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An exercise protocol that simulates the activity patterns of elite junior squash
journal contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Michael KingsleyMichael Kingsley, N James, L Kilduff, R Dietzig, B Dietzig
Squash is a popular racket sport that requires intermittent activity with frequent bursts of near maximal-intensity exercise. Consequently, effective physiological and thermoregulatory responses are important contributors to performance during squash match-play. Controlled field-based simulation protocols have been introduced in a growing number of sports, which allow sports scientists to investigate changes in physiology and the efficacy of various interventions in sport-specific contexts. This study aimed to develop an exercise protocol that simulates the physiological requirements of elite squash match-play. Eight elite junior squash players (age 16.2+/-0.8 years, height 1.76+/-0.06 m, body mass 61.3+/-5.9 kg; mean+/-s) completed the following in a randomized order: (1) a squash match against a player of similar standard and (2) a squash-specific incremental exercise protocol (multistage squash test [MST]) followed by the squash simulation protocol (SSP). The multistage squash test was continued for 18.0+/-1.0 min and elicited near maximal post-MST heart rates, blood lactate concentrations and ratings of perceived exertion (198+/-9 beats.min-1, 5.7+/-1.7 mmol.l-1 and 18+/-1, respectively). The SSP was 12.2 min in length compared with mean game length during competitive matches of 10.0+/-1.6 min (P=0.27). Peak heart rates were similar during the SSP and match-play (192+/-11 and 189+/-6 beats.min-1, respectively; P=0.44). Mean exercising heart rates were similar during the SSP (180+/-8 beats.min-1) and match-play (179+/-13 beats.min-1; P=0.73). Peak blood lactate concentrations during the SSP and match-play were 3.5+/-1.5 and 2.4+/-1.2 mmol.l-1 (P=0.07), respectively. Peak ratings of perceived exertion during the SSP and match-play were similar (17+/-2 and 17+/-2, respectively; P=0.64). It was concluded that the SSP closely replicated the demands of squash match-play in elite junior squash players. Furthermore, the SSP provides coaches and scientific support staff with a controlled squash-specific exercise protocol that has potential application in the objective investigation of a range of interventions such as training programmes, nutritional supplements and strategies to maintain core body temperature.