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Ratings of Perceived Exertion-Lactate Association During Actual Singles Tennis Match Play

Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto1; Fernandez-Fernández, Jaime2; Bishop, David3; Fernandez-Garcia, Benjamin4

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - pp 165-170
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a5bc6d
Original Research

Mendez-Villanueva, A, Fernandez-Fernández, J, Bishop, D, and Fernandez-Garcia, B. Ratings of perceived exertion-lactate association during actual singles tennis match play. J Strength Cond Res 24(1): 165-170, 2010-To examine the relationship between metabolic (i.e., blood lactate concentration) and perceptual (ratings of perceived exertion, RPE) responses and their association with variables describing the characteristics of the singles tennis match play. Eight trained and internationally ranked (Association of Tennis Professionals rankings) male tennis players were studied during singles matches (best of 3 sets) played on an outdoor clay court surface during a professional invitational tournament. Ratings of perceived exertion and blood lactate concentrations were determined at selected changeovers during the game. The variables describing the characteristics of the matches, (a) duration of rallies (DR), (b) rest time, (c) effective playing time, and (d) strokes per rally (SR), were determined from video recordings. Significant correlations (r = 0.57-0.48; p < 0.01) were found for RPE-blood lactate responses during the games. Both RPE and blood lactate concentration values were significantly correlated with SR and DR (r = 0.80-0.61; p < 0.001) in service games. Average RPE was significantly higher (p < 0.05) following service games (13.5 ± 1.9; n = 24) than following receiving games (12.2 ± 2.0; n = 22). Mean blood lactate concentrations were significantly higher (p < 0.05) following service games (4.4 ± 2.4 mmol·L−1; n = 24) than following receiving games (3.0 ± 1.3 mmol·L−1; n = 22). These results indicate that monitoring RPE may be a useful technique for regulating on-court tennis training intensity. Moreover, blood lactate may mediate the relation between RPE and tennis match play intensity.

1Performance Enhancement and Talent Identification Section, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar; 2Tennis Performance Research Group, Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), Madrid, Spain; 3Team Sport Research Group, Faculty of Sports Science, University of Verona, Verona, Italy; and 4Department of Morphology and Cellular Biology, University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain

Address correspondence to Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, jose.villanueva@aspire.qa.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association