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Is It Time for a New Category in Competitive Sports?

Renate M. Leithäuser and Ralph Beneke

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Sex Differences in Physiological Determinants of Performance in Elite Adolescent, Junior, and Senior Cross-Country Skiers

Ove Sollie and Thomas Losnegard

Purpose: To compare sex differences in physiological determinants of skiing performance in elite adolescent, junior, and senior cross-country skiers matched for within-age-group performance level. Methods: Eight male and 12 female adolescent (15 [1] y), 8 male and 7 female junior (18 [1] y), and 7 male and 6 female senior (28 [5] y) skiers participated. Gross efficiency was calculated during submaximal uphill treadmill roller skiing (approximately 84% of peak oxygen uptake [ V ˙ O 2 peak ]) using the G2 ski-skating technique. Distance covered, V ˙ O 2 peak , and maximal accumulated oxygen deficit were established from a 3-minute time-trial. Fifteen-second maximal skiing power was calculated from an incremental treadmill speed test. Finally, upper- and lower-body maximal strength tests were conducted. Results: The 3-minute time-trial distance and maximal skiing power were, respectively, 23% and 15% (adolescent), 24% and 19% (junior), and 17% and 14% (senior) greater for men than women (all groups, P ≤ .01, effect size [ES] = 2.43–4.18; very large). V ˙ O 2 peak relative to body mass was 17% (adolescent, P = .002, ES = 1.66, large), 21% (junior, P < .01, ES = 2.60, very large), and 19% (senior, P < .01, ES = 2.35, very large) greater for men than women. The within-age-group sex differences in gross efficiency, relative accumulated oxygen deficit, and strength were not significant, with the exception of greater lower-body strength in male than female juniors (P = .01, ES = 1.26, large). Conclusion: The within-age-group sex difference in skiing performance is of similar magnitude for adolescent, junior, and senior skiers. This difference can likely be attributed to the large to very large sex difference in V ˙ O 2 peak within all age-groups.

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Moving on in Sport Science

Iñigo Mujika and David B. Pyne

Open access

Reliability and Sensitivity of Nocturnal Heart Rate and Heart-Rate Variability in Monitoring Individual Responses to Training Load

Olli-Pekka Nuuttila, Santtu Seipäjärvi, Heikki Kyröläinen, and Ari Nummela

Purpose: To assess the reliability of nocturnal heart rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) and to analyze the sensitivity of these markers to maximal endurance exercise. Methods: Recreational runners recorded nocturnal HR and HRV on nights after 2 identical low-intensity training sessions (n = 15) and on nights before and after a 3000-m running test (n = 23). Average HR, the natural logarithm of the root mean square of successive differences (LnRMSSD), and the natural logarithm of the high-frequency power (LnHF) were analyzed from a full night (FULL), a 4-hour (4H) segment starting 30 minutes after going to sleep, and morning value (MOR) based on the endpoint of the linear fit through all 5-minute averages during the night. Differences between the nights were analyzed with a general linear model, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was used for internight reliability assessments. Results: All indices were similar between the nights followed by low-intensity training sessions. A very high ICC (P < .001) was observed in all analysis segments with a range of .97 to .98 for HR, .92 to .97 for LnRMSSD, and .91 to .96 for LnHF. HR increased (P < .001), whereas LnRMSSD (P < .01) and LnHF (P < .05) decreased after the 3000-m test compared with previous night only in 4H and FULL. Increments in HR (P < .01) and decrements in LnRMSSD (P < .05) were greater in 4H compared with FULL and MOR. Conclusions: Nocturnal HR and HRV indices are highly reliable. Demanding maximal exercise increases HR and decreases HRV most systematically in 4H and FULL segments.

Open access

Determinant Physical Factors of Tennis Serve Velocity: A Brief Review

Joshua Colomar, Francisco Corbi, Quim Brich, and Ernest Baiget

Purpose: To review the main physical aspects that could positively or negatively influence serve velocity (SV). Methods: An examination of existing literature including studies analyzing positive (biomechanical aspects, anthropometrics, range of motion, strength, and power) and negative (competition-induced fatigue) associations to SV are summarized in this review. Results: Aspects such as lower-leg drive, hip and trunk rotations, upper-arm extension, and internal rotation seem to be the major contributors to racquet and ball speed. Favorable anthropometric characteristics, such as body height, arm length, and a greater lean body mass, seem to positively influence SV. Also, strength indicators such as maximal isometric strength and rate of force development in specific joint positions involved in the kinetic chain alongside upper-body power seem to be related to faster serves. On the other hand, the effects of prolonged or repetitive match play may impair the aforementioned factors and negatively influence SV. Conclusions: Following specific serving models that seem to enhance velocity production and efficient motion is highly recommended. Moreover, achieving a higher impact point, alongside shifting body composition toward a greater lean body mass, will most likely aid toward faster serves. Programs aiming at improving maximal isometric strength and rate of force development in specific positions involved in the kinetic chain including stretch-shortening cycle predominance and the mimicking of the serve motion seem of great interest to potentially increase SV. Effective recovery and monitoring of these variables appear to be essential to avoid impairments produced by continued or repetitive competition loads.

Open access

Effects of Weight Cutting on Exercise Performance in Combat Athletes: A Meta-Analysis

Grant C. Brechney, Jack Cannon, and Stephen P. Goodman

Weight cutting in combat sports is a prevalent practice whereby athletes voluntarily dehydrate themselves via various methods to induce rapid weight loss (RWL) to qualify for a lower weight category than that of their usual training body weight. The intention behind this practice is to regain the lost body mass and compete at a heavier mass than permitted by the designated weight category. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively synthesize the available evidence examining the effects of weight cutting on exercise performance in combat-sport athletes. Following a systematic search of the literature, meta-analyses were performed to compare maximal strength, maximal power, anaerobic capacity, and/or repeated high-intensity-effort performance before rapid weight loss (pre-RWL), immediately following RWL (post-RWL), and 3 to 36 hours after RWL following recovery and rapid weight gain (post-RWG). Overall, exercise performance was unchanged between pre-RWL and post-RWG (g = 0.22; 95% CI, −0.18 to 0.62). Between pre-RWL and post-RWL analyses revealed small reductions in maximal strength and repeated high-intensity-effort performance (g = −0.29; 95% CI, −0.54 to −0.03 and g = −0.37; 95% CI, −0.59 to −0.16, respectively; both P ≤ .03). Qualitative analysis indicates that maximal strength and power remained comparable between post-RWL and post-RWG. These data suggest that weight cutting in combat-sport athletes does not alter short-duration, repeated high-intensity-effort performance; however, there is evidence to suggest that select exercise performance outcomes may decline as a product of RWL. It remains unclear whether these are restored by RWG.

Open access

Erratum: External Validity of the T-SAFT90: A Soccer Simulation Including Technical and Jumping Activities

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Sport-Science Research on Female Athletes: Dealing With the Paradox of Concurrent Increases in Quantity and Quality

Dionne A. Noordhof, Xanne A.K. Janse de Jonge, Anthony C. Hackney, Jos J. de Koning, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Open access

What Do Our Words Say? An Analysis of IJSPP Titles

Sophia Nimphius

Open access

Erratum. Physiological Profiling and Energy System Contributions During Simulated Epée Matches in Elite Fencers