STEP- OR EXPONENTIAL-DECAY TAPERS AFFECT ATHLETES SIMILARLY (QUESTIONABLE EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN)
Rial, C. (2013). The analysis of two different types of tapers on exercise performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2163.
This study compared the responses of heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and maximal oxygen consumption during a graded maximal exercise test with a step- or an exponential-decay taper. Recreational runners volunteered and were randomly divided into two groups, the step- (N = 9) or exponential-decay (N = 11) group. Baseline VO2max was determined using the Bruce protocol. Ss trained for four weeks followed by a one-week taper. Maximal aerobic capacity was tested pre- and post-taper. During the exercise test, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and oxygen uptake data were gathered at each stage of the Bruce protocol.
The exponential-decay group had a significantly lower rating of perceived exertion compared to the step-taper group in stage 4 of the pre-test and in stage 2 of the post-test. The exponential-decay group had a significantly higher heart rate compared to the step-taper group in stages 1 and 2 of the pre-test respectively. There were no significant differences between the groups for VO2max between the pre-and post-test.
Implication. The exponential-decay taper lead to a decreased rating of perceived exertion after the taper. Neither taper resulted in maximal exercise performance differences.
This experiment was performed on one set of Ss. There was no control for training effects, group characteristics, or performance factors. A no-taper control group might have made the results of the investigation more meaningful. At best, this is an N of 1 which has no generalization properties.
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