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Volume 19 (2024): Issue 6 (Jun 2024)

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A Biopsychosocial Framework for Sport Science: “A Jack of All Trades Is Oftentimes Better Than a Master of One”

Kerry McGawley

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Effects of Different Conditioning Activities on the Sprint Performance of Elite Sprinters: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis

Irineu Loturco, Lucas A. Pereira, Túlio B.M.A. Moura, Michael R. McGuigan, and Daniel Boullosa

Purpose: Postactivation performance enhancement (PAPE), which refers to the phenomena associated with the attainment of enhanced performance in sport-specific tasks after a conditioning activity, is an important objective of warming-up practices in many sports. This is even more relevant for sprinters, as potential increases in sprinting speed will directly influence their competitive results. This systematic review with meta-analysis evaluated the effects of different PAPE protocols (ie, using plyometrics, strength-power exercises, and resisted/assisted sprints) on the sprinting performance (ie, sprint time or sprint speed) of competitive sprinters. Methods: Initially, 1205 records published until last December 18 were identified, using the following databases: PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and Clarivate Web of Science. After removing duplicates and screening titles and abstracts, 14 high-quality studies met the inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis. Results: Overall, there were no significant changes in sprint performance after implementing various types of conditioning activities (standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.16 [95% CI, −0.02 to 0.33]; Z = 1.78; P = .08; I 2 = 0%). In addition, when comparing prechanges and postchanges between experimental, control, and other conditions, no significant differences were found in sprint speed or time across all studies (SMD = 0.09 [95% CI, −0.10 to 0.28]; Z = 0.92; P = .36; I = 0%). Conclusions: Results revealed that different types of conditioning activities may not be capable of acutely enhancing the sprint speed of competitive sprinters. This aligns with previous observations indicating that sprinting is a highly stable physical capacity, a phenomenon that is even more consistent among elite sprinters. Coaches and sport scientists should collaborate to develop more efficient PAPE protocols for these highly specialized athletes, with special attention to study design and individualization, while considering their effects on acceleration versus top speed.

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Test–Retest Reliability of Running Economy and Metabolic and Cardiorespiratory Parameters During a Multistage Incremental Treadmill Test in Male Middle- and Long-Distance Runners

Aidan J. Brady, Mark Roantree, and Brendan Egan

This study investigated the test–retest reliability of running economy (RE) and metabolic and cardiorespiratory parameters related to endurance running performance using a multistage incremental treadmill test. On two occasions separated by 21–28 days, 12 male middle- and long-distance runners ran at 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 km/hr for 8 min each stage, immediately followed by a ramp test to volitional exhaustion. Carbohydrate (10% maltodextrin solution) was consumed before and during the test to provide ∼1 g/min of exercise. RE, minute ventilation ( V ˙ E ), oxygen consumption ( V ˙ O 2 ), carbon dioxide production ( V ˙ CO 2 ), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), heart rate (HR), ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), and blood glucose and lactate concentrations were recorded for each stage and at volitional exhaustion. Time-to-exhaustion (TTE) and peak oxygen consumption ( V ˙ O 2 peak ) during the ramp test were also recorded. Absolute reliability, calculated as the coefficient of variation (CV) between repeated measures, ranged from 2.3% to 3.1% for RE, whereas relative reliability, calculated as the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), ranged from .42 to .79. V ˙ E , V ˙ O 2 , V ˙ O 2 peak , V ˙ CO 2 , RER, and HR had a CV of 1.1%–4.3% across all stages. TTE and RPE had a CV of 7.2% and 2.3%–10.8%, respectively, while glucose and lactate had a CV of 4.0%–17.8%. All other parameters, except for blood glucose, were demonstrated to have good-to-excellent relative reliability assessed by ICC. Measures of RE, V ˙ O 2 peak , and TTE were reliable during this two-phase multistage incremental treadmill test in a cohort of trained and highly trained male middle- and long-distance runners.

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Velocity–Load Jump Testing Predicts Acceleration Performance in Elite Speed Skaters: But Does Movement Specificity Matter?

Matthew Zukowski, Walter Herzog, and Matthew J. Jordan

Purpose: In this study, we compared the influence of movement specificity during velocity–load jump testing to predict on-ice acceleration performance in elite speed skaters. Methods: Elite long-track speed skaters (N = 27) performed velocity–load testing with 3 external loads during unilateral horizontal jumping, lateral jumping, and bilateral vertical countermovement jumping. For the unilateral tests, external load conditions were set to 10 N, 7.5% and 15% of external load relative to body weight. For the countermovement jumping, load conditions were body weight and 30% and 60% of external load relative to body weight. On-ice performance measures were obtained during maximal 50-m accelerations from a standing start, including maximal skating speed, maximal acceleration capacity, and maximum horizontal power. The 100-m split time from a 500-m race was also obtained. Regularized regression models were used to identify the most important predictors of on-ice acceleration performance. In addition to regularized regression coefficients, Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were calculated for all variables retained by the model to assess interrelationships between single predictors and on-ice performance measures. Results: The countermovement jump with 30% of body mass demonstrated the strongest association with maximal skating speed, maximum horizontal power, and 100-m time (regularized regression coefficient = .16−.49, r = .84−.97, P < .001). Horizontal jump with 15% of body mass was the strongest predictor of maximal acceleration capacity performance (regularized regression coefficient = .08, r = .83, P < .001). Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that mechanical specificity rather than movement specificity was more relevant for predicting on-ice acceleration performance.

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Comparative Effects of Advanced Footwear Technology in Track Spikes and Road-Racing Shoes on Running Economy

Dustin P. Joubert, Garrett M. Oehlert, Eric J. Jones, and Geoffrey T. Burns

Purpose: Determine the effects of advanced footwear technology (AFT) in track spikes and road-racing shoes on running economy (RE). Methods: Four racing shoes (3 AFT and 1 control) and 3 track spikes (2 AFT and 1 control) were tested in 9 male distance runners on 2 visits. Shoes were tested in a random sequence over 5-minute trials on visit 1 (7 trials at 16 km·h−1; 5-min rest between trials) and in the reverse/mirrored order on visit 2. Metabolic data were collected and averaged across visits. Results: There were significant differences across footwear conditions for oxygen consumption (F = 13.046; P < .001) and energy expenditure (F = 14.710; P < .001). Oxygen consumption (in milliliters per kilogram per minute) in both the first AFT spike (49.1 [1.7]; P < .001; d z  = 2.1) and the other AFT spike (49.3 [1.7]; P < .001; d z  = 1.7) was significantly lower than the control spike (50.2 [1.6]), which represented a 2.1% (1.0%) and 1.8% (1.0%) improvement in RE, respectively, for the AFT spikes. When comparing the subjects’ most economic shoe by oxygen consumption (49.0 [1.5]) against their most economic spike (49.0 [1.8]), there were no statistical differences (P = .82). Similar statistical conclusions were made when comparing energy expenditure (in watts per kilogram). Conclusions: AFT track spikes improved RE ∼2% relative to a traditional spike. Despite their heavier mass, AFT shoes resulted in similar RE as AFT spikes. This could make the AFT shoe an attractive option for longer track races, particularly in National Collegiate Athletic Association and high school athletics, where there are no stack-height rules.

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Pacing Strategies in Elite Individual-Medley Swimmers: A Decision-Tree Approach

Chin-Kuei Yang, Yu-Chia Hsu, and Chen-Kang Chang

Purpose: This study aimed to examine pacing strategies and identify the stroke that has the most significant impact on overall performance in men’s and women’s 200-m and 400-m individual-medley events from 2000 to 2021. Methods: The time in each lap and overall race was retrieved from the World Aquatics website. The standardized time for each stroke in individual medley was calculated by dividing the actual time by a reference time specific to each stroke. The reference time was derived from the respective laps in single-stroke finals in the 2017 World Swimming Championships. The decision-tree method was used for analysis. The dependent variables were qualified or nonqualified in heats and semifinals, and winning medals in finals. The independent variables were the ratio of standardized time in each stroke to the sum of standardized time in all 4 strokes. Results: Swimmers who spent a higher ratio of standardized time in the butterfly stroke (>0.236–0.245) are associated with a higher likelihood of winning medals or qualifying for the next stage in most men’s and women’s 200-m and 400-m individual medley. Butterfly exhibited the highest normalized importance that distinguished medalists from nonmedalists in the finals. The front-crawl stroke is the second most important determinant in medalists in men’s and women’s 200-m individual medley, whereas backstroke and breaststroke were the second most important in men’s and women’s 400-m individual medley, respectively. Conclusion: Individual-medley swimmers who were excellent in butterfly and conserved energy in butterfly had a higher likelihood of success.

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Adapted Physical Activity Across the Life Span

Paul R. Malinowski, Paul H. Warner, and Wesley J. Wilson,

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Energetics of a World-Tour Female Road Cyclist During a Multistage Race (Tour de France Femmes)

Jose L. Areta, Emily Meehan, Georgie Howe, and Leanne M. Redman

Despite the increased popularity of female elite road cycling, research to inform the fueling requirements of these endurance athletes is lacking. In this case study, we report for the first time the energetics of a female world-tour cyclist competing in the 2023 Tour de France Femmes, an 8-day race of the Union Cycliste Internationale. The 29-year-old athlete presented with oligomenorrhea and low T3 before the race. Total daily energy expenditure assessed with the doubly labeled water technique was 7,572 kcal/day (∼4.3 physical activity levels), among the highest reported in the literature to date for a female. Crank-based mean maximal power was consistent with female world-tour cyclists (5 min, mean 342 W, 4.8 W/kg; 20 min 289 W, 4.1 W/kg). The average daily energy intake measured with the remote food photography method (Stage Days 1–7) was 5,246 kcal and carbohydrate intake was 13.7 g/kg (range 9.7–15.9 g/kg), and 84 g/hr during stages, and an average fat intake of 15% of daily energy intake. An estimated 2,326 kcal/day energy deficit was evidenced in a 2.2 kg decrease in body mass. Notwithstanding the high carbohydrate intake, the athlete was unable to match the energy requirements of the competition. Despite signs of energy deficiency preexisting (oligomenorrhea and low T3), and other further developing during the race (weight loss), performance was in line with that of other world-tour cyclists and a best personal performance was recorded for the last stage. This case study emphasizes the need for further research to inform energy requirements for female athletes’ optimal performance and health.

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Special Olympics: Inclusion Debates and Equity in Sport, 1st Edition

Wonjun Choi and Sophia D. Min