How To Increase An Athlete's Physical And Mental Capacity By Using Biofeedback.

If you want to increase your athlete's capacity, we suggest combining heart rate zone training with cognitive training as athletes are able to push their physical and cognitive thresholds further, maximizing the training effect.

How To Increase An Athlete's Physical And Mental Capacity By Using Biofeedback.

In a recent study, it was proven that by providing heart rate (HR) biofeedback, participants could push harder for longer even after performing high cognitive load tasks, compared to those that did not receive heart rate biofeedback. It has also been proven that by combining cognitive training with cardiovascular training the improvement in cognitive and physical performance is significant.

Concurrent brain endurance training improves endurance exercise performance.

  • Brain Endurance Training (BET) 32% - Improvement
  • Control 12% - Improvement

The effect of simultaneous physical and brain endurance training on fatigue and exercise tolerance inactive people.

  • Brain Endurance Training (BET) 176% - Improvement
  • Control 86% - Improvement

A randomized controlled trial of Brain Endurance Training (BET) to reduce fatigue during endurance exercise.

  • Brain Endurance Training (BET) 126% - Improvement
  • Control 42% - Improvement

If you want to increase your athlete's capacity, we suggest combining heart rate zone training with cognitive training as athletes are able to push their physical and cognitive thresholds further, maximizing the training effect.  

If you are looking to increase an athlete's perception of effort and prepare them for difficult situations, we suggest using the pre-fatigue method of cognitive training or removing heart rate biofeedback during training to increase the cognitive load on the athlete's brain.

Study: Heart rate biofeedback attenuates effects of mental fatigue on exercise performance

Objective: Cognitive control exertion increases mental fatigue and impairs subsequent physical performance. Few studies have investigated intervention strategies to attenuate the effects of mental fatigue on exercise behavior. This study examined heart rate (HR) biofeedback as a moderator of the effects of mental fatigue on vigorous-intensity exercise performance. Design: Within-subjects, crossover design.

Methods: Participants (N = 36) completed four 20-min sessions of self-paced, cycling exercise. Exercise was preceded by 10-min high or low cognitive control manipulations crossed with HR biofeedback or no feedback during exercise in a 2 (high vs. low cognitive control) X 2 (biofeedback vs. no feedback) factorial arrangement. Participants rated their intended rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and goal commitment prior to and following the cognitive control manipulations. HR and total work were recorded during each exercise session.

Results: Mental fatigue was significantly greater following high cognitive control exertion, which corresponded with significant reductions in intended RPE and goal commitment. Participants exercised at a lower average HR and performed less work in the high cognitive control/no feedback condition, however, with HR biofeedback following high cognitive control exertion participants attained similar HRs and total work performed to the low cognitive control conditions, which did not differ.

Conclusions: HR biofeedback improves self-regulation of exercise behavior in a mentally fatigued state. Without biofeedback, fatigued people may down-regulate exercise intensity. Findings have implications for the use of HR-monitoring devices to improve intensity-based exercise prescription adherence when confronted with barriers such as mental fatigue.

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Cognitive Integration Research

Study: Concurrent brain endurance training improves endurance exercise performance.

Mental fatigue impairs endurance exercise. Brain endurance training (BET) – engaging in cognitively fatiguing tasks during exercise - can develop resilience to mental fatigue and improve physical performance over physical training alone. The mechanism for this effect is unknown.

This experiment examines if BET enhances performance over physical training and investigates potential underlying physiological mechanisms.

Design

A mixed design randomised control trial.

Methods

Pre- and post-testing: 36 participants completed dynamic rhythmic muscular endurance handgrip tasks requiring generation of as much force as possible once a second for 300 s, performed under 3 counterbalanced conditions: following 600 s of a 2-back memory/attention task (subsequent); while performing a 2-back task (concurrent); and on its own (solo). Cardiac activity, electromyographic forearm activity, pre-frontal cerebral haemodynamics (near infrared spectroscopy), and force were recorded. Training: Participants (randomised to a Control or BET group) completed 24 (6 weeks) submaximal hand contractions sessions. The BET group also completed concurrent cognitive tasks (2-back, Stroop). Measures of motivation, physical and mental exertion and mental fatigue were collected throughout.

Results

Endurance performance, across the 3 tasks, improved more following BET (32%) than Control (12%) (p < 0.05). The better performance following BET occurred with a higher pre-frontal oxygenation during the post-training physical tasks over time relative to Control (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

Concurrent BET improved endurance performance over physical training alone. This was accompanied by a training-induced maintenance of pre-frontal oxygenation, suggestive of reduced mental effort during physical activity.

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Study: The effect of simultaneous physical and brain endurance training on fatigue and exercise tolerance inactive people.

The results of the present study showed that performing brain and physical endurance exercises simultaneously increases the time to exhaustion more than physical endurance exercises. This significant increase in endurance performance was associated with a significant reduction in perception of effort in the group of physical endurance training + brain endurance training during strenuous endurance activity. However, the heart rate index did not change significantly after these two interventions. In addition, the results of the present study showed that the time to exhaustion after 24 training sessions in both groups of physical endurance training + brain endurance training and physical endurance training, in the post-test, increased significantly compared to the pre-test; The change was 176% in the group of physical endurance training + brain endurance training and 86% in the group of physical endurance training.

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Study: A randomized controlled trial of Brain Endurance Training (BET) to reduce fatigue during endurance exercise.

PURPOSE: Brain Endurance Training (BET) is a new training method that uses acute mental fatigue as a training stimulus to induce chronic reductions in fatigue during physical and/or cognitive tasks. The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of BET in alleviating fatigue during endurance exercise in healthy male adults. The hypotheses were that the combination of BET and standard endurance training increases endurance exercise performance and reduces rating of perceived exertion (RPE) more than standard endurance training alone.

METHODS: 35 healthy male volunteers were randomly assigned to two different training groups: BET and control. Both groups trained on a cycle ergometer for 60 min at 65% VO2max. Whilst cycling, the BET group performed a mentally fatiguing task on a computer. The control group was not involved in any mentally fatiguing task whilst cycling. Both groups trained three times a week for 12 weeks. VO2max and endurance exercise performance (time to exhaustion [TTE] test at 75% of current VO2max) were measured at baseline (pre-test), after six weeks of training (mid-test) and after 12 weeks of training (post-test). RPE was measured every minute during the TTE test. Data were analysed using mixed model ANOVAs. RESULTS: VO2max increased similarly in both groups from 40 ± 5 ml/kg/min to 52 ± 6 ml/kg/min (P < 0.01). However, TTE increased significantly more in the BET group (pre-test 28 ± 9 min; mid-test 39 ± 11 min; post-test 55 ± 17 min) than in the control group (pre-test 18 ± 5 min; mid-test 23 ± 7 min; post-test 28 ± 12 min) (p < 0.01). Analysis of covariance to adjust for the pre-test difference in TTE also revealed a larger improvement in the BET group (+126%) compared to the control group (+42%) (p< 0.01). RPE during the TTE was significantly lower in the BET group compared to the control group (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The results of this study provide initial evidence that the combination of BET and standard endurance training is more effective than standard endurance training alone in alleviating fatigue during endurance exercise in healthy male adults.

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