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Jožef Šimenko and Vedran Hadžić

Purpose: This study investigates bilateral performance with the Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) and its associations with competition performance (CP) and competition volume (CV) in judo. Methods: The SJFT compared movement patterns of the dominant (D) and nondominant (ND) sides on a sample of 27 youth judoka. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to determine differences in SJFT execution to the D and ND side, and for associations, the Pearson correlation was used (P < .05). Results: The total number of throws is significantly higher on the D side, with better performance in the final SJFT index. The CP showed positive correlations with the D side of SJFT executions in the second part of SJFT (P = .042) and the total number of throws (P = .036). On the ND side, the CP showed a positive correlation with the second part of the SJFT (P = .014), a negative correlation with the third part of the SJFT (P = .035), and a positive correlation in the total number of throws (P = .027). CV shows significant correlations with all parameters of the SJFT in the D and ND sides, with stronger correlations on the ND side. Conclusions: The study presents significantly better performance in judokas’ D side in SJFT. Associations between CP and CV with the SJFT were significant in connection to both body sides. It highlights the importance of bilateral movement development and good execution of the throwing techniques for the D and ND body sides of youth judoka to achieve greater CP all year round.

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Felipe Guimarães Teixeira, Paulo Tadeu Cardozo Ribeiro Rosa, Roger Gomes Tavares Mello, and Jurandir Nadal

Purpose: The study aimed to identify the variables that differentiate judo athletes at national and regional levels. Multivariable analysis was applied to biomechanical, anthropometric, and Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT) data. Method: Forty-two male judo athletes from 2 competitive groups (14 national and 28 state levels) performed the following measurements and tests: (1) skinfold thickness, (2) circumference, (3) bone width, (4) longitudinal length, (5) stabilometric tests, (6) dynamometric tests, and (7) SJFT. The variables with significant differences in the Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used in stepwise logistic regression to select those that better separate the groups. The authors considered models with a maximum of 3 variables to avoid overfitting. They used 7-fold cross validation to calculate optimism-corrected measures of model performance. Results: The 3 variables that best differentiated the groups were the epicondylar humerus width, the total number of throws on the SJFT, and the stabilometric mean velocity of the center of pressure in the mediolateral direction. The area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve for the model (based on 7-fold cross validation) was 0.95. Conclusion: This study suggests that a reduced set of anthropometric, biomechanical, and SJFT variables can differentiate judo athlete’s levels.

Open access

Alannah K.A. McKay, Trent Stellingwerff, Ella S. Smith, David T. Martin, Iñigo Mujika, Vicky L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Jeremy Sheppard, and Louise M. Burke

Throughout the sport-science and sports-medicine literature, the term “elite” subjects might be one of the most overused and ill-defined terms. Currently, there is no common perspective or terminology to characterize the caliber and training status of an individual or cohort. This paper presents a 6-tiered Participant Classification Framework whereby all individuals across a spectrum of exercise backgrounds and athletic abilities can be classified. The Participant Classification Framework uses training volume and performance metrics to classify a participant to one of the following: Tier 0: Sedentary; Tier 1: Recreationally Active; Tier 2: Trained/Developmental; Tier 3: Highly Trained/National Level; Tier 4: Elite/International Level; or Tier 5: World Class. We suggest the Participant Classification Framework can be used to classify participants both prospectively (as part of study participant recruitment) and retrospectively (during systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses). Discussion around how the Participant Classification Framework can be tailored toward different sports, athletes, and/or events has occurred, and sport-specific examples provided. Additional nuances such as depth of sport participation, nationality differences, and gender parity within a sport are all discussed. Finally, chronological age with reference to the junior and masters athlete, as well as the Paralympic athlete, and their inclusion within the Participant Classification Framework has also been considered. It is our intention that this framework be widely implemented to systematically classify participants in research featuring exercise, sport, performance, health, and/or fitness outcomes going forward, providing the much-needed uniformity to classification practices.

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Juan A. Escobar-Álvarez, Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Filipe A. Da Conceição, and Juan P. Fuentes-García

Dancers require many specific dance skills of a ballistic nature. The design of supplementary training to improve the strength of the lower limbs and jump height is a relevant area of research. The purpose of this study was (1) to compare the effect of plyometric training versus combined training on countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), and sauté in first position (sauté) height and (2) to observe whether changes in CMJ and SJ were associated with changes in sauté in female and male dancers. Eighty-one classical professional ballet dancers (41 women and 40 men, age = 22.9 [3.7] y, body mass = 59.7 [8.6] kg, height = 167.4 [7.3] cm) were divided into a control group and 2 experimental groups: plyometric training and combined training. All groups followed their common routine of training regarding classes and rehearsal practice, whereas the experimental groups added 2 sessions (1 h per session) for 9 weeks of supplementary training. Significant increases (medium to large effect size) in CMJ, SJ, and sauté height were found in the pretest versus posttest comparisons for both experimental groups. Significant, very large correlations were found between the magnitude of improvement in sauté and the magnitude of improvement in CMJ and SJ. Plyometric and combined training programs are effective ways to improve jumping ability in professional dancers. The improvement in CMJ and SJ has a good transference on sauté `performance. These findings support the use of traditional training methods to improve jump height in specific and nonspecific ballet jumping ability.

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Gavriil G. Arsoniadis, Petros G. Botonis, Alexandros I. Tsoltos, Alexandros D. Chatzigiannakis, Gregory C. Bogdanis, Gerasimos D. Terzis, and Argyris G. Toubekis

Purpose: To examine the effect of dryland training during an 11-week lockdown period due to COVID-19 on swimming performance. Methods: Twelve competitive swimmers performed 50- and 300-m maximum-effort tests in their preferred stroke and 200-, 400-, and four 50-m front crawl sprints (4 × 50 m) before and after the lockdown period. Critical speed as an index of aerobic endurance was calculated using (1) 50-, 300-, and (2) 200-, 400-m tests. Blood lactate concentration was measured after the 400- and 4 × 50-m tests. To evaluate strength-related abilities, the dryland tests included handgrip and shoulder isometric strength. Tethered swimming force was measured during a 10-second sprint. During the lockdown period, dryland training was applied, and the session rating of perceived exertion training (sRPE) load was recorded daily. Results: sRPE training load during the lockdown was decreased by 78% (16%), and critical speed was reduced 4.7% to 4.9% compared to prelockdown period (P < .05). Performance time in 200, 300, and 400 m deteriorated 2.6% to 3.9% (P < .05), while it remained unaltered in 4 × 50- and 50-m tests (P > .05). Tethered force increased 9% (10%) (P < .01), but handgrip and shoulder isometric force remained unaltered (P > .05). Blood lactate concentration decreased 19% (21%) after the 400-m test and was unchanged following the 4 × 50-m tests (P > .05). Conclusions: Performance deterioration in the 200, 300, and 400 m indicates reduced aerobic fitness and impaired technical ability, while strength and repeated-sprint ability were maintained. When a long abstention from swimming training is forced, dryland training may facilitate preservation in short-distance but not middle-distance swimming performance.

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Nick Segers, Mark Waldron, Louis P. Howe, Stephen D. Patterson, Jason Moran, Ben Jones, Dawson J. Kidgell, and Jamie Tallent

Purpose: To examine the effect of fast- versus slow-speed eccentric-muscle-action resistance training on lower-body strength, vertical jump height, sprint speed, and change-of-direction performance in elite soccer players during a competitive season. Methods: Twenty-two elite soccer players, from a single team, were randomly assigned to groups that undertook either 1- (fast speed) or 4-second (slow speed) eccentric resistance training during the in-season period. A 5-week program was conducted during an elite top-division European League soccer season. Performance measures including predicted 1-repetition-maximum back squat, countermovement jump, 20-m sprint, and change of direction were tested before and after the intervention period. Total match and training running distance and muscle soreness were also recorded during each week of the intervention. Results: An analysis of covariance showed significant group effects (P = .01) for countermovement jump with a greater jump height in the 1-second fast-speed group postintervention (95% CI, 1.1–6.9 cm). Despite an overall increase in 1-repetition maximum pretraining to posttraining (95% CI, 10.0–15.3 kg, effect size 0.69), there were no significant differences (P > .05) between groups after the intervention. Similarly, there were no differences between groups for change of direction, 20-m sprint, or muscle soreness. Conclusion: Faster eccentric muscle actions may be superior for increasing movements in elite soccer players in-season.

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Nathan D.W. Smith, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Olivier Girard, and Brendan R. Scott

Purpose: This study compared training loads and internal:external load ratios from an aerobic interval session at the highest perceptually sustainable intensity with and without blood flow restriction (BFR). Methods: On separate days, 14 endurance cyclists/triathletes completed four 4-minute self-paced aerobic cycling intervals at their highest sustainable intensity, with and without BFR (60% of arterial occlusion pressure). Internal training load was quantified using 3 training impulses (TRIMP; Banister, Lucia, and Edwards) and sessional ratings of perceived exertion. External load was assessed using total work done (TWD). Training load ratios between all internal loads were calculated relative to TWD. Results: Lucia TRIMP was lower for the BFR compared with non-BFR session (49 [9] vs 53 [8] arbitrary units [au], P = .020, d z = −0.71). No between-conditions differences were observed for Banister TRIMP (P = .068), Edwards TRIMP (P = .072), and training load in sessional ratings of perceived exertion (P = .134). The TWD was lower for the BFR compared with non-BFR session (223 [52] vs 271 [58] kJ, P < .001, d z = −1.27). Ratios were greater for the BFR session compared with non-BFR for Lucia TRIMP:TWD (0.229 [0.056] vs 0.206 [0.056] au, P < .001, d z = 1.21), Edwards TRIMP:TWD (0.396 [0.105] vs 0.370 [0.088] au, P = .031, d z = 0.66), and training load in sessional ratings of perceived exertion:TWD (1.000 [0.266] vs 0.890 [0.275] au, P = .044, d z = 0.60), but not Banister TRIMP:TWD (P = .306). Conclusions: Practitioners should consider both internal and external loads when monitoring BFR exercise to ensure the demands are appropriately captured. These BFR-induced changes were reflected by the Lucia TRIMP:TWD and Edwards TRIMP:TWD ratio, which could be used to monitor aerobic BFR training loads. The Lucia TRIMP:TWD ratio likely represents BFR-induced changes more appropriately compared with ratios involving either Edwards or Banister TRIMP.