The Metabolic, Hormonal, Biochemical, and Neuromuscular Function Responses to a Backward Sled Drag Training Session


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Abstract

West, DJ, Cunningham, DJ, Finn, CV, Scott, PM, Crewther, BT, Cook, CJ, and Kilduff, LP. The metabolic, hormonal, biochemical, and neuromuscular function responses to a backward sled drag training session. J Strength Cond Res 28(1): 265–272, 2014—We examined the metabolic, hormonal, biochemical, and neuromuscular function (NMF) responses to a backward sled drag training session (STS) in strength-trained men (n = 11). After baseline collection of saliva (testosterone and cortisol), whole blood (lactate and creatine kinase [CK]), and countermovement jumps (peak power output), participants completed 5 sets of 2 × 20-m (30 second-recovery between drags and 120 second-recovery between sets) maximal backward sled drags (loaded with 75% body mass). Participants were retested immediately, 15 minutes, 1, 3, and 24 hours after STS. Peak power output decreased after STS (baseline, 4,445 ± 705 vs. 0 minute, 3,464 ± 819 W; p = 0.001) and remained below baseline until recovering at both the 3- and 24-hour time points. No changes in CK levels were seen at any time point after STS. Blood lactate increased immediately after STS (baseline, 1.7 ± 0.5 vs. 0 minute, 12.4 ± 2.6 mmol·L−1; p = 0.001) and remained elevated at 60 minutes (3.8 ± 1.9 mmol·L−1; p = 0.004) before returning to baseline at 3 and 24 hours. Testosterone peaked at 15 minutes post (baseline, 158 ± 45 vs. 15 minutes, 217 ± 49 pg·ml−1; p < 0.001) before decreasing below baseline at the 3-hour time point (119 ± 34 pg·ml−1; p = 0.008), but then increased again above baseline at 24 hours (187 ± 56 pg·ml−1; p = 0.04). Cortisol tended to increase at 15 minutes (baseline, 3.4 ± 1.8 vs. 15 minutes, 5.2 ± 2.7 ng·ml−1; p = 0.07) before declining below baseline at 3 hours (1.64 ± 0.93 ng·ml−1; p = 0.012) and returning to baseline concentrations at 24 hours. In conclusion, sled dragging provides an effective metabolic stimulus, with NMF restored after ≤3 hours of recovery. Characterizing the recovery time course after sled training may aid in athlete training program design.

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