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Maria Jose Arias-Tellez, Francisco M. Acosta, Jairo H. Migueles, Jose M. Pascual-Gamarra, Elisa Merchan-Ramirez, Clarice M. de Lucena Martins, Jose M. Llamas-Elvira, Borja Martinez-Tellez, and Jonatan R. Ruiz

The role of lifestyle behaviors on neck adipose tissue (NAT), a fat depot that appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of different cardiometabolic diseases and in inflammatory status, is unknown. In this cross-sectional and exploratory study, the authors examined the relationship between sedentary time and physical activity (PA) with neck adiposity in young adults. A total of 134 subjects (69% women, 23 ± 2 years) were enrolled. The time spent in sedentary behavior and PA of different intensity were objectively measured for 7 consecutive days (24 hr/day), using a wrist (nondominant)-worn accelerometer. The NAT volume was assessed using computed tomography, and the compartmental (subcutaneous, intermuscular, and perivertebral) and total NAT volumes were determined at the level of vertebra C5. Anthropometric indicators and body composition (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) were determined. The time spent in light physical activity and moderate physical activity (MPA) and the overall PA were inversely associated with the intermuscular NAT volume in men, as were the MPA and overall PA with total NAT volume (all ps ≤ .04). Sedentary time was directly related to the total NAT volume (p = .04). An opposite trend was observed in women, finding a direct relationship of MPA with the subcutaneous NAT; of light physical activity, MPA, and overall PA with the perivertebral NAT; and of light physical activity with total NAT volumes (all ps ≤ .05). The observed associations were weak, and after adjusting for multiplicity, the results became nonsignificant (p > .05). These findings suggest that the specific characteristics of PA (time and intensity) might have sex-dependent implications in the accumulation of NAT.

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Jonne A. Kapteijns, Kevin Caen, Maarten Lievens, Jan G. Bourgois, and Jan Boone

Purpose: To determine if there is a link between the demands of competitive game activity and performance profiles of elite female field hockey players. Methods: Global positioning systems (GPS) were used to quantify running performance of elite female field hockey players (N = 20) during 26 competitive games. Performance profiles were assessed at 2 time points (preseason and midseason) for 2 competitive seasons. A battery of anthropometric and performance field-based tests (30–15 intermittent fitness test, incremental run test, 10–30-m speed test, T test, and vertical jump test) were used to determine the performance profiles of the players. Results: Players covered a mean total distance of 5384 (835) m, of which 19% was spent at high intensities (zone 5: 796 [221] m; zone 6: 274 [105] m). Forwards covered the lowest mean total distance (estimated marginal means 4586 m; 95% confidence interval, 4275–4897), whereas work rate was higher in forwards compared with midfielders (P = .006, d = 0.43) and central defenders (P = .001, d = 1.41). Players showed an improvement in body composition and anaerobic performance from preseason to midseason. Aerobic performance capacity (maximal oxygen uptake and speed at the 4-mM lactate threshold) was positively correlated with high-intensity activities. Conclusions: There is a clear relationship between running performance and aerobic performance profiles in elite female hockey players. These results highlight the importance of a well-developed aerobic performance capacity in order to maintain a high performance level during hockey games.

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Thomas Haugen, Will Hopkins, Felix Breitschädel, Gøran Paulsen, and Paul Solberg

Purpose: To determine if generic off-ice physical fitness tests can provide useful predictions of ice hockey players’ match performance. Methods: Approximately 40 to 60 defenders and 70 to 100 forwards from the Norwegian male upper ice hockey league were tested for strength (1-repetition maximum in squat and bench press), power (40-m sprint and countermovement jump), and endurance (hanging sit-ups, chins, and 3000-m run) annually at the end of every preseason period between 2008 and 2017. Measures of match performance were each player’s season mean counts per match of assists, points, goals, penalty minutes, and plus-minus score. Results: Overall, match performance measures displayed trivial to small correlations with the fitness tests. More specifically, points per game had at most small correlations with measures of strength (range, approximately −0.2 to 0.3), speed (approximately −0.2 to 0.3), and endurance (approximately −0.1 to 0.3). After adjustments for age that showed moderate to large correlations with player match performance, multiple-regression analyses of each test measure still provided some predictability among players of the same age. However, players selected for the national team had substantially better mean scores for most tests and match performance measures than those not selected, with a moderate to large difference for age, 1-repetition maximum squat, and 1-repetition maximum bench press. Conclusions: Fitness tests had only marginal utility for predicting match performance in Norwegian hockey players, but those selected into the national team had better general fitness.

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Jordan L. Fox, Jesse Green, and Aaron T. Scanlan

Purpose: To compare peak and average intensities encountered during winning and losing game quarters in basketball players. Methods: Eight semiprofessional male basketball players (age = 23.1 [3.8] y) were monitored during all games (N = 18) over 1 competitive season. The average intensities attained in each quarter were determined using microsensors and heart-rate monitors to derive relative values (per minute) for the following variables: PlayerLoad, frequency of high-intensity and total accelerations, decelerations, changes of direction, jumps, and total inertial movement analysis events combined, as well as modified summated-heart-rate-zones workload. The peak intensities reached in each quarter were determined using microsensors and reported as PlayerLoad per minute over 15-second, 30-second, 1-minute, 2-minute, 3-minute, 4-minute, and 5-minute sample durations. Linear mixed models and effect sizes were used to compare intensity variables between winning and losing game quarters. Results: Nonsignificant (P > .05), unclear–small differences were evident between winning and losing game quarters in all variables. Conclusions: During winning and losing game quarters, peak and average intensities were similar. Consequently, factors other than the intensity of effort applied during games may underpin team success in individual game quarters and therefore warrant further investigation.

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Javier Yanci, Daniel Castillo, Aitor Iturricastillo, Astrid Aracama, Alba Roldan, and Raúl Reina

Purpose: The objectives of this study were to analyze whether there were differences among para-footballers with different types and degrees of brain impairment (ie, bilateral spasticity, athetosis/ataxia, unilateral spasticity, minimum impairment criteria, or no impairment) in performing 3 football-specific tests requiring ball dribbling, to analyze whether there was an association among the results obtained in the 3 tests, and to determine whether the performance in the tests was associated with competitive level, level of training, or years’ experience in para-footballers with cerebral palsy (CP). Methods: A total of 123 footballers took part in the study, 87 of whom were footballers with CP and 36 who were without impairment. Both groups were assessed in 3 football-specific tests (Stop and Go, Turning and Dribbling, and the Illinois Agility Test). Results: The results showed that the footballers without impairment recorded a better performance in all tests (P < .01) in comparison with the CP players. No significant differences in test performance were observed among the CP players from different competitive levels. However, significant differences (P < .01) were observed between players with diplegia or athetosis/ataxia compared with players with hemiplegia or minimum impairment level. Performance in the tests did not correlate with years of football experience, weekly strength training sessions, or specific football training in the footballers with CP (P = .12–.95). Conclusions: These findings suggest the possible inclusion of these tests in the classification process for footballers with CP because they discriminate among functional classes and are resistant to training and competitive level.

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Jonpaul Nevin and Paul M. Smith

Purpose: To explore the relationship between absolute and relative upper-body strength and selected measures of handcycling performance. Methods: A total of 13 trained H3/H4-classified male handcyclists (mean [SD] age 37 [11] y; body mass 76.6 [10.1] kg; peak oxygen consumption 2.8 [0.6] L·min−1; relative peak oxygen consumption 36.5 [10] mL·kg·min−1) performed a prone bench-pull and bench-press 1-repetition-maximum strength assessment, a 15-km individual time trial, a graded exercise test, and a 15-second all-out sprint test. Relationships between all variables were assessed using Pearson correlation coefficient. Results: Absolute strength measures displayed a large correlation with gross mechanical efficiency and maximum anaerobic power output (P = .05). However, only a small to moderate relationship was identified with all other measures. In contrast, relative strength measures demonstrated large to very large correlations with gross mechanical efficiency, 15-km time-trial velocity, maximum anaerobic power output, peak aerobic power output, power at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1, and peak oxygen consumption (P = .05). Conclusion: Relative upper-body strength demonstrates a significant relationship with time-trial velocity and several handcycling performance measures. Relative strength is the product of one’s ability to generate maximal forces relative to body mass. Therefore, the development of one’s absolute strength combined with a reduction in body mass may influence real-world handcycling race performance.

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Craig Thomas, Helen Jones, Craig Whitworth-Turner, and Julien Louis

Purpose: (1) To compare the sleep of female players from a professional soccer team to nonathlete controls across an in-season week and (2) to compare the sleep of core and fringe players from the same team on the night after a match to training nights. Methods: Using an observational design, 18 professional female soccer players and 18 female nonathlete controls were monitored for their sleep via wristwatch actigraphy across 1 week. Independent-sample t tests and Mann–Whitney U tests were performed to compare sleep between groups, while an analysis of variance compared sleep on training nights to the night after a match. Results: Soccer players had significantly greater sleep duration than nonathlete controls (+38 min; P = .009; d: 0.92), which may have resulted from an earlier bedtime (−00:31 h:min; P = .047; d: 0.70). The soccer players also had less intraindividual variation in bedtime than nonathletes (−00:08 h:min; P = .023; r: .38). Despite this, sleep-onset latency was significantly longer among soccer players (+8 min; P = .032; d: 0.78). On the night after a match, sleep duration of core players was significantly lower than on training nights (−49 min; P = .010; d: 0.77). In fringe players, there was no significant difference between nights for any sleep characteristic. Conclusions: During the in-season period, sleep duration of professional female soccer players is greater than nonathlete controls. However, the night after a match challenges the sleep of players with more match involvement and warrants priority of sleep hygiene strategies.

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Vicky L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Sonja de Groot, Keith Tolfrey, and Tom A.W. Paulson

Purpose: To confirm whether peak aerobic capacity determined during laboratory testing could be replicated during an on-court field-based test in wheelchair rugby players. Methods: Sixteen wheelchair rugby players performed an incremental speed-based peak oxygen uptake (V˙O2peak) test on a motorized treadmill (TM) and completed a multistage fitness test (MFT) on a basketball court in a counterbalanced order, while spirometric data were recorded. A paired t test was performed to check for systematic error between tests. A Bland–Altman plot for V˙O2peak illustrated the agreement between the TM and MFT results and how this related to the boundaries of practical equivalence. Results: No significant differences between mean V˙O2peak were reported (TM: 1.85 [0.63] vs MFT: 1.81 [0.63] L·min−1; P = .33). Bland–Altman plot for V˙O2peak suggests that the mean values are in good agreement at the group level; that is, the exact 95% confidence limits for the ratio systematic error (0.95–1.02) are within the boundaries of practical equivalence (0.88–1.13) showing that the group average TM and MFT values are interchangeable. However, consideration of the data at the level of the individual athlete suggests that the TM and MFT results were not interchangeable because the 95% ratio limits of agreement either coincide with the boundaries of practical equivalence (upper limit) or fall outside (lower limit). Conclusions: Results suggest that the MFT provides a suitable test at a group level with this cohort of wheelchair rugby players for the assessment of V˙O2peak (range 0.97–3.64 L·min–1), yet caution is noted for interchangeable use of values between tests for individual players.

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Nick Draper, David Giles, Nicola Taylor, Laurent Vigouroux, Vanesa España-Romero, Jiří Baláš, Ignacio Solar Altamirano, Franziska Mally, Ina Beeretz, Jorge Couceiro Canalejo, Gabriel Josseron, Jan Kodejška, María José Arias Téllez, and German Gallo Cabeza de Vaca

Purpose: To examine the validity and reliability of a battery of 10 measures designed to assess the key physiological parameters for successful rock climbing performance. Methods: In phase 1 of the research, an expert panel, using the Delphi method, established a 10-item test battery based on the key determinants of climbing performance. In phase 2, the tests were assessed for validity and reliability to examine their suitability as sport-specific measures of rock climbing performance. A total of 132 rock climbers, from 7 countries, volunteered to take part in the study. Each climber visited their nearest laboratory on 3 separate occasions in order to enable the required tests and retests to be completed. A minimum of 7 days was allowed between visits. Results: The 10 tests established for phase 2 were designed as sport-specific measures of flexibility, strength, power, and endurance. Results indicated that, while reliable, the flexibility and strength tests were only partially successful in differentiating across climber abilities. The power and endurance tests, however, performed well with regard to validity and reliability, with the finger hang and powerslap tests being most strongly correlated with performance ability (P < .0005 to P < .002). Conclusion: The authors’ data suggest that climbing may require a threshold level of flexibility and strength for successful performance, beyond which further improvements may not be required. In contrast, the finger hang and powerslap tests were not only reliable measures but also differentiated between climber abilities from lower grade to elite levels.

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Natthapon Traiperm, Rungchai Chaunchaiyakul, Martin Burtscher, and Hannes Gatterer

Purpose: Plasma N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin T levels show a transient increase after marathon running. The aim of this study was to investigate whether running duration influences the patterns of changes in cardiac biomarkers. Methods: Twenty participants with fast and slow finishing times were included in the study. Blood samples were taken before the marathon race, immediately after, and 24 hours after the race. Samples were analyzed for NT-proBNP and cardiac troponin T concentration. Furthermore, a complete blood cell count was performed. Results: After the marathon race, the fast and slow runners showed similar changes of NT-proBNP and cardiac troponin T (ie, a transient increase). Curve estimation regression analysis showed a curvilinear relationship (quadratic model) between running times and NT-proBNP increments immediately after the race, with less of an increase in the very fast and the very slow runners (r 2 = .359, P = .023). NT-proBNP increments immediately after the race were correlated to the decline 24 hours after the marathon (r = −.612, P = .004). Conclusions: This study indicates that NT-proBNP release immediately after marathon running varies in a curvilinear fashion with running time. It is speculated that low NT-proBNP release is associated with training adaptation in most elite runners and the relatively low cardiac stress in the slowest (but experienced) runners. The combination of less adaptation and relatively large cardiac wall and metabolic stress may explain the highest NT-proBNP values in runners with average running times. In addition, NT-proBNP decrements 24 hours after the race depend primarily on the values reached after the marathon and not on running time.