Deception and Swimming

Deception and Swimming

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Deception and Swimming

Receiving feedback during training is considered essential feedback for race pace training. This is believed to train the body to repeatedly swim a certain speed. However, the central nervous system and psychological aspect of fatigue and performance are essential in training and sporting success.
In fact, the contribution of the central nervous system as the main governor of fatigue is gaining popularity. Deceiving athlete is a controversial subject. Some feel it can improve confidence others feel it impairs motor learning. However, the provisions of accurate feedback and competition have been shown to elicit improvements in performance. The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of accurate and surreptitiously augmented performance feedback on time to complete a 4000-meter bike time trial.What was done:
Nine trained male cyclist were instructed the purpose of the study was to assess the consistency of 4000-m cycling time trial.Each subject performed a submaximal exercise test as a preliminary test to determine peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak). Blood was taken during this test.

Then, each subject returned for four 4,000-m time trials at 70% VO2peak. The trials were:

  1. Normal 4,000-m for familiarization
  2. 4,000-m for baseline (BL)
  3. 4,000-m with accurate representation of their baseline performance (ACC)
  4. 4,000-m with the power output of the avatar at 102% of baseline (DEC)
Oxygen uptake (VO2) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER) were measured during each trial. RPE was requested on the completion of the cycling.Results:
The results suggest a significant between-trials main effect for RPE. RPE after DEC was significantly greater than BL. No difference between trials for mean cadence, VO2peak, HRpeak, or RER.DEC and ACC were completed in a significantly shorter time than baseline. Mean power output was greater for DEC than ACC or BL.Discussion:
These results indicate performance in the DEC group resulted in a 1.7% improvement than the baseline and a 1.0% improved compared to the ACC group. This suggests “cyclists typically operate with a metabolic reserve even during a maximal time trial performance and that this reserve can be accessed after deception (Stone 2012).”Practical Implication
In swimming, the use of individualized pacing and power is uncommon. However, with the emergence and increased commonality of telemetry systems (Avidasports), the use of DEC training is possible and is believed to improve performance.

  1. Stone MR, Thomas K, Wilkinson M, Jones AM, St Clair Gibson A, Thompson KG. Effects of deception on exercise performance: implications for determinants of fatigue in humans. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Mar;44(3):534-41.

Written By:

Dr. GJohn Mullen


Dr. GJohn Mullen, DPT, CSCS is a World renowned expert and speaker in sports training and rehabilitation. He received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy at USC, as well as the Josette Antonelli Division Service Scholarship, Order of the Golden Cane, and the Order of Areté. At USC, he also performed research on swimming biomechanics and lung adaptations in swimming training. Dr. GJohn has worked with multiple professional and Olympic athletes, helping them earn Olympic medals.

His dedication to research and individualization spurred him to open COR in 2011. Since 2011, Dr. GJohn has been featured in Gizmodo, Motherboard, Stack Magazine, Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, USA Swimming, USA Triathlon, Swimming Science, and much more.

He has worked with the numerous colleges and teams regarding rehab and performance. Before his Doctoral program, Dr. GJohn swam on an athletic scholarship at Purdue University.

At Purdue, Dr. GJohn was an Academic Honorable Mention All-American and was awarded the Red Mackey Award and R. O. Papenguh Award. He also won the Purdue Undergraduate business plan and elevator pitch competition, as well as 1st prize with the Indiana Soy Bean Alliance.

Dr. GJohn was born in Centerville, Ohio and was a 24-time high school All-American Swimmer. Dr. GJohn is still a swimmer and holds a Masters Swimming World and Pacific Swimming Record.

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