Experts have highlighted the importance of coaches knowing the level of mental fatigue (MF) induced by different tasks. This study aimed to compare the mentally fatiguing nature of cognitive, physical, and combined tasks and, additionally, assess the effect of different moderating variables on MF. Twenty-three physically active (16 males: M age = 24 years; seven females: M age = 22.57 years) participants performed three experimental sessions: (a) physically fatiguing: 30 min of cycloergometer work (at 65%–75% of maximum heart rate), (b) mentally fatiguing: 30 min of an incongruent Stroop task, and (c) mixed fatiguing: 30 min of combining the physically and mentally fatiguing protocols. Subjective MF (visual analog scale), reaction time (psychomotor vigilance task), and cognitive performance (Stroop) were measured throughout the different protocols. Results showed significant increments in subjective MF after all tasks, with the mental and mixed protocols showing significantly higher increases. Only the mentally fatiguing protocol caused significant impairments in reaction time. No significant effects of sex, years of experience, or degree of mental toughness were observed. These results suggest that the use of all these tasks, and especially the mentally fatiguing exercises, should be avoided immediately prior to competitions due to the negative consequences of MF on performance. Moreover, this effect seems to be independent of the sex, years of experience, or mental toughness of athletes.
Ana Rubio-Morales, Jesús Díaz-García, Carlos Barbosa, Jelle Habay, Miguel Ángel López-Gajardo, and Tomás García-Calvo
Cong Peng, Na Yao, Xin Wang, and Dangxiao Wang
This study examined whether within-a-hand and between-hands finger pairings would exhibit different interfinger synchronization capabilities in discrete fine-force control tasks. Participants were required to perform the designed force control tasks using finger pairings of index and middle fingers on one or two hands. Results demonstrated that the delayed reaction time and the timing difference of paired fingers showed a significant difference among finger pairings. In particular, paired fingers exhibited less delayed reaction time and timing difference in between-hands finger pairings than in within-a-hand finger pairings. Such bimanual advantage of the pairings with two symmetric fingers was evident only in the task types with relatively high amplitudes. However, for a given finger pairing, the asymmetric amplitude configuration, assigning a relatively higher amplitude to either left or right finger of paired fingers, has no significant effect on the interfinger synchronization. Therefore, paired fingers on both hands showed a bimanual advantage in the relatively high force, especially for the pairing of symmetrical fingers, whereas asymmetric amplitude configuration for a finger pairing was able to suppress the bimanual advantage. These findings would enrich the understanding of the interfinger synchronization capability of paired fingers and be referential for interactive engineering applications when leveraging the interfinger synchronization capability in discrete fine-force control tasks.
Muhammad Ridhuan Johari, Ying Hwa Kee, and Pui Wah Kong
The aim of this study was to establish the utility of the dance-specific balance test in examining the stability in postural control for dancers. Specifically, the method involves using the time taken to stabilize upon perturbation to quantify postural stability. The dance-specific balance test involved performing a four-step dance-like routine followed by a forward hop onto the force plate with one’s dominant leg, ending with an attempt to sustain balance for a 30-s period. Results from the dance-specific balance test indicated that dancers stabilize faster (0.45 ± 0.11 s) than nondancers (1.09 ± 0.59 s); t(35.39) = −6.16, p < .001, Cohen’s d = 1.46. Dancers are found to be faster to adapt after a perturbation than nondancers, and this suggests the usability of this tool for assessing stability in dancers.
Debra Kriger, Amélie Keyser-Verreault, Janelle Joseph, and Danielle Peers
Intersectional approaches are needed in sport research and administration to create significant changes in access, participation, and leadership. The operationalizing intersectionality framework—graphically represented as a wheel with spokes and points of traction—offers a nonexhaustive, evolving structure that can facilitate contextual, deliberate actions to disrupt overlapping systems of oppression. The framework was assembled to guide E-Alliance, the gender equity in sport in Canada research hub, in embodying its commitment to intersectional approaches and designed for broader application to sport. Current gender equity efforts mostly continue to prioritize the knowledge and needs of White, middle–upper-class, nondisabled, not fat, heteronormative, binary, cisgender women and have yet to achieve parity. Acting meaningfully on commitments to intersectional approaches means focusing on how axes work together and influence each other. The framework can help advance cultural sport psychology and ultimately improve athletic well-being.
Cristina Cabrejas, Jose Morales, Mónica Solana-Tramunt, Ainhoa Nieto-Guisado, Alesander Badiola-Zabala, and Josep Campos-Rius
It has been suggested that core stability and plyometric training (CPT) can enhance athletes’ postural control. Nevertheless, the effects of an integrated core and plyometric training program on rhythmic gymnastics (RG) performance are unclear. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of an integrated functional CPT program on young rhythmics gymnasts’ postural performance. A sample of 44 young female rhythmic gymnasts from a competitive team (age = 10.5 ± 1.8 years) participated in the study. The subjects were randomly divided into a control group and an experimental group. Pre- and posttest design was used. Postural control was assessed using single-leg stance tests and RG-specific balances over a force platform and evaluated by expert RG judges. The experimental group (n = 23) completed an 8-week functional CPT program based on RG technical requirements. Meanwhile, the control group (n = 21) received their usual training sessions. A mixed model of analysis of variance was applied to evaluate the effects of an intrasubject factor and an intersubject factor on each of the dependent variables. After 8 weeks, the experimental group obtained significant better results in some variables of the right support leg with eyes open and left support leg with eyes open single-leg support (p < .01), improvements were also found in some specific RG balances: Arabesque measured on the force platform (p < .01) and the side leg with help balance scored by the judges (p < .01). In conclusion, an integrated functional CPT program improved postural control in young rhythmic gymnasts. Coaches should consider using this CPT to improve RG performance.
Francis M. Grover, Valéria Andrade, Nicole S. Carver, Scott Bonnette, Michael A. Riley, and Paula L. Silva
The uncontrolled manifold (UCM) approach quantifies the presence of compensatory variability between musculoskeletal elements involved in a motor task. This approach has proved useful for identifying synergistic control strategies for a variety of everyday motor tasks and for investigating how control strategies are affected by motor pathology. However, the UCM approach is limited in its ability to relate compensatory motor variance directly to task performance because variability along the UCM is mathematically agnostic to performance. We present a new approach to UCM analysis that quantifies patterns of irregularity in the compensatory variability between motor elements over time. In a bimanual isometric force stabilization task, irregular patterns of compensation between index fingers predicted greater performance error associated with difficult task conditions, in particular for individuals who exploited a larger set of compensatory strategies (i.e., a larger subspace of the UCM). This relationship between the amount and structure of compensatory motor variance might be an expression of underlying processes supporting performance resilience.
Nikki E. Barczak-Scarboro, Emily Kroshus, Brett Pexa, Johna K. Register Mihalik, and J.D. DeFreese
Competitive sport involves physical and psychological stressors, such as training load and stress perceptions, that athletes must adapt to in order to maintain health and performance. Psychological resilience, one’s capacity to equilibrate or adapt affective and behavioral responses to adverse physical or emotional experiences, is an important topic in athlete training and performance. The study purpose was to investigate associations of training load and perceived sport stress with athlete psychological resilience trajectories. Sixty-one collegiate club athletes (30 females and 31 males) completed self-reported surveys over 6 weeks of training. Athletes significantly differed in resilience at the beginning of competitive training. Baseline resilience differences were associated with resilience trajectories. Perceived stress and training load were negatively associated with resilience. Physical and psychological stressors had a small but statistically significant impact on resilience across weeks of competitive training, indicating that both types of stressors should be monitored to maintain athlete resilience.
Mateu Busquets-Ferrer, Francisco Tomás González-Fernández, Filipe Manuel Clemente, and Alfonso Castillo-Rodriguez
For this research, we analyzed the immediate effects of warm-up condition (WC) or without warm-up condition (WWC) on amateur referees’ physical and cognitive functioning. Eight professional soccer referees from the Balearic Committee of Football Referees were the participants of this study. Body composition characteristics were measured and the scores on three tests were recorded: the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery, repeated-sprint ability, and psychomotor vigilance task. Regarding results, the psychomotor vigilance task was performed better after warm-up training (p = .002, η2 = .79) with faster reaction times following WC (M = 318.2, SD = 27.1 ms) than WWC (M = 334.9, SD = 26.1). Similarly, the referees’ performance was better on the repeated-sprint ability test after WC (p = .002, d = 0.53) than WWC, with minimum and average power values higher after WC (M = 626.77, SD = 112.57) than WWC (M = 562.35, SD = 79.63). We conclude that re-warm-up training may mitigate the vigilance performance changes caused by effects of rest on soccer referees.
Jacey Baldridge and Adam C. King
During upright standing, individuals often use co-contraction muscle activity at the ankle joint when encountering increased postural difficulty; however, this strategy has been shown to be maladaptive. The purpose of the current investigation was to examine the effect of sloped standing on postural sway and muscle co-contraction at the ankle joint as a function of postural difficulty. Twelve young (21.67 ± 1.11 years) adults performed upright standing on flat, declined, and inclined support surfaces. Center of pressure displacements indexed postural sway while electromyography data were collected for the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius medialis muscles. A co-contraction index and a nonlinear coupling metric (cross-approximate entropy) were computed between ankle dorsiflexor and plantar flexor muscles (tibialis anterior/gastrocnemius medialis) activity. The results showed that higher degrees of postural difficulty led to increased amounts of sway as well as increased sway regularity. Lower co-contraction index was observed for higher degrees of postural difficulty; however, increased dynamic coupling occurred with deviations from the flat standing condition. Overall, increased postural difficulty as manipulated by sloped standing (in either inclined or declined conditions) resulted in individuals adopting a more regular sway trajectory that may be due, in part, to a stronger dynamic coupling strategy occurring at the neuromuscular level.
Rogerio Pessoto Hirata, Alexander W. Erbs, Erik Gadsbøll, Rannvá Winther, Sanne H. Christensen, and Morten Bilde Simonsen
Dysfunction of the tibialis posterior muscle is the most common cause of adult acquired flat foot. Tibialis posterior muscle weakness has been observed in several patient populations, including those in the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis. However, the influence of tibialis posterior weakness on gait mechanics is not fully understood, although gait instability has been reported. In 24 healthy participants, 3-dimension lower limb kinematics and kinetics during walking were evaluated bilaterally, before and after, a muscle fatigue protocol aiming to decrease the right foot adductor muscles strength, including the tibialis posterior muscle. The 3-dimension gait kinematics and kinetics were analyzed with statistical parametric mapping. The stance phase duration was increased for the right side. The right ankle external rotation moment decreased, and the left hip extension moment increased with reduced muscle strength compared with normal strength conditions. These changes are similar in patients with dysfunction in the tibialis posterior muscle, indicating that compensatory strategies observed in these patients might be related to the loss of tibialis posterior muscle strength. Such strategies may involve the unaffected side.