Hooper, S. L., Mackinnon, L. T., & Howard, A. (1999). Physiological and psychometric variables for monitoring recovery during tapering for major competition. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 31, 1205-1210.

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This study attempted to identify variables that would be useful in monitoring recovery during tapering for swimming competitions. Changes in physiological variables, tethered swimming force, mood states, and self-ratings of well-being were measured in elite swimmers (N = 10) from before to after two weeks of tapering for a national championships. Physiological measures included resting heart rate; blood pressure; blood lactate concentration; red blood cell, white blood cell, and differential counts; and plasma cortisol, free testosterone, and catecholamine concentrations. Measures taken after 100-m maximal and 200-m standardized submaximal swims included heart rate, blood pressure, and blood lactate concentration.

Changes in plasma norepinephrine concentration, heart rate after maximal effort swimming, and confusion as measured by the Profile of Mood States predicted the change in swimming time with tapering (R2 = 0.98); the change in plasma norepinephrine concentration by itself predicted the change in swim time with tapering (R2 = 0.82).

Implication. Recovery after intense training can be monitored during tapering and an accurate prediction of performance changes may be possible if the changes in the range of physiological and psychological variables are measured. [The results of this study are usual in that several other investigations have shown no relationships between tapered performances and measures taken during training.]

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