Monitoring training-induced fatigue in snowboard and freeski halfpipe athletes
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Snowboard and freeski halfpipe (HP) are relatively new skill-based high-risk alpine sports which have received very little attention in sport science research. It therefore appears prudent that initial studies first focus gaining a more detailed understanding of the sport. Information on the type and amount of load and consequent fatigue from normal halfpipe training is an important first step and will help coaches to better plan training sessions and adapt to athlete energy states. Such information is also essential for sport scientists to effectively prepare and recover athletes from training and competition. This thesis considers various forms of fatigue measurement and their sensitivity to training load. Ten male and 14 female elite snowboard and freeski HP athletes (21.8±3.3y, and 23.4±4.6y respectively) participated over the course of a 2-week on snow training camp. Immediately prior to on-snow training sessions, subjects’ countermovement jump (CMJ) and level of perceived fatigue (LPF) were recorded as were post-session CMJ and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). A GymAware linear position transducer was used to measure mean power (MP), peak velocity (PV) and jump height (JH). Reliability was established using coefficient of variation, and a repeated-measures generalised estimating equations (GEE) model used to examine relationships between variables within-day and between-day over the course of the camp. No significant relationships were found between subjective and objective variables when compared within-days indicating our variables may not be sensitive to changes in training load and fatigue from a day of HP training. Significant relationships were found between post-session RPE and load measures, and next day’s MP and PV. Specifically, as the subjective variables increased following training, the next day’s objective variables reduced by varying factors. When considering subjective and objective variables in isolation, subjective LPF was found to increase over the course of the 2 week training camp despite rest days, while neither of the pre-session objective CMJ variables exhibited significant trends. CMJ variables tended to increase after a day’s riding. It was concluded that traditional RPE scales used in conjunction with subjective fatigue ratings and/or MP and PV measurement using GymAware LPT can be useful tools to assist coaches and scientists in prescribing training and monitor fatigue over time. Some evidence of overreaching was found in this study and longer term monitoring of these objective and subjective variables may assist in alerting to signs of overtraining. Further research is required to determine methods of monitoring acute effects of fatigue from HP training.