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Fredrik Tonstad Vårvik, Thomas Bjørnsen, and Adam M. Gonzalez

Citrulline malate (CitMal) is a dietary supplement that is suggested to enhance strength training performance. However, there is conflicting evidence on this matter. Thus, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine whether supplementing with CitMal prior to strength training could increase the total number of repetitions performed before reaching voluntary muscular failure. A systematic search was conducted wherein the inclusion criteria were double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in healthy participants that examined the effect of CitMal on repetitions to failure during upper body and lower body resistance exercises. The Hedges’s g standardized mean differences (SMD) between the placebo and CitMal trials were calculated and used in a random effect model. Two separate subanalyses were performed for upper body and lower body exercises. Eight studies, including 137 participants who consisted of strength-trained men (n = 101) and women (n = 26) in addition to untrained men (n = 9), fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Across the studies, 14 single-joint and multijoint exercises were performed with an average of 51 ± 23 total repetitions during 5 ± 3 sets per exercise at ∼70% of one-repetition maximum. Supplementing with 6–8 g of CitMal 40–60 min before exercise increased repetitions by 3 ± 5 (6.4 ± 7.9%) compared with placebo (p = .022) with a small SMD (0.196). The subanalysis for the lower body resulted in a tendency for an effect of the supplement (8.1 ± 8.4%, SMD: 0.27, p = .051) with no significant effect for the upper body (5.7 ± 8.4%, SMD: 0.16, p = .131). The current analysis observed a small ergogenic effect of CitMal compared with placebo. Acute CitMal supplementation may, therefore, delay fatigue and enhance muscle endurance during high-intensity strength training.

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Jeremy B. Ducharme, Ann L. Gibson, and Christine M. Mermier

The BodPod® (COSMED, Concord, CA) uses predicted (pTGV) or measured thoracic gas volume (mTGV) during estimations of percentage body fat (%BF). In young adults, there is inconsistent evidence on the variation between pTGV and mTGV, and the effect of sex as a potential covariate on this relationship is unknown. This study examined the difference between TGV assessments and its effect on %BF and potential sex differences that may impact this relationship. A retrospective analysis of BodPod® pTGV and mTGV for 95 men and 86 women ages 18–30 years was performed. Predicted TGV was lower than mTGV for men (−0.49 ± 0.7 L; p < .0001). For men, %BF derived by pTGV was lower than that by mTGV (−1.3 ± 1.8%; p < .0001). For women, no differences were found between pTGV and mTGV (−0.08 ± 0.6 L; p > .05) or %BF (−0.03 ± 0.2%; p > .05). The two-predictor model of sex and height was able to account for 57.9% of the variance in mTGV, F(2, 178) = 122.5, p < .0001. Sex corrected for the effect of height was a significant predictor of mTGV (β = 0.483 L, p < .0001). There is bias for pTGV to underestimate mTGV in individuals with a large mTGV, which can lead to significant underestimations of %BF in young adults; this was especially evident for men in this study. Sex is an important covariate that should be considered when deciding to use pTGV. The results indicate that TGV should be measured whenever possible for both men and women ages 18–30 years.

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Vitor de Salles Painelli, Emerson L. Teixeira, Bruno Tardone, Marina Moreno, Jonatas Morandini, Victória H. Larrain, and Flávio O. Pires

The long-standing caffeine habituation paradigm was never investigated in strength endurance and jumping exercise performance through a straightforward methodology. The authors examined if habitual caffeine consumption would influence the caffeine ergogenic effects on strength endurance and jumping performance as well as perceptual responses. Thirty-six strength-trained individuals were mathematically allocated into tertiles according to their habitual caffeine consumption: low (20 ± 11 mg/day), moderate (88 ± 33 mg/day), and high consumers (281 ± 167 mg/day). Then, in a double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced fashion, they performed a countermovement vertical jump test and a strength endurance test either after caffeine (6 mg/kg) and placebo supplementation or after no supplementation (control). Perceptual responses such as ratings of perceived exertion and pain were measured at the termination of the exercises. Acute caffeine supplementation improved countermovement vertical jump performance (p = .001) and total repetitions (p = .004), regardless of caffeine habituation. Accordingly, analysis of absolute change from the control session showed that caffeine promoted a significantly greater improvement in both countermovement vertical jump performance (p = .004) and total repetitions (p = .0001) compared with placebo. Caffeine did not affect the rating of perceived exertion and pain in any exercise tests, irrespective of tertiles (for all comparisons, p > .05 for both measures). Caffeine side effects were similar in low, moderate, and high caffeine consumers. These results show that habitual caffeine consumption does not influence the potential of caffeine as an ergogenic aid in strength endurance and jumping exercise performance, thus challenging recommendations to withdraw from the habitual caffeine consumption before supplementing with caffeine.

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Bruno Ruiz Brandão da Costa, Rafaela Rocha Roiffé, and Márcia Nogueira da Silva de la Cruz

The growing consumer awareness regarding health and fitness has been leading to a huge rise in the consumption of nutritional supplements and, consequently, to an increase in concerns about their quality. In this sense, one of the most consumed products is protein supplements and, despite being safer than other types of supplements, there are several studies showing incompatibilities between what is present on the labels and their actual content. Therefore, this review is focused on gathering information about the problems arising from poor manufacturing practices and inadequate quality control of sport protein supplements. These issues are mainly related to three aspects: reduction of the supplements’ nutritional value, the presence of pharmacological substances, and contamination with microorganisms or toxic metals. Regarding the first aspect, reports about the “classic” addition of nitrogen-rich compounds to mask the protein content measured by the Kjeldahl method were discussed, as well as recent topics such as the addition of cheaper proteins to produce an “undetectable” adulteration in whey protein supplements. With respect to the presence of pharmacological compounds, it is a finding that is not very common in protein supplements; however, even trace amounts of foreign substances in this type of product may cause adverse effects to consumers, and, in the case of an elite athlete, may result in doping. Finally, we discuss about the contamination with microorganisms and toxic metals, this latter being a subject that should be further explored due to few studies in the literature.

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Edgar Schwarz, Liam D. Harper, Rob Duffield, Robert McCunn, Andrew Govus, Sabrina Skorski, and Hugh H.K. Fullagar

Purpose: To examine practitioners’, coaches’, and athletes’ perceptions of evidence-based practice (EBP) in professional sport in Australia. Methods: One hundred thirty-eight participants (practitioners n = 67, coaches n = 39, and athletes n = 32) in various professional sports in Australia each completed a group-specific online questionnaire. Questions focused on perceptions of research, the contribution of participants’ own experience in implementing knowledge to practice, sources, and barriers for accessing and implementing EBP, preferred methods of feedback, and the required qualities of practitioners. Results: All practitioners reported using EBP, while most coaches and athletes believed that EBP contributes to individual performance and preparation (>85%). Practitioners’ preferred EBP information sources were “peer-reviewed journals” and “other practitioners within their sport,” while athlete sources were “practitioners within their sport” and “other athletes within their sport.” As primary barriers to accessing and implementing research, practitioners highlighted “time constraints,” “poor research translation,” and “nonapplicable research.” Practitioners ranked “informal conversation” as their most valued method of providing feedback; however, coaches prefer feedback from “scheduled meetings,” “online reports,” or “shared database.” Both athletes and coaches value “excellent knowledge of the sport,” “experience,” and “communication skills” in practitioners disseminating EBP. Conclusion: Practitioners, coaches, and athletes believe in the importance of EBP to their profession, although practitioners reported several barriers to accessing and implementing research as part of EBP. Athletes place a high value on experienced practitioners who have excellent knowledge of the sport and communication skills. Collectively, these findings can be used to further stakeholder understanding regarding EBP and the role of research to positively influence athlete health.

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Yetsa A. Tuakli-Wosornu, Xiang Li, Kimberly E. Ona Ayala, Yinfei Wu, Michael Amick, and David B. Frumberg

It is known that high-performance sprinters with unilateral and bilateral prosthetic lower limbs run at different speeds using different spatiotemporal strategies. Historically, these athletes still competed together in the same races, but 2018 classification rule revisions saw the separation of these two groups. This study sought to compare Paralympic sprint performance between all-comer (i.e., transfemoral and transtibial) unilateral and bilateral amputee sprinters using a large athlete sample. A retrospective analysis of race speed among Paralympic sprinters between 1996 and 2016 was conducted. In total, 584 published race results from 161 sprinters revealed that unilateral and bilateral lower-extremity amputee sprinters had significantly different race speeds in all three race finals (100 m, p value <.001; 200 m, <.001; 400 m, <.001). All-comer bilateral amputee runners ran faster than their unilateral counterparts; performance differences increased with race distance. These data support current classification criteria in amputee sprinting, which may create more equal competitive fields in the future.

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Joffrey Drigny, Marine Rolland, Robin Pla, Christophe Chesneau, Tess Lebreton, Benjamin Marais, Pierre Outin, Sébastien Moussay, Sébastien Racinais, and Benoit Mauvieux

Purpose: To measure core temperature (T core) in open-water (OW) swimmers during a 25-km competition and identify the predictors of T core drop and hypothermia-related dropouts. Methods: Twenty-four national- and international-level OW swimmers participated in the study. Participants completed a personal questionnaire and a body fat/muscle mass assessment before the race. The average speed was calculated on each lap over a 2500-m course. T core was continuously recorded via an ingestible temperature sensor (e-Celsius, BodyCap). Hypothermia-related dropouts (H group) were compared with finishers (nH group). Results: Average prerace T core was 37.5°C (0.3°C) (N = 21). 7 participants dropped out due to hypothermia (H, n = 7) with a mean T core at dropout of 35.3°C (1.5°C). Multiple logistic regression analysis found that body fat percentage and initial T core were associated with hypothermia (G 2 = 17.26, P < .001). Early T core drop ≤37.1°C at 2500 m was associated with a greater rate of hypothermia-related dropouts (71.4% vs 14.3%, P = .017). Multiple linear regression found that body fat percentage and previous participation were associated with T core drop (F = 4.95, P = .019). There was a positive correlation between the decrease in speed and T core drop (r = .462, P < .001). Conclusions: During an OW 25-km competition at 20°C to 21°C, lower initial T core and lower body fat, as well as premature T core drop, were associated with an increased risk of hypothermia-related dropout. Lower body fat and no previous participation, as well as decrease in swimming speed, were associated with T core drop.

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Paul Ritsche, Thomas Bernhard, Ralf Roth, Eric Lichtenstein, Martin Keller, Sabrina Zingg, Martino V. Franchi, and Oliver Faude

Purpose: Hamstring muscle architecture may be associated with sprint performance and the risk of sustaining a muscle injury, both of which increase during puberty. In this study, we investigated the m. biceps femoris long head (BFlh) cross-sectional area (ACSA), fascicle length (FL) and pennation angle (PA), and sprint performance as well as their relationship in under 13 to 15 youth soccer players. Methods: We measured 85 players in under-13 (n = 29, age = 12.5 [0.1] y, height = 155.3 [6.2] cm, weight = 43.9 [7.6] kg), under-14 (n = 25, age = 13.5 [0.3] y, height = 160.6 [7.7] cm, weight = 47.0 [6.8] kg), and under-15 (n = 31, age = 14.4 [0.3] y, height = 170.0 [7.7] cm, weight = 58.1 [8.8] kg) teams. We used ultrasound to measure BFlh ACSA, FL and PA, and sprint tests to assess 10- and 30-m sprint time, maximal velocity  (v max), and maximal acceleration (α max). We calculated Pearson r to assess the relationship between sprint ability and architectural parameters. Results: All muscle architectural parameters increased from the under-13 to the under-15 age group (BFlh ACSA = 37%, BFlh FL = 11%, BFlh PA = 8%). All sprint performance parameters improved from the under-13 to under-15 age categories (30-m time = 7%, 10-m time = 4%, v max = 9%, α max = 7%). The BFlh ACSA was correlated with 30-m sprint time (r = −.61 (95% compatibility interval [CI] [−.73, −.45]) and v max (r = .61, 95% CI [.45, .72]). A combination of BFlh ACSA and age best predicted 30-m time (R² = .47 [.33, .62]) and 10-m time (R² = .23 [.08, .38]). Conclusions: Muscle architectural as well as sprint performance parameters increase from the under-13 to under-15 age groups. Even though we found correlations for all assessed architectural parameters, BFlh ACSA was best related to the assessed sprint parameters.

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Iván Peña-González, José M. Sarabia, Alba Roldan, Agustín Manresa-Rocamora, and Manuel Moya-Ramón

In regular football, the players’ selection process involves an objective assessment based on their anthropometric and physical performance. However, available literature focused on players’ selection process in cerebral palsy (CP) football is scarce. Purpose: To describe the anthropometrical and physical performance profiles of the International Spanish CP footballers and to compare them with the remaining CP football players from the national competition. Method: A total of 75 CP football players from the Spanish CP Football National Competition (classified into the 3 existing classes: football class [FT] 1 = 38; FT2 = 29; FT3 = 8) participated in the study. Participants were divided into 2 groups: selected players (n = 15) and nonselected players (n = 60) for the national team. Anthropometrical data and physical performance (countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, modified agility T-test [MAT], and dribbling test) were collected. Results: There were significant differences in the 20-m sprint, MAT, and dribbling for the total sample and in MAT and dribbling for FT2 and FT3 classes between selected players and nonselected players (P < .05), but there were no differences for FT1. The MAT and dribbling showed a positive correlation and a high percentage of player selection prediction. Conclusion: Change-of-direction ability (ie, MAT) and dribbling skills are important when performing the selection process, as they allow the evaluation of important aspects of the game, but they may also provide the technical staff with an idea of the functionality and the physical performance of the players in each sport class.