, Volume 106, Issue 4, pp 629-638
Date: 26 Apr 2009

Endurance and neuromuscular changes in world-class level kayakers during a periodized training cycle

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This study was undertaken to analyze changes in selected cardiovascular and neuromuscular variables in a group of elite kayakers across a 12-week periodized cycle of combined strength and endurance training. Eleven world-class level paddlers underwent a battery of tests and were assessed four times during the training cycle (T0, T1, T2, and T3). On each occasion subjects completed an incremental test to exhaustion on the kayak-ergometer to determine maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), second ventilatory threshold (VT2), peak blood lactate, paddling speed at VO2max (PSmax) and at VT2 (PSVT2), stroke rate at VO2max and at VT2, heart rate at VO2max and at VT2. One-repetition maximum (1RM) and mean velocity with 45% 1RM load (V 45%) were assessed in the bench press (BP) and prone bench pull (PBP) exercises. Anthropometric measurements (skinfold thicknesses and muscle girths) were also obtained. Training volume and exercise intensity were quantified for each of three training phases (P1, P2, and P3). Significant improvements in VO2max (9.5%), VO2 at VT2 (9.4%), PSmax (6.2%), PSVT2 (4.4%), 1RM in BP (4.2%) and PBP (5.3%), V 45% in BP (14.4%) and PBP (10.0%) were observed from T0 to T3. A 12-week periodized strength and endurance program with special emphasis on prioritizing the sequential development of specific physical fitness components in each training phase (i.e. muscle hypertrophy and VT2 in P1, and maximal strength and aerobic power in P2) seems effective for improving both cardiovascular and neuromuscular markers of highly trained top-level athletes.