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Wellness, fatigue and physical performance acclimatisation to a 2-week soccer camp at 3600 m (ISA3600)
  1. Martin Buchheit1,
  2. Ben M Simpson1,
  3. Laura A Garvican-Lewis2,3,
  4. Kristal Hammond4,
  5. Marlen Kley5,
  6. Walter F Schmidt5,
  7. Robert J Aughey4,6,
  8. Rudy Soria7,
  9. Charli Sargent8,
  10. Gregory D Roach8,
  11. Jesus C Jimenez Claros7,
  12. Nadine Wachsmuth5,
  13. Christopher J Gore2,9,10,
  14. Pitre C Bourdon1
  1. 1ASPIRE Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2Department of Physiology, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, Australia
  3. 3National Institute of Sports Studies, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
  4. 4Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
  5. 5Department of Sports Medicine/Sports Physiology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
  6. 6Western Bulldogs Football Club, Melbourne, Australia
  7. 7Instituto Boliviano de Biología de Altura (IBBA), Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, La Paz, Bolivia
  8. 8Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University, Adelaide, Australia
  9. 9National Institute of Sports Studies, University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
  10. 10Department of Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Buchheit, Physiology Unit, Football Performance and Science department, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha P.O. Box 22287, Qatar; martin.buchheit{at}


Objectives To examine the time course of wellness, fatigue and performance during an altitude training camp (La Paz, 3600 m) in two groups of either sea-level (Australian) or altitude (Bolivian) native young soccer players.

Methods Wellness and fatigue were assessed using questionnaires and resting heart rate (HR) and HR variability. Physical performance was assessed using HR responses to a submaximal run, a Yo-Yo Intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-YoIR1) and a 20 m sprint. Most measures were performed daily, with the exception of Yo-YoIR1 and 20 m sprints, which were performed near sea level and on days 3 and 10 at altitude.

Results Compared with near sea level, Australians had moderate-to-large impairments in wellness and Yo-YoIR1 relative to the Bolivians on arrival at altitude. The acclimatisation of most measures to altitude was substantially slower in Australians than Bolivians, with only Bolivians reaching near sea-level baseline high-intensity running by the end of the camp. Both teams had moderately impaired 20 m sprinting at the end of the camp. Exercise HR had large associations (r>0.5–0.7) with changes in Yo-YoIR1 in both groups.

Conclusions Despite partial physiological and perceptual acclimatisation, 2 weeks is insufficient for restoration of physical performance in young sea-level native soccer players. Because of the possible decrement in 20 m sprint time, a greater emphasis on speed training may be required during and after altitude training. The specific time course of restoration for each variable suggests that they measure different aspects of acclimatisation to 3600 m; they should therefore be used in combination to assess adaptation to altitude.

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