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Free access

Academic Life: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Robert P. Lamberts and N. Tim Cable

Free access

Monitoring Readiness to Train and Perform in Female Football: Current Evidence and Recommendations for Practitioners

Marco Beato, Esben Elholm Madsen, Jo Clubb, Stacey Emmonds, and Peter Krustrup

Purpose: Monitoring player readiness to train and perform is an important practical concept in football. Despite an abundance of research in this area in the male game, to date, research is limited in female football. The aims of this study were, first, to summarize the current literature on the monitoring of readiness in female football; second, to summarize the current evidence regarding the monitoring of the menstrual cycle and its potential impact on physical preparation and performance in female footballers; and third, to offer practical recommendations based on the current evidence for practitioners working with female football players. Conclusions: Practitioners should include both objective (eg, heart rate and countermovement jump) and subjective measures (eg, athlete-reported outcome measures) in their monitoring practices. This would allow them to have a better picture of female players’ readiness. Practitioners should assess the reliability of their monitoring (objective and subjective) tools before adopting them with their players. The use of athlete-reported outcome measures could play a key role in contexts where technology is not available (eg, in semiprofessional and amateur clubs); however, practitioners need to be aware that many single-item athlete-reported outcome measures instruments have not been properly validated. Finally, tracking the menstrual cycle can identify menstrual dysfunction (eg, infrequent or irregular menstruation) that can indicate a state of low energy availability or an underlying gynecological issue, both of which warrant further investigation by medical practitioners.

Open access

Validity and Reliability of Finger-Strength Testing in 6 Common Grip Techniques for the Assessment of Bouldering Ability in Men

Karl Söderqvist, Fredrik Identeg, Jonas Zimmerman, Eric Hamrin Senorski, Mikael Sansone, and Henrik Hedelin

Objective: To determine the criterion validity and test–retest reliability of isometric finger-strength testing in 6 differentiated grip techniques for the assessment of bouldering ability among male climbers. Methods: We recruited participants at climbing gyms in Sweden and through online advertisements. We included climbers over 15 years of age with a minimum bouldering performance level of 17 International Rock Climbing and Research Association (IRCRA) for men and 15 IRCRA for women. We tested unilateral, maximal isometric peak finger strength in the front 3 drag, half crimp, closed crimp, 35 sloper, 45 × 90-mm, and 90 × 90-mm pinch through maximal force deloaded of a force plate. We analyzed criterion validity, test–retest reliability, and capacity to determine bouldering performance ability using a stepwise multivariable regression model. Results: Women were excluded from the analysis due to insufficient sample size (n = 16). Thirty-two male participants were included in the primary analysis. The median (interquartile range) age in the advanced and elite group was 27 (25; 35) and 23 (22; 32) years, respectively. The half crimp for the participants’ weak and strong hand displayed the highest ability to determine bouldering grade performance, explaining 48% to 58% of the variance. In the stepwise regression, maximal strength in the half crimp and the front 3 drag collectively explained 66% of the variance for performance. Conclusion: Strength in the half crimp proved the most important performance indicator. The results of this study provide a reliable and valid framework for maximal isometric peak finger-strength testing in advanced and elite male boulderers.

Free access

Relationship Between Objective and Subjective Markers of Muscle Recovery in Professional Handball Players

Alexander-Stephan Henze, Lynn Matits, Jochen Huth, and Frieder Mauch

Purpose: To evaluate the relationship between items of the Short Recovery and Stress Scale (SRSS) related to physical stress and recovery and the biomarker creatine kinase (CK) in professional handball. Methods: CK and SRSS items (physical performance capability, overall recovery, muscular stress, and overall stress) were assessed in an observational study of 16 adult male professional handball players from a team in the highest German league during the 2019–20 preseason. Their preseason training schedule included several microcycles, each consisting of 3 consecutive days of intense training followed by a rest day. On 5 of these rest days, when players were classified as nonrested, and the 5 immediately following days, when players were classified as rested, players completed the SRSS between 8:00 and 9:00 AM, followed by blood sampling. Correlations between SRSS items were performed using Kendall τ. The relationship between each SRSS item and CK levels over time was examined using a mixed-effects model with a random intercept. Results: CK levels and SRSS stress items were significantly higher and SRSS recovery items were significantly lower in nonrested players. SRSS items were significantly positively or negatively correlated (all items: P < .001) and showed a significant effect indicating lower CK levels in rested players (all items: P ≤ .001; η p 2 = .1 .32 ). Conclusions: The investigated SRSS items may be a viable option for assessing muscle recovery in adult male professional handball players in a cost-effective and noninvasive manner. They can be used as a single monitoring tool or as part of a multimodal approach.

Free access

Combining Heat and Altitude Training to Enhance Temperate, Sea-Level Performance

Olivier Girard, Peter Peeling, Sébastien Racinais, and Julien D. Périard

Background: Repeated exposure to heat (ie, plasma volume expansion) or altitude (ie, increase in total hemoglobin mass), in conjunction with exercise, induces hematological adaptations that enhance endurance performance in each respective environment. Recently, combining heat and altitude training has become increasingly common for athletes preparing to compete in temperate, sea-level conditions. Purpose: To review the physiological adaptations to training interventions combining thermal and hypoxic stimuli and summarize the implications for temperate, sea-level performance. Current Evidence: To date, research on combining heat and hypoxia has employed 2 main approaches: simultaneously combining the stressors during training or concurrently training in the heat and sleeping at altitude, sometimes with additional training in hypoxia. When environmental stimuli are combined in a training session, improvements in aerobic fitness and time-trial performance in temperate, sea-level conditions are generally similar in magnitude to those observed with heat, or altitude, training alone. Similarly, training in the heat and sleeping at altitude does not appear to provide any additional hematological or nonhematological benefits for temperate; sea-level performance relative to training in hot, hypoxic, or control conditions. Conclusions: Current research regarding combined heat and altitude interventions does not seem to indicate that it enhances temperate, sea-level performance to a greater extent than “traditional” (heat or hypoxia alone) training approaches. A major challenge in implementing combined-stressor approaches lies in the uncertainty surrounding the prescription of dosing regimens (ie, exercise and environmental stress). The potential benefits of conducting heat and altitude exposure sequentially (ie, one after the other) warrants further investigation.

Free access

From Mentorship to Sponsorship in Sport Science

Iñigo Mujika and Peter Leo

Free access

Addressing Circadian Disruptions in Visually Impaired Paralympic Athletes

Travis Anderson, William M. Adams, Geoffrey T. Burns, Eric G. Post, Sally Baumann, Emily Clark, Karen Cogan, and Jonathan T. Finnoff

Purpose: Transmeridian travel is common for elite athletes participating in competitions and training. However, this travel can lead to circadian misalignment wherein the internal biological clock becomes desynchronized with the light–dark cycle of the new environment, resulting in performance decrement and potential negative health consequences. Existing literature extensively discusses recommendations for managing jet lag, predominantly emphasizing light-based interventions to synchronize the internal clock with the anticipated time at the destination. Nevertheless, visually impaired (VI) athletes may lack photoreceptiveness, diminishing or nullifying the effectiveness of this therapy. Consequently, this invited commentary explores alternative strategies for addressing jet lag in VI athletes. Conclusions: VI athletes with light perception but reduced visual acuity or visual fields may still benefit from light interventions in managing jet lag. However, VI athletes lacking a conscious perception of light should rely on gradual shifts in behavioral factors, such as meal timing and exercise, to facilitate the entrainment of circadian rhythms to the destination time. Furthermore, interventions like melatonin supplementation may prove useful during and after travel. In addition, it is recommended that athlete guides adopt phase-forward or phase-back approaches to synchronize with the athlete, aiding in jet-lag management and optimizing performance.

Free access

The “Making” of World-Class Athletes Is Still a Case for Humble Admissions

Ralph Beneke

Free access

Erratum. Match Running Performance in Australian Football Is Related to Muscle Fiber Typology

International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

Free access

Bringing on the Next Generation of Sport Scientists: The Benefits of Work-Integrated Learning

David B. Pyne