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Optimisation des stratégies d’acclimatation à la chaleur : impact sur les réponses psychophysiologiques à l’exercice

Abstract : The increasing number of major sport events that will take place in hot and/or tropical environments justify the current scientific interest in the effects of heat strain on endurance performance. During a prolonged self-paced exercise, it is well known that the subjectively perceived effort is higher as the ambient temperature increases and the performance level decreases. A repeated exposure to the heat in ecological and/or simulated exercise conditions may counteract the subsequent deleterious effects. However, the discrepancy between guidelines from scientific research and training priorities of well-trained athletes causes a lack of interest in these methods. Therefore, we aimed through the current thesis work to improve the current knowledge about heat acclimation strategies, more precisely about i) its effects on athlete’s performance capacity and ii) the optimization of training load monitoring and building. To shed light on these issues, we proposed to our trained and/or well-trained subjects to cycle at a fixed RPE first in an experimental framework, and then during a training program. We submit that the self-regulation of fixed-RPE exercise work rate depends not only of perceived exertion but also on emotional and motivational parameters. The first study aimed to compare the performance of technical devices for core temperature monitoring in ecological conditions (i.e. gastrointestinal point vs. forehead point from a zero-heat-flux sensor). Results showed that zero-heat-flux measurements might be considered as relevant during exercise. In this way, some opportunities may be considered for the monitoring of body temperature during field-based exercise. The second study investigated the subsequent effects of repeated strenuous training sessions and logistical constraints during a heat camp (i.e. higher mental fatigue) on perceived exertion and endurance performance. Despite the lack of combined effects from the prior cognitive task and the ambient condition during exercise, skin temperature and underlying heat sensation impact the linear decrease of power output at RPE-15 (hot vs. neutral: -0,022 vs. -0,008 W.kg-1.min-1). Lastly, the third study suggested an interest for self-regulated high intensities, associated with a decrease of the total exposure duration (-23%), during a short-term heat acclimation protocol (i.e. 5 days). However, the slighter effect on the improvement of performance in comparison with a classic constant-power training program, (HIT vs. constant-power: 1,4 vs. 2,8 %) provides scope for the building of training load (i.e. volume vs. intensity) in this context. In summary, the overall results of this thesis work open some perspectives for individualizing or adapting heat acclimation strategies to sport-specific conditions.
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Gilles Roussey. Optimisation des stratégies d’acclimatation à la chaleur : impact sur les réponses psychophysiologiques à l’exercice. Education. COMUE Université Côte d'Azur (2015 - 2019), 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018AZUR4224⟩. ⟨tel-02103235⟩

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