Physiological pattern changes in response to a simulated competition in elite women artistic gymnasts

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The outstanding progress in women’s artistic gymnastics in recent decades has led to increased technical and physiological demands. The aim of this study was to investigate i) the physiological demands of elite French gymnasts and ii) the impact of a competitive routine on physiological pattern changes. Fourteen French elite female gymnasts performed anthropometric measurements, physical fitness tests and a simulated four event competition. Heart rate (HR) was continuously recorded throughout the duration of the simulated competition. Blood lactate concentrations were assessed at rest, before the beginning and at 2, 4 and 10 min after completion of the routine on each apparatus. Isometric handgrip strength and anaerobic endurance and power were assessed during the simulated competition. The highest values of HR and blood lactate concentrations were reached during the floor and uneven bar exercises. Blood lactate concentrations and HR kinetics were apparatus dependent and values remained significantly increased at 10 min of recovery compared with resting data. Anaerobic endurance and power decreased significantly as the competition progressed (P <0.001). The present results show specifically cardiorespiratory and anaerobic apparatus- dependent responses throughout a simulated competition. Recovery approaches appear relevant to prevent and/or minimize fatigue and optimize performance in these athletes.

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