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The Force–Velocity Profiling Concept for Sprint Running Is a Dead End

Gertjan Ettema

Purpose: In this commentary, I present arguments against the use of the force–velocity profiling concept in design and adaptations of training programs targeting sprinting. The purpose of this commentary is to make sports practitioners more aware of the rationale behind the concept and explain why it does not work. Rationale: Force–velocity profiling is a mathematical way to present the velocity development during sprint behavior. Some details of this behavior may be accentuated by transforming it to other variables, but it does not add any new information about sprint performance. Thus, contrary to what is often claimed, the force–velocity profile does not represent maximal capacities (ability of force and velocity generation) of the athlete. It is claimed that through force–velocity profiling one may identify the optimal ratio of force and velocity capacities. Furthermore, proponents of the force–velocity profiling concept suggest that through directed training force and velocity capacities can be altered (inversely dependent) to obtain this optimal ratio, without changing the capacity to express power. Fundamentally, this idea is unfounded and implausible. Conclusion: At best, force–velocity profiling may be able to identify between-athletes differences. However, these can be more easily deduced directly from performance time traces.

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Six Weeks of Unilateral Flywheel Hip-Extension and Leg-Curl Training Improves Flywheel Eccentric Peak Power but Does Not Enhance Hamstring Isokinetic or Isometric Strength

Kevin L. de Keijzer, Stuart A. McErlain-Naylor, and Marco Beato

Purpose: This preregistered trial investigated how 6 weeks of unilateral flywheel leg-curl and hip-extension training impact isokinetic, isometric, and flywheel strength and power outcomes. Methods: The study involved 11 male university athletes (age 22 [2] y; body mass 77.2 [11.3] kg; height 1.74 [0.09] m) with one leg randomly allocated to flywheel training and one leg to control. Unilateral eccentric and isometric knee-flexion torque and flywheel unilateral leg-curl and hip-extension peak power were tested. Training intensity and volume (3–4 sets of 6 + 2 repetitions) were progressively increased. Results: The intervention enhanced hip-extension concentric (P < .01, d = 1.76, large) and eccentric (P < .01, d = 1.33, large) peak power more than the control (significant interaction effect). Similarly, eccentric (P = .023, d = 1.05, moderate) peak power was enhanced for the leg curl. No statistically significant differences between conditions were found for isokinetic eccentric (P = .086, d = 0.77, moderate) and isometric (P = .431, d = 0.36, small) knee-flexor strength or leg-curl concentric peak power (P = .339, d = 0.52, small). Statistical parametric mapping analysis of torque–angle curves also revealed no significant (P > .05) time–limb interaction effect at any joint angle. Conclusion: Unilateral flywheel hamstring training improved knee-flexor eccentric peak power during unilateral flywheel exercise but not flywheel concentric, isokinetic eccentric, or isometric (long-lever) knee-flexor strength.

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Annual Volume and Distribution of Physical Training in Norwegian Female Cross-Country Skiers and Biathletes: A Comparison Between Sports, Competition Levels, and Age Categories—The FENDURA Project

John O. Osborne, Guro S. Solli, Tina P. Engseth, Boye Welde, Bente Morseth, Dionne A. Noordhof, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Erik P. Andersson

Purpose: To describe and compare the annual physical training characteristics between Norwegian female cross-country (XC) skiers and biathletes across competition levels and age categories. Methods: Daily training sessions for 1 year were recorded for 45 XC skiers and 26 biathletes, comprising international/national team (inter[national]) and nonnational/regional team members (nonnational) of both junior and senior age. Endurance, strength, flexibility, speed, and power training sessions were recorded. Data included exercise modality, intensity, and duration. Data were analyzed using linear mixed-effects models. Results: The total annual physical training volume consisted of ∼90% endurance training for both groups, although XC skiers had significantly higher total volumes (∼10%; P = .003; d = 0.78) than biathletes. Senior XC skiers performed more training hours of skiing and/or roller skiing compared with biathletes over the season. However, biathletes compensated for this lower volume by more skating and a higher proportion of endurance training as skiing (81% [17%]) compared with XC skiers (68% [16%]; P < .001; d = 0.94). Overall, (inter)national-level athletes completed a higher annual training volume than non-national-level athletes (740 [90] h vs 649 [95] h; P = .004;d = 0.81). Although juniors reported less endurance volume than seniors, they maintained a relatively stable level of endurance training across the preparatory and competition period, unlike senior athletes. Conclusions: The higher annual physical training volume by XC skiers compared with biathletes is likely caused by the different demands of the 2 sports; XC skiing necessitates training for 2 skiing styles, while biathlon requires additional shooting practice. However, biathletes compensate with a higher proportion of ski training, particularly in the skating technique.

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Assessment of Osteogenic Exercise Efficacy via Bone Turnover Markers in Premenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Horacio Sanchez-Trigo, Wolfgang Kemmler, Gustavo Duque, and Borja Sañudo

Assessing bone’s response to physical activity interventions is challenging. This randomized controlled trial investigates if changes in bone turnover markers can offer an early evaluation of a physical activity intervention’s effectiveness in improving bone mineral density (BMD) in premenopausal women. Participants in the intervention group (n = 27, with 24 completing the trial) were instructed to walk at least 10,000 steps every day on a brisk walk and to execute 60 jumps daily, each surpassing 4g of acceleration, using an accelerometer-based wearable device. Meanwhile, the control group (n = 26, with 18 completing the trial) continued with their usual lifestyle. Bone turnover markers, comprising of C-terminal telopeptide of Type I collagen, procollagen Type 1 N-terminal propeptide, and total osteocalcin (carboxylated and undercarboxylated) were measured at baseline and midway through the intervention (3 months). Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans of the hip and lumbar spine were conducted at baseline and the end of the intervention (6 months) to estimate BMD. Analysis of covariance exhibited significant differences between groups in procollagen Type 1 N-terminal propeptide (−6.74 μg/L, p = .023) and C-terminal telopeptide of Type I collagen (−83 ng/L, p = .043) after 3 months, and in femoral neck BMD (+0.024 g/cm2, p = .016), total hip BMD (+0.036 g/cm2, p = .004), and lumbar spine BMD (+0.026 g/cm2, p = .020) after 6 months. A significant correlation (r = −.73; p < .001) was detected between reductions in C-terminal telopeptide of Type I collagen and increases in femoral neck BMD. In conclusion, this intervention improved BMD in premenopausal women, with bone turnover markers potentially useful for early intervention assessment, though further research is needed.

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The Effect of Exercise Intensity on Carbohydrate Sparing Postexercise: Implications for Postexercise Hypoglycemia

Raymond J. Davey, Mohamad H. Jaafar, Luis D. Ferreira, and Paul A. Fournier

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of exercise intensity on the proportion and rate of carbohydrate oxidation and glucoregulatory hormone responses during recovery from exercise. Six physically active participants completed 1 hr of low-intensity (LI; 50% lactate threshold) or moderate-intensity (MI; 100% lactate threshold) exercise on separate days following a randomized counterbalanced design. During exercise and for 6 hr of recovery, samples of expired air were collected to determine oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio, energy expenditure, and substrate oxidation rates. Blood samples were also collected to measure glucoregulatory hormones (catecholamines, GH) and metabolites (glucose, free fatty acids, lactate, pH, and bicarbonate). During exercise, respiratory exchange ratio, energy expenditure, and the proportion and rate of carbohydrate (CHO) oxidation were higher during MI compared with LI. However, during recovery from MI, respiratory exchange ratio and the proportion and rate of CHO oxidation were lower than preexercise levels and corresponding LI. During exercise and early recovery, catecholamines and growth hormone were higher in MI than LI, and there was a trend for higher levels of free fatty acids in the early recovery from MI compared with LI. In summary, CHO oxidation during exercise increases with exercise intensity but there is a preference for CHO sparing (and fat oxidation) during recovery from MI exercise compared with LI exercise. This exercise intensity-dependent shift in substrate oxidation during recovery is explained, in part, by the pattern of change of key glucoregulatory hormones including catecholamines and growth hormone and plasma fatty acid concentrations.

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Four Sessions of Repeated-Sprint Cycling Training With or Without Severe Hypoxia Do Not Modify Overground Running Sprint Force–Velocity Profile

Franck Brocherie, Sebastien Racinais, Anthony Couderc, Julien Piscione, and Olivier Girard

Purpose: To investigate the effect of cycling-based repeated-sprint training in hypoxia versus in normoxia on single overground running sprint performance and associated force–velocity (F–V) profile in world-class female rugby sevens players. Methods: Eighteen world-class female rugby sevens players were randomly assigned to repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia (n = 9) or normoxia (n = 9) groups. Training consisted of 4 sessions of repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia or in normoxia (4 × 5 × 5-s cycle sprints—25-s intersprint recovery performed in simulated altitude of ∼5000 m or in normoxia with 3-min interset rest in normoxia for both groups) in addition to rugby sevens training and strength and conditioning sessions within a 9-day intervention period before an international competition. Before and 1 day after the intervention, single 50-m overground running “all-out” sprint performance and associated F–V-related mechanical output were assessed. Results: No interaction (group × time; all P > .088), time effect (before vs 1 d after; all P > .296), or group effect (repeated-sprint cycling training in normobaric hypoxia vs in normoxia; all P > .325) was detected for 50-m overground running sprint performance and any derived F–V profiling variables. Conclusions: Four sessions of repeated-sprint training either in hypoxia or in normoxia performed over 9 days had no influence on single 50-m overground running sprint performance and associated F–V profile. In world-class female rugby sevens players, the intervention (training camp before an international competition) might have been too short to induce measurable changes. It is also plausible that implementing a similar program in players with likely different F–V profile may result in negligible mechanical effect.

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Match Running Performance in Australian Football Is Related to Muscle Fiber Typology

Henry J. Hopwood, Phillip M. Bellinger, Heidi R. Compton, Matthew N. Bourne, Wim Derave, Eline Lievens, Ben Kennedy, and Clare L. Minahan

Purpose: To examine the association between muscle fiber typology and match running performance in professional Australian football (AF) athletes. Methods: An observational time–motion analysis was performed on 23 professional AF athletes during 224 games throughout the 2020 competitive season. Athletes were categorized by position as hybrid, small, or tall. Athlete running performance was measured using Global Navigation Satellite System devices. Mean total match running performance and maximal mean intensity values were calculated for moving mean durations between 1 and 10 minutes for speed (in meters per minute), high-speed-running distance (HSR, >4.17 m·s−1), and acceleration (in meters per second squared), while intercept and slopes were calculated using power law. Carnosine content was quantified by proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the gastrocnemius and soleus and expressed as a carnosine aggregate z score (CAZ score) to estimate muscle fiber typology. Mixed linear models were used to determine the association between CAZ score and running performance. Results: The mean (range) CAZ score was −0.60 (−1.89 to 1.25), indicating that most athletes possessed a greater estimated proportion of type I muscle fibers. A greater estimated proportion of type I fibers (ie, lower CAZ score) was associated with a larger accumulation of HSR (>4.17 m·s−1) and an increased ability to maintain HSR as the peak period duration increased. Conclusion: AF athletes with a greater estimated proportion of type I muscle fibers were associated with a greater capacity to accumulate distance running at high speeds, as well as a greater capacity to maintain higher output of HSR running during peak periods as duration increases.

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Accuracy of Heart-Rate-Recovery Parameters Assessed From a Wrist-Worn Photoplethysmography Monitor (Polar Unite)

Quentin Bretonneau, Etienne Peruque-Gayou, Etienne Wolfs, and Laurent Bosquet

Purpose: The accuracy of heart rate (HR) measured with a wrist-worn photoplethysmography (PPG) monitor is altered during rest–exercise and exercise–rest transitions, which questions the validity of postexercise HR-recovery (HRR) parameters estimated from this device. Methods: Thirty participants (50% female) randomly performed two 13-minute sequences (3′ rest, 5′ submaximal-intensity exercise, and 5′ passive recovery) on treadmill and bicycle ergometers. HR was measured concomitantly with a 10-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) and a wrist-worn PPG monitor (Polar Unite). HRR was assessed by calculating Δ60 (the difference between HR during exercise and HR 60 s after exercise cessation) and by fitting HRR data into a monoexponential model. Results: By focusing on Δ60 and τ (the time constant of the monoexponential curve), levels of association (r) of the Unite versus the 10-lead ECG were high to very high (.73 < r < .93), and coefficients of variation were >20% (in absolute value), except for Δ60 in the bicycle ergometer condition (11.7%). In 97% of cases, the decrease in HR after exercise appeared later with the Unite. By adjusting the time window used for the analysis according to this time lag, coefficients of variation of Δ60 decreased below 10% in the bicycle ergometer condition. Conclusions: If a wrist-worn PPG monitor is used to assess HRR, we recommend performing the submaximal-intensity exercise on a bicycle ergometer and focusing on Δ60. Furthermore, to obtain a more accurate Δ60, the time lag between the end of the exercise and the effective decrease in HR should also be considered before the calculation.

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Erratum. Effect of Moderate Versus Vigorous Exercise Intensity on Body Composition in Young Untrained Adults: The Activating Brown Adipose Tissue Through Exercise (ACTIBATE) Randomized Controlled Trial

International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism

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Promoting Physical Activity and Fitness: Supporting Individuals With Childhood-Onset Disabilities

Myung Ha Sur