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The Efficacy of Heart Rate Variability in Tracking Travel and Training Stress in Youth Female Rowers

A Preliminary Study

Egan-Shuttler, Julian D.a,b; Edmonds, Rohana,c; Ives, Stephen J.a

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 15, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002499
Research Notes: PDF Only

Abstract (248 words)

Heart rate (HR) variability (HRV) is a reliable indicator of cardiac parasympathetic activity and has been used in athletic populations to measure training adaptations. To date, there is limited research showing whether HRV is practical in youth female athletes and rowers during short periods of overload training. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the practicality of HRV in documenting training responses during a period of overload training in youth female rowers. METHODS: Time domain (standard deviation of RR intervals, SDNN; root mean square of successive differences, RMSSD) and nonlinear (SD1) indices of HRV were recorded during baseline training, daily during the six-day training camp, and one week after the camp in 5 athletes from an elite high school rowing team. Training duration and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded to document training load. RESULTS: Training load during the camp was 76% above the athlete’s normal workload (2258 ± 459 vs. 1280 ± 356 a.u.). Using progressive statistics, cardiac vagal activity (RMSSD and SD1) was very likely reduced during each day of the camp when compared with baseline training, though returned to baseline within a week of the training camp. Interestingly, SDNN was reduced throughout the training camp and remained reduced up to a week after the training camp (78% likely, ES=-0.32). CONCLUSIONS: These insights add value to HRV’s use in youth sport and provides coaches with an easy, cost-effective means to monitor the physiological response to training, allowing fine-tuning of training, potentially enhancing performance.

aDepartment of Health and Exercise Sciences, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA,

bSchool of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK

cExercise Science and Pre-Health Professions, Creighton University, Omaha, NE, USA,

Corresponding Author: Stephen J. Ives, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, USA Phone: 518.580.8366 Email: Fax: 518.580.8356

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