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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 However, current reviews within this area are outdated and do not include a recent influx of new articles describing the demands of professional cycling races.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.

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Celina H. Shirazipour and Amy E. Latimer-Cheung

A gap in knowledge exists regarding how to maintain physical activity (PA) for individuals with acquired disabilities following initial introductory experiences. The current study aimed to contribute to filling this gap by exploring the PA pathways of military veterans with a physical disability, particularly those who maintain long-term PA, from impairment to the present. Veterans with a physical disability (N = 18) participated in interviews exploring their PA history and experiences. A reflexive thematic analysis was conducted to generate common pathways in PA participation, as well as to examine which elements of participation supported PA maintenance. Three long-term pathways were identified—two parasport pathways and one recreational PA pathway. Four elements of participation (i.e., mastery, challenge, belongingness, meaning) supported to maintain PA at key junctures. This knowledge provides further understanding of how to promote long-term PA for individuals with acquired disabilities and can support advancements in theory, as well as program development.

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Katie Thralls Butte and Susan S. Levy

Objectives: To examine the efficacy of an the intervention Stand Up Now (SUN) to reduce sedentary behavior (SB) and improve physical function and mobility. Methods: SUN included two groups: (a) focused on reducing total SB (SUNSL) and (b) focused on increasing sit-to-stand (STS) transitions (SUNSTS). The participants (N = 71; M age = 87 ± 7 years) had 12 weekly health coaching sessions. SB, physical function, and mobility were measured at the baseline, 6, and 12 weeks via the activPAL, Short Physical Performance Battery, and the 8-foot up and go, respectively. Linear mixed models examined the outcome variables over time. Results: Both groups decreased sedentary time (1.3 ± 0.3 hr, p < .001), increased standing time (0.5 ± 0.2 hr, p < .02), and improved physical function (1.5 ± 0.4 points, p < .001) from the baseline to 6 weeks, and they maintained it at 12 weeks. SUNSTS increased STS transitions (5.4 ± 4.1, p < .001), while SUNSL had no changes (0.5 ± 3.1, p > .9). There were no changes in mobility for either group (0.5 ± 1.5 s, p > .05). Discussion: SUN demonstrates the efficacy to improve SB and physical function in older adults.

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Rachel R. Kleis, Matt C. Hoch, Rachel Hogg-Graham and Johanna M. Hoch

Background: Despite the known risks of physical inactivity, only 50% of adults meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity (PA). Therefore, numerous interventions have been designed to increase PA across a lifespan. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of interventions based on the transtheoretical model to improve PA in healthy adults. Methods: Electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection, PsycINFO, Sociological Collection, and SPORTDiscus) were systematically searched from January 2001 to May 2020. Results: A total of 11 randomized pretest–posttest studies were included in this review. Ten studies utilized a subjective measurement of PA, and 3 studies included an objective measure. Five studies demonstrated significant improvements in PA for the transtheoretical model-based intervention groups compared with control/comparison groups; however, 6 studies demonstrated no differences between groups. Conclusion: The findings suggest that there is inconsistent evidence to support the use of interventions based on the transtheoretical model to improve PA in adult populations. Interventions were more successful when materials were delivered via in-person counseling and when study participants were in the precontemplation or contemplation phases at baseline.

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Spencer E. Boyle, Melissa A. Fothergill, John Metcalfe, Sarah Docherty and Crystal F. Haskell-Ramsay

Background: Physical activity provides a number of physical and psychological benefits. Multimodal proprioceptive exercise represents a useful balance-based exercise with the potential to reduce falls in older adults. Previous research has also indicated cognitive benefits following multimodal proprioceptive exercise in young and older adults. This study aimed to assess cognition and mood following 2 types of physical activity (multimodal proprioception vs yoga) compared with control (classroom-based) in healthy older adults. Method: Nineteen older adults (Mage = 65, sex = 9 males) participated in this randomized controlled crossover trial. Participants completed a 20-minute multimodal proprioceptive exercise class, 20-minute yoga session, and 20-minute classroom-based control. Numeric working memory and mood were assessed before and immediately following each of the interventions. Results: The multimodal proprioceptive intervention significantly reduced numeric working memory reaction time versus the yoga (P = .043) and control (P = .023) group. There were no differences found for accuracy or mood. Conclusions: These results indicate that multimodal proprioceptive exercise is worthy of further investigation as an alternative mode of exercise alongside the more traditional aerobic and strength-based exercise for healthy older adults.