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The Relationships Between External and Internal Training Loads in Mixed Martial Arts

Christopher Kirk, Carl Langan-Evans, David R. Clark, and James P. Morton

Purpose: As a multidisciplined combat sport, relationships between external and internal training loads and intensities of mixed martial arts (MMA) have not been described. The aim of this study was to determine the external loads and intensities of MMA training categories and their relationship to internal loads and intensities. Methods: Twenty MMA athletes (age = 23.3 [5.3] y, mass = 72.1 [7.2] kg, stature = 171.5 [8.4] cm) were observed for 2 consecutive weeks. Internal load and intensity (session rating of perceived exertion [sRPE]) were calculated using the Foster RPE for the session overall (sRPE-training load [TL]) and segmented RPE (segRPE-TL) for each training category: warm-up, striking drills, wrestling drills, Brazilian jiujitsu (BJJ) drills, striking sparring, wrestling sparring, BJJ sparring, and MMA sparring. External load and intensity were measured via Catapult OptimEye S5 for the full duration of each session using accumulated Playerload (PLdACC) and PLdACC per minute (PLdACC·min−1). Differences in loads between categories and days were assessed via Bayesian analysis of variance (BF10 ≥ 3). Predictive relationships between internal and external variables were calculated using Bayesian regression. Results: Session overall sRPE-TL = 448.6 (191.1) arbitrary units (AU); PLdACC = 310.6 (112) AU. Category segRPE-TL range = 33.8 (22.6) AU (warm-up) to 122.8 (54.6) AU (BJJ drills). Category PLdACC range = 44 (36.3) AU (warm-up) to 125 (58.8) AU (MMA sparring). Neither sRPE-TL nor PLdACC changed between days. PLdACC was different between categories. Evidence for regressions was strong-decisive except for BJJ drills (BF10 = 7, moderate). R 2 range = .50 to .77, except for warm-up (R 2 = .17), BJJ drills (R 2 = .27), BJJ sparring (R 2 = .49), and session overall (R 2 = .13). Conclusions: While MMA training categories may be differentiated in terms of external load, overall session external load does not change within or between weeks. Resultant regression equations may be used to appropriately plan MMA technical/tactical training loads.

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The Validity of Perceptual Recovery Status on Monitoring Recovery During a High-Intensity Back-Squat Session

Nicholas A. Buoncristiani, Grant Malone, Whitley J. Stone, Scott Arnett, Mark A. Schafer, and Danilo V. Tolusso

Adaptations to resistance training and subsequent performance can be undermined by inadequate interset recovery. Methods typically used to monitor recovery were developed for longitudinal use, making them time-inefficient within singular exercise bouts. If valid, perceptual recovery status (PRS) may be used as an efficient and inexpensive assessment tool to monitor individual recovery. Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the validity of PRS on monitoring recovery during a high-intensity back-squat session. Methods: Ten healthy men participated in the 2-session study (separated by at least 48 h). Session 1 included anthropometrics, PRS familiarization, and a 1-repetition-maximum back squat. Session 2 included a high-intensity protocol (5 sets of 5 repetitions; 5-min interset recovery; 85% of 1-repetition maximum). PRS was obtained before the first set and during the last 30 seconds of each 5-minute recovery; rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was also collected. A linear position transducer collected mean barbell velocity (MBV). Repeated-measures correlations assessed the common intraindividual relationships of PRS scores to intraset MBV and RPE, respectively. Results: A very large, positive correlation appeared between PRS and MBV (r [95% CI] = .778 [.613 to .878]; P < .0001). A large, negative correlation emerged between PRS and RPE (r [95% CI] = −.549 [−.737 to −.282]; P < .001). Conclusions: Results indicate that PRS can be a means for practitioners to monitor individualized recovery. PRS tracked well with RPE, strengthening its utility in a practitioner-based setting. Findings provide insight into the practicality of PRS for recovery monitoring. It could be used alongside other measures (eg, MBV and countermovement jump) to individually program and maintain performance.

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Analysis of Sprint Ski Mountaineering Performance

Alessandro Fornasiero, Simone Fornoni, Alexa Callovini, Beatrice Todesco, Aldo Savoldelli, Federico Schena, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Barbara Pellegrini, and Lorenzo Bortolan

Ski mountaineering sprint competitions are short individual races involving 3 uphill sections (U), 3 transitions (T), and a final descent. To date, relatively little is known about this novel Olympic discipline, and here we examined (1) the contribution of the time spent on U, T, and final descent to overall finishing time and (2) the potential relationships with final ranking. During the different rounds of 2 International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Cup sprint competitions, male and female ski mountaineers were video recorded. Correlation and multiple linear regression analyses were used to investigate the impact of U, T, and final descent on the best overall finishing time. Linear-mixed model analysis was applied to explore potential interactions between section times, rounds, and final ranking. Overall, U (r = .90–.97) and T (r = .57–.89) were closely correlated with the best overall finishing time (all P < .05). U explained approximately 80% to 90% of the variation in the best finishing time for both sexes, with U + T explaining approximately 95% to 98% of this variation. In each successive round, the ski mountaineers eliminated were all slower on U than the Top 3 (all P < .05). The fastest skiers increased their performance on U in the later rounds of the competitions, while those eliminated showed a tendency toward a decrease. Our findings reveal that world-class sprint ski mountaineers conduct transitions optimally and perform effectively uphill. Training for such competitions should aim to improve short supramaximal uphill performance (∼1.5–2.5 min), ensuring that this does not decline with multiple efforts. These insights into ski mountaineering sprint performance are of considerable value in connection with training for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

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A Methodological Comparison of Protocols and Analytical Techniques to Assess the Outcome Measures of Submaximal Fitness Tests

Tzlil Shushan, Ric Lovell, Shaun J. McLaren, Steve Barrett, Martin Buchheit, Tannath J. Scott, and Dean Norris

Background: Submaximal fitness test (SMFT) outcome measures are frequently collected with a wide array of technologies and methodological approaches. Purpose: To examine the test–retest reliability of various SMFT outcome measures derived from different protocols and analytical techniques. Methods: Twenty-six semiprofessional adult soccer players performed 3 SMFT protocols, including 2 continuous (3 min, 11 and 12.8 km·h−1) and 1 intermittent (4 × 50 m, 18 km·h−1) twice, each separated by 7 days. Heart-rate (HR) indices (exercise HR, HR recovery) and scapula-mounted (PlayerLoad vector magnitude) and foot-mounted (flight time and contact time, stride length) microelectrical mechanical system–derived variables were collected using different time frames and analytical approaches adopted in the literature and practice. Absolute reliability was quantified as the group mean difference, typical error of measurement, also expressed as the coefficient of variation (where appropriate) and standardized units (ie, d). Intraclass correlation coefficient was used to quantify relative reliability. Results: The highest degrees of reliability were evident for exercise HR (typical error: 1.0%–1.6% points), the vertical component of PlayerLoad (expressed in arbitrary units; coefficient of variation: 5.5%–7.0%), and contact time (coefficient of variation: 1.5%–3.0%). These estimates were not influenced by SMFT protocol or analytical approach. All other measures displayed poorer reliability and/or were different between protocols and analytical methods. Conclusions: SMFT protocols impact the test–retest reliability of various outcome measures; however, exercise HR, vertical PlayerLoad, and contact time (derived from foot-mounted micro-electrical mechanical systems) appear to have stable measurement properties to assist the assessment of aerobic capacity and lower-limb neuromuscular status, respectively.

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Erratum. A Systematic Review of Digital Interventions to Promote Physical Activity in People With Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism

Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

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A Systematic Review of Digital Interventions to Promote Physical Activity in People With Intellectual Disabilities and/or Autism

Debbie Van Biesen, Tine Van Damme, Natalia Morgulec-Adamowicz, Aleksandra Buchholz, Momna Anjum, and Séan Healy

This systematic review synthesized the literature on digital health interventions for the promotion of physical activity (PA) among people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism. From an initial screening of 553 records, 10 studies underwent full-text review. Data were extracted relating to study, intervention, and sample characteristics and PA-related findings. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool. There were mixed findings pertaining to the effectiveness of digital health interventions for promoting PA among these populations. Positive results were reported for three of five active-video-game interventions, two of three social-media-based interventions, and one of two e-learning/multicomponent interventions. Digital health interventions can potentially be effective for promoting PA among people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism. However, the large variation in the samples and intervention types and a reliance on pre- and quasi-experimental research designs suggest that inferences should be made with caution and additional research is needed.

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Specialize Early and Select Late: Performance Trajectories of World-Class Finalists and International- and National-Class Swimmers

Dennis-Peter Born, Glenn Björklund, Jenny Lorentzen, Thomas Stöggl, and Michael Romann

Purpose: To investigate performance progression from early-junior to peak performance age and compare variety in race distances and swimming strokes between swimmers of various performance levels. Methods: Using a longitudinal data analysis and between-groups comparisons 306,165 annual best times of male swimmers (N = 3897) were used to establish a ranking based on annual best times at peak performance age. Individual performance trajectories were retrospectively analyzed to compare distance and stroke variety. Performances of world-class finalists and international- and national-class swimmers (swimming points: 886 [30], 793 [28], and 698 [28], respectively) were compared across 5 age groups—13–14, 15–16, 17–18, 19–20, and 21+ years—using a 2-way analysis of variance with repeated measures. Results: World-class finalists are not significantly faster than international-class swimmers up to the 17- to 18-year age group (F 2|774 = 65, P < .001, η p 2 = .14 ) but specialize in short- or long-distance races at a younger age. World-class breaststroke finalists show faster breaststroke times compared to their performance in other swimming strokes from an early age (P < .05), while world-class freestyle and individual medley finalists show less significant differences to their performance in other swimming strokes. Conclusions: While federation officials should aim for late talent selection, that is, not before the 17- to 18-year age group, coaches should aim to identify swimmers’ preferred race distances early on. However, the required stroke variety seems to be specific for each swimming stroke. Breaststroke swimmers could aim for early and strong specialization, while freestyle and individual medley swimmers could maintain large and very large stroke variety, respectively.

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Resistance Exercise Training, a Simple Intervention to Preserve Muscle Mass and Strength in Prostate Cancer Patients on Androgen Deprivation Therapy

Lisanne H.P. Houben, Milou Beelen, Luc J.C. van Loon, and Sandra Beijer

Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) forms the cornerstone in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer. However, by suppressing testosterone ADT results in a decrease of skeletal muscle mass. In this narrative review, we explore the magnitude and mechanisms of ADT-induced muscle mass loss and the consequences for muscle strength and physical performance. Subsequently, we elucidate the effectiveness of supervised resistance exercise training as a means to mitigate these adverse effects. Literature shows that resistance exercise training can effectively counteract ADT-induced loss of appendicular lean body mass and decline in muscle strength, while the effect on physical performances is inconclusive. As resistance exercise training is feasible and can be safely implemented during ADT (with special attention for patients with bone metastases), it should be incorporated in standard clinical care for prostate cancer patients (starting) with ADT.

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Effects of Timing and Types of Protein Supplementation on Improving Muscle Mass, Strength, and Physical Performance in Adults Undergoing Resistance Training: A Network Meta-Analysis

Huan-Huan Zhou, Yuxiao Liao, Xiaolei Zhou, Zhao Peng, Shiyin Xu, Shaojun Shi, Liegang Liu, Liping Hao, and Wei Yang

Precise protein supplementation strategies for muscle improvement are still lacking. The timing or type of protein supplementation has been debated as a window of opportunity to improve muscle mass, strength, and physical performance. We conducted a network meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials with protein supplements and resistance training. PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and SPORTDiscus databases were searched until May 1, 2023. We included 116 eligible trials with 4,711 participants that reported on 11 timing and 14 types of protein supplementation. Compared with placebo, protein supplementation after exercise (mean difference [MD]: 0.54 kg [95% confidence intervals 0.10, 0.99] for fat-free mass, MD: 0.34 kg [95% confidence intervals 0.10, 0.58] for skeletal muscle mass) and at night (MD: 2.85 kg [0.49, 5.22] for handgrip strength, MD: 12.12 kg [3.26, 20.99] for leg press strength) was most effective in improving muscle mass and strength, respectively (moderate certainty). Milk proteins (milk, whey protein, yogurt, casein, and bovine colostrum), red meat, and mixed protein were effective for gains in both muscle mass and strength (moderate certainty). No timing or type of protein showed a significant enhancement in physical performance (timed up-to-go test, 6-min walk test, and gait speed). Pre/postexercise and Night are key recommended times of protein intake to increase muscle mass and strength, respectively. Milk proteins are the preferred types of protein supplements for improving muscle mass and strength. Future randomized controlled trials that directly compare the effects of protein timing or types are needed. This trial was registered at International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews as CRD42022358766.