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Alexandra M. Coates, Jordan A. Berard, Trevor J. King, and Jamie F. Burr

Context: The physiological determinants of ultramarathon success have rarely been assessed and likely differ in their contributions to performance as race distance increases. Purpose : To examine predictors of performance in athletes who completed either a 50-, 80-, or 160-km trail race over a 20-km loop course on the same day. Methods: Measures of running history, aerobic fitness, running economy, body mass loss, hematocrit alterations, age, and cardiovascular health were examined in relation to race-day performance. Performance was defined as the percentage difference from the winning time at a given race distance, with 0% representing the fastest possible time. Results: In the 50-km race, training volumes, cardiovascular health, aerobic fitness, and a greater loss of body mass during the race were all related to better performance (all P < .05). Using multiple linear regression, peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test (β = −11.7, P = .002) and baseline blood pressure (β = 3.1, P = .007) were the best performance predictors for the men’s 50-km race (r = .98, r 2 = .96, P < .001), while peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test (β = −13.6, P = .001) and loss of body mass (β = 12.8, P = .03) were the best predictors for women (r = .94, r 2 = .87, P = .001). In the 80-km race, only peak velocity achieved in the maximal oxygen uptake test predicted performance (β = −20.3, r = .88, r 2 = .78, P < .001). In the 160-km race, there were no significant performance determinants. Conclusions: While classic determinants of running performance, including cardiovascular health and running fitness, predict 50-km trail-running success, performance in longer-distance races appears to be less influenced by such physiological parameters.

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Tim Veneman, Wouter Schallig, Maaike Eken, Carl Foster, and Jos J. de Koning

Background: During self-paced (SP) time trials (TTs), cyclists show unconscious nonrandom variations in power output of up to 10% above and below average. It is unknown what the effects of variations in power output of this magnitude are on physiological, neuromuscular, and perceptual variables. Purpose: To describe physiological, neuromuscular, and perceptual responses of 10-km TTs with an imposed even-paced (EP) and variable-paced (VP) workload. Methods: Healthy male, trained, task-habituated cyclists (N = 9) completed three 10-km TTs. First, an SP TT was completed, the mean workload from which was used as the mean workload of the EP and VP TTs. The EP was performed with an imposed even workload, while VP was performed with imposed variations in workload of ±10% of the mean. In EP and VP, cardiorespiratory, neuromuscular, and perceptual variables were measured. Results: Mean rating of perceived exertion was significantly lower in VP (6.13 [1.16]) compared with EP (6.75 [1.24]), P = .014. No mean differences were found for cardiorespiratory and almost all neuromuscular variables. However, differences were found at individual kilometers corresponding to power-output differences between pacing strategies. Conclusion: Variations in power output during TTs of ±10%, simulating natural variations in power output that are present during SP TTs, evoke minor changes in cardiorespiratory and neuromuscular responses and mostly affect the perceptual response. Rating of perceived exertion is lower when simulating natural variations in power output, compared with EP cycling. The imposed variations in workload seem to provide a psychological rather than a physiological or neuromuscular advantage.

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Gerard E. McMahon, Lee-Ann Sharp, and Rodney A. Kennedy

Purpose: To compare the global positioning system– and accelerometry-derived running demands, creatine kinase (CK), and self-reported wellness during an Olympic Games in international hockey. Methods: Data were collected across 5 games during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Global positioning system units (10 Hz) were used to assess the running demands, accelerations, and decelerations of outfield players in a men’s hockey squad with matches 2 to 5 compared with match 1. CK was used as a marker of muscle damage, and self-reported psychometric questionnaires were used to assess wellness, with each of the 5 matches compared with precompetition assessments. Results: There were significant increases (P < .05) in either, or both, absolute and relative total distance, player load, high-speed running distance, sprint distance, and accelerations and decelerations, compared with baseline. There was a significant decrease (P < .05) in maximal velocity by match 5. CK significantly increased from match 1 to 5 and displayed significant correlations with total distance (r = .55) and player load (r = .41). Muscle soreness correlated with total distance and player load, with other wellness markers unchanged compared with baseline. Conclusions: International hockey athletes may maintain or increase running activities over the course of an Olympic tournament; however, this may be impacted by situational (match score/outcome) and environmental (ambient temperature) factors. Despite CK and muscle soreness displaying relationships with running variables, further work is needed to establish their individual value in monitoring international hockey athletes.

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Chuyi Cui, Brittney Muir, Shirley Rietdyk, Jeffrey Haddad, Richard van Emmerik, and Satyajit Ambike

Tripping while walking is a main contributor to falls across the adult lifespan. Trip risk is proportional to variability in toe clearance. To determine the sources of this variability, the authors computed for 10 young adults the sensitivity of toe clearance to 10 bilateral lower limb joint angles during unobstructed and obstructed walking when the lead and the trail limb crossed the obstacle. The authors computed a novel measure—singular value of the appropriate Jacobian—as the combined toe clearance sensitivity to 4 groups of angles: all sagittal and all frontal plane angles and all swing and all stance limb angles. Toe clearance was most sensitive to the stance hip ab/adduction for unobstructed gait. For obstructed gait, sensitivity to other joints increased and matched the sensitivity to stance hip ab/adduction. Combined sensitivities revealed critical information that was not evident in the sensitivities to individual angles. The combined sensitivity to stance limb angles was 84% higher than swing limb angles. The combined sensitivity to the sagittal plane angles was lower than the sensitivity to the frontal plane angles during unobstructed gait, and this relation was reversed during obstacle crossing. The results highlight the importance of the stance limb joints and indicate that frontal plane angles should not be ignored.

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James R. Mckee, Bradley A. Wall, and Jeremiah J. Peiffer

Purpose: To examine the influence of temporal location of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) within a cycling session on the time spent ≥90% of maximal oxygen consumption and physiological and perceptual responses. Methods: In a randomized, crossover design, 16 trained cyclists (male, n = 13 and female, n = 3) completed three 90-minute cycling sessions with HIIT placed at the beginning, middle, or end of the session (13, 36, and 69 min, respectively). Intervals consisted of three 3-minute efforts at 90% of the power output associated with maximal oxygen consumption interspersed with 3 minutes of recovery. Oxygen consumption, minute ventilation, respiratory rate, and heart rate were recorded continuously during work intervals. Rate of perceived exertion was recorded at the end of work intervals, and sessional rate of perceived exertion was collected 20 minutes after session completion. Results: No differences were observed for mean oxygen consumption (P = .479) or time spent ≥90% maximal oxygen consumption (P = .753) between condition. The mean rate of perceived exertion of all intervals were greater in the Middle (P < .01, effect size = 0.83) and End (P < .05, effect size = 0.75) compared with Beginning conditions. Mean minute ventilation was greater in the End compared with Beginning condition (P = .015, effect size = 0.63). However, no differences in mean respiratory rate were observed between conditions (P = .297). Conclusions: Temporal location of HIIT has no impact on oxygen consumption or cardiovascular stress within a cycling session. However, HIIT performed later in the session resulted in higher ventilation, which may indicate the need for greater anaerobic contribution to these intervals.

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Johanna K. Ihalainen, Oona Kettunen, Kerry McGawley, Guro Strøm Solli, Anthony C. Hackney, Antti A. Mero, and Heikki Kyröläinen

Purpose: To determine body composition, energy availability, training load, and menstrual status in young elite endurance running athletes (ATH) over 1 year, and in a secondary analysis, to investigate how these factors differ between nonrunning controls (CON), and amenorrheic (AME) and eumenorrheic (EUM) ATH. Correlations to injury, illness, and performance were also examined. Methods: Altogether 13 ATH and 8 CON completed the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire. Anthropometric, energy intake, and peak oxygen uptake assessments were made at 4 time points throughout the year: at baseline post competition season, post general preparation, post specific preparation, and post competition season the following year. Logs of physical activity, menstrual cycle, illness, and injury were kept by all participants. Performance was defined using the highest International Association of Athletics Federations points prior to and after the study. Results: ATH had significantly lower body mass (P < .008), fat percentage (P < .001), and body mass index (P < .027) compared with CON, while energy availability did not differ between ATH and CON. The Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire score was higher in ATH than in CON (P < .028), and 8 ATH (vs zero CON) were AME. The AME had significantly more injury days (P < .041) and ran less (P < .046) than EUM, while total annual running distance was positively related to changes in performance in ATH (r < .62, P < .043, n < 11). Conclusions: More than half of this group of runners was AME, and they were injured more and ran less than their EUM counterparts. Furthermore, only the EUM runners increased their performance over the course of the year.

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Jonathan S. Dufour, Alexander M. Aurand, Eric B. Weston, Christopher N. Haritos, Reid A. Souchereau, and William S. Marras

The objective of this study was to test the feasibility of using a pair of wearable inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors to accurately capture dynamic joint motion data during simulated occupational conditions. Eleven subjects (5 males and 6 females) performed repetitive neck, low-back, and shoulder motions simulating low- and high-difficulty occupational tasks in a laboratory setting. Kinematics for each of the 3 joints were measured via IMU sensors in addition to a “gold standard” passive marker optical motion capture system. The IMU accuracy was benchmarked relative to the optical motion capture system, and IMU sensitivity to low- and high-difficulty tasks was evaluated. The accuracy of the IMU sensors was found to be very good on average, but significant positional drift was observed in some trials. In addition, IMU measurements were shown to be sensitive to differences in task difficulty in all 3 joints (P < .05). These results demonstrate the feasibility for using wearable IMU sensors to capture kinematic exposures as potential indicators of occupational injury risk. Velocities and accelerations demonstrate the most potential for developing risk metrics since they are sensitive to task difficulty and less sensitive to drift than rotational position measurements.

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Jessa M. Buchman-Pearle, David C. Kingston, and Stacey M. Acker

Movement pattern differences may contribute to differential injury or disease prevalence between individuals. The purpose of this study was to identify lower limb movement patterns in high knee flexion, a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, and to investigate kinematic differences between males and females, as females typically develop knee osteoarthritis more commonly and severely than males. Lower extremity kinematic data were recorded from 110 participants completing 4 variations of squatting and kneeling. Principal component analysis was used to identify principal movements associated with the largest variability in the sample. Across the tasks, similar principal movements emerged at maximal flexion and during transitions. At maximal flexion, females achieved greater knee flexion, facilitated by a wider base of support, which may alter posterior and lateral tibiofemoral stress. Principal movements also detected differences in movement temporality between males and females. When these temporal differences occur due to alterations in movement velocity and/or acceleration, they may elicit changes in muscle activation and knee joint stress. Movement variability identified in the current study provides a framework for potential modifiable factors in high knee flexion, such as foot position, and suggests that kinematic differences between the sexes may contribute to differences in knee osteoarthritis progression.

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Alesha Reed, Jacqueline Cummine, Neesha Bhat, Shivraj Jhala, Reyhaneh Bakhtiari, and Carol A. Boliek

Purpose: The authors evaluated changes in intermuscular coherence (IMC) of orofacial and speech breathing muscles across phase of speech production in healthy younger and older adults. Method: Sixty adults (30 younger = M: 26.97 year; 30 older = M: 66.37 year) read aloud a list of 40 words. IMC was evaluated across phase: preparation (300 ms before speech onset), initiation (300 ms after onset), and total execution (entire word). Results: Orofacial IMC was lowest in the initiation, higher in preparation, and highest for the total execution phase. Chest wall IMC was lowest for the preparation and initiation and highest for the total execution phase. Despite age-related differences in accuracy, neuromuscular modulation for phase was similar between groups. Conclusion: These results expand our knowledge of speech motor control by demonstrating that IMC is sensitive to phase of speech planning and production.

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Kathryn Harrison, Adam Sima, Ronald Zernicke, Benjamin J. Darter, Mary Shall, D.S. Blaise Williams III, and Sheryl Finucane

Novice runners experience a higher incidence of knee injury than experienced runners, which may be related to aberrant frontal and transverse plane kinematics. However, differences in kinematics between novice and experienced runners have not been fully explored. For this study, 10 novice and 10 experienced female runners ran on a treadmill at 2.68 m/s. Ankle, knee, and hip joint angles during the stance phase were measured using a 3-dimensional motion capture system and modeled using cubic splines. Spline models were compared between groups using a generalized linear model (α = .05). Ninety-five percent confidence intervals of the difference between joint angles throughout stance were constructed to identify specific periods of stance where groups differed in joint position. Angle–angle diagrams of ankle and hip position in the frontal and transverse planes were constructed to depict joint coordination. Novice runners displayed less hip adduction, but greater knee abduction and knee internal rotation compared to experienced runners. Differences in knee joint position may be explained by coordination of hip and ankle motion. Greater knee abduction and knee internal rotation displayed by novice runners compared with experienced runners may help to explain their higher risk for injury.