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Antonio Dello Iacono, Marco Beato and Israel Halperin

Purpose: To compare the effects of 2 postactivation potentiation (PAP) protocols using traditional-set or cluster-set configurations on countermovement jump performance. Methods: Twenty-six male basketball players completed 3 testing sessions separated by 72 hours. On the first session, subjects performed barbell jump squats with progressively heavier loads to determine their individual optimum power load. On the second and third sessions, subjects completed 2 PAP protocols in a randomized order: 3 sets of 6 repetitions of jump squats using optimum power load performed with either a traditional-set (no interrepetition rest) or a cluster-set (20-s rest every 2 repetitions) configuration. After a warm-up, countermovement jump height was measured using a force platform before, 30 seconds, 4 minutes, and 8 minutes after completing the PAP protocols. The following kinetic variables were also analyzed and compared: relative impulse, ground reaction force, eccentric displacement, and vertical leg-spring stiffness. Results: Across both conditions, subjects jumped lower at post 30 seconds by 1.21 cm, and higher in post 4 minutes by 2.21 cm, and in post 8 minutes by 2.60 cm compared with baseline. However, subjects jumped higher in the cluster condition by 0.71 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.37 to 1.05 cm) in post 30 seconds, 1.33 cm (95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.65 cm) in post 4 minute, and 1.64 cm (95% confidence interval, 1.41 to 1.88 cm) in post 8 minutes. The superior countermovement jump performance was associated with enhanced kinetic data. Conclusions: Both protocols induced PAP responses in vertical jump performance using jump squats at optimum power load. However, the cluster-set configuration led to superior performance across all time points, likely due to reduced muscular fatigue.

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Anna M. Ifarraguerri, Danielle M. Torp, Abbey C. Thomas and Luke Donovan

Individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI) have been shown to have increased lateral plantar pressure during walking which is thought to contribute to symptoms associated with CAI. The objective of this study was to determine whether real-time video feedback can reduce lateral plantar pressure in individuals with CAI. Twenty-six participants with CAI completed 30 s of treadmill walking while plantar pressure was measured using an in-shoe plantar pressure system (baseline). Next, participants completed an additional 30 s of treadmill walking while receiving video feedback (VID FB). During the VID FB condition, participants had a significant decrease in medial forefoot peak pressure and medial midfoot pressure-time integral; however, both changes were associated with small effect sizes. Real-time video feedback did not reduce lateral plantar pressure in individuals with CAI; therefore, other gait retraining strategies should be considered when treating patients with CAI.

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Rebecca Quinlan and Jessica A. Hill

Purpose: To investigate the effects of supplementation with tart cherry juice (TCJ) on markers of recovery after intermittent exercise under habitual dietary conditions. Methods: Using a randomized, single-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled, independent-groups design, 20 team-sport players (8 male and 12 female; age 26 [4] y, height 175.4 [9.6] cm, body mass 70.2 [12.6] kg) were divided equally into 2 groups and consumed either TCJ or PLA twice per day for 8 consecutive days while following their normal dietary habits. Participants completed an adapted version of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST) on day 6 of supplementation. Countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, maximal voluntary isometric contraction, and delayed onset muscle soreness were assessed at baseline and 1, 24, and 48 hours post-LIST. Blood markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase) and inflammation (C-reactive protein) were taken presupplementation, immediately pre-LIST, and 1, 24, and 48 hours post-LIST. Data were analyzed using a repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: Countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, and maximal voluntary isometric contraction showed significantly faster recovery with TCJ (P < .05) at 24 and 48 hours post-LIST. A significant interaction effect (P < .05) was observed for muscle soreness; however, Bonferroni post hoc analysis could not identify when the significant differences between TCJ and PLA occurred. There were no significant differences throughout recovery between TCJ and PLA for C-reactive protein and creatine kinase (P < .05). Conclusion: The results suggest that TCJ, in addition to habitual diet, can accelerate recovery after intermittent exercise and therefore extend the efficacy of TCJ in accelerating recovery in team sports.

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Andrés Pérez, Domingo J. Ramos-Campo, Cristian Marín-Pagan, Francisco J. Martínez-Noguera, Linda H. Chung and Pedro E. Alcaraz

Purpose: To compare the effects of 2 different intensity distribution training programs (threshold [THR] and polarized [POL]) on fat metabolism and neuromuscular variables. Methods: Twenty ultrarunners were allocated to POL (n = 11; age 40.6 [9.7] y, weight 73.5 [10.8] kg, VO2max 55.8 [4.9] mL·kg−1·min−1) or THR group (n = 9; age 36.8 [9.2] y, weight 75.5 [10.4] kg, VO2max 57.1 [5.2] mL·kg−1·min−1) and performed a 12-week training program that consisted of 5 running sessions, 2 strength sessions, and 1 day of full rest per week. Both groups performed similar total training duration and load but with different intensity distribution during running sessions. Resting metabolic rate, fat metabolism, isometric rate of force development (RFD; N·s−1) and maximal voluntary contraction in the knee extensor, and electromyographic amplitude were measured before and after each program. Results: A significant decrease in RFD0–100 ms (Δ −13.4%; P ≤ .001; effect size [ES] = 1.00), RFD0–200 ms (Δ −11.7%; P ≤ .001; ES = 1.4), and RFDpeak (Δ −18%; P ≤ .001; ES = 1.4) were observed in the POL group. In THR group, a significant increase in mean electromyographic amplitude (Δ 24.4%; P = .02; ES = 1.4) was observed. There were no significant differences between groups in any of the variables. Conclusions: Similar adaptations in fat metabolism and neuromuscular performance can be achieved after 12 weeks of POL or THR intensity distribution. However, THR distribution appears to better maintain strength (RFD) and improve mean electromyographic amplitude. Nevertheless, the combination of both running and maximum strength training could influence on results because of the residual fatigue thus inducing suboptimal adaptations in the POL group.

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Yassine Negra, Helmi Chaabene, Senda Sammoud, Olaf Prieske, Jason Moran, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Ali Nejmaoui and Urs Granacher

Purpose: To examine the effects of loaded (LPJT) versus unloaded plyometric jump training (UPJT) programs on measures of muscle power, speed, change of direction (CoD), and kicking-distance performance in prepubertal male soccer players. Methods: Participants (N = 29) were randomly assigned to a LPJT group (n = 13; age = 13.0 [0.7] y) using weighted vests or UPJT group (n = 16; age = 13.0 [0.5] y) using body mass only. Before and after the intervention, tests for the assessment of proxies of muscle power (ie, countermovement jump, standing long jump); speed (ie, 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprint); CoD (ie, Illinois CoD test, modified 505 agility test); and kicking-distance were conducted. Data were analyzed using magnitude-based inferences. Results: Within-group analyses for the LPJT group showed large and very large improvements for 10-m sprint time (effect size [ES] = 2.00) and modified 505 CoD (ES = 2.83) tests, respectively. For the same group, moderate improvements were observed for the Illinois CoD test (ES = 0.61), 5- and 20-m sprint time test (ES = 1.00 for both the tests), countermovement jump test (ES = 1.00), and the maximal kicking-distance test (ES = 0.90). Small enhancements in the standing long jump test (ES = 0.50) were apparent. Regarding the UPJT group, small improvements were observed for all tests (ES = 0.33–0.57), except 5- and 10-m sprint time (ES = 1.00 and 0.63, respectively). Between-group analyses favored the LPJT group for the modified 505 CoD (ES = 0.61), standing long jump (ES = 0.50), and maximal kicking-distance tests (ES = 0.57), but not for the 5-m sprint time test (ES = 1.00). Only trivial between-group differences were shown for the remaining tests (ES = 0.00–0.09). Conclusion: Overall, LPJT appears to be more effective than UPJT in improving measures of muscle power, speed, CoD, and kicking-distance performance in prepubertal male soccer players.

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Bent R. Rønnestad, Tue Rømer and Joar Hansen

Purpose: Accumulated time at a high percentage of peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) is important for improving performance in endurance athletes. The present study compared the acute effect of a roller-ski skating session containing work intervals with a fast start followed by decreasing speed (DEC) with a traditional session where the work intervals had a constant speed (similar to the mean speed of DEC; TRAD) on physiological responses, rating of perceived exertion, and leg press peak power. Methods: A total of 11 well-trained cross-country skiers performed DEC and TRAD in a randomized order (5 × 5-min work intervals, 3-min relief). Each 5-minute work interval in the DEC protocol started with 1.5 minutes at 100% of maximal aerobic speed followed by 3.5 minutes at 85% of maximal aerobic speed, whereas the TRAD protocol had a constant speed at 90% of maximal aerobic speed. Results: DEC induced a higher VO2 than TRAD, measured as both peak and average of all work intervals during the session (98.2% [2.1%] vs 95.4% [3.1%] VO2peak, respectively, and 87.6% [1.9%] vs 86.1% [3.2%] VO2peak, respectively) with a lower mean rating of perceived exertion after DEC than TRAD (16.1 [1.0] vs 16.5 [0.7], respectively) (all P < .05). There were no differences between sessions for mean heart rate, blood lactate concentration, or leg press peak power. Conclusion: DEC induced a higher mean VO2 and a lower rating of perceived exertion than TRAD, despite similar mean speed, indicating that DEC can be a good strategy for interval sessions aiming to accumulate more time at a high percentage of VO2peak.

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Ryo Yamanaka, Hayato Ohnuma, Ryosuke Ando, Fumiya Tanji, Toshiyuki Ohya, Masahiro Hagiwara and Yasuhiro Suzuki

Purpose: Increases in maximal oxygen uptake (V˙O2max) and running economy improve performance in long-distance runners. Nevertheless, long-distance runners require sprinting ability to win, especially in the final phase of competitions. The authors determined the relationships between performance and sprinting ability, as well as other abilities in elite long-distance runners. Methods: The subjects were 12 elite long-distance runners. Mean official seasonal best times in 5000-m (5000 m-SB) and 10,000-m (10,000 m-SB) races within 1 year before or after the examination were 13:58.5 (0:18.7) and 28:37.9 (0:25.2) (mean [SD]), respectively. The authors measured 100-m and 400-m sprint times as the index of sprinting ability. They also measured V˙O2max and running economy (V˙O2 at 300 m·min−1 of running velocity). They used a single correlation analysis to assess relationships between 5000 m-SB or 10,000 m-SB and other elements. Results: There were significant correlations between 5000 m-SB was significantly correlated with 100-m sprint time (13.3 [0.7] s; r = .68, P = .014), 400-m sprint time (56.6 [2.7] s; r = .69, P = .013), and running economy (55.5 [3.9] mL·kg−1·min−1; r = .59, P = .045). There were significant correlations between 10,000 m-SB and 100-m sprint time (r = .72, P = .009) and 400-m sprint time (r = .85, P < .001). However, there was no significant correlation between 5000 m-SB or 10,000 m-SB and V˙O2max (72.0 [3.8] mL·kg−1·min−1). Conclusions: The authors' data suggest that sprinting ability is an important indicator of performance in elite long-distance runners.

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Gil Rodas, Lourdes Osaba, David Arteta, Ricard Pruna, Dolors Fernández and Alejandro Lucia

Purpose: The authors investigated the association between risk of tendinopathies and genetic markers in professional team sports. Methods: The authors studied 363 (mean [SD]; 25 [6] y, 89% male) elite players (soccer, futsal, basketball, handball, and roller hockey) from a top-level European team (FC Barcelona, Spain). Of 363, 55% (cases) had experienced 1+ episodes of tendinopathy during 2008–2018 and 45% (controls) remained injury free. The authors first examined the association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and tendinopathy risk in a hypothesis-free case-control genome-wide association study (495,837 SNPs) with additional target analysis of 58 SNPs that are potential candidates to influence tendinopathy risk based on the literature. Thereafter, the authors augmented the SNP set by performing synthetic variant imputation (1,419,369 SNPs) and then used machine learning-based multivariate modeling (support vector machine and random forest) to build a reliable predictive model. Results: Suggestive association (P < 10−5) was found for rs11154027 (gap junction alpha 1), rs4362400 (vesicle amine transport 1-like), and rs10263021 (contactin-associated protein-like 2). Carriage of 1+ variant alleles for rs11154027 (odds ratio = 2.11; 95% confidence interval, 1.07–4.19, P = 1.01 × 10−6) or rs4362400 (odds ratio = 1.98; 95% confidence interval, 1.05–3.73, P = 9.6 × 10−6) was associated with a higher risk of tendinopathy, whereas an opposite effect was found for rs10263021 (odds ratio = 0.42; 95% confidence interval, 0.20–0.91], P = 4.5 × 10−6). In the modeling approach, one of the most robust SNPs was rs10477683 in the fibrillin 2 gene encoding fibrillin 2, a component of connective tissue microfibrils involved in elastic fiber assembly. Conclusions : The authors have identified previously undescribed genetic predictors of tendinopathy in elite team sports athletes, notably rs11154027, rs4362400, and rs10263021.

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Samuel Ryan, Emidio Pacecca, Jye Tebble, Joel Hocking, Thomas Kempton and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To examine the measurement reliability and sensitivity of common athlete monitoring tools in professional Australian Football players. Methods: Test–retest reliability (noise) and weekly variation (signal) data were collected from 42 professional Australian footballers from 1 club during a competition season. Perceptual wellness was measured via questionnaires completed before main training sessions (48, 72, and 96 h postmatch), with players providing a rating (1–5 Likert scale) regarding their muscle soreness, sleep quality, fatigue level, stress, and motivation. Eccentric hamstring force and countermovement jumps were assessed via proprietary systems once per week. Heart rate recovery was assessed via a standard submaximal run test on a grass-covered field with players wearing a heart rate monitor. The heart rate recovery was calculated by subtracting average heart rate during final 10 seconds of rest from average heart rate during final 30 seconds of exercise. Typical test error was reported as coefficient of variation percentage (CV%) and intraclass coefficients. Sensitivity was calculated by dividing weekly CV% by test CV% to produce a signal to noise ratio. Results: All measures displayed acceptable sensitivity. Signal to noise ratio ranged from 1.3 to 11.1. Intraclass coefficients ranged from .30 to .97 for all measures. Conclusions: The heart rate recovery test, countermovement jump test, eccentric hamstring force test, and perceptual wellness all possess acceptable measurement sensitivity. Signal to noise ratio analysis is a novel method of assessing measurement characteristics of monitoring tools. These data can be used by coaches and scientists to identify meaningful changes in common measures of fitness and fatigue in professional Australian football.