This study investigated the effect of training on performance and assessed the response to taper in elite swimmers (N = 18), using a mathematical model that links training with performance and estimates the negative and positive influences of training, NI and PI. Variations in training, performance, NI, and PI were studied during 3-, 4-, and 6-wk tapers. The fit between modeled and actual performance was significant for 17 subjects; r2 ranged from 0.45 to 0.85, P < 0.05. Training was progressively reduced during tapers. Performance improved during the first two tapers: 2.90 ± 1.50% (P < 0.01) and 3.20 ± 1.70% (P < 0.01). Performance improvement in the third taper was not significant (1.81 ± 1.73%). NI was reduced during the first two tapers (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively), but not during the third. PI did not change significantly during tapers. Thus, the present results show that the model used is a valuable method to describe the effects of training on performance. Performance improvement during taper was attributed to a reduction in NI. PI did not improve with taper, but it was not compromised by the reduced training periods.
Laboratoire de Physiologie-GIP Exercice, Université Jean Monnet, Faculté de Médecine, Saint-Etienne, FRANCE; and Toulouse Olympique Etudiant Club, Toulouse, FRANCE
Submitted for publication April 1994.
Accepted for publication November 1994.
The authors would like to thank Pr. Paavo V. Komi for his valuable comments and suggestions, the Fédération Française de Natation and the Centre de Haut Niveau de Natation-CREPS de Toulouse for financial support, Dr. Marc Bichon for technical assistance, and Dr. John Carew for reviewing the English manuscript.
Address for correspondence: Iñigo Mujika, Laboratoire de Physiologie, GIP-Exercice, Hôpital de Saint Jean-Bonnefonds, C.H.U. de Saint-Etienne, 42055 Saint-Etienne Cedex 2, France.