Sport-specific functional conditions and their correction

Dr.Med., Professor I.V. Levshin1
Dr.Hab., Professor E.N. Kuryanovich1
PhD, Associate Professor S.A. Trapeznikov1
1Military Institute of Physical Culture, St. Petersburg

Keywords: functionality, athletes, adaptation, performance, physical loads

Background. As provided by the modern labor/ sport physiology, functionality means the bodily systems performance rated by objective energy costs claimed by professional functionality, with the relevant dependability rating criteria [2, 4, 1]. Functionality may be applied as a rather dynamic characteristic of human activity with the fairly stable parameters in the relatively quiescent state. The functionality rating criteria may be used to rate and attain the topmost performance at the lowest energy costs to maintain the bodily homeostasis [1, 5].

Athletic functionality is known to widely vary in the training and competitive processes, with the physical, mental, social and spiritual resources being fully mobilized when necessary for success [5]. Growths of the training workload scope and intensity is limited by certain physiological margins, with many sports requiring the athletic trainings being run at sub-maximal values close to the functionality limits, when it is not always easy to keep the balance on the margin between the individual top sport form and potential overstress/ burnout [2, 4]. Such trainings may result in pre-morbid/ marginal and pathological conditions. The problem may be prevented by a prudent design and management of the training system with special functionality control/ correction tools [3].

Objective of the study was to rate efficiency of a new functionality control model with hyperbaric oxygenation (HO) tested on swimmers.

Methods and structure of the study. Sampled for the new functionality control model testing experiment (run at the Sport Medicine Center ‘Barocom’ in Penza city) were the skilled 16-20 year old swimmers (n=23) qualified Masters of Sports and Candidate Masters of Sport. The sample was subject to hyperbaric oxygenation in multi-seat pressure chamber PDK-2 at 2 atm. Oxygen was supplied through a reducer using an original hermetic gas supply and disposal system, with the sample tested to obtain a variety of biomechanics and physicality test rates including: heart rate; critical flash merger rate; visual motor response rate; static muscular endurance rate; 5min step test indices; and breath holding time upon sub-maximal inspiration and expiration (timed inspiratory and expiratory capacity tests, respectively).

Results and discussion. The sample was tested in the pre-seasonal conditioning cycle when the swimmers are always highly exposed to fatigue and low functionality rates as verified by the high-intensity physical tests, with the functionality control methods being particularly important in this period. The functionality was controlled by a 45min hyperbaric oxygenation session followed by the tests: see Table 1 hereunder. The test data showed the hyperbaric oxygenation procedure being highly beneficial as verified by the 79% and 75% growths of the inspiration and expiration breath-holding times, respectively; growths of the static endurance and 5min step test rates, and the heart rate decreases.

Table 1. Pre- versus post-hyperbaric oxygenation functionality test rates of the sample, х+m (n=23)

Test rates

Pre-hyperbaric oxygenation

Post-hyperbaric oxygenation (1 session)

Expiration breath-holding test rate, s


46,5+3,8 ⃰

Inspiration breath-holding test rate, s


106,3+7,6 ⃰

Heart rate, beats per min


56,4+4,5 ⃰

Critical flash merger rate, Hz



Visual motor response rate, ms



Static endurance rate, s


31,3+3,7 ⃰

Step test indices, points


115,6+5,7 ⃰

Note: *significant difference of the pre- versus post-hyperbaric oxygenation test rates, р<0.05

Benefits of the hyperbaric oxygenation may be due to the liquidation of the shortage of oxygen in tissues with savings of the energy costs that manifest themselves in the slower fatigue and faster rehabilitation. Therefore, the hyperbaric oxygenation procedure may be recommended for the fatigue mitigation/ prevention efforts, with the integrated performance rates normally tested to grow by 15-19%.

Performance variation analyses using the relevant psychophysical test rates in the team sports for fairly long training/ competitive cycles may help find the critical time periods when the above and other functionality control methods may be highly beneficial [4]. Such periods may be determined by the functionality sags found by the tests in the context of the specific training/ competitive process goals of the individual team members and teams on the whole. Every such period prioritizes certain physiological mechanisms need to be factored in to find the most efficient functionality control toolkit.

These periods basically include:

1. 2 weeks prior to the pre-seasonal cycle when the performance and functionality rates are the lowermost due to the physical training limitations in the post-competitive time and sags of the sport form for the vacation periods;

2. Expressed performance falls known as the ‘functionality pits’; and

3. Post-competitive periods with the scheduled functionality and performance rates falling down to the background levels at no risk for the further re-adaptation trainings prudently designed and managed to prevent potential pre-morbid situation and health disorders.


  • Functionality/ performance recovery methods need to be selected and applied as required by the training process goals and specific training systems. The functionality control tools shall be applied very carefully and on an individualized basis in the sport form peak reaching periods when athletes are highly sensitive to every mental/ physical impact and an inadequate rehabilitation tool may provoke a regress.
  • One 45min hyperbaric oxygenation session may be recommended as an efficient functionality control and rehabilitation tool to meet the bodily oxygen demand, liquidate a shortage, economize the oxygen circulation system, speed up the excretion of metabolic products, including lactic acid; and step up the physical performance rate by 5-10%.
  • Coaches and team physicians shall prudently design and control the training systems in every stage of the training and competitive process and test the functionalities to take timely functionality control/ correction efforts for competitive success and, no less important, for the athletes’ health protection purposes.


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Functionality means, as provided by the modern labor/ sport physiology, the bodily systems performance rated by the objective energy costs claimed by professional functionality, with the relevant dependability rating criteria. The functionality correction methods are given a high priority by modern elite sports, particularly in the pre-morbid/ pathological conditions prevention and competitive performance improvement domains. The functionality control/ improvement methods, as we believe, should be classified into the educational, medical, biological, psychological and physiological – and implemented on a permanent and ad hoc basis, when necessary. Based on the study data, we identified the special time periods when the functionality correction methods promise the highest benefits. It was found that the educational, medical, biological, psychological and physiological functionality correction methods should be reasonably combined for success, with the general and specific working capacity rates being applied as integral criteria of the rehabilitation process efficiency.