Introduction: Training loads and heart rate variability (HRV) were monitored over 69 weeks in a swimming Olympic champion to assess if different types of HRV changes occurred during fatigue episodes. Methods: Weekly training volume (km) and training load (TL, a.u.) were calculated. Morning HRV tests were performed by recording R-R intervals at rest during 8 min supine (SU) and 7 min standing (ST). HRV variables analysed were: heart rate (HR), power (in ms2) of low (LF), high (HF) and (LF+HF) frequencies. Results: Over the period considered, training volume and TL amounted to 2408 km and 1075 a.u.. 55 HRV tests were completed, 10 took place in conditions of ‘fatigue’ defined by the coach after training sessions.Three different sub-categories of fatigue were disclosed: type 1. F(HF-LF-)SU_ST (n=6) embeded a decrease inHF (-55%), LF( -23%) and an increase in HR (+21%) in SU, concomitant with a decrease in HF (-50%), LF(-50%) and an increase in HR (+16%) in ST; type 2. F(LFST) (n=2) featured a decrease in LF (-61%) and an increase in HR (+19%) in ST; type 3. F(HFSUHF+ST) embedded a decrease in HF (-72%) and an increase inHR (+10%) in SU, with an increase in HF (+65%) and a decrease in HR (-14%) in ST. Conclusion: In an elite swimmer, three different types of ‘fatigue’ shifts in HRV patterns were sorted. Each type corresponded to specific changes in sympathovagal settings. To our knowledge, this study is the first one reporting a practical way of monitoring different types of fatigue apart from Nordic skiers.
Journal of Fitness Research / Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.38-45