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The present study compared the performance (peak speed, distance, and acceleration) of ten amateur team-sport athletes during a clustered (i.e., multiple sets) repeated-sprint protocol, (4 sets of 4, 4-s running sprints; i.e., RSR444) in normobaric normoxia (FiO2 = 0.209; i.e., RSN) with normobaric hypoxia (FiO2 = 0.140; i.e., RSH). Subjects completed two separate trials (i. RSN, ii. RSH; randomised order) between 48 h and 72 h apart on a non-motorized treadmill. In addition to performance, we examined blood lactate concentration [La-] and arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) before, during, and after the RSR444. While there were no differences in peak speed or distance during set 1 or set 2, peak speed (p = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively) and distance (p = 0.04 and 0.02, respectively) were greater during set 3 and set 4 of RSN compared with RSH. There was no difference in the average acceleration achieved in set 1 (p = 0.45), set 2 (p = 0.26), or set 3 (p = 0.23) between RSN and RSH; however, the average acceleration was greater in RSN than RSH in set 4 (p < 0.01). Measurements of [La-] were higher during RSH than RSN immediately after Sprint 16 (10.2 ± 2.5 vs 8.6 ± 2.6 mM; p = 0.02). Estimations of SpO2 were lower during RSH than RSN, respectively, immediately prior to the commencement of the test (89.0 ± 2.0 vs 97.2 ± 1.5 %), post Sprint 8 (78.0 ± 6.3 vs 93.8 ± 3.6 %) and post Sprint 16 (75.3 ± 6.3 vs 94.5 ± 2.5 %; all p < 0.01). In summary, the RSR444 is a practical protocol for the implementation of a hypoxic repeated-sprint training intervention into the training schedules of team-sport athletes. However, given the inability of amateur team-sport athletes to maintain performance in hypoxic (FiO2 = 0.140) conditions, the potential for specific training outcomes (i.e. speed) to be achieved will be compromised, thus suggesting that the RSR444 should be used with caution.
This document has been peer reviewed.