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Juan A. Escobar Álvarez, Juan P. Fuentes García, Filipe A. Da Conceição and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes

Purpose: Ballet dancers are required to achieve performance feats such as exciting and dramatic elevations. Dancers with a greater jump height can perform a wider range of skills during their flight time and implement more specific technical skills related to the aesthetic components of a dance choreography. New findings suggest the relationship between force and velocity mechanical capabilities (F-V profile) as an important variable for jumping performance. A new field method based on several series of loaded vertical jumps provides information on the theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal velocity, theoretical maximal power, and the imbalance between force and velocity (F-V IMB). The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of 9 wk of individualized F-V profile-based training during countermovement jumps (CMJs) in female ballet dancers. Methods: CMJ and mechanical outputs of 46 dancers (age = 18.9 [1.1] y, body mass = 54.8 [6.1] kg, height = 163.7 [8.4] cm) were estimated in a pre–post intervention. The control group (10 participants) continued with the standardized training regimen (no resistance training), whereas the experimental group (36 participants) performed 2 sessions over 9 wk of a training plan based on their F-V profile. Results: The experimental group presented significant differences with large effect sizes in CMJ height (29.3 [3.2] cm vs 33.5 [3.72] cm), theoretical maximal force (24.1 [2.2] N/kg vs 29.9 [2.8] N/kg), and theoretical maximal velocity (4 [0.6] m/s vs 3.2 [0.5] m/s). Significant differences with a very large effect size were found in F-V IMB (43.8% [15.3%] vs 24.9% [8.7%]). Conclusion: A training program addressing F-V IMB is an effective way to improve CMJ height in female ballet dancers.

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Andressa Silva, Fernanda V. Narciso, Igor Soalheiro, Fernanda Viegas, Luísa S.N. Freitas, Adriano Lima, Bruno A. Leite, Haroldo C. Aleixo, Rob Duffield and Marco T. de Mello

Purpose: To investigate the relationship between sleep quality and quantity and injuries in elite soccer players and to compare sleep–wake variables and injury characteristics. Methods: The current investigation was a prospective cohort study of 23 elite male soccer players competing for 2 teams over 6 mo in the highest-level Brazilian competition. The players’ sleep behavior was monitored for 10 d in the preseason using self-reporting sleep diaries and wrist activity monitors to determine sleep duration and quality. Furthermore, injuries were recorded by the respective club’s medical teams into a specific database. Details of injuries recorded included the type, location, and severity of each injury. The results were expressed as descriptive statistics, and the significance level was set at 5%. The Mann–Whitney U test was performed to compare the sleep variables between groups. Spearman correlation coefficient and linear-regression analysis were used. Results: The results indicated a moderate negative correlation between sleep efficiency and particular injury characteristics, including absence time, injury severity, and amount of injuries. The linear-regression analysis indicated that 44% of the total variance in the number of injuries can be explained by sleep efficiency, 24% of the total variance in the absence time after injury (days) can be explained by sleep efficiency, and 47% of the total variance in the injury severity can be explained by sleep efficiency. Conclusions: Soccer players who exhibit lower sleep quality or nonrestorative sleep show associations with increased number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries.

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Jacinta M. Saldaris, Grant J. Landers and Brendan S. Lay

Purpose: To examine the effects of precooling via crushed ice ingestion on cognitive function during exercise in the heat. Methods: Eleven active men ingested either 7 g·kg−1 of crushed ice (ICE) or thermoneutral water (CON) 30 minutes before running 90 minutes on a treadmill at a velocity equivalent to 65% VO2peak in hot and humid conditions (35.0°C [0.5°C], 53.1% [3.9%] relative humidity). Participants completed 3 cognitive tasks to investigate decision making (8-choice reaction time [CRT]), working memory (serial seven [S7]), and executive control (color multisource interference task [cMSIT]) on arrival, after precooling, and after running. Results: Precooling significantly decreased preexercise core (T core) and forehead skin temperature in ICE compared with CON, respectively (T core 0.8°C [0.4°C], –0.2°C [0.1°C]; T head –0.5°C [0.4°C], 0.2°C [0.8°C]; P ≤ .05). Postrun, ICE significantly reduced errors compared with CON for CRT (P ≤ .05; d = 0.90; 90% confidence interval, 0.13–1.60) and S7 (P ≤ .05; d = 1.05; 90% confidence interval, 0.26–1.75). Thermal sensation was lower after precooling with ICE (P ≤ .05), but no significant differences were recorded between conditions for cMSIT errors, skin temperature, heart rate, or ratings of perceived exertion or perceived thirst (P > .05). Conclusions: Precooling via ICE maintained cognitive accuracy in decision making and working memory during exercise in the heat. Thus, ICE may have the potential to improve sporting performance by resisting deleterious effects of exercise in a hot and humid environment on cognitive function.

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Olfa Turki, Wissem Dhahbi, Johnny Padulo, Riadh Khalifa, Sana Ridène, Khaled Alamri, Mirjana Milić, Sabri Gueid and Karim Chamari

Purpose: To explore the immediate (15-s post-warm-up) and the delayed (after 20 and 40 min of simulated volleyball play) effects of 2 different warm-up protocols—a stretching-free volleyball warm-up (NS) and a warm-up incorporating dynamic stretching (DS)—on subsequent change of direction (COD) performance in young elite volleyball players. Methods: Sixteen male players (age 16.88 [0.34] y, body mass 75.81 [5.41] kg, body height 1.91 [0.05] m, body mass index 20.84 [1.79] kg·m−2, and body fat percentage 9.48 [1.83]%) from the U-17 national volleyball team performed NS and DS on 2 different nonconsecutive days. During each testing session (NS and DS), half T-test performance measurements were performed after 5 minutes of a general warm-up (ie, baseline), immediately post-warm-up (after 15 s), and after 20 and 40 minutes of simulated volleyball play. Results: For DS, a significant improvement in COD performance (2.08%, P < .001) was observed after 20 minutes of play compared with the baseline values. In addition, COD performance recorded after 40 minutes of play was better than after 15-second post-warm-up (5.85%, P = .001). Inferential statistics showed better COD performance in the DS condition after 20 minutes of play (2.32%, likely negative, d = 0.61). Conclusions: Compared with NS, DS tended to affect the pattern of improvement of COD performance during play by intensifying and accelerating it. Consequently, to enhance COD performance for up to 40 minutes into the game, it is recommended that DS be incorporated to the warm-up preceding the match.

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Nicki Winfield Almquist, Gertjan Ettema, James Hopker, Øyvind Sandbakk and Bent R. Rønnestad

Background: Cycling competitions are often of long duration and include repeated high-intensity efforts. Purpose: To investigate the effect of repeated maximal sprints during 4 hours of low-intensity cycling on gross efficiency (GE), electromyography patterns, and pedaling technique compared with work-matched low-intensity cycling in elite cyclists. Methods: Twelve elite, male cyclists performed 4 hours of cycling at 50% of maximal oxygen uptake either with 3 sets of 3 × 30-second maximal sprints (E&S) during the first 3 hours or a work-matched cycling without sprints (E) in a randomized order. Oxygen uptake, electromyography, and pedaling technique were recorded throughout the exercises. Results: GE was reduced from start to the end of exercise in both conditions (E&S: 19.0 [0.2] vs 18.1 [0.2], E: 19.1% [0.2%] vs 18.1% [0.2%], both P = .001), with no difference in change between conditions (condition × time interaction, P = .8). Integrated electromyography increased from start to end of exercise in m. vastus lateralis and m. vastus medialis (m. vastus medialis: 9.9 [2.4], m. vastus lateralis: 8.5 [4.0] mV, main effect of time: P < .001 and P = .03, respectively) and E&S increased less than E in m. vastus medialis (mean difference −3.3 [1.5] mV, main effect of condition: P = .03, interaction, P = .06). The mechanical effectiveness only decreased in E&S (E&S: −2.2 [0.7], effect size = 0.24 vs E: −1.3 [0.8] percentage points: P = .04 and P = .8, respectively). The mean power output during each set of 3 × 30-second sprints in E&S did not differ (P = .6). Conclusions: GE decreases as a function of time during 4 hours of low-intensity cycling. However, the inclusion of maximal repeated sprinting does not affect the GE changes, and the ability to sprint is maintained throughout the entire session.

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Corrado Lupo, Alexandru Nicolae Ungureanu, Riccardo Frati, Matteo Panichi, Simone Grillo and Paolo Riccardo Brustio

Purpose: To monitor elite youth female basketball training to verify whether players’ and coaches’ (3 technical coaches and 1 physical trainer) session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) has a relationship with Edwards’ method. Methods: Heart rate of 15 elite youth female basketball players (age 16.7 [0.5] y, height 178 [9] cm, body mass 72 [9] kg, body mass index 22.9 [2.2] kg·m−2) was monitored during 19 team (268 individual) training sessions (102 [15] min). Mixed effect models were applied to evaluate whether s-RPE values were significantly (P ≤ .05) related to Edwards’ data, total session duration, maximal intensity (session duration at 90–100% HRmax), type of training (ie, strength, conditioning, and technique), and whether differences emerged between players’ and coaches’ s-RPE values. Results: The results showed that there is a relationship between s-RPE and Edwards’ methods for the players’ RPE scores (P = .019) but not for those of the trainers. In addition, as expected, both players’ (P = .014) and coaches’ (P = .002) s-RPE scores were influenced by total session duration but not by maximal intensity and type of training. In addition, players’ and coaches’ s-RPE values differed (P < .001)—post hoc differences emerged for conditioning (P = .01) and technique (P < .001) sessions. Conclusions: Elite youth female basketball players are better able to quantify the internal training load of their sessions than their coaches, strengthening the validity of s-RPE as a tool to monitor training in team sports.

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Teun van Erp, Dajo Sanders and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: To describe the training intensity and load characteristics of professional cyclists using a 4-year retrospective analysis. Particularly, this study aimed to describe the differences in training characteristics between men and women professional cyclists. Method: For 4 consecutive years, training data were collected from 20 male and 10 female professional cyclists. From those training sessions, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and power output (PO) were analyzed. Training intensity distribution as time spent in different heart rate and PO zones was quantified. Training load was calculated using different metrics such as Training Stress Score, training impulse, and session rating of perceived exertion. Standardized effect size is reported as Cohen’s d. Results: Small to large higher values were observed for distance, duration, kilojoules spent, and (relative) mean PO in men’s training (d = 0.44–1.98). Furthermore, men spent more time in low-intensity zones (ie, zones 1 and 2) compared with women. Trivial differences in training load (ie, Training Stress Score and training impulse) were observed between men’s and women’s training (d = 0.07–0.12). However, load values expressed per kilometer were moderately (d = 0.67–0.76) higher in women compared with men’s training. Conclusions: Substantial differences in training characteristics exist between male and female professional cyclists. Particularly, it seems that female professional cyclists compensate their lower training volume, with a higher training intensity, in comparison with male professional cyclists.

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Erin Calaine Inglis, Danilo Iannetta, Louis Passfield and Juan M. Murias

Purpose: To (1) compare the power output (PO) for both the 20-minute functional threshold power (FTP20) field test and the calculated 95% (FTP95%) with PO at maximal lactate steady state (MLSS) and (2) evaluate the sensitivity of FTP95% and MLSS to training-induced changes. Methods: Eighteen participants (12 males: 37 [6] y and 6 females: 28 [6] y) performed a ramp-incremental cycling test to exhaustion, 2 to 3 constant-load MLSS trials, and an FTP20 test. A total of 10 participants returned to repeat the test series after 7 months of training. Results: The PO at FTP20 and FTP95% was greater than that at MLSS (P = .00), with the PO at MLSS representing 88.5% (4.8%) and 93.1% (5.1%) of FTP and FTP95%, respectively. MLSS was greater at POST compared with PRE training (12 [8] W) (P = .002). No increase was observed in mean PO at FTP20 and FTP95% (P = .75). Conclusions: The results indicate that the PO at FTP95% is different to MLSS, and that changes in the PO at MLSS after training were not reflected by FTP95%. Even when using an adjusted percentage (ie, 88% rather than 95% of FTP20), the large variability in the data is such that it would not be advisable to use this as a representation of MLSS.

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Sandro Venier, Jozo Grgic and Pavle Mikulic

Purpose: To explore the acute effects of caffeinated chewing gum on vertical-jump performance, isokinetic knee-extension/flexion strength and power, barbell velocity in resistance exercise, and whole-body power. Methods: Nineteen resistance-trained men consumed, in randomized counterbalanced order, either caffeinated chewing gum (300 mg of caffeine) or placebo and completed exercise testing that included squat jump; countermovement jump; isokinetic knee extension and knee flexion at angular velocities of 60 and 180°·s−1; bench-press exercise with loads corresponding to 50%, 75%, and 90% of 1-repetition maximum (1RM); and an “all-out” rowing-ergometer test. Results: Compared with placebo, caffeinated chewing gum enhanced (all Ps < .05) (1) vertical-jump height in the squat jump (effect size [ES] = 0.21; +3.7%) and countermovement jump (ES = 0.27; +4.6%); (2) knee-extension peak torque (ES = 0.21; +3.6%) and average power (ES = 0.25; +4.5%) at 60°·s−1 and knee-extension average power (ES = 0.30; +5.2%) at 180°·s−1, and knee-flexion peak torque at 60°·s−1 (ES = 0.22; +4.1%) and 180°·s−1 (ES = 0.31; +5.9%); (3) barbell velocity at 50% of 1RM (ES = 0.30; +3.2%), 75% of 1RM (ES = 0.44; +5.7%), and 90% of 1RM (ES = 0.43; +9.1%); and (4) whole-body peak power on the rowing-ergometer test (ES = 0.41; +5.0%). Average power of the knee flexors did not change at either angular velocity with caffeine consumption. Conclusions: Caffeinated chewing gum with a dose of caffeine of 300 mg consumed 10 min preexercise may acutely enhance vertical-jump height, isokinetic strength and power of the lower-body musculature, barbell velocity in the bench-press exercise with moderate to high loads, and whole-body power.

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Taylor K. Dinyer, M. Travis Byrd, Ashley N. Vesotsky, Pasquale J. Succi and Haley C. Bergstrom

Purpose: To determine if the mathematical model used to derive critical power could be used to identify the critical resistance (CR) for the deadlift; compare predicted and actual repetitions to failure at 50%, 60%, 70%, and 80% 1-repetition maximum (1RM); and compare the CR with the estimated sustainable resistance for 30 repetitions (ESR30). Methods: Twelve subjects completed 1RM testing for the deadlift followed by 4 visits to determine the number of repetitions to failure at 50%, 60%, 70%, and 80% 1RM. The CR was calculated as the slope of the line of the total work completed (repetitions × weight [in kilograms] × distance [in meters]) vs the total distance (in meters) the barbell traveled. The actual and predicted repetitions to failure were determined from the CR model and compared using paired-samples t tests and simple linear regression. The ESR30 was determined from the power-curve analysis and compared with the CR using paired-samples t tests and simple linear regression. Results: The weight and repetitions completed at CR were 56 (11) kg and 49 (14) repetitions. The actual repetitions to failure were less than predicted at 50% 1RM (P < .001) and 80% 1RM (P < .001) and greater at 60% 1RM (P = .004), but there was no difference at 70% 1RM (P = .084). The ESR30 (75 [14] kg) was greater (P < .001) than the CR. Conclusions: The total work-vs-distance relationship can be used to identify the CR for the deadlift, which reflected a sustainable resistance that may be useful in the design of resistance-based exercise programs.