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Joseph O.C. Coyne, Robert U. Newton and G. Gregory Haff

Purpose: A simple and 2 different exponentially weighted moving average methods were used to investigate the relationships between internal training load and elite weightlifting performance. Methods: Training impulse data (sessional ratings of perceived exertion × training duration) were collected from 21 elite weightlifters (age = 26.0 [3.2] y, height = 162.2 [11.3] cm, body mass = 72.2 [23.8] kg, previous 12-mo personal best total 96.3% [2.7%] of world record total) during the 8 weeks prior to the 2016 Olympic Games qualifying competition. The amount of training modified or cancelled due to injury/illness was also collected. The training stress balance (TSB) and acute to chronic workload ratio (ACWR) were calculated with the 3 moving average methods. Along with the amount of modified training, TSB and ACWR across the moving average methods were then examined for their relationship to competitive performance. Results: There were no consistent associations between performance and training load on the day of competition. The volatility (SD) of the ACWR in the last 21 days preceding the competition was moderately correlated with performance across moving average methods (r = −.41 to .48, P = .03–.07). TSB and ACWR volatility in the last 21 days were also significantly lower for successful performers but only as a simple moving average (P = .03 and .03, g = 1.15 and 1.07, respectively). Conclusions: Practitioners should consider restricting change and volatility in an athlete’s TSB or ACWR in the last 21 days prior to a major competition. In addition, a simple moving average seemed to better explain elite weightlifting performance than the exponentially weighted moving averages in this investigation.

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Craig Pickering and John Kiely

Purpose: The genetic influence on the attainment of elite athlete status is well established, with a number of polymorphisms found to be more common in elite athletes than in the general population. As such, there is considerable interest in understanding whether this information can be utilized to identify future elite athletes. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to compare the total genotype scores of 5 elite athletes to those of nonathletic controls, to subsequently determine whether genetic information could discriminate between these groups, and, finally, to suggest how these findings may inform debates relating to the potential for genotyping to be used as a talent-identification tool. Methods: The authors compared the total genotype scores for both endurance (68 genetic variants) and speed-power (48 genetic variants) elite athlete status of 5 elite track-and-field athletes, including an Olympic champion, to those of 503 White European nonathletic controls. Results: Using the speed-power total genotype score, the elite speed-power athletes scored higher than the elite endurance athletes; however, using this speed-power score, 68 nonathletic controls registered higher scores than the elite power athletes. Surprisingly, using the endurance total genotype score, the elite speed-power athletes again scored higher than the elite endurance athletes. Conclusions: These results suggest that genetic information is not capable of accurately discriminating between elite athletes and nonathletic controls, illustrating that the use of such information as a talent-identification tool is currently unwarranted and ineffective.

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E. Andrew Pitchford and E. Kipling Webster

The Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD) measures fundamental motor skills competency and is frequently used for eligibility determination of adapted physical education services in children with disabilities. The purpose of this study was to determine if the TGMD-3 is clinically sensitive to detect deficits in the fundamental motor skills of children with disabilities (i.e., intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, language and articulation disorders). Eighty-five children with disabilities and 85 matched controls (i.e., typically developing, individually matched on age, sex, ethnicity, and race) completed the TGMD-3. Mann–Whitney U tests identified significant differences in the total TGMD-3 scores for children with intellectual disability (p < .001), autism spectrum disorder (p < .001), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (p = .032). No differences were identified for children with language and articulation disorders. Comparisons of subscales (i.e., locomotor and ball skills) differed across disability groups. This study provides evidence that the TGMD-3 is clinically sensitive to identify deficits in fundamental motor skills competency.

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Anna Meijer, Marsh Königs, Irene M.J. van der Fels, Chris Visscher, Roel J. Bosker, Esther Hartman and Jaap Oosterlaan

The authors performed a clustered randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of an aerobic and a cognitively demanding exercise intervention on executive functions in primary-school-age children compared with the regular physical education program (N = 856). They hypothesized that both exercise interventions would facilitate executive functioning, with stronger effects for the cognitively demanding exercise group. The interventions were provided four times per week for 14 weeks. Linear mixed models were conducted on posttest neurocognitive function measures with baseline level as covariate. No differences were found between the exercise interventions and the control group for any of the measures. Independently of group, dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity was positively related to verbal working memory and attention abilities. This study showed that physical exercise interventions did not enhance executive functioning in children. Exposure to moderate to vigorous physical activity is a crucial aspect of the relationship between physical activity and executive functioning.

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Dajo Sanders and Teun van Erp

Background: A variety of intensity, load, and performance measures (eg, “power profile”) have been used to characterize the demands of professional cycling races with differing stage types. An increased understanding of the characteristics of these races could provide valuable insight for practitioners toward the design of training strategies to optimally prepare for these demands. However, current reviews within this area are outdated and do not include a recent influx of new articles describing the demands of professional cycling races. Purpose: To provide an updated overview of the intensity and load demands and power profile of professional cycling races. Typically adopted measures are introduced and their results summarized. Conclusion: There is a clear trend in the research that stage type significantly influences the intensity, load, and power profile of races with more elevation gain typically resulting in a higher intensity and load and longer-duration power outputs (ie, >10 min). Flat and semimountainous stages are characterized by higher maximal mean power outputs over shorter durations (ie, <2 min). Furthermore, single-day races tend to have a higher (daily) intensity and load compared with stages within multiday races. Nevertheless, while the presented mean (grouped) data provide some indications on the demands of these races and differences between varying competition elements, a limited amount of research is available describing the “race-winning efforts” in these races, and this is proposed as an important area for future research. Finally, practitioners should consider the limitations of each metric individually, and a multivariable approach to analyzing races is advocated.

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Antonio Dello Iacono, Marco Beato and Israel Halperin

Purpose: To investigate whether providing athletes with a choice regarding the number of repetitions to complete in a potentiation protocol would enhance jumping performance compared with protocols in which the number of repetitions is predetermined. Methods: Fifteen male basketball players completed 4 testing sessions separated by 72 hours. In the first session, individual optimum power loads in the barbell jump squat were determined. In the following 3 sessions, the athletes completed 3 sets of 3 potentiation protocols using optimum power load jump squats in a partly randomized order: (1) The traditional condition included 6 repetitions per set, (2) the self-selected condition included a choice regarding the number of repetitions to complete per set, and (3) the imposed condition included the same number of repetitions per set as the self-selected condition, but the number was imposed on the athletes beforehand. The jumping performance was determined as jump squat test height and measured using a force platform before and 30 seconds, 4 minutes, and 8 minutes after completing the protocols. Results: The self-selected condition led to superior jumping performance compared with the 2 other conditions across all post measures (P < .05; range: 0.3–1.3 cm). Compared with the traditional condition, the imposed condition led to superior jumping performance across all post measures (range: 0.2–0.45 cm), although not statistically significant at post 4 minutes and post 8 minutes. Conclusions: Choice provision concerning how many repetitions to complete in a potentiation protocol is a useful performance-enhancing strategy. Improved potentiation–fatigue ratio and motivational factors are sought to explain these effects.

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Valéria Mayaly Alves de Oliveira, André Luiz Torres Pirauá, Bruno Remígio Cavalcante, Natália Barros Beltrão, Wevans Monthier de Farias, Ana Carolina Rodarti Pitangui and Rodrigo Cappato de Araújo

The authors investigated the effects of unstable strength training (UST) without or with cognitive training (C+UST) on functional performance in community-dwelling older adults. A total of 50 participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to either 24 weeks of thrice-weekly UST (n = 25) or C+UST (n = 25). All participants performed moderate-intensity strength exercises using unstable surfaces, and C+UST participants simultaneously received cognitive training in addition to UST. Primary outcomes included measures of functional performance: single- and dual-task timed up and go tests. Secondary outcomes included dynamic balance, mobility, handgrip strength, flexibility, quality of life, and concern about falling. The authors observed similar improvements on functional performance through the interventions. The C+UST group experienced additional gains at completion (single-task timed up and go: −0.90 s, 95% confidence interval [–2.38, –0.03]; dual-task timed up and go: –4.80 s, 95% confidence interval [–8.65, –0.95]) compared with the UST group. Moreover, significant differences were observed in mobility (sitting-rising test: −1.34, 95% confidence interval [−2.00, −0.20]) at 24 weeks. Both exercise modes improved single-task functional performance, while adding cognitive-training-optimized dual-task functional performance gains.

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Lisa Steidl-Müller, Carolin Hildebrandt, Christoph Ebenbichler, Roland Luchner, Carson Patterson, Erich Müller, Christoph Gonaus and Christian Raschner

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether anthropometric and fitness characteristics have changed between former and current elite male and female Austrian young ski racers (U11–U15). Methods: A battery of anthropometric, general, and skiing-specific fitness tests was conducted annually. In total, 1517 participants (846 males, 671 females) who were tested in 2005–2009 (“former athletes” n = 805) and 2015–2019 (“current athletes” n = 712) were included. Independent t tests and Cohen d were calculated to compare the two 5-y periods, separated by sex and age group. The level of significance was set at P < .05. Results: No significant change in anthropometric characteristics was found over the decade. Current young ski racers performed significantly better in the maximal core flexion strength test in all age categories (ES = 0.88–1.50; P < .02). Core extension strength values were higher in current male U12 and female U12 and U13 athletes (ES = 0.54–0.71; P < .01) and better postural stability values in the lateral direction were found in the age categories U12 and U14 (ES = 0.36–0.68; P < .05), as well as in the forward/backward direction in the age categories U12–U14 (ES = 0.38–1.12; P < .03). Lower-leg extension strength values were apparent in the current U13–U15 age categories (ES = 0.36–1.03; P ≤ .001) and lower drop-jump reactive strength indices in the U13–U15 male athletes (ES = 0.49–0.80; P < .01). Conclusions: Current and former young ski racers differ significantly in some fitness parameters, which might lead to the assumption that some aspects (such as core strength) have gained more focus in athletic training during the last years compared with 15 y ago.

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Shona L. Halson and David T. Martin

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Renée Martin-Willett, Jarrod E. Ellingson, Jill Fries, Timothy Helmuth, Hollis Karoly, Gregory Giordano, Vince D. Calhoun and Angela D. Bryan

This study utilized a randomized control trial to examine whether structural changes in the precuneus, insula, caudate, hippocampus, and putamen were related to exercise. A total of 197 healthy older adults with no evidence of dementia participated in moderate-intensity interval training or low-intensity continuous training for 16 weeks. Size decreased in the right hippocampus such that the effect of time was significant but the interaction with condition was not. For the left hippocampus, size decreased in the low-intensity continuous training condition but increased in the moderate-intensity continuous training plus interval training condition at the trend level. Finally, there was a significant time-by-condition interaction such that the thickness of the left insula increased for low-intensity continuous training and decreased for moderate-intensity continuous training plus interval training. Few structural changes were associated with the exercise intervention. Future studies should examine the effects of exercise on brain structure in high-risk or clinical populations for a longer period of time.