It is perceived that long haul travel, comprising of rapid movement across several time zones is detrimental to performance in elite athletes. However, available data is equivocal on the impact of long haul travel on maximal explosive movements. The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of long haul travel on lower body muscle performance. Five elite Australian skeleton athletes (1 M, 4 F) undertook long haul flight from Australia to Canada (LHtravel), while seven national team Canadian skeleton athletes (1 M, 6 F) acted as controls (NOtravel). Lower body power assessments were performed once per day between 09:30 and 11:00 h local time for 11 days. Lower body power tests comprised of box drop jumps, squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jumps (CMJ). The LHtravel significantly decreased peak and mean SJ velocity but not CMJ velocity in the days following long haul flight. CMJ height but not SJ height decreased significantly in the LHtravel group. The peak velocity, mean velocity and jump power eccentric utilisation ratio for the LHtravel group all significantly increased 48 h after long haul flight. Anecdotally athletes perceived themselves as ‘jet-lagged’ and this corresponded with disturbances observed in ‘one-off’ daily jumping ability between 09:30 and 11:00 h after eastward long haul travel from Australia to North America when compared to non-travel and baseline controls.
Circadian Knee extensors Lower body power Squat jumps Skeleton Elite athletes
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We would like to acknowledge the Australian National Talent Identification and Development program for providing logistical and financial support for this study, in particular Dr Jason Gulbin. A special thanks to Professor Greg Atkinson for his advice on the methodological design of this study. We would like to thank the Australian national skeleton coach Terry Holland and the Canadian skeleton high performance director Teresa Schlachter for their support and all of the skeleton athletes from Australia and Canada that gave maximal efforts during these trials.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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