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The Limitations of Systematic Reviews With Meta-Analyses in Sport Science

Daniel Boullosa, David Behm, Sebastián Del Rosso, Moritz Schumann, Kenji Doma, and Carl Foster

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Contaminants in Dietary Supplements: Toxicity, Doping Risk, and Current Regulation

Jesús Zapata-Linares and Guillermo Gervasini

Athletes, both amateur and professional, often resort to the consumption of nutritional supplements without professional supervision and without being aware of the risks they may entail. We conducted an exhaustive literature search to determine the most common substances found as contaminants in dietary supplements. For each substance, we analyzed its mechanism of action, clinical indication, health risk, and putative use as doping agent. In addition, we evaluated the current regulation of these supplements. Contamination of nutritional supplements (accidental or intentional), especially with steroids and stimulants, is a hazardous situation. The prolonged consumption of these products without being aware of their composition can cause serious health risks and, in the case of professional athletes, a possible sanction for doping.

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Effect of Menstrual Cycle Phase and Hormonal Contraceptives on Resting Metabolic Rate and Body Composition

Megan A. Kuikman, Alannah K.A. McKay, Clare Minahan, Rachel Harris, Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale, Trent Stellingwerff, Ella S. Smith, Rachel McCormick, Nicolin Tee, Jessica Skinner, Kathryn E. Ackerman, and Louise M. Burke

The cyclical changes in sex hormones across the menstrual cycle (MC) are associated with various biological changes that may alter resting metabolic rate (RMR) and body composition estimates. Hormonal contraceptive (HC) use must also be considered given their impact on endogenous sex hormone concentrations and synchronous exogenous profiles. The purpose of this study was to determine if RMR and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry body composition estimates change across the MC and differ compared with HC users. This was accomplished during a 5-week training camp involving naturally cycling athletes (n = 11) and HC users (n = 7 subdermal progestin implant, n = 4 combined monophasic oral contraceptive pill, n = 1 injection) from the National Rugby League Indigenous Women’s Academy. MC phase was retrospectively confirmed via serum estradiol and progesterone concentrations and a positive ovulation test. HC users had serum estradiol and progesterone concentrations assessed at the time point of testing. Results were analyzed using general linear mixed model. There was no effect of MC phase on absolute RMR (p = .877), relative RMR (p = .957), or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry body composition estimates (p > .05). There was no effect of HC use on absolute RMR (p = .069), relative RMR (p = .679), or fat mass estimates (p = .766), but HC users had a greater fat-free mass and lean body mass than naturally cycling athletes (p = .028). Our findings suggest that RMR and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry body composition estimates do not significantly differ due to changes in sex hormones in a group of athletes, and measurements can be compared between MC phases or with HC usage without variations in sex hormones causing additional noise.

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Brazilian Women in Paralympic Sports: Uncovering Historical Milestones in the Summer Paralympic Games

Luiz Gustavo T. Fabricio dos Santos, Isabella dos Santos Alves, Náthali Fernanda Feliciano, Africa Alejandra Ortuño Torres, Luis Felipe Castelli Correia de Campos, and Maria Luiza Tanure Alves

The journey of Brazilian female Paralympians transcends mere statistical increases in women’s participation. Behind the modest athlete growth lies the reality of women who are doubly marginalized by the intersection of gender and disability in an arena tailored for able-bodied men. Our study aimed to catalyze critical discourses surrounding the historical trajectory of Paralympic women’s sports. Through a comprehensive documentary analysis based on the Brazilian Paralympic Committee’s official documents from 1976 to 2021, we sought to shed light on this complex scenario. Numerically, Brazil’s representation comprised 229 women who, predominantly, had physical impairments and engaged in individual sports. In addition to a sporting legacy deeply entrenched in physical rehabilitation with limited opportunities for team-based sports, we observed negative influences stemming from ableist and sexist narratives. A thorough investigation into Paralympic milestones revealed a multitude of social barriers and highlighted the significant impact of societal changes in reshaping athletic opportunities and challenging traditional stereotypes.

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Omega-3 Status Evaluation in Australian Female Rugby League Athletes: Ad Libitum Fish Oil Provision Results in a Varied Omega-3 Index

Ryan Anthony, Nicola Jaffrey, Caitlin Byron, Gregory E. Peoples, and Michael J. Macartney

Optimal omega-3 status, influenced by increased intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is vital for physiological health. This study investigated the impact of ad libitum fish oil supplementation on the omega-3 status of female athletes in a professional rugby league team during a competitive season. Twenty-four (n = 24) athletes participated, and their omega-3 status was assessed using the Omega-3 Index (O3I) and arachidonic acid (AA) to EPA ratio through finger-prick blood samples taken at the start and end of the season. They were given access to a fish oil supplement (PILLAR Performance, Australia) with a recommended daily dose of four capsules per day (2,160 mg EPA and 1,440 mg docosahexaenoic acid). At the beginning of the season, the group mean O3I was 4.77% (95% confidence interval [CI: 4.50, 5.04]) and the AA to EPA ratio was 14.89 (95% CI [13.22, 16.55]). None of the athletes had an O3I exceeding 8%. By the season’s end, the O3I was a significantly increased to 7.28% (95% CI [6.64, 7.93], p < .0001) and AA to EPA ratio significantly decreased to a mean of 6.67 (95% CI [5.02, 8.31], p < .0001), driven primarily by the significant increase in EPA of +1.14% (95% CI [0.77, 1.51], p < .0001). However, these changes were varied between the athletes and most likely due to compliance. This study has demonstrated that using the objective O3I feedback scale is possible with elite female rugby athletes, but individual strategies will be required to achieve daily intake targets of EPA + DHA.

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“You Are Not Wrong About Getting Strong:” An Insight Into the Impact of Age Group and Level of Competition on Strength in Spanish Football Players

Marcos A. Soriano, Víctor Paredes, Paul Comfort, Ester Jiménez-Ormeño, Francisco Areces-Corcuera, Verónica Giráldez-Costas, César Gallo-Salazar, Diego A. Alonso-Aubín, María Menchén-Rubio, and John J. McMahon

Objective: This study aimed to compare the maximum and rapid force production of Spanish football players and explore the differences between age group and level of competition. Methods: A cross-sectional study was developed to evaluate the peak force (PF), relative PF, and rate of force development over 250 ms (RFD0−250) during the isometric midthigh pull between groups of football players based on age group (senior vs junior) and level of competition (national vs regional). Using a portable isometric rig, 111 football players performed 2 isometric midthigh-pull trials on a force plate. Two-way analysis of variance with Bonferroni post hoc correction was applied, and statistical significance was set at P ≤ .05. The PF, relative PF, and RFD0−250 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 percentiles were also calculated and descriptively reported, separated by age group and level of competition. Results: The analysis of variance revealed a significant main effect of the level of competition for the PF (P < .001), relative PF (P = .003), and RFD0−250 (P < .001). There was a significant main effect of age group for the PF (P < .001). There was a significant interaction effect of the age group × level of competition for relative PF (P = .014). National players were stronger than regional players on the PF and RFD0−250 (P < .001). Senior players were stronger than junior players for the PF (P < .001). Conclusions: Maximum and rapid force production are crucial for Spanish football players as they progress in both level of competition and age group. Practitioners should encourage young football players to prioritize strength development to improve their athletic performance.

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Peak Performance: Characteristics and Key Factors in the Development of the World Top-8 Swimmers Based on Longitudinal Data

Yuming Chen, Chenbin Huang, Hui Chen, Ting Huang, Christine Su, and Jiexing Chen

Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the peak performance characteristics of the world top-8 swimmers and the key factors involved in the journey toward achieving better peak performance. Methods: The results of the world top-8 swimmers from 2001 to 2022 were collected from the World Aquatics performance database. Progression to peak performance was tracked with individual quadratic trajectories (1191 cases). Utilizing k-means clustering to group competitive feature variables, this study investigated key developmental factors through a binary logistic regression model, using the odds ratio (OR) to represent whether a factor was favorable (OR > 1) or unfavorable (OR < 1). Results: Significant differences (P < .001) in the peak age between men (23.54/3.80) and women (22.31/4.60) were noticed, while no significant differences (P > .05) in the peak-performance window for both sexes appeared. Peak performance occurred at later ages for the sprint for both sexes, and women had a longer duration in peak-performance window for sprint (P < .05). Peak-performance occurred at later ages for the breaststroke and butterfly for both sexes (P < .05). Binary logistic regression revealed that high first-participation performance (OR = 1.502), high major-competition performance (OR = 4.165), early first-major-competition age (OR = 1.441), participation frequency above 4 times/year in both phase 2 (4.3–8.0 times/y, OR = 3.940; 8.1–20.0 times/y, OR = 5.122) and phase 3 (4.1–7.5 times/y: OR = 5.548; 7.7–15.0 times/y: OR = 7.526), and a career length of 10 years or more (10–15 y, OR = 2.102; 16–31 y, OR = 3.480) were favorable factors for achieving better peak performance. Conclusions: Peak performance characteristics varied across sex, swimming stroke, and race distance in the world top-8 swimmers. Meanwhile, the research indicated that certain specific developmental factors were key conditions for the world top-8 swimmers to achieve better peak performance in the future.

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Which Strength Manifestation Is More Related to Regional Swimmers’ Performance and In-Water Forces? Maximal Neuromuscular Capacities Versus Maximal Mechanical Maintenance Capacity

Sergio Miras-Moreno, Óscar López-Belmonte, Amador García-Ramos, Raúl Arellano, and Jesús J. Ruiz-Navarro

Purpose: To explore the association of the load–velocity (L-V) relationship variables and ability to maintain maximal mechanical performance during the prone bench-pull exercise with sprint swimming performance and in-water forces. Methods: Eleven competitive adult male swimmers (50-m front crawl World Aquatics points: 488 [66], performance level 4) performed 1 experimental session. The L-V relationship variables (L 0 [ie,  maximal theoretical load at 0 velocity]; v 0 [ie, maximal theoretical velocity at 0 load], and A line [ie, area under the L-V relationship]) and maximal mechanical maintenance capacity were assessed at the beginning of the session. Afterward, sprint swimming performance and in-water force production were tested through a 50-m front-crawl all-out trial and 15-s fully-tethered swimming, respectively. Results: Only v 0 presented high positive associations with 50-m time and swimming kinematics (r > .532; P < .046). The L 0, v 0, and A line showed very high positive associations with the in-water forces during tethered swimming (r > .523; P < .049). However, the ability to maintain maximal mechanical performance, assessed by the mean velocity decline during the prone bench pull, was only significantly correlated with stroke rate (r = −.647; P = .016) and stroke index (r = .614; P = .022). Conclusions: These findings indicate that maximal neuromuscular capacities, especially v 0, have a stronger correlation with swimming performance and in-water force production than the ability to maintain maximal mechanical performance in level 4 swimmers.

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Multi-Ingredient Preworkout Supplementation Compared With Caffeine and a Placebo Does Not Improve Repetitions to Failure in Resistance-Trained Women

Mariah Snyder, Christi Brewer, and Katrina Taylor

There has been an increase in the use of commercially available multi-ingredient preworkout supplements (MIPS); however, there are inconsistencies regarding the efficacy of MIPS in resistance-trained women. Purpose: To determine the effect of varying doses of MIPS compared with caffeine only (C) and a placebo (PL) on resistance-training performance in trained women. Methods: Ten women (21.5 [2.3] y) completed 1-repetition-maximum tests at baseline for leg press and bench press. A within-group, double-blind, and randomized design was used to assign supplement drinks (ie, PL, C, MIPS half scoop [MIPS-H], and MIPS full scoop [MIPS-F]). Repetitions to failure were assessed at 75% and 80% to 85% of 1-repetition maximum for bench and leg press, respectively. Total performance volume was calculated as load × sets × repetitions for each session. Data were analyzed using a 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and reported as means and SDs. Results: There were no differences in repetitions to failure for bench press (PL: 14.4 [3.2] repetitions, C: 14.4 [2.9] repetitions, MIPS-H: 14.2 [2.6] repetitions, MIPS-F: 15.1 [3.1] repetitions; P = .54) or leg press (PL: 13.9 [7.8] repetitions, C: 10.8 [5.9] repetitions, MIPS-H: 13.1 [7.1] repetitions, MIPS-F: 12.4 [10.7] repetitions; P = .44). Furthermore, there were no differences in total performance volume across supplements for bench press (PL: 911.2 [212.8] kg, C: 910.7 [205.5] kg, MIPS-H: 913.6 [249.3] kg, MIPS-F: 951.6 [289.6] kg; P = .39) or leg press (PL: 4318.4 [1633.6] kg, C: 3730.0 [1032.5] kg, MIPS-H: 4223.0 [1630.0] kg, MIPS-F: 4085.5 [2098.3] kg; P = .34). Conclusions: Overall, our findings suggest that caffeine and MIPS do not provide ergogenic benefits for resistance-trained women in delaying muscular failure.

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Coingestion of Collagen With Whey Protein Prevents Postexercise Decline in Plasma Glycine Availability in Recreationally Active Men

Thorben Aussieker, Tom A.H. Janssen, Wesley J.H. Hermans, Andrew M. Holwerda, Joan M. Senden, Janneau M.X. van Kranenburg, Joy P.B. Goessens, Tim Snijders, and Luc J.C. van Loon

Whey protein ingestion during recovery from exercise increases myofibrillar but not muscle connective protein synthesis rates. It has been speculated that whey protein does not provide sufficient glycine to maximize postexercise muscle connective protein synthesis rates. In the present study, we assessed the impact of coingesting different amounts of collagen with whey protein as a nutritional strategy to increase plasma glycine availability during recovery from exercise. In a randomized, double-blind, crossover design, 14 recreationally active men (age: 26 ± 5 years; body mass index: 23.8 ± 2.1 kg·m−2) ingested in total 30 g protein, provided as whey protein with 0 g (WHEY), 5 g (WC05); 10 g (WC10), and 15 g (WC15) of collagen protein immediately after a single bout of resistance exercise. Blood samples were collected frequently over 6 hr of postexercise recovery to assess postprandial plasma amino acid kinetics and availability. Protein ingestion strongly increased plasma amino acid concentrations (p < .001) with no differences in plasma total amino acid availability between treatments (p > .05). The postprandial rise in plasma leucine and essential amino acid availability was greater in WHEY compared with the WC10 and WC15 treatments (p < .05). Plasma glycine and nonessential amino acid concentrations declined following whey protein ingestion but increased following collagen coingestion (p < .05). Postprandial plasma glycine availability averaged −8.9 ± 5.8, 9.2 ± 3.7, 23.1 ± 6.5, and 39.8 ± 11.0 mmol·360 min/L in WHEY, WC05, WC10, and WC15, respectively (incremental area under curve values, p < .05). Coingestion of a small amount of collagen (5 g) with whey protein (25 g) is sufficient to prevent the decline in plasma glycine availability during recovery from lower body resistance-type exercise in recreationally active men.