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Iñigo Mujika, Luis Villanueva, Marijke Welvaert and David B. Pyne

Context/Background : International-level swimmers periodize their training to qualify for major championships, then improve further at these events. However, the effects of various factors that could affect performance progressions have not been described systematically. Purpose: To quantify the pattern of change in performance between season best qualifying time and the major championships of the year and to assess the influence of time between performance peaks, ranking at the major events, stroke, event distance, sex, age, and country. Methods: A total of 7832 official competition times recorded at 4 FINA World Championships and 2 Olympic Games between 2011 and 2017 were compared with each swimmer’s season best time prior to the major event of the year. Percentage change in performance was related with the time elapsed between season best and major competition, race event, sex, age, and country using linear mixed modeling. Results: Faster performance (−0.79% [0.67%]; mean [SD]) at the major competition of the year occurred in 38% of all observations vs 62% no change or regression (1.10% [0.88%]). The timing between performance peaks (<34 to >130 d) had little effect on performance progressions (P = .83). Only medal winners (−0.87% [0.91%]), finalists (−0.16% [0.97%]), and US swimmers (−0.44% [1.08%]) progressed between competitions. Stroke, event distance, sex, and age had trivial impact on performance progression. Conclusions: Performance progressions at Olympic Games and World Championships were not determined by timing between performance peaks. Performance progression at a major competition appears necessary to win a medal or make the final, independent of race event, sex, and age.

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Gary J. Farkas, Marika A. Pitot and David R. Gater Jr.

The objective of this systematic review was to examine resting metabolic rate (RMR) measured through indirect calorimetry in adults with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) and to evaluate the predication equations used for the estimation of RMR in this population. The authors additionally aimed to review the impact of sex and level of injury on RMR. A MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, and Web of Science search was performed for studies published from the database inception to January 2018, identifying 326 articles. On the basis of the inclusion criteria, 22 studies remained for review. All articles that were identified were full-text, English language articles examining adults with chronic SCI who were fasted for a minimum of 8 hr before undergoing RMR through indirect calorimetry for at least 20 min. The measured RMR ranged from 1,256.0 to 1,854.0 kcal/day, whereas the estimated RMR ranged from 1,276.8 to 1,808.0 kcal/day in the chronic SCI population. Seven studies overestimated RMR from 4% to 15%, whereas two studies underestimated RMR from 2% to 17% using prediction equations established for the able-bodied population. Two studies produced SCI-specific equations to estimate RMR. With regard to sex and level of injury, RMR does not differ between individuals with tetraplegia and paraplegia, whereas sex-based differences remain inconclusive, given limited results. These data provide evidence for the use of indirect calorimetry to assess RMR and the need to validate SCI-specific prediction equations in the estimation of RMR.

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Sabrina Skorski, Iñigo Mujika, Laurent Bosquet, Romain Meeusen, Aaron J. Coutts and Tim Meyer

Physiological and psychological demands during training and competition generate fatigue and reduce an athlete’s sport-specific performance capacity. The magnitude of this decrement depends on several characteristics of the exercise stimulus (eg, type, duration, and intensity), as well as on individual characteristics (eg, fitness, profile, and fatigue resistance). As such, the time required to fully recover is proportional to the level of fatigue, and the consequences of exercise-induced fatigue are manifold. Whatever the purpose of the ensuing exercise session (ie, training or competition), it is crucial to understand the importance of optimizing the period between exercise bouts in order to speed up the regenerative processes and facilitate recovery or set the next stimulus at the optimal time point. This implies having a fairly precise understanding of the fatigue mechanisms that contribute to the performance decrement. Failing to respect an athlete’s recovery needs may lead to an excessive accumulation of fatigue and potentially “nonfunctional overreaching” or to maladaptive training. Although research in this area recently increased, considerations regarding the specific time frames for different physiological mechanisms in relation to exercise-induced fatigue are still missing. Furthermore, recommendations on the timing and dosing of recovery based on these time frames are limited. Therefore, the aim of this article is to describe time courses of recovery in relation to the exercise type and on different physiological levels. This summary supports coaches, athletes, and scientists in their decision-making process by considering the relationship of exercise type, physiology, and recovery.

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Rebekah D. Alcock, Gregory C. Shaw, Nicolin Tee, Marijke Welvaert and Louise M. Burke

The urinary excretion of hydroxyproline (Hyp), abundant in collagen protein, may serve as a biomarker of habitual collagen intake, assisting with investigations of current interest in the role of dietary collagen intake in supporting the synthesis of collagenous body tissues. This study investigated the time course of urinary Hyp excretion in “free-living,” healthy, active males following the ingestion of a standardized bolus (20 g) of collagenous (gelatin and a hydrolyzed collagen powder) and dairy (calcium caseinate and hydrolyzed casein) proteins. The excretion of Hyp was assessed over a 24-hr period, separated into three collection periods: 0–6, 6–12, and 12–24 hr. Hyp was elevated for 0–6 hr after the consumption of collagen-containing supplements (gelatin 31.3 ± 8.8 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed collagen 33.7 ± 22.0 mmol/mol vs. baseline: gelatin 2.4 ± 1.7 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed collagen 2.8 ± 1.5 mmol/mol; p < .05), but not for the dairy protein supplements (calcium caseinate 3.4 ± 1.7 mmol/mol and hydrolyzed casein 4.0 ± 3.7 mmol/mol; p > .05). Therefore, urinary Hyp reflects an acute intake of collagenous protein, but is not suitable as a biomarker for quantifying habitual collagen intake, provided through regular dietary practices in “free-living,” healthy, active males.

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Blaine E. Arney, Reese Glover, Andrea Fusco, Cristina Cortis, Jos J. de Koning, Teun van Erp, Salvador Jaime, Richard P. Mikat, John P. Porcari and Carl Foster

Purpose: The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is a well-accepted method of monitoring training load in athletes in many different sports. It is based on the category-ratio (0–10) RPE scale (BORG-CR10) developed by Borg. There is no evidence how substitution of the Borg 6–20 RPE scale (BORG-RPE) might influence the sRPE in athletes. Methods: Systematically training, recreational-level athletes from a number of sport disciplines performed 6 randomly ordered, 30-min interval-training sessions, at intensities based on peak power output (PPO) and designed to be easy (50% PPO), moderate (75% PPO), or hard (85% PPO). Ratings of sRPE were obtained 30 min postexercise using either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE and compared for matched exercise conditions. Results: The average percentage of heart-rate reserve was well correlated with sRPE from both BORG-CR10 (r = .76) and BORG-RPE (r = .69). The sRPE ratings from BORG-CR10 and BORG-RPE were very strongly correlated (r = .90) at matched times. Conclusions: Although producing different absolute numbers, sRPE derived from either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE provides essentially interchangeable estimates of perceived exercise training intensity.

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Seihati A. Shiroma, Ursula F. Julio and Emerson Franchini

Purpose: To evaluate criterion validity, reliability, and usefulness of a test to measure maximal aerobic power using judo-specific movements (uchi-komi test [UKtest]). Methods: A total of 12 judokas performed 5 graded exercise tests (GETs) in 4 sessions. In sessions 1 and 2, upper-body (UBtest), lower-body (LBtest), and familiarization UKtest were performed. GETs were randomly performed and separated by at least 48 h. In sessions 3 and 4, test and retest UKtest were performed (7 d apart). For all GETs, peak oxygen consumption (V˙O2peak), maximal heart rate (HRmax), peak blood lactate concentration [Lapeak], maximal aerobic intensity, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined. Another group of 12 judokas performed the UKtest and 1 confirmation test (20 min after the UKtest) at 105% of maximal aerobic speed until exhaustion to confirm whether maximal responses were achieved. Results: V˙O2peak did not differ (P > .05) between UKtest (46.04 [5.34] mL·kg−1·min−1) and LBtest (44.78 [5.98] mL·kg−1·min−1), but it was higher (P < .05) than UBtest (37.03 [7.16] mL·kg−1·min−1). Total duration (551 [60] s) and [Lapeak] (7.10 [1.76] mmol·L−1) in the UKtest were different (P < .05) from UBtest (416 [47] s, 9.93 [2.15] mmol·L−1, respectively) and LBtest (433 [54] s, 10.29 [2.23] mmol·L−1, respectively). Very large relationships between V˙O2peak in UKtest with UBtest (r = .78; P = .003) and LBtest (r = .87; P < .001) were found. Maximal values were achieved for the UKtest V˙O2peak, HRmax, [Lapeak], RPE, and maximal aerobic speed, with no difference between test and retest (P > .05). In addition, very large intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) for V˙O2peak (ICC = .86), HRmax (ICC = .90), and maximal aerobic speed (ICC = .81) were found. Conclusion: The UKtest can be considered a valid, reliable, and useful test to measure maximal aerobic power using judo-specific movements.

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David Giles, Joel B. Chidley, Nicola Taylor, Ollie Torr, Josh Hadley, Tom Randall and Simon Fryer

Purpose: To determine if the mathematical model used for the estimation of critical force (CF) and the energy store component W′ are applicable to intermittent isometric muscle actions of the finger flexors of rock climbers, using a multisession test. As a secondary aim, the agreement of estimates of CF and W′ from a single-session test was also determined. The CF was defined as the slope coefficient, and W′ was the intercept of the linear relationship between total “isometric work” (W lim) and time to exhaustion (T lim). Methods: Subjects performed 3 (separated by either 20 min or >24 h) tests to failure using intermittent isometric finger-flexor contractions at 45%, 60%, and 80% of their maximum voluntary contraction. Results: Force plotted against T lim displayed a hyperbolic relationship; correlation coefficients of the parameter estimates from the work–time CF model were consistently very high (R 2 > .94). Climbers’ mean CF was 425.7 (82.8) N (41.0% [6.2%] maximum voluntary contraction) and W′ was 30,882 (11,820) N·s. Good agreement was found between the single-session and multisession protocol for CF (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC3,1] = .900; 95% confidence interval, .616–.979), but not for W′ (ICC3,1 = .768; 95% confidence interval, .190–.949). Conclusions: The results demonstrated the sensitivity of a simple test for the determination of CF and W′, using equipment readily available in most climbing gyms. Although further work is still necessary, the test of CF described is of value for understanding exercise tolerance and to determine optimal training prescription to monitor improvements in the performance of the finger flexors.

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Peter Ibbott, Nick Ball, Marijke Welvaert and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose: To assess pacing strategies using prescribed and self-selected interset rest periods and their influence on performance in strength-trained athletes. Methods: A total of 16 strength-trained male athletes completed 3 randomized heavy strength-training sessions (5 sets and 5 repetitions) with different interset rest periods. The interset rest periods were 3 min (3MIN), 5 min (5MIN), and self-selected (SS). Mechanical (power, velocity, work, and displacement), surface electromyography (sEMG), and subjective (rating of perceived exertion) and readiness-to-lift data were recorded for each set. Results: SS-condition interset rest periods increased from sets 1 to 4 (from 207.52 to 277.71 s; P = .01). No differences in mechanical performance were shown between the different interset rest-period conditions. Power output (210 W; 8.03%) and velocity (0.03 m·s−1; 6.73%) decreased as sets progressed for all conditions (P  < .001) from set 1 to set 5. No differences in sEMG activity between conditions were shown; however, vastus medialis sEMG decreased as the sets progressed for each condition (1.75%; P = .005). All conditions showed increases in rating of perceived exertion as sets progressed (set 1 = 6.1, set 5 = 7.9; P < .001). Participants reported greater readiness to lift in the 5MIN condition (7.81) than in the 3MIN (7.09) and SS (7.20) conditions (P < .001). Conclusions: Self-selecting interset rest periods does not significantly change performance compared with 3MIN and 5MIN conditions. Given the opportunity, athletes will vary their interset rest periods to complete multiple sets of heavy strength training. Self-selection of interset rest periods may be a feasible alternative to prescribed interset rest periods.

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Nick Dobbin, Jamie Highton, Samantha Louise Moss and Craig Twist

Purpose: To investigate the factors affecting the anthropometric and physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players. Methods: One hundred ninety-seven elite academy rugby league players (age = 17.3 [1.0] y) from 5 Super League clubs completed measures of anthropometric and physical characteristics during a competitive season. The interaction between and influence of contextual factors on characteristics was assessed using linear mixed modeling. Results: All physical characteristics improved during preseason and continued to improve until midseason, whereafter 10-m sprint (η 2 = .20 cf .25), countermovement jump (CMJ) (η 2 = .28 cf .30), and prone Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery (Yo-Yo IR) test (η 2 = .22 cf .54) performance declined. Second (η 2 = .17) and third (η 2 = .16) -year players were heavier than first-years, whereas third-years had slower 10-m sprint times (η 2 = .22). Large positional variability was observed for body mass, 20-m sprint time, medicine-ball throw, CMJ, and prone Yo-Yo IR1. Compared with bottom-ranked teams, top-ranked teams demonstrated superior 20-m (η 2 = −.22) and prone Yo-Yo IR1 (η 2 = .26) performance, whereas middle-ranked teams reported higher CMJ height (η 2 = .26) and prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance (η 2 = .20) but slower 20-m sprint times (η 2 = .20). Conclusion: These findings offer practitioners who design training programs for academy rugby league players insight into the relationships between anthropometric and physical characteristics and how they are influenced by playing year, league ranking, position, and season phase.

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Cesar Gallo-Salazar, Juan Del Coso, David Sanz-Rivas and Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez

Purpose: To determine whether the game activity and physiological responses of young tennis players differed depending on the session of play (eg, morning [MOR] vs afternoon [AFT]) and the final match outcome (eg, winners vs losers) during a simulated competition with 2 matches on the same day. Methods: A total of 12 well-trained male tennis players (age 14.5 [0.8] y) took part in a simulated competition of two 3-set matches separated by 3 h. All the matches were video recorded, and the participants were monitored using 10-Hz global positioning system units including a heart-rate monitor. Effect-size (ES) statistics were used to investigate the magnitudes of the differences. Results: During the AFT matches, in absolute terms, players covered longer total distance (ES = moderate) and ran more distance between 0 and ≤4 m·s−1 (ES = small to large) than in MOR matches. Total duration was also longer (ES = large) in the AFT, where the rest time between rallies was also longer (ES = very large). Heart rate was similar during AFT and MOR matches, but higher rates of perceived exertion (ES = moderate) were reported in the AFT. Only peak running velocity was observed to be likely higher for losers than for winners (ES = small). Conclusions: Game activity and physiological responses of young tennis players differ when 2 consecutive matches are played on the same day. These data might help elucidate the need for specific precompetition training loads and/or between-matches/sessions recovery strategies when facing overloaded competitions.