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Stress Markers During a Rally Car Competition

Del Rosso, Sebastián; Abreu, Laurinda; Webb, Heather E.; Zouhal, Hassane; Boullosa, Daniel A.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 605–614
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001131
Original Research

Del Rosso, S, Abreu, L, Webb, HE, Zouhal, H, and Boullosa, DA. Stress markers during a rally car competition. J Strength Cond Res 30(3): 605–614, 2016—The aim of the study was to assess the stress responses in drivers during an official rally car race and the influence of fitness and body composition on stress hormones. Fitness and body composition were assessed in 9 rally car drivers with an incremental exercise test for determination of maximum aerobic speed (MAS) and 6-site skinfold method, respectively. Before (pre) and after (post) the first stage of an official rally car race, data were collected for heart rate (HR), blood samples were collected for analysis of hormones (i.e., epinephrine [EPI], norepinephrine [NE], cortisol, and aldosterone) and metabolites (i.e., lactate [LA], glucose, and ammonia). There were significant (p ≤ 0.05) increases in all assessed variables except glucose at postrace. Heart rate increased 93% (p ≤ 0.05) at the end of the race stage, reaching 88.77 ± 4.96% of HRpeak. Also, EPI and NE significantly (p = 0.001) increased by 45 and 65%, respectively, and LA increased by 395% (p < 0.001). Significant correlations between percent body fat (%BF) and postrace EPI (r = 0.95; p < 0.001), and percentage change of EPI (r = 0.83; p = 0.012) were observed. The MAS was not associated to any metabolic or hormonal variable. These results suggest that psycho-physiological stress induced by the race elicited important changes in hormonal and metabolic variables and that %BF could be an important mediator of psycho-physiological stress in rally car drivers. Specific programs, including both strength and aerobic training, and nutritional plans should be implemented for appropriate conditioning of rally car drivers.

1Independent Researcher, Vigo, Spain;

2Department of Kinesiology, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi, Texas;

3Movement Sport and Health Sciences Laboratory (M2S), UFR-APS, University of Rennes 2-ENS Rennes, Rennes, France; and

4Post-Graduate Program in Physical Education, Catholic University of Brasilia, Aguas Claras, Brazil

Address correspondence to Sebastián Del Rosso,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.