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## Bench Press 1-Repetition Maximum Estimation Through the Individualized Load–Velocity Relationship: Comparison of Different Regression Models and Minimal Velocity Thresholds

Purpose: To compare the accuracy of nine 1-repetition maximum (1RM) prediction methods during the paused and touch-and-go bench press exercises performed in a Smith machine. Method: A total of 86 men performed 2 identical sessions (incremental loading test until reaching the 1RM followed by a set to failure) in a randomized order during the paused and touch-and-go bench press exercises. Individualized load–velocity relationships were modeled by linear and polynomial regression models considering 4 loads (45%–60%–75%–90% of 1RM) (multiple-point methods) and considering only 2 loads (45%–90% of 1RM) by a linear regression (2-point method). Three minimal velocity thresholds were used: the general velocity of 0.17 m·s−1 (general velocity of the 1RM [V1RM]), the velocity obtained when lifting the 1RM load (individual V1RM), and the velocity obtained during the last repetition of a set to failure. Results: The 1RM prediction methods were generally valid (range: r = .96–.99, standard error of the estimate = 2.8–4.9 kg or 4.6%–8.0% of 1RM). The multiple-point linear method (2.79 [2.29] kg) was more precise than the multiple-point polynomial method (3.54 [3.31] kg; P = .013), but no significant differences were observed when compared with the 2-point method (3.09 [2.66] kg, P = .136). The velocity of the last repetition of a set to failure (3.47 [2.97] kg) was significantly less precise than the individual V1RM (2.91 [2.75] kg, P = .009) and general V1RM (3.00 [2.65] kg, P = .010). Conclusions: Linear regression models and a general minimal velocity threshold of 0.17 m·s−1 should be recommended to obtain a quick and precise estimation of the 1RM during the bench press exercise performed in a Smith machine.

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## Physiological and Perceptual Recovery-Stress Responses to an Elite Netball Tournament

Purpose: To investigate and explore the relationships between physiological and perceptual recovery and stress responses to elite netball tournament workloads. Methods: Nine elite female netballers were observed across a 3-day (T1–3), 4-match tournament. Participants provided salivary samples for cortisol and alpha-amylase analysis, completed the Short Recovery Stress Scale (SRSS), and reported session ratings of perceived exertion. Inertial measurement units and heart-rate monitors determined player load, changes of direction (COD), summated heart-rate zones, and jumps. Results: Analysis revealed 6 significant SRSS time effects: (1) decreased recovery markers of physical performance (P = .042), emotional balance (P = .034), and overall recovery (P = .001) and (2) increased perceptual stress markers of muscular stress (P = .001), negative emotional state (P = .026), and overall stress (P = .010). Salivary cortisol decreased over the tournament (T1–3) before progressively increasing posttournament with greater salivary samples for cortisol on T+2 compared with T3 (P = .014, ES = −1.29; −2.24 to −0.22]) and T+1 (P = .031, ES = −1.54; −2.51 to −0.42). SRSS overall recovery moderately negatively correlated with COD (r = −.41, P = .028) and session ratings of perceived exertion (r = −.40, P = .034). Cumulative workload did not relate to posttournament perceptual or salivary responses. Percentage change in salivary variables related (P < .05) to total player load, total COD, and overall recovery across specific cumulative time periods. Conclusions: During and after an elite netball tournament, athletes indicated increased perceptual stress and lack of recovery. The SRSS is a valuable tool for recovery–stress monitoring in elite tournament netball. It is recommended that practitioners monitor COD due to its negative influence on perceived overall recovery.

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## Effect of Photobiomodulation on Critical Swimming Velocity: A Randomized, Crossover, Double-Blind, and Placebo-Controlled Study

Purpose: To analyze the acute effect of photobiomodulation (PBM) on swimming critical velocity (CV). Methods: A total of 15 male federated swimmers (20.9 [2.4] y old) participated in this study. Three sets of front crawl were performed at distances of 100, 200, and 400 m to determine the CV under 3 experimental conditions: PBM (420 J), placebo (PLA), and control (C) in this randomized, crossover, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study. One-way analysis of variance for repeated measurements was used for statistical analyses. Results: The results showed that the prior application of PBM did not have ergogenic effects on CV and front crawl swimming performance: CV (PBM = 1.15 [0.15]; PLA = 1.20 [0.25]; C = 1.15 [0.14] m·s−1), swim time (ST) 100 m (PBM = 65.5 [6.3]; PLA = 65.2 [5.6]; C = 66.0 [5.9] s), ST 200 m (PBM = 148.5 [17.9]; PLA = 149.4 [16.4]; C = 150.1 [17.9] s), and ST 400 m (PBM = 327.7 [38.2]; PLA = 321.6 [47.7]; C = 329.5 [41.2] s). Conclusions: A PBM application prior to front crawl swimming test did not significantly modify the CV, ST, physiological factors of metabolic fatigue, perceptual, and front crawl stroke efficiency parameters in competition swimmers covering distances of 100, 200, and 400 m.

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## Monitoring Rating of Perceived Exertion Time in Zone: A Novel Method to Quantify Training Load in Elite Open-Water Swimmers?

Purpose: To analyze training-intensity distribution (TID) using different independent monitoring systems for internal training load in a group of elite open-water swimmers. Methods: One hundred sixty training sessions were monitored in 4 elite open-water swimmers (2 females and 2 males: 23.75 [4.86] y, 62.25 [6.18] kg, 167 [6.68] cm) during 5 weeks of regular training. Heart-rate-based methods, such as time in zone (TIZ), session goal (SG), and hybrid (SG/TIZ), were used to analyze TID. Similarly to SG/TIZ, a new hybrid approach, the rating of perceived exertion (RPE)/TIZ for a more accurate analysis of TID was used. Moreover, based on the 3-zone model, the session ratings of perceived exertion of the swimmers and the coach were compared. Results: Heart-rate- and RPE-based TID methods were significantly different in quantifying Z1 (P = .012; effect size [ES] = 0.490) and Z2 (P = .006; ES = 0.778), while no difference was observed in the quantification of Z3 (P = .428; ES = 0.223). The heart-rate-based data for Z1, Z2, and Z3 were 83.2%, 7.4%, and 8.1% for TIZ; 80.8%, 8.3%, and 10.8% for SG/TIZ; and 55%, 15.6%, and 29.4% for SG. The RPE-based data were 70.9%, 19.9%, and 9.2% for RPE/TIZ% and 41.2%, 48.9%, and 9.7% for the session rating of perceived exertion. No differences were observed between the coach’s and the swimmers’ session ratings of perceived exertion in the 3 zones (Z1: P = .663, ES = −0.187; Z2: P = .110, ES = 0.578; Z3: P = .149, ES = 0.420). Conclusion: Using RPE-based TID methods, Z2 was significantly larger compared with Z1. These results show that RPE-based TID methods in elite open-water swimmers are affected by both intensity and volume.

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## Optimal Pretaper Phase on Physical Match Performance in Professional Soccer

Purpose: To investigate the optimal pretaper duration on match running performance in a professional soccer team. Methods: The training load was monitored during daily training sessions and matches during 2 seasons according to different periodization strategies. Matches’ running distances were collected using match analysis system. The data were analyzed in 3 types of mesocycle blocks of 5 (M5), 4 (M4), and 3 weeks (M3), concludes all of them by 1 taper week. Results: Significant decreases in the training load during the taper weeks compared to standard weeks were observed in 3 types of mesocycle blocks (d ≥ 5; P < .01). An increase in overall match running performance was observed in matches played after the taper weeks compared to matches played after the standard weeks during M4 for all speed ranges (d ≥ 1.3; P < .05). The increase was only observed in low-intensity running (d = 1.3; P < .04) and total distance, low-intensity running, and intense running (d ≥ 1.3; P < .05) in M5 and M3, respectively. Match running performance following the taper weeks between the 3 different mesocycle durations was significantly higher in M4 for the number of high-speed running, sprinting, and high-intensity running (P < .05). The greatest enhancement of match running performance was observed at M4 when the training load was decreased by approximately 18% during the tapering period. Conclusion: This study suggests that a period of 3 standard weeks of training followed by 1 taper week is the optimal taper strategy when compared to different pretaper durations.

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## Time Course of Neuromuscular, Hormonal, and Perceptual Responses Following Moderate- and High-Load Resistance Priming Exercise

Purpose: The aim of this study was to map responses over 32 hours following high-load (HL) and moderate-load (ML) half-squat priming. Methods: Fifteen participants completed control, HL (87% 1RM), and ML (65% 1RM) activities in randomized, counterbalanced order. Countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), saliva testosterone, saliva cortisol, and perceptual measures were assessed before and 5 minutes, 8 hours, 24 hours, and 32 hours after each activity. Results are presented as percentage change from baseline and 95% confidence interval (CI). Cliff delta was used to determine threshold for group changes. Results: SJ height increased by 4.5% (CI = 2.2–6.8, Cliff delta = 0.20) 8 hours following HL. CMJ and SJ improved by 6.1% (CI = 2.1–7.8, Cliff delta = 0.27) and 6.5% (CI = 1.2–11.8, Cliff delta = 0.30), respectively, 32 hours after ML. No clear diurnal changes in CMJ or SJ occurred 8 hours following control; however, increases of 3.9% (CI = 2.9–9.2, Cliff delta = 0.26) and 4.5% (CI = 0.9–8.1, Cliff delta = 0.24), respectively, were observed after 32 hours. Although diurnal changes in saliva hormone concentration occurred (Cliff delta = 0.37–0.92), the influence of priming was unclear. Perceived “physical feeling” was greater 8 hours following HL (Cliff delta = 0.36) and 32 hours after ML and control (Cliff delta = 0.17–0.34). Conclusions: HL priming in the morning may result in small improvements in jump output and psychophysiological state in the afternoon. Similar improvements were observed in the afternoon the day after ML priming.

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## A Comparison of the Fundamental Motor Skills of Preschool-Aged Children With and Without Visual Impairments

Fundamental motor skills (FMS) are an underlying mechanism driving physical activity behavior and promoting positive developmental trajectories for health. However, little is known about FMS of preschool-aged children with visual impairments (VI). The purpose of this study was to examine the FMS of preschool-aged children (N = 25) with (n = 10) and without (n = 15) VI as measured using the Test of Gross Motor Development-3. Children without VI performed significantly higher than their peers for locomotor (M = +11.87, p = .014, η2 = .31) and ball skills (M = +13.69, p < .001, η2 = .56). Regardless of the presence of a VI, many participants struggled with developing FMS, with the greatest disparity resting within ball skills. These findings help to clarify the FMS levels of preschool-aged children with VI. Thus, there is a need for both further inquiry and intervention for all children.

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## The Effects of Combined Balance and Complex Training Versus Complex Training Only on Measures of Physical Fitness in Young Female Handball Players

Purpose: To examine the effects of balance exercises conducted prior to complex training (bCT) versus complex training (CT) only on measures of physical fitness in young female elite handball players. Methods: Participants aged 17 years were randomly assigned to bCT (n = 11) or CT (n = 12). The 2 training interventions lasted 8 weeks with 2 sessions per week in replacement of some technical/tactical handball exercises and were matched for total training volume. Before and after training, tests were performed for the evaluation of proxies of muscle power (countermovement jump height, standing long-jump distance, and reactive strength index), muscle strength (back half-squat 1-repetition maximum), dynamic balance (Y-balance test), linear sprint speed (20-m sprint test), and change-of-direction speed (T test). Results: Two-factor repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed significant group × time interactions for the reactive strength index (d = 0.99, P = .03) and Y-balance test score (d = 1.32, P < .01). Post hoc analysis indicated significant pre–post reactive strength index improvements in CT (d = 0.69, P = .04) only. For the Y-balance test, significant pre–post increases were found in bCT (d = 0.71, P = .04) with no significant changes in CT (d = 0.61, P = .07). In addition, significant main effects of time were observed for half-squat 1-repetition maximum, countermovement jump, standing long jump, and T test performance (d = 1.50 to 3.10, P < .05). Conclusions: Both bCT and CT interventions were effective in improving specific measures of physical fitness in young elite female handball players. If the training goal is to improve balance in addition, balance exercises can be conducted within a CT training session and prior to CT exercises.

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## Isolated Leucine and Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation for Enhancing Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are one of the most popular sports supplements, marketed under the premise that they enhance muscular adaptations. Despite their prevalent consumption among athletes and the general public, the efficacy of BCAA has been an ongoing source of controversy in the sports nutrition field. Early support for BCAA supplementation was derived from extrapolation of mechanistic data on their role in muscle protein metabolism. Of the three BCAA, leucine has received the most attention because of its ability to stimulate the initial acute anabolic response. However, a substantial body of both acute and longitudinal research has now accumulated on the topic, affording the ability to scrutinize the effects of BCAA and leucine from a practical standpoint. This article aims to critically review the current literature and draw evidence-based conclusions about the putative benefits of BCAA or leucine supplementation on muscle strength and hypertrophy as well as illuminate gaps in the literature that warrant future study.

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## Stability of Heart Rate at Physiological Thresholds Between Temperate and Heat Stress Environments in Endurance-Trained Males

Many endurance athletes perform specific blocks of training in hot environments in “heat stress training camps.” It is not known if physiological threshold heart rates measured in temperate conditions are reflective of those under moderate environmental heat stress. A total of 16 endurance-trained cyclists and triathletes performed incremental exercise assessments in 18°C and 35°C (both 60% relative humidity) to determine heart rates at absolute blood lactate and ventilatory thresholds. Heart rate at fixed blood lactate concentrations of 2, 3, and 4 mmol·L−1 and ventilatory thresholds were not significantly different between environments (P > .05), despite significant heat stress-induced reductions in power output of approximately 10% to 17% (P < .05, effect size = 0.65–1.15). The coefficient of variation for heart rate at these blood lactate concentrations (1.4%−2.9%) and ventilatory thresholds (2.3%−2.7%) between conditions was low, with significant strong positive correlations between measurements in the 2 environments (r = .92–.95, P < .05). These data indicate heart rates measured at physiological thresholds in temperate environments are reflective of measurements taken under moderate environmental heat stress. Therefore, endurance athletes embarking on heat stress training camps can use heart rate–based thresholds ascertained in temperate environments to prescribe training under moderate environmental heat stress.