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Christopher J. Stevens, Megan L.R. Ross and Roxanne M. Vogel

Menthol is effective at stimulating thermosensitive neurons that evoke pleasant cooling sensations. Internal application of menthol can be ergogenic for athletes, and hence, addition of menthol to sports nutrition products may be beneficial for athletes. The aim of this study was to develop a menthol energy gel for consumption during exercise and to determine acceptability and preferences for gels with different menthol concentrations. With a randomized, crossover, and double-blind placebo-controlled design, 40 endurance athletes (20 females) ingested an energy gel with a menthol additive at a high (0.5%; HIGH) or low concentration (0.1%; LOW), or a mint-flavored placebo (CON), on separate occasions during outdoor endurance training sessions. The athletes rated the gels for cooling sensation, mint flavor intensity, sweetness, and overall experience and provided feedback. Results are reported as median (interquartile range). Both menthol gels successfully delivered a cooling sensation, with a significantly greater response for HIGH (5.0 [4.0–5.0]) compared with LOW (3.5 [3.0–4.0]; p = .022) and CON (1.0 [1.0–2.0]; p < .0005), and LOW compared with CON (p < .0005). Ratings of mint flavor intensity followed the same trend as cooling sensation, while ratings of overall experience were significantly worse for HIGH (2.0 [1.0–3.0]) compared with LOW (4.0 [2.0–4.0]; p = .001) and CON (4.0 [3.0–4.0]; p < .0005). An energy gel with the addition of menthol at 0.1–0.5% provides a cooling sensation for athletes with a dose–response when ingested during exercise. The 0.1% concentration is recommended to maximize the overall experience of the gel.

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Mariana B. Pinto, Patrícia M. Bock, Andressa S.O. Schein, Juliana Portes, Raíssa B. Monteiro, Beatriz D. Schaan and Beatriz D. Schaan

This study evaluated the effects of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) in glucose control and respiratory muscle function in patients with diabetes. It was a randomized clinical trial conducted at the Physiopathology Laboratory of the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre. Patients with Type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to IMT or placebo-IMT (P-IMT), performed at 30% and 2% of maximal inspiratory pressure, respectively, every day for 12 weeks. The main outcome measures were HbA1c, glycemia, and respiratory muscle function. Thirty patients were included: 73.3% women, 59.6 ± 10.7 years old, HbA1c 8.7 ± 0.9% (71.6 ± 9.8 mmol/mol), and glycemia 181.8 ± 57.8 mg/dl (10.5 ± 3.2 mmol/L). At the end of the training, HbA1c was 8.2 ±0.3% (66.1 ± 3.3 mmol/mol) and 8.7 ± 0.3% (71.6 ± 3.3 mmol/mol) for the IMT and P-IMT groups, respectively (p = .8). Fasting glycemia decreased in both groups with no difference after training although it was lower in IMT at 8 weeks: 170.0 ± 11.4 mg/dl(9.4 ± 0.6 mmol/L) and 184.4 ± 15.0 mg/dl (10.2 ± 0.8 mmol/L) for IMT and P-IMT, respectively (p < .05). Respiratory endurance time improved in the IMT group (baseline = 325.9 ± 51.1 s and 305.0 ± 37.8 s; after 12 weeks = 441.1 ± 61.7 s and 250.7 ± 39.0 s for the IMT and P-IMT groups, respectively; p < .05). Considering that glucose control did not improve, IMT should not be used as an alternative to other types of exercise in diabetes. Higher exercise intensities or longer training periods might produce better results. The clinical trials identifier is NCT 03191435.

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Iván Peña-González, Alba Roldan, Carlos Toledo, Tomás Urbán and Raúl Reina

Purpose: This study aimed (1) to explore the validity and reliability of a new and specific change-of-direction (COD) test that requires dribbling skills to classify international footballers with cerebral palsy (CP) and compare it with another valid and reliable COD test without ball dribbling and (2) to probe whether both tests can discriminate between the new CP football classes (ie, FT1, FT2, and FT3) established worldwide in 2018. Methods: This study involved 180 international para-footballers with CP from 23 national teams at the 3 regional competitions held in 2018. They performed 2 COD tests, the modified agility test (no dribbling skills) and the dribbling speed test (DST). Results: Reliability was excellent for both the modified agility test (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]2,1 = .91, SEM = 5.75%) and the DST (ICC2,1 = .92, SEM = 4.66%). The modified agility test and DST results were highly to very highly correlated to one another for the whole group and considering the sport classes (r = .60–.80; P < .001). A 1-way analysis of variance showed significant differences between sport classes in both tests (P < .001). However, among classes, there were significant differences between FT1 and FT2 and FT3 (P < .01, effect size = large) and low to moderate effect sizes between FT2 and FT3 for either test. Conclusion: The DST appears to be valid and reliable to classify CP football players within the new classification system. Regression analysis revealed that 18.2% of the variance in the new sport classes could be explained by the 2 examined tests.

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Thomas A. Haugen, Felix Breitschädel, Håvard Wiig and Stephen Seiler

Purpose: To quantify possible differences in countermovement jump height across sport disciplines and sex in national-team athletes. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 588 women (23 [5] y, 66 [8] kg) and 989 men (23 [5] y, 82 [12] kg) from 44 different sport disciplines (including 299 medalists from European Championships, World Championships, and/or Olympic Games) tested a countermovement jump on a force platform at the Norwegian Olympic Training Center between 1995 and 2018. Results: Athletic sprinting showed the highest values among the men (62.7 [4.8] cm) and women (48.4 [6.0] cm), clearly ahead of the long jump/triple jump (mean difference ± 90% CL: 6.5 ± 5.0 and 4.3  ± 4.1; very likely and likely; moderate) and speed skating sprint (11.4 ± 3.1 and 7.5 ± 5.5 cm; most likely and very likely; very large and moderate). These horizontally oriented sports displayed superior results compared with more vertically oriented and powerful sports such as beach volleyball, weightlifting, and ski jumping, both in men (from 2.9 ± 4.7 to 15.6 ± 2.9 cm; small to very large; possibly to most likely) and women (5.9 ± 4.8 to 13.4 ± 3.4 cm; large to very large; very likely to most likely), while endurance sports and precision sports were at the other end of the scale. Overall, the men jumped 33% higher than the women (10.3, ±0.6 cm; most likely; large). Conclusions: This study provides practitioners and scientists with useful information regarding the variation in countermovement jump height among national-team athletes within and across sport disciplines.

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Wigand Poppendieck, Melissa Wegmann, Anne Hecksteden, Alexander Darup, Jan Schimpchen, Sabrina Skorski, Alexander Ferrauti, Michael Kellmann, Mark Pfeiffer and Tim Meyer

Purpose: Cold-water immersion is increasingly used by athletes to support performance recovery. Recently, however, indications have emerged suggesting that the regular use of cold-water immersion might be detrimental to strength training adaptation. Methods: In a randomized crossover design, 11 participants performed two 8-week training periods including 3 leg training sessions per week, separated by an 8-week “wash out” period. After each session, participants performed 10 minutes of either whole-body cold-water immersion (cooling) or passive sitting (control). Leg press 1-repetition maximum and countermovement jump performance were determined before (pre), after (post) and 3 weeks after (follow-up) both training periods. Before and after training periods, leg circumference and muscle thickness (vastus medialis) were measured. Results: No significant effects were found for strength or jump performance. Comparing training adaptations (pre vs post), small and negligible negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.42 to 1.26) and countermovement jump (g = 0.02; 95% CI, −0.82 to 0.86). Comparing pre versus follow-up, moderate negative effects of cooling were found for 1-repetition maximum (g = 0.71; 95% CI, −0.30 to 1.72) and countermovement jump (g = 0.64; 95% CI, −0.36 to 1.64). A significant condition × time effect (P = .01, F = 10.00) and a large negative effect of cooling (g = 1.20; 95% CI, −0.65 to 1.20) were observed for muscle thickness. Conclusions: The present investigation suggests small negative effects of regular cooling on strength training adaptations.

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Nikolaos Zaras, Angeliki-Nikoletta Stasinaki, Polyxeni Spiliopoulou, Giannis Arnaoutis, Marios Hadjicharalambous and Gerasimos Terzis

Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between weightlifting performance and the rate of force development (RFD), muscle architecture, and body composition in elite Olympic weightlifters. Methods: Six male Olympic weightlifters (age 23.3 [3.4] y, body mass 88.7 [10.2] kg, body height 1.76 [0.07] m, snatch 146.7 [15.4] kg, clean and jerk 179.4 [22.1] kg), all members of the national team, participated in the study. Athletes completed a 16-week periodized training program aiming to maximize their performance at the national competition event. Measurements, including maximal strength (1-repetition maximum) in snatch, clean and jerk, back and front squat, isometric leg press RFD and peak force, countermovement jump, vastus lateralis muscle architecture, and body composition, were performed before and after the training period. Results: Weightlifting performance increased significantly after training (P < .05). Leg press RFD increased only in time windows of 0 to 200 and 0 to 250 milliseconds after training (8.9% [8.5%] and 9.4% [7.7%], respectively, P < .05) while peak force remained unaltered (P < .05). Front squat strength increased significantly (P < .05), while countermovement jump power increased 2.3% (2.1%) (P < .05). No changes were observed for muscle architecture and lean body mass (P > .05). Significant correlations were observed between performance in snatch and clean and jerk with isometric leg press RFD, at all time windows, as well as with lean body mass and squat 1-repetition maximum. Conclusions: These results suggest that regular examination of RFD, lean body mass, and lower extremities’ 1-repetition maximum may be useful performance predictors in elite Olympic weightlifters.

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Michele Verdonck, Jacquie Ripat, Peita-Maree Clark, Florin Oprescu, Marion Gray, Lisa Chaffey and Bridie Kean

Wheelchair basketball (WCBB) often includes reverse integration (RI), defined as the inclusion of athletes without impairment in a sport traditionally aimed at athletes with an impairment. This study explored how RI in WCBB was understood by internal stakeholders. Data were gathered from athletes, coaches, and administrators at an Australian club competition and at a Canadian elite training center. Analysis of semistructured interviews with 29 participants led to the identification of eight themes. Collectively, the findings showed that RI was embedded within WCBB, RI was considered to be a way to advance the growth and improve the quality of WCBB as well as a way to increase awareness of WCBB and disability. There were some concerns that RI may not be equitable, as WCBB is a “disability sport.” Stakeholders’ perspectives on RI could provide useful information for sport policymakers, managers, administrators, sports organizations, and athletes interested in further developing WCBB.

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Thomas Mullen, Craig Twist and Jamie Highton

Purpose: To examine responses to a simulated rugby league protocol designed to include more stochastic commands, and therefore require greater vigilance, than traditional team-sport simulation protocols. Methods: Eleven male university rugby players completed 2 trials (randomized and control [CON]) of a rugby league movement simulation protocol, separated by 7 to 10 d. The CON trial consisted of 48 repeated ∼115-s cycles of activity. The stochastic simulation (STOCH) was matched for the number and types of activity performed every 5.45 min in CON but included no repeated cycles of activity. Movement using GPS, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and Stroop test performance was assessed throughout. Maximum voluntary contraction peak torque, voluntary activation (in percentage), and global task load were assessed after exercise. Results: The mean mental demand of STOCH was higher than CON (effect size [ES] = 0.56; ±0.69). Mean sprint speed was higher in STOCH (22.5 [1.4] vs 21.6 [1.6] km·h−1, ES = 0.50; ±0.55), which was accompanied by a higher rating of perceived exertion (14.3 [1.0] vs 13.0 [1.4], ES = 0.87; ±0.67) and a greater number of errors in the Stroop test (10.3 [2.5] vs 9.3 [1.4] errors; ES = 0.65; ±0.83). Maximum voluntary contraction peak torque (CON = −48.4 [31.6] N·m and STOCH = −39.6 [36.6] N·m) and voluntary activation (CON = −8.3% [4.8%] and STOCH = −6.0% [4.1%]) was similarly reduced in both trials. Conclusions: Providing more stochastic commands, which requires greater vigilance, might alter performance and associated physiological, perceptual, and cognitive responses to team-sport simulations.

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Jonpaul Nevin and Paul M. Smith

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between selected anthropometric, physiological, and upper-body strength measures and 15-km handcycling time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: Thirteen trained H3/H4 male handcyclists performed a 15-km TT, graded exercise test, 15-second all-out sprint, and 1-repetition-maximum assessment of bench press and prone bench pull strength. Relationship between all variables was assessed using a Pearson correlation coefficient matrix with mean TT velocity representing the principal performance outcome. Results: Power at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1 (r = .927; P < .01) showed an extremely large correlation with TT performance, whereas relative V˙O2peak (peak oxygen uptake) (r = .879; P < .01), power-to-mass ratio (r = .879; P < .01), peak aerobic power (r = .851; P < .01), gross mechanical efficiency (r = 733; P < .01), relative prone bench pull strength (r = .770; P = .03) relative bench press strength (r = .703; P = .11), and maximum anaerobic power (r = .678; P = .15) all demonstrated a very large correlation with performance outcomes. Conclusion: Findings of this study indicate that power at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1, relative V˙O2peak, power-to-mass ratio, peak aerobic power, gross mechanical efficiency, relative upper-body strength, and maximum anaerobic power are all significant determinants of 15-km TT performance in H3/H4 handcyclists.