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Leah S. Goudy, Brandon Rhett Rigby, Lisa Silliman-French and Kevin A. Becker

The purpose of this study was to determine changes in balance, postural sway, and quality of life after 6 wk of simulated horseback riding in adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Eight older adults completed two 60-min riding sessions weekly for 6 wk. Variables of balance, postural sway, and quality of life were measured 6 wks before and within 1 wk before and after the intervention. Berg Balance Scale scores decreased from baseline to preintervention (48.36 ± 5.97 vs. 45.86 ± 6.42, p = .050) and increased from preintervention to postintervention (45.86 ± 6.42 vs. 50.00 ± 4.38, p = .002). Cognitive impairment, a dimension of quality of life, improved from baseline to postintervention (37.5 ± 20.5 vs. 21.5 ± 14.4, p = .007). Six weeks of simulated horseback riding may improve balance and cognitive impairment in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.

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Susan Y. Kwiecien, Malachy P. McHugh, Stuart Goodall, Kirsty M. Hicks, Angus M. Hunter and Glyn Howatson

Purpose: To evaluate the effectiveness between cold-water immersion (CWI) and phase-change-material (PCM) cooling on intramuscular, core, and skin-temperature and cardiovascular responses. Methods: In a randomized, crossover design, 11 men completed 15 min of 15°C CWI to the umbilicus and 2-h recovery or 3 h of 15°C PCM covering the quadriceps and 1 h of recovery, separated by 24 h. Vastus lateralis intramuscular temperature at 1 and 3 cm, core and skin temperature, heart-rate variability, and thermal comfort were recorded at baseline and 15-min intervals throughout treatment and recovery. Results: Intramuscular temperature decreased (P < .001) during and after both treatments. A faster initial effect was observed from 15 min of CWI (Δ: 4.3°C [1.7°C] 1 cm; 5.5°C [2.1°C] 3 cm; P = .01). However, over time (2 h 15 min), greater effects were observed from prolonged PCM treatment (Δ: 4.2°C [1.9°C] 1 cm; 2.2°C [2.2°C] 3 cm; treatment × time, P = .0001). During the first hour of recovery from both treatments, intramuscular temperature was higher from CWI at 1 cm (P = .013) but not 3 cm. Core temperature deceased 0.25° (0.32°) from CWI (P = .001) and 0.28°C (0.27°C) from PCM (P = .0001), whereas heart-rate variability increased during both treatments (P = .001), with no differences between treatments. Conclusions: The magnitude of temperature reduction from CWI was comparable with PCM, but intramuscular temperature was decreased for longer during PCM. PCM cooling packs offer an alternative for delivering prolonged cooling whenever application of CWI is impractical while also exerting a central effect on core temperature and heart rate.

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Sang-Ho Lee, Steven D. Scott, Elizabeth J. Pekas, Jeong-Gi Lee and Song-Young Park

Purpose: Athletes in combat sports undergo rapid changes in body weight prior to competition in order to gain a size advantage over their opponent. However, these large weight changes with concomitant high-intensity exercise training create poor lipid profiles and high levels of oxidative stress, which can be detrimental to health and sport performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the ability of the nutritional supplement octacosanol to combat the physiological detriments that occur in taekwondo players during rapid weight loss with high-intensity exercise training. Methods: A total of 26 male taekwondo players were randomly divided into 2 groups: An experimental group performed a 5% weight-loss and taekwondo training program with 40-mg octacosanol intake (OCT; n = 13) for 6 d, and a control group performed the same weight-loss and taekwondo training program with a placebo (CON; n = 13). Results: There were significant (P < .05) group × time interactions for low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides, which significantly decreased (Δ18 [5] mg/dL and Δ80 [7] mg/dL, respectively), and high-density lipoprotein, which significantly increased (Δ10 [7] mg/dL), in the OCT group compared with the CON group. There were also significant (P < .05) group × time interactions for superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and malondialdehyde (MDA), with SOD increasing (Δ226 [121] U/gHb) in the OCT group, while GPx decreased (Δ20 [13] U/gHb) and MDA increased (Δ72 [0.04] nmol/mL) in the CON group. Conclusion: These results suggest that octacosanol may be a beneficial supplement to protect against the poor cholesterol levels and oxidative stress that occurs during taekwondo training.

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Thomas M. Comyns, Eamonn P. Flanagan, Sean Fleming, Evan Fitzgerald and Damian J. Harper

Purpose: To examine the interday reliability and usefulness of a reactive strength index (RSI) derived from a maximal 5-rebound jump test (5max RJT) and a maximal 10-rebound jump test (10/5 RJT). Methods: Twenty male field-sport athletes (24.5 [3.0] y, 1.78 [0.1] m, 84.9 [5.2] kg) and 15 female participants (21.1 [0.9] y, 1.65 [0.73] m, 62.0 [5.1] kg) performed 2 maximal repetitions of the 5max RJT and the 10/5 RJT on 2 testing days after a specific warm-up. A 1-wk period separated testing days, and these sessions were preceded by a familiarization session. RSI was calculated by dividing jump height (in meters) by contact time (in seconds). The 5max RJT and the 10/5 RJT trial with the highest RSI on each testing day were used for reliability and usefulness analysis. Results: Both tests were deemed reliable for determining RSI for male, female, and pooled male and female cohorts, as the intraclass correlation coefficients were ≥.80 and the coefficient of variation was ≤10%. Only the 5max RJT was rated as “good” at detecting the smallest worthwhile change in performance for female athletes (smallest worthwhile change: 0.10 > typical error: 0.07). The 5max RJT for men and the 10/5 RJT for men and women were rated “good” in detecting a moderate change in performance only. Conclusions: Both tests are reliable for the determination of RSI, but the usefulness of the tests in detecting the smallest worthwhile change is questionable.

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Lee Taylor, Christopher J. Stevens, Heidi R. Thornton, Nick Poulos and Bryna C.R. Chrismas

Purpose: To determine how a cooling vest worn during a warm-up could influence selected performance (countermovement jump [CMJ]), physical (global positioning system [GPS] metrics), and psychophysiological (body temperature and perceptual) variables. Methods : In a randomized, crossover design, 12 elite male World Rugby Sevens Series athletes completed an outdoor (wet bulb globe temperature 23–27°C) match-specific externally valid 30-min warm-up wearing a phase-change cooling vest (VEST) and without (CONTROL), on separate occasions 7 d apart. CMJ was assessed before and after the warm-up, with GPS indices and heart rate monitored during the warm-ups, while core temperature (T c; ingestible telemetric pill; n = 6) was recorded throughout the experimental period. Measures of thermal sensation (TS) and thermal comfort (TC) was obtained pre-warm-up and post-warm-up, with rating of perceived exertion (RPE) taken post-warm-ups. Results: Athletes in VEST had a lower ΔT c (mean [SD]: VEST = 1.3°C [0.1°C]; CONTROL = 2.0°C [0.2°C]) from pre-warm-up to post-warm-up (effect size; ±90% confidence limit: −1.54; ±0.62) and T c peak (mean [SD]: VEST = 37.8°C [0.3°C]; CONTROL = 38.5°C [0.3°C]) at the end of the warm-up (−1.59; ±0.64) compared with CONTROL. Athletes in VEST demonstrated a decrease in ΔTS (−1.59; ±0.72) and ΔTC (−1.63; ±0.73) pre-warm-up to post-warm-up, with a lower RPE post-warm-up (−1.01; ±0.46) than CONTROL. Changes in CMJ and GPS indices were trivial between conditions (effect size < 0.2). Conclusions: Wearing the vest prior to and during a warm-up can elicit favorable alterations in physiological (T c) and perceptual (TS, TC, and RPE) warm-up responses, without compromising the utilized warm-up characteristics or physical-performance measures.

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Ljudmila Zaletelj

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Josu Gomez-Ezeiza, Jordan Santos-Concejero, Jon Torres-Unda, Brian Hanley and Nicholas Tam

Purpose: To analyze the association between muscle activation patterns on oxygen cost of transport in elite race walkers over the entire gait waveform. Methods: A total of 21 Olympic race walkers performed overground walking trials at 14 km·h−1 where muscle activity of the gluteus maximus, adductor magnus, rectus femoris, biceps femoris, medial gastrocnemius, and tibialis anterior were recorded. Race walking economy was determined by performing an incremental treadmill test ending at 14 km·h−1. Results: This study found that more-economical race walkers exhibit greater gluteus maximus (P = .022, r = .716), biceps femoris (P = .011, r = .801), and medial gastrocnemius (P = .041, r = .662) activation prior to initial contact and weight acceptance. In addition, during the propulsive and the early swing phase, race walkers with higher activation of the rectus femoris (P = .021, r = .798) exhibited better race walking economy. Conclusions: This study suggests that the neuromuscular system is optimally coordinated through varying muscle activation to reduce the metabolic demand of race walking. These findings highlight the importance of proximal posterior muscle activation during initial contact and hip-flexor activation during early swing phase, which are associated with efficient energy transfer. Practically, race walking coaches may find this information useful in the development of specific training strategies on technique.

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Luana T. Rossato, Camila T.M. Fernandes, Públio F. Vieira, Flávia M.S. de Branco, Paula C. Nahas, Guilherme M. Puga and Erick P. de Oliveira

Background: Carbohydrate (CHO) mouth rinse has been used as an ergogenic strategy due to its central effect; however, the effects of this intervention during short-duration high-intensity exercises are not fully understood. Purpose: To investigate the effect of CHO mouth rinse on time to exhaustion in a short-duration high-intensity exercise performed on a treadmill. Methods: A randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study was conducted with 10 (24.1 [4.3] y) recreationally active male runners. The protocol consisted of a warm-up at 65% of VO2max for 5 min followed by 3 min passive rest. At the end of this rest period, the individuals performed their mouth rinse either with CHO (maltodextrin, 6%) or with placebo (industrialized noncaloric juice with the same taste). Immediately after mouth rinse, the subjects ran at velocity equivalent to 100% of individual VO2max until voluntary exhaustion. The perceived effort was obtained through a Borg scale. Blood lactate was quantified before and after the protocol, and heart rate was evaluated during the protocol. Results: No difference was found (P = .90) in time to exhaustion between placebo (193.9 [46.5] s) and CHO mouth rinse (195.1 [51.8] s). Blood lactate, heart rate, and perception of effort increased in both groups, but with no differences (all variables, P > .05) between groups. Conclusion: The findings showed that a preexercise single-CHO mouth rinse was ineffective to improve running time to exhaustion at velocity equivalent to 100% VO2max on a treadmill in recreationally active male runners.

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Adam Douglas, Michael A. Rotondi, Joseph Baker, Veronica K. Jamnik and Alison K. Macpherson

Purpose: To compare on-ice external and internal training loads in world-class women’s ice hockey during training and competition. Methods: On-ice training loads were collected during 1 season from 25 world-class ice hockey players via wearable technology. A total of 105 on-ice sessions were recorded, which consisted of 61 training sessions and 44 matches. Paired and unpaired t tests compared training and competition data between and across playing positions. Results: For training data, there was a difference between positions for PlayerLoad (P < .001, effect size [ES] = 0.32), PlayerLoad·minute−1 (P < .001, ES = 0.55), explosive efforts (P < .001, ES = 0.63), and training impulse (P < .001, ES = 0.48). For the competition data, there were also differences between positions for PlayerLoad (P < .001, ES = 0.26), PlayerLoad·minute−1 (P < .001, ES = 0.38), explosive efforts (P < .001, ES = 0.64), and training impulse (P < .001, ES = 1.47). Similar results were found when positions were viewed independently; competition had greater load and intensity across both positions for PlayerLoad, training impulse, and explosive efforts (P < .001, ES = 1.59–2.98) and with PlayerLoad·minute−1 (P = .016, ES = 0.25) for the defense. Conclusions: There are clear differences in the volume and intensity of external and internal workloads between training and competition sessions. These differences were also evident when comparing the playing positions, with defense having lower outputs than forwards. These initial results can be used to design position-specific drills that replicate match demands for ice hockey athletes.