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  1. James CA, Richardson AJ, Watt PW, Willmott AGB, Gibson OR, Maxwell NS
    J Strength Cond Res, 2018 May;32(5):1366-1375.
    PMID: 28486332 DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001979
    James, CA, Richardson, AJ, Watt, PW, Willmott, AGB, Gibson, OR, and Maxwell, NS. Short-term heat acclimation and precooling, independently and combined, improve 5-km time trial performance in the heat. J Strength Cond Res 32(5): 1366-1375, 2018-Following heat acclimation (HA), endurance running performance remains impaired in hot vs. temperate conditions. Combining HA with precooling (PC) demonstrates no additive benefit in intermittent sprint, or continuous cycling exercise protocols, during which heat strain may be less severe compared to endurance running. This study investigated the effect of short-term HA (STHA) combined with mixed methods PC, on endurance running performance and directly compared PC and HA. Nine amateur trained runners completed 5-km treadmill time trials (TTs) in the heat (32° C, 60% relative humidity) under 4 conditions; no intervention (CON), PC, short-term HA (5 days-HA) and STHA with PC (HA + PC). Mean (±SD) performance times were; CON 1,476 (173) seconds, PC 1,421 (146) seconds, HA 1,378 (116) seconds and HA + PC 1,373 (121) seconds. This equated to the following improvements versus CON; PC -3.7%, HA -6.6% and HA + PC -7.0%. Statistical differences were only observed between HA and CON (p = 0.004, d = 0.68, 95% CI [-0.27 to 1.63]) however, similar effect sizes were observed for HA + PC vs. CON (d = 0.70, 95% CI [-0.25 to 1.65]), with smaller effects between PC vs. CON (d = 0.34, 95% CI [-0.59 to 1.27]), HA vs. PC (d = 0.33, 95% CI [-0.60 to 1.26]) and HA + PC vs. PC (d = 0.36, 95% CI [-0.57 to 1.29]). Pilot testing revealed a TT typical error of 16 seconds (1.2%). Precooling offered no further benefit to performance in the acclimated individual, despite modest alleviation of physiological strain. Maintenance of running speed in HA + PC, despite reduced physiological strain, may indicate an inappropriate pacing strategy therefore, further familiarization is recommended to optimize a combined strategy. Finally, these data indicate HA, achieved through cycle training, yields a larger ergogenic effect than PC on 5-km running performance in the heat, although PC remains beneficial when HA is not possible.
  2. James CA, Richardson AJ, Watt PW, Willmott AG, Gibson OR, Maxwell NS
    PMID: 28177747 DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0349
    This study investigated the effect of 5 days of controlled short-term heat acclimation (STHA) on the determinants of endurance performance and 5-km performance in runners, relative to the impairment afforded by moderate heat stress. A control group (CON), matched for total work and power output (2.7 W·kg(-1)), differentiated thermal and exercise contributions of STHA on exercise performance. Seventeen participants (10 STHA, 7 CON) completed graded exercise tests (GXTs) in cool (13 °C, 50% relative humidity (RH), pre-training) and hot conditions (32 °C, 60% RH, pre- and post-training), as well as 5-km time trials (TTs) in the heat, pre- and post-training. STHA reduced resting (p = 0.01) and exercising (p = 0.04) core temperature alongside a smaller change in thermal sensation (p = 0.04). Both groups improved the lactate threshold (LT, p = 0.021), lactate turnpoint (LTP, p = 0.005) and velocity at maximal oxygen consumption (vV̇O2max; p = 0.031) similarly. Statistical differences between training methods were observed in TT performance (STHA, -6.2(5.5)%; CON, -0.6(1.7)%, p = 0.029) and total running time during the GXT (STHA, +20.8(12.7)%; CON, +9.8(1.2)%, p = 0.006). There were large mean differences in change in maximal oxygen consumption between STHA +4.0(2.2) mL·kg(-1)·min(-1) (7.3(4.0)%) and CON +1.9(3.7) mL·kg(-1)·min(-1) (3.8(7.2)%). Running economy (RE) deteriorated following both training programmes (p = 0.008). Similarly, RE was impaired in the cool GXT, relative to the hot GXT (p = 0.004). STHA improved endurance running performance in comparison with work-matched normothermic training, despite equality of adaptation for typical determinants of performance (LT, LTP, vV̇O2max). Accordingly, these data highlight the ergogenic effect of STHA, potentially via greater improvements in maximal oxygen consumption and specific thermoregulatory and associated thermal perception adaptations absent in normothermic training.
  3. Willmott AGB, Gibson OR, James CA, Hayes M, Maxwell NS
    Temperature (Austin), 2018;5(2):162-174.
    PMID: 30377634 DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2018.1426949
    The aim of this experiment was to quantify physiological and perceptual responses to exercise with and without restrictive heat loss attire in hot and temperate conditions. Ten moderately-trained individuals (mass; 69.44±7.50 kg, body fat; 19.7±7.6%) cycled for 30-mins (15-mins at 2 W.kg-1 then 15-mins at 1 W.kg-1) under four experimental conditions; temperate (TEMP, 22°C/45%), hot (HOT, 45°C/20%) and, temperate (TEMPSUIT, 22°C/45%) and hot (HOTSUIT, 45°C/20%) whilst wearing an upper-body "sauna suit". Core temperature changes were higher (P<0.05) in TEMPSUIT (+1.7±0.4°C.hr-1), HOT (+1.9±0.5°C.hr-1) and HOTSUIT (+2.3±0.5°C.hr-1) than TEMP (+1.3±0.3°C.hr-1). Skin temperature was higher (P<0.05) in HOT (36.53±0.93°C) and HOTSUIT (37.68±0.68°C) than TEMP (33.50±1.77°C) and TEMPSUIT (33.41±0.70°C). Sweat rate was greater (P<0.05) in TEMPSUIT (0.89±0.24 L.hr-1), HOT (1.14±0.48 L.hr-1) and HOTSUIT (1.51±0.52 L.hr-1) than TEMP (0.56±0.27 L.hr-1). Peak heart rate was higher (P<0.05) in TEMPSUIT (155±23 b.min-1), HOT (163±18 b.min-1) and HOTSUIT (171±18 b.min-1) than TEMP (151±20 b.min-1). Thermal sensation and perceived exertion were greater (P<0.05) in TEMPSUIT (5.8±0.5 and 14±1), HOT (6.4±0.5 and 15±1) and HOTSUIT (7.1±0.5 and 16±1) than TEMP (5.3±0.5 and 14±1). Exercising in an upper-body sauna suit within temperate conditions induces a greater physiological strain and evokes larger sweat losses compared to exercising in the same conditions, without restricting heat loss. In hot conditions, wearing a sauna suit increases physiological and perceptual strain further, which may accelerate the stimuli for heat adaptation and improve HA efficiency.
  4. James CA, Hayes M, Willmott AGB, Gibson OR, Flouris AD, Schlader ZJ, et al.
    Temperature (Austin), 2017;4(3):314-329.
    PMID: 28944273 DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2017.1333189
    In cool conditions, physiologic markers accurately predict endurance performance, but it is unclear whether thermal strain and perceived thermal strain modify the strength of these relationships. This study examined the relationships between traditional determinants of endurance performance and time to complete a 5-km time trial in the heat. Seventeen club runners completed graded exercise tests (GXT) in hot (GXTHOT; 32°C, 60% RH, 27.2°C WBGT) and cool conditions (GXTCOOL; 13°C, 50% RH, 9.3°C WBGT) to determine maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max), running economy (RE), velocity at V̇O2max (vV̇O2max), and running speeds corresponding to the lactate threshold (LT, 2 mmol.l(-1)) and lactate turnpoint (LTP, 4 mmol.l(-1)). Simultaneous multiple linear regression was used to predict 5 km time, using these determinants, indicating neither GXTHOT (R(2) = 0.72) nor GXTCOOL (R(2) = 0.86) predicted performance in the heat as strongly has previously been reported in cool conditions. vV̇O2max was the strongest individual predictor of performance, both when assessed in GXTHOT (r = -0.83) and GXTCOOL (r = -0.90). The GXTs revealed the following correlations for individual predictors in GXTHOT; V̇O2maxr = -0.7, RE r = 0.36, LT r = -0.77, LTP r = -0.78 and in GXTCOOL; V̇O2maxr = -0.67, RE r = 0.62, LT r = -0.79, LTP r = -0.8. These data indicate (i) GXTHOT does not predict 5 km running performance in the heat as strongly as a GXTCOOL, (ii) as in cool conditions, vV̇O2max may best predict running performance in the heat.
  5. Willmott AGB, Hayes M, James CA, Gibson OR, Maxwell NS
    Temperature (Austin), 2019 Sep 19;7(2):178-190.
    PMID: 33015245 DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2019.1664370
    Athletes exercising in heat stress experience increased perceived fatigue acutely, however it is unknown whether heat acclimation (HA) reduces the magnitude of this perceptual response and whether different HA protocols influence the response. This study investigated sensations of fatigue following; acute exercise-heat stress; short- (5-sessions) and medium-term (10-sessions) HA; and between once- (ODHA) and twice-daily HA (TDHA) protocols. Twenty male participants (peak oxygen uptake: 3.75 ± 0.47 L·min-1) completed 10 sessions (60-min cycling at ~2 W·kg-1, 45°C/20% relative humidity) of ODHA (n = 10) or non-consecutive TDHA (n = 10). Sensations of fatigue (General, Physical, Emotional, Mental, Vigor and Total Fatigue) were assessed using the multi-dimensional fatigue scale inventory-short form pre and post session 1, 5 and 10. Heat adaptation was induced following ODHA and TDHA, with reductions in resting rectal temperature and heart rate, and increased plasma volume and sweat rate (P 
  6. Willmott AGB, James CA, Bliss A, Leftwich RA, Maxwell NS
    J Biomech, 2019 01 23;83:324-328.
    PMID: 30563764 DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.11.044
    The comparability and reliability of global positioning system (GPS) devices during running protocols associated with team-sports was investigated. Fourteen moderately-trained males completed 690 m of straight-line movements, a 570 m change of direction (COD) course and a 642.5 m team-sport simulated circuit (TSSC); on two occasions. Participants wore a FieldWiz GPS device and a Catapult MinimaxX S4 10-Hz GPS device. Typical error of measurement (TE) and coefficient of variation (CV%) were calculated between GPS devices, for the variables of total distance and peak speed. Reliability comparisons were made within FieldWiz GPS devices, between sessions. Small TE were observed between FieldWiz and Catapult GPS devices for total distance and peak speed during straight-line (16.9 m [2%], 1.2 km·h-1 [4%]), COD (31.8 m [6%], 0.4 km·h-1 [2%]) and TSSC protocols (12.9 m [2%], 0.5 km·h-1 [2%]), respectively, with no significant mean bias (p > 0.05). Small TE were also observed for the FieldWiz GPS device between sessions (p > 0.05) for straight-line (9.6 m [1%], 0.2 km·h-1 [1%]), COD (12.8 m [2%], 0.2 km·h-1 [1%]) and TSSC protocols (6.9 m [1%], 0.6 km·h-1 [2%]), respectively. Data from the FieldWiz GPS device appears comparable to established devices and reliable across a range of movement patterns associated with team-sports.
  7. Willmott AGB, Hayes M, James CA, Dekerle J, Gibson OR, Maxwell NS
    Physiol Rep, 2018 12;6(24):e13936.
    PMID: 30575321 DOI: 10.14814/phy2.13936
    This experiment aimed to investigate the efficacy of twice-daily, nonconsecutive heat acclimation (TDHA) in comparison to once-daily heat acclimation (ODHA) and work matched once- or twice-daily temperate exercise (ODTEMP, TDTEMP) for inducing heat adaptations, improved exercise tolerance, and cytokine (immune) responses. Forty males, matched biophysically and for aerobic capacity, were assigned to ODHA, TDHA, ODTEMP, or TDTEMP. Participants completed a cycling-graded exercise test, heat acclimation state test, and a time to task failure (TTTF) at 80% peak power output in temperate (TTTFTEMP : 22°C/40% RH) and hot conditions (TTTFHOT : 38°C/20% RH), before and after 10-sessions (60 min of cycling at ~2 W·kg-1 ) in 45°C/20% RH (ODHA and TDHA) or 22°C/40% RH (ODTEMP or TDTEMP). Plasma IL-6, TNF-α, and cortisol were measured pre- and postsessions 1, 5, and 10. ODHA and TDHA induced equivalent heat adaptations (P  0.05) following ODHA (+14 ± 4%), TDHA (14 ± 8%), ODTEMP (9 ± 10%) or TDTEMP (8 ± 13%). Acute (P  0.05) increases were observed in IL-6, TNF-α, or cortisol during ODHA and TDHA, or ODTEMP and TDTEMP. Once- and twice-daily heat acclimation conferred similar magnitudes of heat adaptation and exercise tolerance improvements, without differentially altering immune function, thus nonconsecutive TDHA provides an effective, logistically flexible method of HA, benefitting individuals preparing for exercise-heat stress.
  8. Gibson OR, James CA, Mee JA, Willmott AGB, Turner G, Hayes M, et al.
    Temperature (Austin), 2020;7(1):3-36.
    PMID: 32166103 DOI: 10.1080/23328940.2019.1666624
    International competition inevitably presents logistical challenges for athletes. Events such as the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games require further consideration given historical climate data suggest athletes will experience significant heat stress. Given the expected climate, athletes face major challenges to health and performance. With this in mind, heat alleviation strategies should be a fundamental consideration. This review provides a focused perspective of the relevant literature describing how practitioners can structure male and female athlete preparations for performance in hot, humid conditions. Whilst scientific literature commonly describes experimental work, with a primary focus on maximizing magnitudes of adaptive responses, this may sacrifice ecological validity, particularly for athletes whom must balance logistical considerations aligned with integrating environmental preparation around training, tapering and travel plans. Additionally, opportunities for sophisticated interventions may not be possible in the constrained environment of the athlete village or event arenas. This review therefore takes knowledge gained from robust experimental work, interprets it and provides direction on how practitioners/coaches can optimize their athletes' heat alleviation strategies. This review identifies two distinct heat alleviation themes that should be considered to form an individualized strategy for the athlete to enhance thermoregulatory/performance physiology. First, chronic heat alleviation techniques are outlined, these describe interventions such as heat acclimation, which are implemented pre, during and post-training to prepare for the increased heat stress. Second, acute heat alleviation techniques that are implemented immediately prior to, and sometimes during the event are discussed. Abbreviations: CWI: Cold water immersion; HA: Heat acclimation; HR: Heart rate; HSP: Heat shock protein; HWI: Hot water immersion; LTHA: Long-term heat acclimation; MTHA: Medium-term heat acclimation; ODHA: Once-daily heat acclimation; RH: Relative humidity; RPE: Rating of perceived exertion; STHA: Short-term heat acclimation; TCORE: Core temperature; TDHA: Twice-daily heat acclimation; TS: Thermal sensation; TSKIN: Skin temperature; V̇O2max: Maximal oxygen uptake; WGBT: Wet bulb globe temperature.
  9. James CA, Gibson OR, Dhawan A, Stewart CM, Willmott AGB
    Front Sports Act Living, 2021;3:653364.
    PMID: 34127962 DOI: 10.3389/fspor.2021.653364
    The locomotor demands of international men's field hockey matches were investigated across positions (DEF, MID, FWD) and playing quarters. Volume (i.e., total values) and intensity (i.e., relative to playing time) data were collected using 10-Hz GPS/100-Hz accelerometer units from the #11 world-ranked (WR) team, during 71 matches, against 24 opponents [WR 12 ± 11 (range, 1-60)]. Mean ± SD team total distance (TD) was 4,861 ± 871 m, with 25% (1,193 ± 329 m) "high-speed running" (>14.5 km h-1) and 8% (402 ± 144 m) "sprinting" (>19.0 km h-1). Reduced TD (range, -3 to 4%) and average speed (range, -3.4 to 4.7%) occurred through subsequent quarters, vs. Q1 (p < 0.05). A "large" negative relationship (r = -0.64) was found between playing duration and average speed. Positional differences (p < 0.05) were identified for all volume metrics including; playing duration (DEF, 45:50 ± 8:00 min; MID, 37:37 ± 7:12 min; FWD, 33:32 ± 6:22 min), TD (DEF, 5,223 ± 851 m; MID, 4,945 ± 827 m; FWD, 4,453 ± 741 m), sprinting distance (DEF, 315 ± 121 m; MID, 437 ± 144 m; FWD, 445 ± 129 m), and acceleration efforts (>2 m s-2; DEF, 48 ± 12; MID, 51 ± 11; FWD, 50 ± 14). Intensity variables similarly revealed positional differences (p < 0.05) but with a different pattern between positions; average speed (DEF, 115 ± 10 m min-1; MID, 132 ± 10 m min-1; FWD, 134 ± 15 m min-1), sprinting (DEF, 7 ± 3 m min-1; MID, 12 ± 4 m min-1; FWD, 14 ± 4 m min-1), and accelerations (DEF, 1.1 ± 0.3 n min-1; MID, 1.4 ± 0.2 n min-1; FWD, 1.5 ± 0.3 n min-1). Physical outputs reduced across playing quarters, despite unlimited substitutions, demonstrating the importance of optimizing physical preparation prior to international competition. Volume and intensity data highlight specific positional requirements, with forwards displaying shorter playing durations but greater high-intensity activities than defenders.
  10. Willmott AGB, Hayes M, Waldock KAM, Relf RL, Watkins ER, James CA, et al.
    J Sports Sci, 2017 Nov;35(22):2249-2256.
    PMID: 27935427 DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1265142
    Multistage, ultra-endurance events in hot, humid conditions necessitate thermal adaptation, often achieved through short term heat acclimation (STHA), to improve performance by reducing thermoregulatory strain and perceptions of heat stress. This study investigated the physiological, perceptual and immunological responses to STHA prior to the Marathon des Sables. Eight athletes (age 42 ± 4 years and body mass 81.9 ± 15.0 kg) completed 4 days of controlled hyperthermia STHA (60 min·day‒1, 45°C and 30% relative humidity). Pre, during and post sessions, physiological and perceptual measures were recorded. Immunological measures were recorded pre-post sessions 1 and 4. STHA improved thermal comfort (P = 0.02), sensation (P = 0.03) and perceived exertion (P = 0.04). A dissociated relationship between perceptual fatigue and Tre was evident after STHA, with reductions in perceived Physical (P = 0.04) and General (P = 0.04) fatigue. Exercising Tre and HR did not change (P > 0.05) however, sweat rate increased 14% (P = 0.02). No changes were found in white blood cell counts or content (P > 0.05). Four days of STHA facilitates effective perceptual adaptations, without compromising immune status prior to an ultra-endurance race in heat stress. A greater physiological strain is required to confer optimal physiological adaptations.
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