The physical demands of riding in National Hunt races

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Abstract

Heart rate (f c) and post-competition blood lactate concentration ([La+]) were studied in seven male professional National Hunt jockeys over 30 races. Thef c response for individual races followed a similar pattern for all subjects. The mean peakf c recorded during competition was 184 beats·min−1 (range 162–198 beats·min−1) with averagef c during the races ranging from 136 to 188 beats·min−1. During consecutive races the recoveryf c did not return to resting values. The mean [La+] was 7.1 mmol·l−1 (range 3.5–15.0 mmol·l−1). The conclusions of this study suggest that riding in National Hunt races is a physically demanding occupation. The muscular activity in this profession requires a high metabolic drive and produces a significant cardiorespiratory response.