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Takeshi Koyama, Akira Rikukawa, Yasuharu Nagano, Shogo Sasaki, Hiroshi Ichikawa, and Norikazu Hirose

Purpose: To evaluate the effect of the number of high-acceleration movements on muscle damage and the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in basketball games. Methods: Twenty-one male collegiate basketball players (mean age, 20.0 [1.0] y) were included. A triaxial accelerometer was used to measure acceleration in basketball-simulated scrimmages. To detect higher physical load during the actual game, the resultant acceleration was calculated, and 3 thresholds were set: >4G, >6G, and >8G resultant accelerations. The number of the extracted movements was calculated at each acceleration threshold. Plasma creatine kinase (CK) levels (marker of muscle damage) were estimated before and 24 hours after the match, and the session-RPE load was calculated within 30 minutes after the match. Pearson product-moment correlations with 95% confidence intervals were used to determine the relationships between the number of high-acceleration movements and plasma CK and session-RPE load. Results: Significant correlations were observed between the number of high-acceleration movements >8G and CK level (r = .74; 95% confidence interval, 0.44–0.89; P < .0001). Furthermore, the correlation coefficient between acceleration and CK increased with increased acceleration threshold (>4G: r = .65; >6G: r = .69). Contrastingly, the correlation coefficient between acceleration and the session-RPE load decreased with increased acceleration threshold (>4G: r = .72; >6G: r = .52; >8G: r = .43). Conclusions: The session-RPE reflects the total amount of movement, while the high-acceleration movement reflects the momentary large impact load or intensity, and they evaluated different factors. Basketball coaching and conditioning professionals recommended combining acceleration and session-RPE when monitoring the load of athletes.

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Jacob Walther, Roy Mulder, Dionne A. Noordhof, Thomas A. Haugen, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Purpose: To quantify peak age and relative performance progression toward peak age in cross-country skiing according to event type, sex, and athlete performance level. Methods: International Ski Federation (FIS) points (performance expressed relative to the best athlete) of athletes born between 1981 and 1991, competing in junior world championships or finishing top 30 in world championships or Olympics, were downloaded from the FIS website. Individual performance trends were derived by fitting a quadratic curve to each athletes FIS point and age data. Results: Peak age was 26.2 (2.3) years in distance and 26.0 (1.7) years in sprint events. The sex difference in peak age in sprint events was ∼0.8 years (small, P = .001), while there was no significant sex difference in peak age in distance events (P = .668). Top performers displayed higher peak ages than other athletes in distance (mean difference, ±95% confidence limits = 1.6 y, ±0.6 y, moderate, P < .001) and sprint events (1.0, ±0.6 y, moderate, P < .001). FIS point improvement over the 5 years preceding peak age did not differ between event types (P = .325), while men improved more than women in both events (8.8, ±5.4%, small, P = .002 and 7.5, ±6.4%, small, P = .002). Performance level had a large effect on improvement in FIS points in both events (P < .001). Conclusion: This study provides novel insights on peak age and relative performance progression among world-class cross-country skiers and can assist practitioners, sport institutions, and federations with goal setting and evaluating strategies for achieving success.

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Víctor Rodríguez-Rielves, Alejandro Martínez-Cava, Ángel Buendía-Romero, José Ramón Lillo-Beviá, Javier Courel-Ibáñez, Alejandro Hernández-Belmonte, and Jesús G. Pallarés

Purpose: To examine the reproducibility (intradevice and interdevice agreement) of the Rotor 2INpower device under a wide range of cycling conditions. Methods: Twelve highly trained male cyclists and triathletes completed 5 cycling tests, including graded exercise tests at different cadences (70–100 rpm), workloads (100–650 W), pedaling positions (seated and standing), and vibration conditions (20–40 Hz) and an 8-second maximal sprint (>1000 W). An intradevice analysis included a comparison between the power output registered by 3 units of Rotor 2INpower, whereas the power output provided by each one of these units and the gold-standard SRM crankset were compared for the interdevice analysis. Among others, statistical calculations included the standard error of measurement, expressed in absolute (in watts) and relative terms as the coefficient of variation (CV). Results: Except for the graded exercise test seated at 100 rpm/100 W (CV = 10.2%), the intradevice analysis showed an acceptable magnitude of error (CV ≤ 6.9%, standard error of measurement ≤ 12.3 W) between the 3 Rotor 2INpower. Similarly, these 3 units showed an acceptable agreement with the gold standard in all graded exercise test situations (CV ≤ 4.0%, standard error of measurement ≤ 13.1 W). On the other hand, both the intradevice and interdevice agreements proved to be slightly reduced under high cadences (intradevice: CV ≤ 10.2%; interdevice: CV ≤ 4.0%) and vibration (intradevice: CV ≤ 4.0%; interdevice: CV ≤ 3.6%), as well as during standing pedaling (intradevice: CV ≤ 4.1%; interdevice: CV ≤ 2.5%). Although within the limits of an acceptable agreement, measurement errors increased during the sprint tests (CV ≤ 7.4%). Conclusions: Based on these results, the Rotor 2INpower could be considered a reproducible tool to monitor power output in most cycling situations.

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Timothy J. Fulton, Marissa N. Baranauskas, and Robert F. Chapman

Some track-and-field national governing bodies send athletes to World Championship and Olympic Games (WC/OG) to gain experience that may positively impact future success, even though athletes may not be expected to place high or medal. However, it is unclear if this strategy is advantageous for future medal attainment. Purpose: To determine if participation and/or advancement at a track-and-field athlete’s first WC/OG influences the odds of future medaling. Methods: Performances of US track-and-field athletes who made their first WC/OG team during 2000–2013 were tracked through 2016 to stratify athletes into categories. Athletes who medaled on their first team or never made a subsequent team (ie, no experience) were compared with athletes who did not medal on their first team but made subsequent teams (ie, experience). The experience group was further divided into athletes who advanced or did not advance out of the initial round at their first competition for a secondary analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using logistic regression to measure the association between experience level and medaling. Results: A significant OR was obtained for advanced versus did not advance (OR = 2.29, 95% confidence interval, 1.07–4.89, P = .03), but not for experience versus no experience (OR = 1.04, 95% confidence interval, 0.60–1.78, P = .91) group. Conclusions: Advancing out of the initial round of competition during an athlete’s first WC/OG competition is associated with increased odds of future medaling. National governing bodies should consider this “experience threshold” during team selection processes.

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Hannah F. Sangan, James G. Hopker, Glen Davison, and Shaun J. McLaren

Purpose: To assess the reliability and construct validity of a self-paced, submaximal run test (SRTRPE) for monitoring aerobic fitness. The SRTRPE monitors running velocity (v), heart rate (HRex), and blood lactate concentration (B[La]), during three 3-minute stages prescribed by ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs) of 10, 13, and 17. Methods: Forty (14 female) trained endurance runners completed a treadmill graded exercise test for the determination of maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), v at VO2max (vVO2max), and v at 2 mmol·L−1 (vLT1) and 4 mmol·L−1 (vLT2) B[La]. Within 7 days, participants completed the SRTRPE. Convergent validity between the SRTRPE and graded exercise test parameters was assessed through linear regression. Eleven participants completed a further 2 trials of the SRTRPE within a 72-hour period to quantify test–retest reliability. Results: There were large correlations between v at all stages of the SRTRPE and VO2max (r range = .57–.63), vVO2max (.50–.66), and vLT2 (.51–.62), with vRPE 17 displaying the strongest associations (r > .60). Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC3,1) were moderate to high for parameters v (range = .76–.84), HRex (.72–.92), and %HRmax (.64–.89) at all stages of the SRTRPE. The corresponding coefficients of variation were 2.5% to 5.6%. All parameters monitored at intensity RPE 17 displayed the greatest reliability. Conclusions: The SRTRPE was shown to be a valid and reliable test for monitoring parameters associated with aerobic fitness, displaying the potential of this submaximal, time-efficient test to monitor responses to endurance training.

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ZáNean McClain, Jill Pawlowski, and Daniel W. Tindall

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Annemiek J. Roete, Marije T. Elferink-Gemser, Ruby T.A. Otter, Inge K. Stoter, and Robert P. Lamberts

Purpose: The aim of this brief review was to present an overview of noninvasive markers in trained to professional endurance athletes that can reflect a state of functional overreaching. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in the PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO databases. After screening 380 articles, 12 research papers were included for the systematic review. Results: Good consensus was found between the different papers in which noninvasive parameters were able to reflect a state of functional overreaching. Changes in power output (PO), heart rate (HR; [sub]maximal and HR recovery), rating of perceived exertion, and scores in the Daily Analysis of Life Demands for Athletes (DALDA) and/or Profile of Mood States (POMS) were shown to be able to reflect functional overreaching, whereas changes in maximal oxygen uptake and HR-variability parameters were not. Conclusion: Functional overreaching within a maximal performance test was characterized by a decrease in peak PO and a lower maximum HR, whereas a lower mean PO and a lower HR were observed during time trials. Changes in parameters during a standardized submaximal test when functionally overreached were characterized by a higher PO at a fixed HR or a lower HR at a fixed intensity, higher rating of perceived exertion, and a faster HR recovery. Although both the DALDA and POMS were able to reflect functional overreaching, the POMS was not able to differentiate this response from acute fatigue, which makes it unsuitable for accurately monitoring functional overreaching.

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Michelle T. Barrack, Marta D. Van Loan, Mitchell Rauh, and Jeanne F. Nichols

This prospective study evaluated the 3-year change in menstrual function and bone mass among 40 female adolescent endurance runners (age 15.9 ± 1.0 years) according to baseline disordered eating status. Three years after initial data collection, runners underwent follow-up measures including the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire and a survey evaluating menstrual function, running training, injury history, and prior sports participation. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to measure bone mineral density and body composition. Runners with a weight concern, shape concern, or global score ≥4.0 or reporting >1 pathologic behavior in the past 28 days were classified with disordered eating. Compared with runners with normal Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire scores at baseline, runners with disordered eating at baseline reported fewer menstrual cycles/year (6.4 ± 4.5 vs. 10.5 ± 2.8, p = .005), more years of amenorrhea (1.6 ± 1.4 vs. 0.3 ± 0.5, p = .03), and a higher proportion of menstrual irregularity (75.0% vs. 31.3%, p = .02) and failed to increase lumbar spine or total hip bone mineral density at the 3-year follow-up. In a multivariate model including body mass index and menstrual cycles in the past year at baseline, baseline shape concern score (B = −0.57, p value = .001) was inversely related to the annual number of menstrual cycles between assessments. Weight concern score (B = −0.40, p value = .005) was inversely associated with lumbar spine bone mineral density Z-score change between assessments according to a multivariate model adjusting for age and body mass index. These finding support associations between disordered eating at baseline and future menstrual irregularities or reduced accrual of lumbar spine bone mass in female adolescent endurance runners.

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Gabriel Perri Esteves, Paul Swinton, Craig Sale, Ruth M. James, Guilherme Giannini Artioli, Hamilton Roschel, Bruno Gualano, Bryan Saunders, and Eimear Dolan

Currently, little is known about the extent of interindividual variability in response to beta-alanine (BA) supplementation, nor what proportion of said variability can be attributed to external factors or to the intervention itself (intervention response). To investigate this, individual participant data on the effect of BA supplementation on a high-intensity cycling capacity test (CCT110%) were meta-analyzed. Changes in time to exhaustion (TTE) and muscle carnosine were the primary and secondary outcomes. Multilevel distributional Bayesian models were used to estimate the mean and SD of BA and placebo group change scores. The relative sizes of group SDs were used to infer whether observed variation in change scores were due to intervention or non-intervention-related effects. Six eligible studies were identified, and individual data were obtained from four of these. Analyses showed a group effect of BA supplementation on TTE (7.7, 95% credible interval [CrI] [1.3, 14.3] s) and muscle carnosine (18.1, 95% CrI [14.5, 21.9] mmol/kg DM). A large intervention response variation was identified for muscle carnosine (σIR = 5.8, 95% CrI [4.2, 7.4] mmol/kg DM) while equivalent change score SDs were shown for TTE in both the placebo (16.1, 95% CrI [13.0, 21.3] s) and BA (15.9, 95% CrI [13.0, 20.0] s) conditions, with the probability that SD was greater in placebo being 0.64. In conclusion, the similarity in observed change score SDs between groups for TTE indicates the source of variation is common to both groups, and therefore unrelated to the supplement itself, likely originating instead from external factors such as nutritional intake, sleep patterns, or training status.