart rate


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Cardiac Dimensions relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

  • Haykowsky et al (1998) – swimmers - no marked change in diastolic or systolic cavity dimensions, ventricular septal wall thickness, estimated absolute or relative left ventricular mass, stroke volume, cardiac output, cardiac index or fractional shortening.


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Ventilatory Function relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

  • Neary et al (2003) – cyclists - Peak ventilatory volume was unchanged but the ventilatory equivalent (VE/Vo2) for oxygen declined.


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Haematology relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Balance Between Haemolysis and Erythropoiesis

  • Intensive athletic training canresults in decreased red blood cells, haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit that have variously been attributed to a haemodilution caused bytraining-induced expanded plasma volume, an imbalance between haematopoiesis and intravascular haemolysis, or iron deficiency.


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  • Taper-induced increases relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of in blood and red cell volume have been reported in highly trained that associated with an elevation of plasma renin activity and vasopressin concentration during exercise and a chronic increase in the water-binding capacity of the blood.

  • Haemoglobin concentration and haematocrit increased during the taper that attributed to a decreased haemolysis and a net increase in erythrocytes.


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Metabolic Changes relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Energy Expenditure/Energy Balance

  • A certain level of muscle mass loss may have taken place during the taper and suggest that athletes tapering for competition should pay careful attention to matching energy intake in accordance with the reduced energy expenditure that characterizes this training period.


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Substrate Availability and Utilization relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

  • During submaximal-intensity & maximal exercise RER values have been shown to remain unchanged after tapering.

  • These results suggest that the substrate contribution is not modified by a taper.

  • This lack of change may be related to stable aerobic-anaerobic work production and oxygen deficit during the taper.


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Blood Lactate Kinetics relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Significant relationships were seen between increases in peak post-race blood lactate

levels and competition performance enhancement (r = 0.63).


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Muscle Glycogen relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

  • Muscle glycogen concentration has been shown to increase progressively during periods of taper.


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Biochemical Changes relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Creatine Kinase

  • Blood levels of creatine kinase (CK) have been used as an index of training-induced physiological stress.

  • Various studies have shown decreases in CK levels during the taper.


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Hormonal Changes relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Testosterone, Cortisol and the Testosterone : Cortisol Ratio

  • The plasma levels of testosterone (T) and cortisol(C) could represent anabolic and catabolic tissue activities, respectively.


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Catecholamines relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

  • Plasma and urinary catecholamine concentrations is a means to monitor training stress & identify overreaching or overtraining in athletes.

  • the change in plasma catecholamine concentration could be a useful marker for monitoring recovery associated with the taper.


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Neuromuscular Changes relate to opposite effects on maximal HR of

Strength and Power

  • Increased strength and power as a result of a taper have been a common observation in different athletic activities.


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The mechanisms responsible for the taper induced improvements in muscular strength and power

  • Changes in enzymatic activities

  • Muscle fibre characteristics

  • Muscle Fibre Size

  • Metabolic Properties

  • Contractile Properties


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Immunological Changes improvements in muscular strength and power

Many aspects of the immune system exhibit a range of responses to acute exercise and prolonged training in athletes preparing for competition:

  • Increased leukocyte cell counts particularly neutrophils and lymphocyte subsets

  • Decreased functional activity of the neutrophil respiratory burst

  • Decreased natural killer cytotoxicity

  • Decreased response to mitogen-induced T-lymphocyte proliferation

  • Decreased concentration of mucosal immune parameters, such as secretory immunoglobulin A

  • Impaired delayed-type hypersensitivity response (T-cell function)

  • Unchanged or increased circulating concentration of cytokines


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Psychological Changes improvements in muscular strength and power

Optimization of an athlete’s physiological status resulting from a well designed tapering strategy is presumably accompanied by beneficial psychological changes, including:

  • Mood state

  • Perception of effort

  • Quality of sleep


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Mood state improvements in muscular strength and power


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Taper planning improvements in muscular strength and power

Reduction of training intensity

  • Training intensity is an essential requirement for maintaining training-induced adaptations during period of taper.

  • Mujika et al (2000): HIT during the taper correlated positively with the percentage change in circulating T levels in well-trained middle- distance runners.


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Reduction of training volume improvements in muscular strength and power

  • Standardized training volume reduction of 50-70% have been shown to be a valid approach to retain or slightly improve training-induced adaptations in well-trained athletes.


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Reduction of training frequency improvements in muscular strength and power

  • Formoderately trained individuals 30-50%and forhighly trained athletes, much higher training frequency,>80%of pretaper values, should be recommended, especially in the more“technique-dependent”sports such as swimming.


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Duration of the taper improvements in muscular strength and power

  • Duration of a taper for individual athlete is one of the most difficult challenges for coaches and sports scientists.

  • Positive physiological, psychological & performance adaptations have been reported as a result of taper programs lasting 4-14 d in cyclist & triathletes, 6-7 d in middle- and long-distance runners, 10 d in strength trained athletes & 10-35 d in swimmers.