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Patrick P.J.M. Schoenmakers, Florentina J. Hettinga and Kate E. Reed

Purpose: Over recent years, multiple studies have tried to optimize the exercise intensity and duration of work intervals in high-intensity-interval training (HIIT) protocols. Although an optimal work interval is of major importance to facilitate training adaptations, an optimal HIIT protocol can only be achieved with an adequate recovery interval separating work bouts. Surprisingly, little research has focused on the acute responses and long-term impact of manipulating recovery intervals in HIIT sessions. This invited commentary therefore aimed to review and discuss the current literature and increase the understanding of the moderating role of recovery durations in HIIT protocols. Conclusion: The acute responses to manipulations in recovery durations in repeated-sprint training (RST), sprint interval training (SIT), and aerobic interval training (AIT) protocols have recently begun to receive scientific interest. However, limited studies have manipulated only the recovery duration in RST, SIT, or AIT protocols to analyze the role of recovery durations on long-term training adaptations. In RST and SIT, longer recovery intervals (≥80 s) facilitate higher workloads in subsequent work intervals (compared with short recovery intervals), while potentially lowering the aerobic stimulus of the training session. In AIT, the total physiological strain endured per training protocol appears not to be moderated by the recovery intervals, unless the recovery duration is too short. This invited commentary highlights that further empirical evidence on a variety of RST, SIT, and AIT protocols and in exercise modalities other than cycling is needed.

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Ozcan Esen, Ceri Nicholas, Mike Morris and Stephen J. Bailey

Purpose: Dietary nitrate supplementation has been reported to improve performance in kayaking and rowing exercise, which mandate significant recruitment of the upper-body musculature. Because the effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on swimming performance is unclear, the purpose of this study was to assess the effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on 100-m and 200-m swimming freestyle time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: In a double-blind, randomized crossover design, 10 moderately trained swimmers underwent 2 separate 3-d supplementation periods, with a daily dose of either 140 mL nitrate-rich (∼800 mg/d nitrate) or nitrate-depleted (PLA) beetroot juice (BRJ). After blood sampling on day 3, the swimmers performed both 200-m and 100-m freestyle swimming TTs, with 30 min recovery between trials. Results: Plasma nitrite concentration was greater after BRJ relative to PLA consumption (432 [203] nmol/L, 111 [56] nmol/L, respectively, P = .001). Systolic blood pressure was lowered after BRJ compared with PLA supplementation (114 [10], 120 [10] mm Hg, respectively P = .001), but time to complete the 200-m (BRJ 152.6 [14.1] s, PLA 152.5 [14.1] s) and 100-m (BRJ 69.5 [7.2] s, PLA 69.4 [7.4] s) freestyle swimming TTs was not different between BRJ and PLA (P > .05). Conclusions: Although 3 d of BRJ supplementation increased plasma nitrite concentration and lowered blood pressure, it did not improve 100-m and 200-m swimming TT performance. These results do not support an ergogenic effect of nitrate supplementation in moderately trained swimmers, at least for 100-m and 200-m freestyle swimming performance.

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Margaret T. Harris and Mike Metzler

Purpose: To examine a district Online Physical Education (OLPE) course and determine the degree to which its design aligns with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Initial Guidelines for OLPE (2007). Method: A thorough document analysis of the course website and student and teacher online surveys provided a detailed description of the course design and illustrated the degree of design alignment. Results: There was a strong alignment with eight of the 10 guidelines and a moderate alignment with two of the 10 guidelines. Discussion/Conclusion: Results contribute to the overall knowledge base of district OLPE programs and set the stage for future research. Revisions to the guidelines along with additional data collection measures are recommended to better capture evidence of alignment to promote quality teaching and learning in OLPE environments.

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Davide Ferioli, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Antonio La Torre and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To examine differences between adult male basketball players of different competitive levels (study 1) and changes over a basketball season (study 2) of knee-extensor peripheral muscle function during multistage change-of-direction exercise (MCODE). Methods: In study 1, 111 players from 4 different divisions completed the MCODE during the regular season. In study 2, the MCODE was performed before (T1) and after (T2) the preparation period and during the competitive season (T3) by 32 players from divisions I, II, and III. The MCODE comprised 4 levels of increasing intensity for each player. The twitch peak torque (PT) of knee extensors was measured after each level. PTmax (the highest value of PT) and fatigue were calculated. Results: In study 1, the authors found possibly small differences (effect size [ES] [90% confidence interval] −0.24 [0.39]) in fatigue between divisions I and II. Division I was characterized by likely (ES 0.30–0.65) and very likely to almost certain (ES 0.74–1.41) better PTmax and fatigue levels than divisions III and VI, respectively. In study 2, fatigue was very likely reduced (ES −0.91 to −0.51) among all divisions from T1 to T2, whereas PTmax was likely to very likely reduced (ES −0.51 to −0.39) in divisions II and III. Conclusions: Professional basketball players are characterized by a better peripheral muscle function during MCODE. Most of the seasonal changes in peripheral muscle function occurred after the preparation period. These findings inform practitioners on the development of training programs to enhance the ability to sustain repeated change-of-direction efforts.

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Christopher Byrne and Jason K.W. Lee

Purpose: To determine if the Physiological Strain Index (PSI), in original or modified form, can evaluate heat strain on a 0–10 scale, in trained and heat-acclimatized men undertaking a competitive half-marathon run in outdoor heat. Methods: Core (intestinal) temperature (TC) and heart rate (HR) were recorded continuously in 24 men (mean [SD] age = 26 [3] y, VO2peak = 59 [5] mL·kg·min−1). A total of 4 versions of the PSI were computed: original PSI with upper constraints of TC 39.5°C and HR 180 beats·min−1 (PSI39.5/180) and 3 modified versions of PSI with each having an age-predicted maximal HR constraint and graded TC constraints of 40.0°C (PSI40.0/PHRmax), 40.5°C (PSI40.5/PHRmax), and 41.0°C (PSI41.0/PHRmax). Results: In a warm (26.1–27.3°C) and humid (79–82%) environment, all runners finished the race asymptomatic in 107 (10) (91–137) min. Peak TC and HR were 39.7°C (0.5°C) (38.5–40.7°C) and 186 (6) (175–196) beats·min−1, respectively. In total, 63% exceeded TC 39.5°C, 71% exceeded HR 180 beats·min−1, and 50% exceeded both of the original PSI upper TC and HR constraints. The computed heat strain was significantly greater with PSI39.5/180 than all other methods (P < .003). PSI >10 was observed in 63% of runners with PSI39.5/180, 25% for PSI40.0/PHRmax, 8% for PSI40.5/PHRmax, and 0% for PSI41.0/PHRmax. Conclusions: The PSI was able to quantify heat strain on a 0–10 scale in trained and heat-acclimatized men undertaking a half-marathon race in outdoor heat, but only when the upper TC and HR constraints were modified to 41.0°C and age-predicted maximal HR, respectively.

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Tsz Lun (Alan) Chu, Tao Zhang, Katherine T. Thomas, Xiaoxia Zhang and Xiangli Gu

Purpose: Based on the self-determination theory, this study explored the predictive strengths and relative importance of basic psychological needs (BPNs; i.e., autonomy, competence, and relatedness) in physical education in physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes among Hispanic boys and girls. Methods: Fourth- and fifth-grade Hispanic children (N = 214; 110 boys and 104 girls) completed surveys measuring BPNs, effort in physical education, and general well-being and objective assessments of cardiorespiratory fitness and body mass index. Multiple regression analyses were performed on the three adaptive outcomes by gender to determine the relative importance of BPNs. Results: The analyses revealed that (a) competence was the most important BPN in predicting effort and well-being among both boys and girls; (b) relatedness predicted only well-being among boys, but both effort and well-being among girls; and (c) autonomy did not predict any outcomes. Conclusions: The findings highlight the importance of satisfying Hispanic children’s competence and girls’ relatedness in physical education.

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Mads S. Larsen, Dagmar Clausen, Astrid Ank Jørgensen, Ulla R. Mikkelsen and Mette Hansen

Recent studies demonstrate that protein ingestion immediately before sleep improves muscle recovery during the night following resistance exercise. Whether this feeding strategy benefits recovery from endurance training has yet to be established. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of whey protein isolate ingested every night before sleep on subsequent performance and circulatory markers of muscular recovery during a week of intensified endurance training mimicking a training camp. In a parallel design, 32 trained runners underwent a 1-week intervention with a rigorously controlled diet (carbohydrate = 7.2 g·kg−1·day−1, protein = 1.8 g·kg−1·day−1, and fat = 1.0 g·kg−1·day−1) and exercise program (11 sessions) while receiving either a protein (0.5 g·kg−1·day−1) or carbohydrate (0.5 g·kg−1·day−1) beverage every night before sleep. Blood samples were obtained on the morning of Days 1, 4, 7, and 8 and analyzed for markers of muscle damage (creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, and myoglobin). The postintervention 5-km time-trial performance was significantly impaired in both groups (11 ± 24 s, p < .01). Plasma creatine kinase (227% ± 221%, p < .01), lactate dehydrogenase (18% ± 22%, p < .01), and myoglobin (72% ± 62%, p < .01) increased gradually throughout the week with no difference between the groups (p > .05). In conclusion, the presleep protein ingestion did not reduce the decline in performance or ameliorate the rise of circulatory markers of muscle damage during a week of intensified training when compared with the isocaloric carbohydrate ingestion.

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Timothy J.H. Lathlean, Paul B. Gastin, Stuart V. Newstead and Caroline F. Finch

Purpose: To investigate associations between load (training and competition) and wellness in elite junior Australian Football players across 1 competitive season. Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted during the 2014 playing season in 562 players from 9 teams. Players recorded their training and match intensities according to the session-rating-of-perceived-exertion (sRPE) method. Based on sRPE player loads, a number of load variables were quantified, including cumulative load and the change in load across different periods of time (including the acute-to-chronic load ratio). Wellness was quantified using a wellness index including sleep, fatigue, soreness, stress, and mood on a Likert scale from 1 to 5. Results: Players spent an average of 85 (21) min in each match and 65 (31) min per training session. Average match loads were 637 (232) arbitrary units, and average training loads were 352 (233) arbitrary units. Over the 24 wk of the 2014 season, overall wellness had a significant linear negative association with 1-wk load (B = −0.152; 95% confidence interval, −0.261 to −0.043; P = .006) and an inverse U-curve relationship with session load (B = −0.078; 95% confidence interval, 0.143 to 0.014; P = .018). Mood, stress, and soreness were all found to have associations with load. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that load (within a session and across the week) is important in managing the wellness of elite junior Australian Football players. Quantifying loads and wellness at this level will help optimize player management and has the potential to reduce the risk of adverse events such as injury.

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Dean Norris, David Joyce, Jason Siegler, James Clock and Ric Lovell

Purpose: This study assessed the utility of force–time characteristics from the isometric midthigh pull (IMTP) as a measure of neuromuscular function after elite-level Australian rules football matches. It was hypothesized that rate characteristics of force development would demonstrate a different response magnitude and recovery time course than peak force measurements. Methods: Force–time characteristics of the IMTP (peak force, 0- to 50-ms rate of force development [RFD], 100- to 200-ms RFD) were collected at 48 (G+2), 72 (G+3), and 96 h (G+4) after 3 competitive Australian rules football matches. Results: Meaningful reductions (>75% of the smallest worthwhile change) were observed at G+2, G+3, and G+4 for RFD 0–50 milliseconds (−25.8%, −17.5%, and −16.9%) and at G+2 and G+3 for RFD 100–200 milliseconds (−15.7% and −11.7%). No meaningful reductions were observed for peak force at any time point (G+2 −4.0%, G+3 −3.9%, G+4 −2.7%). Higher week-to-week variation was observed for RFD 0–50 milliseconds (G+2 17.1%, G+3 27.2%, G+4 19.3%) vs both RFD 100–200 milliseconds (G+2 11.3%, G+3 11.5%, G+4 7.2%) and peak force (G+2 4.8%, G+3 4.4%, G+4 8.4%). Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential use of rate characteristics from the IMTP as measures of neuromuscular function in elite sport settings, and in particular RFD 100–200 milliseconds due to its higher reliability. Interestingly, peak force collected from the IMTP was not meaningfully suppressed at any time point after elite Australian rules football match play. This suggests that rate characteristics from IMTP may provide more sensitive and valuable insight regarding neuromuscular function recovery kinetics than peak measures.

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Paul F.J. Merkes, Paolo Menaspà and Chris R. Abbiss

Purpose: To assess the influence of seated, standing, and forward-standing cycling sprint positions on aerodynamic drag (CdA) and the reproducibility of a field test of CdA calculated in these different positions. Methods: A total of 11 recreational male road cyclists rode 250 m in 2 directions at around 25, 32, and 40 km·h−1 and in each of the 3 positions, resulting in a total of 18 efforts per participant. Riding velocity, power output, wind direction and velocity, road gradient, temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure were measured and used to calculate CdA using regression analysis. Results: A main effect of position showed that the average CdA of the 2 d was lower for the forward-standing position (0.295 [0.059]) compared with both the seated (0.363 [0.071], P = .018) and standing positions (0.372 [0.077], P = .037). Seated and standing positions did not differ from each other. Although no significant difference was observed in CdA between the 2 test days, a poor between-days reliability was observed. Conclusion: A novel forward-standing cycling sprint position resulted in 23% and 26% reductions in CdA compared with a seated and standing position, respectively. This decrease in CdA could potentially result in an important increase in cycling sprint velocity of 3.9–4.9 km·h−1, although these results should be interpreted with caution because poor reliability of CdA was observed between days.