Validating laboratory-based exercise testing for sport-specific performance in recreational SCUBA-diving

Dennis Cetin*, Elena Jacobi, Uwe Hoffmann, Tobias Vogt, Fabian Möller

*Korrespondierende*r Autor*in für diese Arbeit

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch/Bericht/KonferenzbandKonferenzbeitrag - Abstract in KonferenzbandForschungBegutachtung

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Improvement of physical fitness increases safety for all underwater activities with higher reserves during unexpected and rescue scenarios (Bosco et al., 2014). Many diving-related accidents are caused by poor physical conditioning (Lynch & Bove, 2009). However, medical examinations mandatory in SCUBA diving include only laboratory-based bicycle exercise, neglecting sport-specific factors and physiological adaptations to water immersion (Astrand, 1984). Thus, the transfer to underwater performance is critically mitigated. Although in-water testing should be preferred (Steinberg et al., 2011), we hypothesized incremental bicycle exercise in the supine position to mimic submersion-induced blood-shift and closely match the physiological reactions of underwater exercise testing with SCUBA (Toska & Eriksen, 1994).
15 experienced SCUBA-divers (age: 28 ± 6.4) conducted incremental exercise-testing on two separate days: In the laboratory, exercise was conducted on a bicycle ergometer in the supine position, starting at 50W and increasing intensity by 25W every 3 minutes until exhaustion. Underwater, incremental fin-swimming exercise testing was conducted (fin-swimming with SCUBA, 4m water depth), starting with 0.4m/s, velocity increased by 0.1m/s every 3 minutes. Measurements were performed continuously (heartrate (HR), minute ventilation (VE)) and following every exercise step (blood lactate concentration (lac), rate of perceived exertion (RPE)). Values of HR, VE, RPE, and lac were investigated with Wilcoxon pairwise comparisons for rest, max, and recovery values (1, 3, and 5 minutes after stop of exercise for lac; HR until 5 minutes after stop of exercise). Statistical significance was set to 0.05.
For maximum values, significant differences were observed for VE max (p < 0.001; effect size r = 0.85), RPE max (p < 0.001; r = 0.91), and lac (p = 0.006; r = 0.7). No significant differences were found for HR max (p = 0.121).
Discussion and Conclusion:
Findings show persisting differences between underwater exercise and lab exercise, even in the supine position. However, because HR does not differ significantly, it can be assumed that participants were equally stressed in both conditions. Data might enable an improved transfer from lab to underwater. Still, sport-specific factors like water immersion and movement technique have to be considered and further investigation on underwater performance assessment is required.

Astrand (1984). DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1025966
Bosco et al. (2014). Aerobic demand and scuba diving: Concerns about medical evaluation. Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine, 44(2), 61-63.
Lynch & Bove (2009). DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2009.04.080099
Steinberg et al. (2011). DOI: 10.1080/24748668.2011.11868540
Toska & Eriksen (1994). DOI: 10.1152/jappl.1994.77.3.1519
TitelBook of Abstracts of the 28th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science : 4 - 7 July 2023, Paris, France
Herausgeber*innenG. Guilhem, G. Rabita, F. Brocherie, E. Tsolakidis, A. Ferrauti, J.W. Helge, M.F. Piacentini
Herausgeber (Verlag)European College of Sport Science
ISBN (Print)978-3-9818414-6-6
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 04.07.2023
VeranstaltungAnnual Congress of the European College of Sport Science: Explore Enlighten Perform - Palais des Congrès de Paris, Paris, Frankreich
Dauer: 04.07.202307.07.2023
Konferenznummer: 28


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