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Diogo V. Leal, Lee Taylor and John Hough

Purpose: Physical overexertion can lead to detrimental overreaching states without sufficient recovery, which may be identifiable by blunted exercise-induced cortisol and testosterone responses. A running test (RPETP) elicits reproducible plasma cortisol and testosterone elevations (in a healthy state) and may detect blunted hormonal responses in overreached athletes. This current study determined the salivary cortisol and testosterone responses reproducibility to the RPETP, to provide greater practical validity using saliva compared with the previously utilized blood sampling. Second, the relationship between the salivary and plasma responses was assessed. Methods: A total of 23 active, healthy males completed the RPETP on 3 occasions. Saliva (N = 23) and plasma (N = 13) were collected preexercise, postexercise, and 30 minutes postexercise. Results: Salivary cortisol did not elevate in any RPETP trial, and reduced concentrations occurred 30 minutes postexercise (P = .029, η 2 = .287); trial differences were observed (P < .001, η 2 = .463). The RPETP elevated (P < .001, η 2 = .593) salivary testosterone with no effect of trial (P = .789, η 2 = .022). Intraindividual variability was 25% in cortisol and 17% in testosterone. “Fair” intraclass coefficients of .46 (cortisol) and .40 (testosterone) were found. Salivary and plasma cortisol positively correlated (R = .581, P = .037) yet did not for testosterone (R = .345, P = .248). Conclusions: The reproducibility of salivary testosterone response to the RPETP is evident and supports its use as a potential tool, subject to further confirmatory work, to detect hormonal dysfunction during overreaching. Salivary cortisol responds inconsistently in a somewhat individualized manner to the RPETP.

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Hans Ponnet, Hans Vangrunderbeek and Liam McCarthy

As large-scale coach education programs receive a growing amount of attention and investment (e.g., human and financial resources), the case for increased understanding of their impact is a pressing matter. In this paper, the authors outlined the creation of the Flemish Interactive Coaching Monitoring System (FICOMS) within the Flemish School for Coach Education (Belgium). The FICOMS is a data warehouse consisting of multiple databases, which was set up in 2019 to integrate data on coach education and coach certifications (1960–present), active coaches within club-organized sports (2014–present) and sport clubs, sports participants, and sports infrastructure. The FICOMS provides a variety of interactive and externally facing dashboards with useful statistics on coach education and coaching in Flanders. For example, the evolution of dropout ratios of qualified versus nonqualified coaches in sports clubs and sports federations can be identified, as well as the evolution of the percentage of qualified coaches in a specific sport, sports federation, or gender, or regional differences. By describing the main characteristics of FICOMS and sharing some emerging insights and early possibilities, the authors aimed to clarify the potential of this information technology for different stakeholders, such as governments, policymakers, sports federations, Olympic committees, education partners, municipalities, and researchers.

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Ryan Anthony, Michael J. Macartney and Gregory E. Peoples

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) following eccentric exercise is associated with increased inflammation which can be debilitating. Incorporation of long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC n-3 PUFA), eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid into membrane phospholipids provides anti-inflammatory, proresolving, and analgesic effects. This systematic review aims to examine both the quality of studies and the evidence for LC n-3 PUFA in the attenuation of DOMS and inflammation following eccentric exercise, both which of course are empirically linked. The Scopus, Embase, and Web of Science electronic databases were searched to identify studies that supplemented fish oil for a duration of ≥7 days, which included DOMS outcomes following an eccentric exercise protocol. Fifteen (n = 15) studies met inclusion criteria. Eccentric exercise protocols varied from single to multijoint activities. Risk of bias, assessed using either the Cochrane Collaboration tool or the Risk of Bias in Nonrandomized Studies of Interventions tool, was judged as “unclear” or “medium,” respectively, for the majority of outcomes. Furthermore, a custom 5-point quality assessment scale demonstrated that only one (n = 1) study satisfied current recommendations for investigating LC n-3 PUFA. In combination, this highlights widespread inappropriate design protocols among studies investigating the role of LC n-3 PUFA in eccentric exercise. Notwithstanding these issues, LC n-3 PUFA supplementation appears to have favorable effects on eccentric exercise-induced DOMS and inflammatory markers. However, the optimal LC n-3 PUFA supplemental dose, duration, and fatty acid composition will only become clear when study design issues are rectified and underpinned by appropriate hypotheses.

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Andrew N. Bosch, Kirsten C. Flanagan, Maaike M. Eken, Adrian Withers, Jana Burger and Robert P. Lamberts

Elliptical trainers and steppers are proposed as useful exercise modalities in the rehabilitation of injured runners due to the reduced stress on muscles and joints when compared to running. This study compared the physiological responses to submaximal running (treadmill) with exercise on the elliptical trainer and stepper devices at three submaximal but identical workloads. Authors had 18 trained runners (male/female: N = 9/9, age: mean ± SD = 23 ± 3 years) complete randomized maximal oxygen consumption tests on all three modalities. Submaximal tests of 3 min were performed at 60%, 70%, and 80% of peak workload individually established for each modality. Breath-by-breath oxygen consumption, heart rate, fuel utilization, and energy expenditure were determined. The value of maximal oxygen consumption was not different between treadmill, elliptical, and stepper (49.3 ± 5.3, 48.0 ± 6.6, and 46.7 ± 6.2 ml·min−1·kg−1, respectively). Both physiological measures (oxygen consumption and heart rate) as well as carbohydrate and fat oxidation differed significantly between the different exercise intensities (60%, 70%, and 80%) but did not differ between the treadmill, elliptical trainer, and stepper. Therefore, the elliptical trainer and stepper are suitable substitutes for running during periods when a reduced running load is required, such as during rehabilitation from running-induced injury.

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Jessica J. Ferguson and Nancy L.I. Spencer

Women within parasport experience discrimination due to marginalization associated with gender and disability. In this study, the authors gain the insights of women parasport athletes about the affordances and constraints to inclusion with an emphasis on the role of coaches, using an ecological approach. Guided by qualitative description, the authors conducted individual and focus group interviews with ten women experiencing disability to explore their experiences and perspectives of inclusion in parasport. Two primary themes were identified: (a) within parasport and (b) beyond parasport, emphasizing the critical role of relationships with coaches and athletes to experiences of inclusion. The discussion highlights the multilevel influences and specific barriers that challenge inclusion, such as few numbers of women athletes, the need for coach expertise, and co-ed playing environments. In doing so, the authors also offer specific recommendations for coaching in women’s parasport.

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Megan A. Kuikman, Margo Mountjoy, Trent Stellingwerff and Jamie F. Burr

Relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) can result in negative health and performance outcomes in both male and female athletes. The underlying etiology of RED-S is low energy availability (LEA), which occurs when there is insufficient dietary energy intake to meet exercise energy expenditure, corrected for fat-free mass, leaving inadequate energy available to ensure homeostasis and adequate energy turnover (optimize normal bodily functions to positively impact health), but also optimizing recovery, training adaptations, and performance. As such, treatment of RED-S involves increasing energy intake and/or decreasing exercise energy expenditure to address the underlying LEA. Clinically, however, the time burden and methodological errors associated with the quantification of energy intake, exercise energy expenditure, and fat-free mass to assess energy availability in free-living conditions make it difficult for the practitioner to implement in everyday practice. Furthermore, interpretation is complicated by the lack of validated energy availability thresholds, which can result in compromised health and performance outcomes in male and female athletes across various stages of maturation, ethnic races, and different types of sports. This narrative review focuses on pragmatic nonpharmacological strategies in the treatment of RED-S, featuring factors such as low carbohydrate availability, within-day prolonged periods of LEA, insufficient intake of bone-building nutrients, lack of mechanical bone stress, and/or psychogenic stress. This includes the implementation of strategies that address exacerbating factors of LEA, as well as novel treatment methods and underlying mechanisms of action, while highlighting areas of further research.

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Haiko B. Zimmermann, Débora Knihs, Fernando Diefenthaler, Brian MacIntosh and Juliano Dal Pupo

Purpose: The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of a conditioning activity (CA) composed of continuous countermovement jumps on twitch torque production and 30-m sprint times. Methods: A total of 12 sprint athletes, 10 men (23.5 [7.7] y) and 2 women (23.0 [2.8] y), volunteered to participate in this study. The participants were evaluated in 2 sessions as follows: (1) to determine the effects of the CA (3 sets of 5 continuous vertical jumps with a 1-min interval between sets) on 30-m sprint performance over time (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 min) and (2) to evaluate twitch peak torque to determine the magnitude and time course of the induced postactivation potentiation at the same recovery intervals. Results: Mixed-model analysis of variance with Bonferroni post hoc verified that there was a decrease on the 30-m sprint time at 2 minutes (P = .01; Δ = 2.78%; effect size [ES] = 0.43) and 4 minutes (P = .02; Δ = 2%, ES = 0.30) compared with pre when the CA preceded the sprints. The peak torque of quadriceps also showed significant increase from pretest to 2 minutes (P < .01; Δ = 17.0% [12.2%]; ES = 0.45) and 4 minutes (P = .02; Δ = 7.2% [8.8%]; ES = 0.20). Conclusion: The inclusion of CA composed of continuous countermovement jumps in the warm-up routine improved 30-m sprint performance at 2- and 4-minute time intervals after the CA (postactivation performance enhancement). Since postactivation potentiation was confirmed with electrical stimulation at the time when sprint performance increased, it was concluded that postactivation potentiation may have contributed to the observed performance increases.

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Samantha M. Ross, Ellen Smit, Joonkoo Yun, Kathleen R. Bogart, Bridget E. Hatfield and Samuel W. Logan

A secondary data analysis of 33,093 children and adolescents age 6–17 years (12% with disabilities) from a 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health nonrepresentative sample aimed to identify (a) unique clusters of sociodemographic characteristics and (b) the relative importance of disability status in predicting participation in daily physical activity (PA) and sports. Exploratory classification tree analyses identified hierarchical predictors of daily PA and sport participation separately. Disability status was not a primary predictor of daily PA. Instead, it emerged in the fifth level after age, sex, body mass index, and income, highlighting the dynamic intersection of disability with sociodemographic factors influencing PA levels. In comparison, disability status was a second-level predictor for sport participation, suggesting that unique factors influencing PA level are likely experienced by disabled children and adolescents. The authors employ an intersectionality lens to critically discuss implications for research in adapted PA.

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Charles S. Urwin, Rodney J. Snow, Dominique Condo, Rhiannon Snipe, Glenn D. Wadley and Amelia J. Carr

This review aimed to identify factors associated with (a) physiological responses, (b) gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and (c) exercise performance following sodium citrate supplementation. A literature search identified 33 articles. Observations of physiological responses and GI symptoms were categorized by dose (< 500, 500, and > 500 mg/kg body mass [BM]) and by timing of postingestion measurements (in minutes). Exercise performance following sodium citrate supplementation was compared with placebo using statistical significance, percentage change, and effect size. Performance observations were categorized by exercise duration (very short < 60 s, short ≥ 60 and ≤ 420 s, and longer > 420 s) and intensity (very high > 100% VO2max and high 90–100% VO2max). Ingestion of 500 mg/kg BM sodium citrate induced blood alkalosis more frequently than < 500 mg/kg BM, and with similar frequency to >500 mg/kg BM. The GI symptoms were minimized when a 500 mg/kg BM dose was ingested in capsules rather than in solution. Significant improvements in performance following sodium citrate supplementation were reported in all observations of short-duration and very high–intensity exercise with a 500 mg/kg BM dose. However, the efficacy of supplementation for short-duration, high-intensity exercise is less clear, given that only 25% of observations reported significant improvements in performance following sodium citrate supplementation. Based on the current literature, the authors recommend ingestion of 500 mg/kg BM sodium citrate in capsules to induce alkalosis and minimize GI symptoms. Supplementation was of most benefit to performance of short-duration exercise of very high intensity; further investigation is required to determine the importance of ingestion duration and timing.