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Ciaran O’Grady, Louis Passfield, and James G. Hopker

Purpose: Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) as a training-intensity prescription has been extensively used by athletes and coaches. However, individual variability in the physiological response to exercise prescribed using RPE has not been investigated. Methods: Twenty well-trained competitive cyclists (male = 18, female = 2, maximum oxygen consumption =55.07 [11.06] mL·kg−1·min−1) completed 3 exercise trials each consisting of 9 randomized self-paced exercise bouts of either 1, 4, or 8 minutes at RPEs of 9, 13, and 17. Within-athlete variability (WAV) and between-athletes variability (BAV) in power and physiological responses were calculated using the coefficient of variation. Total variability was calculated as the ratio of WAV to BAV. Results: Increased RPEs were associated with higher power, heart rate, work, volume of expired oxygen (VO2), volume of expired carbon dioxide (VCO2), minute ventilation (V E), deoxyhemoglobin (ΔHHb) (P < .001), and lower tissue saturation index (ΔTSI%) and ΔO2Hb (oxyhaemoglobin; P < .001). At an RPE of 9, shorter durations resulted in lower VO2 (P < .05) and decreased ΔTSI%, and the ΔHHb increased as the duration increased (P < .05). At an RPE of 13, shorter durations resulted in lower VO2, V E, and percentage of maximum oxygen consumption (P < .001), as well as higher power, heart rate, ΔHHb (P < .001), and ΔTSI% (P < .05). At an RPE of 17, power (P < .001) and ΔTSI% (P < .05) increased as duration decreased. As intensity and duration increased, WAV and BAV in power, work, heart rate, VO2, VCO2, and VE decreased, and WAV and BAV in near-infrared spectroscopy increased. Conclusions: Self-paced intensity prescriptions of high effort and long duration result in the greatest consistency on both a within- and between-athletes basis.

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Samantha M. Ross, Kathleen McCarty, Bridgette M. Schram, and Layne Case

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Kyle Pushkarenko, Janice Causgrove Dunn, and Donna L. Goodwin

Countering the declining physical activity patterns of children labeled with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has gained considerable research attention given its impact on health and quality of life. The purpose of this study was to explore how parents of children labeled with ASD understand the concept of physical literacy, based on their children’s participation in community-based physical activity programs. Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, six mothers of children labeled with ASD participated in one-on-one semistructured interviews. The conceptual framework of ecological systems theory supported the rationale for the study purpose, provided structure for the interview guide, and offered a reflexive context for interpretation. Four themes were generated from the thematic analysis: From embodied movement to normative skill expectations, Be flexible, not rigid, Systematic exclusion, and Valuable? . . . Absolutely! Despite experiences of marginalization, exclusion, and trauma within physical activity programs, mothers valued physical literacy development for their children given the positive outcomes of increasing family connections, engagement with peers, and enhanced wellness.

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Amanda Young, Seán Healy, Lisa Silliman-French, and Ali Brian

To inform the development of scalable and sustainable fundamental motor skill interventions for children with Down syndrome, this study examined the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of Project Skill Intervention Implemented by Parents (Project SKIP), a web-based, parent-mediated intervention intended to improve ball skills among children with Down syndrome. Twenty-four families enrolled in the study (including 13 boys and 11 girls; M age = 4.92). Fourteen children were assigned to an experimental group and participated in the 6-week intervention, and 10 children served as the inactive comparison group. The Test of Gross Motor Development-3 was administered preintervention and postintervention. In addition, parents of children in the experimental group completed a postintervention survey to assess their perceptions of Project SKIP. Following the intervention, there was a significant improvement in ball skills (p = .023, d = 0.86) for children in the experimental group, whereas the comparison group did not show significant improvement. Moreover, parents perceived Project SKIP to be feasible and effective; all parents reported being satisfied with their overall experience in the program, and 11 parents indicated that their child’s fundamental motor skills were positively influenced by the intervention. Engagement was high, with the majority of parents (n = 8, 57%) interacting with Project SKIP content three to four times a week.

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Benjamin A. McKay, Jace A. Delaney, Andrew Simpkin, Theresa Larkin, Andrew Murray, Charles R. Pedlar, Nathan A. Lewis, and John A. Sampson

Purpose: To assess associations between a free oxygen radical test (FORT), free oxygen radical defense test (FORD), oxidative stress index, urinary cortisol, countermovement jump (CMJ), and subjective wellness in American college football. Methods: Twenty-three male student athlete American college football players were assessed over 10 weeks: off-season conditioning (3 wk), preseason camp (4 wk), and in season (3 wk). Assessments included a once-weekly FORT and FORD blood sample, urinary cortisol sample, CMJ assessment including flight time, reactive strength index modified and concentric impulse, and a daily subjective wellness questionnaire. Linear mixed models analyzed the effect of a 2 within-subject SD change in the predictor variable on the dependent variable. The effects were interpreted using magnitude-based inference and are presented as standardized effect size (ES) ± 90% confidence intervals. Results: Small negative associations were observed between FORT–flight time, FORT–fatigue, FORT–soreness (ES range = −0.30 to −0.48), FORD–sleep (ES = 0.42 ± 0.29), and oxidative stress index soreness (ES = 0.56 ± 0.29). Small positive associations were observed between FORT–cortisol (ES = 0.36 ± 0.35), FORD–flight time, FORD reactive strength index modified and FORD–soreness (0.37–0.41), oxidative stress index concentric impulse (ES = 0.37 ± 0.28), and with soreness–concentric impulse, soreness–flight time, and soreness reactive strength index modified (0.33–0.59). Moderate positive associations were observed between cortisol–concentric impulse and cortisol–sleep (0.57–0.60). Conclusion:FORT/FORD was associated with CMJ variables and subjective wellness. Greater amounts of subjective soreness were associated with decreased CMJ performance, increased FORT and cortisol, and decreased FORD.

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Adam Field, Liam D. Harper, Bryna C.R. Chrismas, Peter M. Fowler, Alan McCall, Darren J. Paul, Karim Chamari, and Lee Taylor

Purpose: To survey soccer practitioners’ recovery strategy: (1) use, (2) perceived effectiveness, and (3) factors influencing their implementation in professional soccer. Methods: A cross-sectional convenience sample of professional soccer club/confederation practitioners completed a web-based survey (April to July 2020). Pearson chi-square and Fisher exact tests with Cramer V (φ − c) assessed relationships and their strength, respectively, between the perceived effectiveness and frequency of strategy use. Results: A total of 80 soccer practitioners (13 countries) completed the survey. The 3 most important recovery objectives were “alleviating muscle damage/fatigue,” “minimizing injury risk,” and “performance optimization.” The most frequently used strategies were active recovery, structured recovery day, extra rest day, massage, cold-water therapy, and carbohydrate provision (predominantly on match day and match day + 1). Relationships were identified between perceived effectiveness and frequency of strategy use for sleep medication (P < .001, φ − c = 0.48), carbohydrate provision (P = .007, φ − c = 0.60), protein provision (P = .007, φ − c = 0.63), an extra rest day (P < .001, φ − c = 0.56), and a structured recovery day (P = .049, φ − c = 0.50). Conclusions: The study demonstrates that professional soccer practitioners have a range of objectives geared toward enhancing player recovery. A disconnect is apparent between the perceived effectiveness of many recovery strategies and their frequency of use in an applied setting. Novel data indicate that strategies are most frequently employed around match day. Challenges to strategy adoption are mainly competing disciplinary interests and resource limitations. Researchers and practitioners should liaise to ensure that the complexities involved with operating in an applied environment are elucidated and apposite study designs are adopted, in turn, facilitating the use of practically effective and compatible recovery modalities.

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Julian Alcazar, Pedro J. Cornejo-Daza, Juan Sánchez-Valdepeñas, Luis M. Alegre, and Fernando Pareja-Blanco

Purpose: This study aimed to compare the adaptations provoked by various velocity loss (VL) thresholds used in resistance training on the squat force–velocity (F–V) relationship. Methods: Sixty-four resistance-trained young men were randomly assigned to one of four 8-week resistance training programs (all 70%–85% 1-repetition maximum) using different VL thresholds (VL0 = 0%, VL10 = 10%, VL20 = 20%, and VL40 = 40%) in the squat exercise. The F–V relationship was assessed under unloaded and loaded conditions in squat. Linear and hyperbolic (Hill) F–V equations were used to calculate force at zero velocity (F 0), velocity at zero force (V 0), maximum muscle power (P max), and force produced at mean velocities ranging from 0.0 to 2.0 m·s−1. Changes in parameters derived from the F–V relationship were compared among groups using linear mixed models. Results: Linear equations showed increases in F 0 (120.7 N [89.4 to 152.1]) and P max (76.2 W [45.3 to 107.2]) and no changes in V 0 (−0.02 m·s−1 [−0.11 to 0.06]) regardless of VL. Hyperbolic equations depicted increases in F 0 (120.7 N [89.4 to 152.1]), V 0 (1.13 m·s−1 [0.78 to 1.48]), and P max (198.5 W [160.5 to 236.6]) with changes in V 0 being greater in VL0 and VL10 versus VL40 (both P < .001). All groups similarly improved force at 0.0 to 2.0 m·s−1 (all P < .001), although in general, effect sizes were greater in VL10 and VL20 versus VL0 and VL40 at velocities ≤0.5 m·s−1. Conclusions: All groups improved linear and hyperbolic F 0 and P max and hyperbolic V 0 (except VL40). The dose–response relationship exhibited an inverted U-shape pattern at velocities ≤0.5 m·s−1 with VL10 and VL20 showing the greatest standardized changes.

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Isabella Russo, Paul A. Della Gatta, Andrew Garnham, Judi Porter, Louise M. Burke, and Ricardo J.S. Costa

Purpose: This study aimed to determine the effects of an acute “train-low” nutritional protocol on markers of recovery optimization compared to standard recovery nutrition protocol. Methods: After completing a 2-hour high-intensity interval running protocol, 8 male endurance athletes consumed a standard dairy milk recovery beverage (CHO; 1.2 g/kg body mass [BM] of carbohydrate and 0.4 g/kg BM of protein) and a low-carbohydrate (L-CHO; isovolumetric with 0.35 g/kg BM of carbohydrate and 0.5 g/kg BM of protein) dairy milk beverage in a double-blind randomized crossover design. Venous blood and breath samples, nude BM, body water, and gastrointestinal symptom measurements were collected preexercise and during recovery. Muscle biopsy was performed at 0 hour and 2 hours of recovery. Participants returned to the laboratory the following morning to measure energy substrate oxidation and perform a 1-hour distance test. Results: The exercise protocol resulted in depletion of muscle glycogen stores (250 mmol/kg dry weight) and mild body-water losses (BM loss = 1.8%). Neither recovery beverage replenished muscle glycogen stores (279 mmol/kg dry weight) or prevented a decrease in bacterially stimulated neutrophil function (−21%). Both recovery beverages increased phosphorylation of mTORSer2448 (main effect of time = P < .001) and returned hydration status to baseline. A greater fold increase in p-GSK-3βSer9/total-GSK-3β occurred on CHO (P = .012). Blood glucose (P = .005) and insulin (P = .012) responses were significantly greater on CHO (618 mmol/L per 2 h and 3507 μIU/mL per 2 h, respectively) compared to L-CHO (559 mmol/L per 2 h and 1147 μIU/mL per 2 h, respectively). Rates of total fat oxidation were greater on CHO, but performance was not affected. Conclusion: A lower-carbohydrate recovery beverage consumed after exercise in a “train-low” nutritional protocol does not negatively impact recovery optimization outcomes.

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Tim J. Mosey and Lachlan J.G. Mitchell

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to document the longitudinal strength and power characteristic changes and race performance changes of a skeleton athlete. Method: Longitudinal strength and power changes were assessed with strength and power diagnostic testing over a 9-year period. Trends over 9 years for relative strength were analyzed using a linear model. Push-start time was recorded across multiple tracks. Trends over 9 years for start performance at each track were assessed using a mixed-effects linear model to account for the impact of different tracks. Lower-body strength and power changes were assessed via a 1-repetition-maximum squat and a body-weight countermovement jump. The relationship between strength and power changes was assessed over time. The relationship between strength changes and start performance was determined by assessing the fixed effect of relative strength changes on push-start time. Results: Relative lower-body strength ranged from 1.6 kg per body weight to 1.9 kg per body weight and showed a significant mean improvement of 0.05 kg per body weight per year (R 2 = .71, P < .01). A negative correlation (R 2 = .79) between relative strength changes and push-start performance across multiple tracks was found. The mixed-effects model indicated that push-start time improved significantly year to year (0.02 s; P < .001; R 2 = .74) when controlling for the effect of track. Conclusions: The longitudinal analysis of push-start time and the associations with changes in strength suggest that training this quality can have a positive effect on push-start performance.