Sunrise at Everest Base Camp (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

Sunrise at Everest Base Camp (Photo: Iñigo Mujika).

I know I have neglected my blog these past few months, but there are good reasons for that. This is what I have been up to since my last blogpost of September 30th, 2017:

• Lecturing on altitude training for coaches of the French Swimming Federation in Paris.

• Lecturing at the master’s degree on health and sport sciences at the Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago de Chile.

• Lecturing on training periodization and strength training at a symposium on triathlon science and practice in Santiago de Chile.

• Lecturing on performance and recovery in the heat at a sport nutrition conference in Rome.

• Lecturing on multiple training and performance related topics in Hangzhou and Kunming, China.

Potala Palace, Lahsa, Tibet (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

Potala Palace, Lahsa, Tibet (Photo: Iñigo Mujika)

• A wonderful vacation in Tibet, including a trip to Everest Base Camp.

• Lecturing on tapering and peaking at the National Coaching Academy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

• Participating in a research project on optimal nutritional strategies for elite race walkers at the Australian Institute of Sport.

• Lecturing for conditioning coaches at the Sport Sciences Research Institute of Iran in Tehran.

• Lecturing at the master’s degree on high performance in cyclic sports at the University of Murcia, Spain.

• Lecturing at the master’s degree on high performance in team sports at the National Institute of Physical Education of Catalunya in Barcelona.

• Lecturing at the master’s degree on physical activity and sport sciences at the University of the Basque Country.

• Lecturing on physiology of physical activity and sport for medical students at the University of the Basque Country.

In addition to all the lecturing and travelling, I have been training and/or testing several cyclists and triathletes, and also involved in several research projects that have produced several scientific articles. Here’s a compilation of the papers published these past few months:

Recovery and Performance in Sport: Consensus Statement

Kellmann M, Bertollo M, Bosquet L, Brink M, Coutts AJ, Duffield R, Erlacher D, Halson SL, Hecksteden A, Heidari J, Kallus KW, Meeusen R, Mujika I, Robazza C, Skorski S, Venter R, Beckmann J.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 Feb 19:1-6. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0759. [Epub ahead of print]

The relationship between recovery and fatigue and its impact on performance has attracted the interest of sport science for many years. An adequate balance between stress (training and competition load, other life demands) and recovery is essential for athletes to achieve continuous high-level performance. Research has focused on the examination of physiological and psychological recovery strategies to compensate external and internal training and competition loads. A systematic monitoring of recovery and the subsequent implementation of recovery routines aims at maximizing performance and preventing negative developments such as underrecovery, nonfunctional overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, injuries, or illnesses. Due to the inter- and intraindividual variability of responses to training, competition, and recovery strategies, a diverse set of expertise is required to address the multifaceted phenomena of recovery, performance, and their interactions to transfer knowledge from sport science to sport practice. For this purpose, a symposium on Recovery and Performance was organized at the Technical University Munich Science and Study Center Raitenhaslach (Germany) in September 2016. Various international experts from many disciplines and research areas gathered to discuss and share their knowledge of recovery for performance enhancement in a variety of settings. The results of this meeting are outlined in this consensus statement that provides central definitions, theoretical frameworks, and practical implications as a synopsis of the current knowledge of recovery and performance. While our understanding of the complex relationship between recovery and performance has significantly increased through research, some important issues for future investigations are also elaborated.

Full text free download

Strength Training for Middle- and Long-Distance Performance: A Meta-Analysis

Berryman N, Mujika I, Arvisais D, Roubeix M, Binet C, Bosquet L.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 Jan 1;13(1):57-63. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2017-0032. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

PURPOSE: To assess the net effects of strength training on middle- and long-distance performance through a meta-analysis of the available literature.
METHODS: Three databases were searched, from which 28 of 554 potential studies met all inclusion criteria. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) were calculated and weighted by the inverse of variance to calculate an overall effect and its 95% confidence interval (CI). Subgroup analyses were conducted to determine whether the strength-training intensity, duration, and frequency and population performance level, age, sex, and sport were outcomes that might influence the magnitude of the effect.
RESULTS: The implementation of a strength-training mesocycle in running, cycling, cross-country skiing, and swimming was associated with moderate improvements in middle- and long-distance performance (net SMD [95%CI] = 0.52 [0.33-0.70]). These results were associated with improvements in the energy cost of locomotion (0.65 [0.32-0.98]), maximal force (0.99 [0.80-1.18]), and maximal power (0.50 [0.34-0.67]). Maximal-force training led to greater improvements than other intensities. Subgroup analyses also revealed that beneficial effects on performance were consistent irrespective of the athletes’ level.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, these results provide a framework that supports the implementation of strength training in addition to traditional sport-specific training to improve middle- and long-distance performance, mainly through improvements in the energy cost of locomotion, maximal power, and maximal strength.

Please, contact me if you are interested in the full text.

Anthropometric Profiles of Elite Open-Water Swimmers

Shaw G, Mujika I.
Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018 Jan 1;13(1):115-118. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0741. Epub 2018 Jan 11.

Reports detailing the physiques of open-water (OW) swimmers are limited. Data from anthropometric screening around competition provides a unique opportunity to describe the current physical attributes of elite OW swimmers peaking for international competition. Anthropometric screening was undertaken on a group of Australian and French OW swimmers as part of performance monitoring within 2 wk of the 2015 FINA World Championships. Height, mass, and sum of 7 skinfolds were measured using ISAK standardized measurement techniques by 2 trained anthropometrists. Data were collated and compared with previously published data on OW and pool swimmers. French swimmers had lower skinfolds (57.3 ± 6.1 vs 80.5 ± 21.3 mm, P = .0258), were lighter (64.7 ± 10.8 vs 74.6 ± 11.8 kg, P = .013), and had lower lean-mass index (LMI) (34.7 ± 7.3 vs 38.2 ± 8.8, P = .035) than Australian swimmers. Male and female OW swimmers had skinfolds similar to their contemporary OW swimmers but were lower than earlier reports of OW swimmers; however, they were higher than those of pool swimmers. Male and female OW swimmers had 9% and 6% lower LMI, respectively, than pool swimmers. Lower body mass and LMI were correlated with better World Championships finishing positions (R2 = .46, P = .0151, and R2 = .45, P = .0177, respectively). These data are a unique report of elite OW swimmers’ physiques around international competition and demonstrate a potential morphological optimization in OW swimmers that warrants further investigation in larger populations.

Please, contact me if you are interested in the full text.

Modelling of optimal training load patterns during the 11 weeks preceding major competition in elite swimmers

Hellard P, Scordia C, Avalos M, Mujika I, Pyne DB
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Oct;42(10):1106-1117. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0180. Epub 2017 Jun 26.

Periodization of swim training in the final training phases prior to competition and its effect on performance have been poorly described. We modeled the relationships between the final 11 weeks of training and competition performance in 138 elite sprint, middle-distance, and long-distance swimmers over 20 competitive seasons. Total training load (TTL), strength training (ST), and low- to medium-intensity and high-intensity training variables were monitored. Training loads were scaled as a percentage of the maximal volume measured at each intensity level. Four training periods (meso-cycles) were defined: the taper (weeks 1 to 2 before competition), short-term (weeks 3 to 5), medium-term (weeks 6 to 8), and long-term (weeks 9 to 11). Mixed-effects models were used to analyze the association between training loads in each training meso-cycle and end-of-season major competition performance. For sprinters, a 10% increase between ∼20% and 70% of the TTL in medium- and long-term meso-cycles was associated with 0.07 s and 0.20 s faster performance in the 50 m and 100 m events, respectively (p < 0.01). For middle-distance swimmers, a higher TTL in short-, medium-, and long-term training yielded faster competition performance (e.g., a 10% increase in TTL was associated with improvements of 0.1-1.0 s in 200 m events and 0.3-1.6 s in 400 m freestyle, p < 0.01). For sprinters, a 60%-70% maximal ST load 6-8 weeks before competition induced the largest positive effects on performance (p < 0.01). An increase in TTL during the medium- and long-term preparation (6-11 weeks to competition) was associated with improved performance. Periodization plans should be adapted to the specialty of swimmers.

Please, contact me if you are interested in the full text.

Clinical, physical, physiological, and dietary patterns of obese and sedentary adults with primary hypertension characterized by sex and cardiorespiratory fitness: EXERDIET-HTA study

Gorostegi-Anduaga I, Corres P, Jurio-Iriarte B, Martínez-Aguirre A, Pérez-Asenjo J, Aispuru GR, Arenaza L, Romaratezabala E, Arratibel-Imaz I, Mujika I, Francisco-Terreros S, Maldonado-Martín S
Clin Exp Hypertens. 2018;40(2):141-149. doi: 10.1080/10641963.2017.1346111. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

The main purpose of this study was to determine some key physical, physiological, clinical, and nutritional markers of health status in obese and sedentary adults (54.0 ± 8.1 years, 141 men and 68 women) with primary hypertension (HTN) characterized by sex and cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) level. The studied population showed a high cardiovascular risk (CVR) profile including metabolically abnormal obese, with poor CRF level (22.5 ± 5.6 mL·kg-1·min-1), exercise-induced HTN (Systolic Blood Pressure>210 mmHg in men and >190 mmHg in women at the end of the exercise test) and with non-healthy adherence to dietary pattern (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, 46.3%; Mediterranean Diet, 41.1%; and Healthy Diet Indicator, 37.1%). Women showed a better biochemical and dietary pattern profile than men (lower values, P < 0.05, in triglycerides, mean difference = 26.3; 95% CI = 0.9-51.7 mg/dL, aspartate transaminase, mean difference = 4.2; 95% CI = 0.3-8.0 U/L; alanine transaminase, mean difference = 8.2; 95% CI = 1.6-14.8 U/L; gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase, mean difference = 11.0; 95% CI = -1.1-23.2 U/L and higher values, P = 0.002, in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, mean difference = 5.0, 95% CI = -13.3-3.3 mg/dL), but physical and peak exercise physiological characteristics were poorer. A higher CRF level might contribute to the attenuation of some CVR factors, such as high body mass index, non-dipping profile, and high hepatic fat. The results strongly suggest that targeting key behaviors such as improving nutritional quality and CRF via regular physical activity will contribute to improving the health with independent beneficial effects on CVR factors.

Please, contact me if you are interested in the full text.

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