The relationship between heart rate deflection point (HRDP) and the second ventilatory threshold (VT2) has been studied in continuous sports, but never in a tennis-specific test. The aim of the study was to assess the relationships between HRDP and the VT2, and between the maximal test performance and the maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max) in an on-court specific endurance tennis test. 35 high level tennis players performed a progressive tennis-specific field test to exhaustion to determine HRDP, VT2, and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max. Ventilatory gas exchange parameters were continuously recorded by a portable telemetric breath-by-breath gas exchange measurement system. HRDP was identified at the point at which the slope values of the linear portion of the time/HR relationship began to decline and was successfully determined in 91.4% of the players. High correlations (r = 0.79-0.96; p < 0.001) between physiological (Heart rate (HR), oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2)) and performance (Time, Stage and Frequency of balls (Ballf)) variables corresponding to HRDP and VT2 were observed. Ballf at the HRDP (BallfHRDP) was detected at 19.8 +/- 1.7 shots[middle dot]min-1. Paired t-test showed no significant differences in HR (178.9 +/- 8.5 vs. 177.9 +/- 8.7 beats[middle dot]min-1 for HRDP vs. HRVT2, respectively) at intensities corresponding to HRDP and VT2. Maximal test performance and V[Combining Dot Above]O2max were moderately correlated (r = 0.56; p < 0.001). HRDP obtained from this specific tennis test can be used to determine the VT2, and the BallfHRDP can be used as a practical performance variable to prescribe on-court specific aerobic training at or near VT2.
Copyright (C) 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.