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Craig A. Williams

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Grégoire P. Millet, Johannes Burtscher, Nicolas Bourdillon, Giorgio Manferdelli, Martin Burtscher, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Purpose: One hundred years ago, Hill and Lupton introduced the concept of maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max), which is regarded as “the principal progenitor of sports physiology.” We provide a succinct overview of the evolvement of research on V˙O2max, from Hill and Lupton‘s initial findings to current debates on limiting factors for V˙O2max and the associated role of convective and diffusive components. Furthermore, we update the current use of V˙O2max in elite endurance sport and clinical settings. Practical Applications and Conclusions: V˙O2max is a healthy and active centenarian that remains a very important measure in elite endurance sports and additionally contributes as an important vital sign of cardiovascular function and fitness in clinical settings. Over the past 100 years, guidelines for the test protocols and exhaustion criteria, as well as the understanding of limiting factors for V˙O2max, have improved dramatically. Presently, possibilities of accurate and noninvasive determination of the convective versus diffusive components of V˙O2max by wearable sensors represent an important future application. V˙O2max is not only an indicator of cardiorespiratory function, fitness, and endurance performance but also represents an important biomarker of cardiovascular function and health to be included in routine assessment in clinical practice.

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Thomas Losnegard, Magne Lund-Hansen, Erland Vedeler Stubbe, Even Dahlen Granrud, Harri Luchsinger, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Jan Kocbach

Purpose: In sprint biathlon, a J-shaped pacing pattern is commonly used. We investigated whether biathletes with a fast-start pacing pattern increase time-trial skiing and shooting performance by pacing more evenly. Methods: Thirty-eight highly trained biathletes (∼21 y, 27 men) performed an individual 7.5 (3 × 2.5 km for women) or 10-km (3 × 3.3 km for men) time trial on roller skis with a self-selected pacing strategy (day 1). Prone (after lap 1) and standing shooting (after lap 2) stages were performed using paper targets. Based on their pacing strategy in the first time trial (ratio between the initial ∼800-m segment pace on lap 1 and average ∼800-m segment pace on laps 1–3), participants were divided into an intervention group with the fastest starting pace (INT, n = 20) or a control group with a more conservative starting pace (CON, n = 18). On day 2, INT was instructed to reduce their starting pace, while CON was instructed to maintain their day 1 strategy. Results: INT increased their overall time-trial performance more than CON from day 1 to day 2  (mean ± 95% CI; 1.5% ± 0.7% vs 0.0% ± 0.9%, P = .02). From day 1 to day 2, INT reduced their starting pace (5.0% ± 1.5%, P < .01), with reduced ratings of perceived exertion during lap 1 (P < .05). For CON, no change was found for starting pace (−0.8% ± 1.2%) or ratings of perceived exertion between days. No differences were found for shooting performance for either group. Conclusion: Highly trained biathletes with a pronounced fast-start pattern improve skiing performance without any change in shooting performance by pacing more evenly.

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David G. Lloyd, Ilse Jonkers, Scott L. Delp, and Luca Modenese

The Executive Council of the International Society of Biomechanics has initiated and overseen the commemorations of the Society’s 50th Anniversary in 2023. This included multiple series of lectures at the ninth World Congress of Biomechanics in 2022 and XXIXth Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics in 2023, all linked to special issues of International Society of Biomechanics’ affiliated journals. This special issue of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics is dedicated to the biomechanics of the neuromusculoskeletal system. The reader is encouraged to explore this special issue which comprises 6 papers exploring the current state-of the-art, and future directions and roles for neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics. This editorial presents a very brief history of the science of the neuromusculoskeletal system’s 4 main components: the central nervous system, musculotendon units, the musculoskeletal system, and joints, and how they biomechanically integrate to enable an understanding of the generation and control of human movement. This also entails a quick exploration of contemporary neuromusculoskeletal biomechanics and its future with new fields of application.

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Zahra S. Mahdian, Huawei Wang, Mohamed Irfan Mohamed Refai, Guillaume Durandau, Massimo Sartori, and Mhairi K. MacLean

Lower limb exoskeletons and exosuits (“exos”) are traditionally designed with a strong focus on mechatronics and actuation, whereas the “human side” is often disregarded or minimally modeled. Muscle biomechanics principles and skeletal muscle response to robot-delivered loads should be incorporated in design/control of exos. In this narrative review, we summarize the advances in literature with respect to the fusion of muscle biomechanics and lower limb exoskeletons. We report methods to measure muscle biomechanics directly and indirectly and summarize the studies that have incorporated muscle measures for improved design and control of intuitive lower limb exos. Finally, we delve into articles that have studied how the human–exo interaction influences muscle biomechanics during locomotion. To support neurorehabilitation and facilitate everyday use of wearable assistive technologies, we believe that future studies should investigate and predict how exoskeleton assistance strategies would structurally remodel skeletal muscle over time. Real-time mapping of the neuromechanical origin and generation of muscle force resulting in joint torques should be combined with musculoskeletal models to address time-varying parameters such as adaptation to exos and fatigue. Development of smarter predictive controllers that steer rather than assist biological components could result in a synchronized human–machine system that optimizes the biological and electromechanical performance of the combined system.

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Lachlan P. James, Jonathon Weakley, Paul Comfort, and Minh Huynh

Background: Maximal lower-body strength can be assessed both dynamically and isometrically; however, the relationship between the changes in these 2 forms of strength following resistance training is not well understood. Purpose: To systematically review and analyze the effects of resistance training on changes in maximal dynamic (1-repetition-maximum back squat, deadlift, and power clean) and position-matched isometric strength (isometric midthigh pull and the isometric squat). In addition, individual-level data were used to quantify the agreement and relationship between changes in dynamic and isometric strength. Methods : Databases were systematically searched to identify eligible articles, and meta-analysis procedures were performed on the extracted data. The raw results from 4 studies were acquired, enabling bias and absolute reliability measures to be calculated using Bland–Altman test of agreement. Results: Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria, which resulted in 29 isometric–dynamic change comparisons. The overall pooled effect was 0.13 in favor of dynamic testing; however, the prediction interval ranged from g = −0.49 to 0.75. There was no evidence of bias (P = .825) between isometric and dynamic tests; however, the reliability coefficient was estimated to be 16%, and the coefficient of variation (%) was 109.27. Conclusions: As a range of future effects can be expected when comparing isometric to dynamic strength changes following resistance training, and limited proportionality exists between changes in these 2 strength qualities, there is strong evidence that isometric and dynamic strength represent separate neuromuscular domains. These findings can be used to inform strength-assessment models in athlete populations.

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Lu Zhouxiang

This article provides an overview of the origins and early development of sports video games. The first generation of sports video games were developed by scientists in laboratories for academic purposes. Together with the rise of microcomputers and the widespread adoption of television (TV) sets, commercial video games began to emerge in the early 1970s. Like their laboratory predecessors, most of the first-generation commercial games were sports-themed and primarily designed as a platform for competition between players. In the second half of the 1970s, ball-and-paddle-based games began to be replaced by more sophisticated games adopting the rules and actions of real-life sports. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, intense competition between video game companies gave birth to many innovative titles, with various sports disciplines adapted into games. Most of the sports games created in this period were based on competitive sports including American football, basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis, as well as recreational sports like bowling, pool, and darts, many of them long popular in Western Europe and North America, some with a huge fan base in Japan. They were clearly produced to cater to the needs of gamers and sports fans in the world’s three major TV, personal computer, video game, and sports markets at the time.