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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2003 June;56(2):95-101

language: English

Psychological and biochemical markers of heavy training stress in highly trained male rowers

Maestu J., Jurimae J., Jurimae T.

Institute of Sport Pedagogy, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia


The effect of 3 weeks of heavily increased training volume on performance, specific hormonal and metabolic indices, and recovery-stress state perceived by the highly trained male rowers (n=12) was investigated. The training regimen during the 3 week period consisted of 45% of high-volume low-intensity strength training aimed for the improvement of strength-endurance, 45% of extensive endurance training (running, swimming and/or ergometer rowing) aimed for the improvement of basic endurance and 10% of ball games (basketball and/or soccer); 2000 m rowing ergometer (Concept II, Morrisville, USA) performance time was only slightly increased from 384.5±12.5 to 384.9±13.7 s as a result of heavy training period. Similarly, resting cortisol and creatine kinase activity values were not significantly changed as a result of heavy training period. The Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes revealed that the recovery-stress state of rowers changed during the heavy training period. A significant increase in Fatigue scores from stress-related scales was found. Relationships were also found between changes in training volume and changes in Fatigue (r=0.66) from stress-related and changes on General Well-being (r=-0.62) from recovery-related scales. Changes in resting cortisol levels as a result of heavy training stress were related to Fatigue (r=-0.67) and Emotional Exhaustion (r=-0.60) from stress-related scales and Success (r=0.68) from recovery-related scales. Changes in creatine kinase activity after heavy training period were related to changes in the following recovery scales of the questionnaire: Success (r=-0.59), Somatic Relaxation (r=-0.60) and General Well-being (r=-0.71). In conclusion, the monitoring of training adaptation appears to be a very complex task. The results of present study demonstrated that while specific performance and blood biochemical markers of training stress were only slightly changed, RESTQ-Sport questionnaire was more sensitive to the acute changes in training stress. The RESTQ-Sport for athletes could be used to monitor heavy training stress in highly trained rowers.

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