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Rajni Rai, Michelle I. Jongenelis, Ben Jackson, Robert U. Newton, and Simone Pettigrew

Retirement has been identified as a life transition that is important in determining older adults’ physical activity levels. The present study examined the factors associated with retirement that affect physical activity participation among older adults. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 425 retired Australians aged 60 years and older. Physical activity was assessed objectively, using accelerometers. Two categories of factors affecting physical activity participation following retirement were identified: the various physical and psychological changes in later life that can encourage or discourage physical activity and the adaptation processes undertaken by older people in response to these changes. The adoption of either a gain or loss approach to retirement and aging appeared to be the most influential adaptation factor affecting physical activity participation. The results suggest that intervention approaches should aim to foster more positive attitudes to aging and retirement and promote physical activity at all stages in life.

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Aron J. Murphy, Greg J. Wilson, John F. Pryor, and Robert U. Newton

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the relationship between isometric measures of muscular function at two different joint angles and dynamic performance. Thirteen experienced weight trainers performed two isometric tests in a bench press position, at elbow angles of 90 and 120°. Performance was assessed by a one repetition maximum (1-RM) bench press and a series of upper body bench press throws at loads of 15, 30, and 60% of the 1-RM load. The results clearly show that changing the joint angle from 120 to 90° improved the relationship between most of the tests and performance by more than 100%, possibly due to differences in motor unit recruitment patterns and differing muscle mechanics (e.g., length-tension), at varying joint angles. It was suggested that the best angle at which to assess isometric function may be the joint angle at which peak force is developed in the performance of interest.

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Kieran P. Young, G. Gregory Haff, Robert U. Newton, and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reliability of an isometric-bench-press (IBP) test performed across 4 elbow angles and a ballistic bench throw (BBT) using a relative load, as well as evaluating the reliability of the dynamic strength index (DSI: BBT peak force/IBP peak force).

Methods:

Twenty-four elite male athletes performed the IBP and a 45% 1-repetition-maximum BBT on 2 separate days with 48 h between testing occasions. Peak force, peak power, peak velocity, peak displacement, and peak rate of force development (PRFD) were assessed using a force plate and linear position transducer. Reliability was assessed by intraclass correlation (ICC), coefficient of variation (%CV) and typical error.

Results:

Performance measures in the BBT, such as peak force, peak velocity, peak power, and peak displacement, were considered reliable (ICC = .85–.92, %CV = 1.7–3.3), while PRFD was not (ICC = .43, %CV = 4.1). Similarly, for the IBP, peak force across all angles was considered reliable (ICC = .89–.97, %CV = 1.2–1.6), while PRFD was not (ICC = .56–.65, %CV = 0.5–7.6). The DSI was also reliable (ICC = .93, %CV = 3.5).

Conclusions:

Performance measures such as peak force in the IBP and BBT are reliable when assessing upper-body pressing-strength qualities in elite male athletes. Furthermore, the DSI is reliable and could potentially be used to detect qualities of relative deficiency and guide specific training interventions.

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Michael R.M. McGuigan, Roger Bronks, Robert U. Newton, John C. Graham, and David V. Cody

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with impaired lower extremity function. This study investigated differences in PAD and control participants and the relationship between lower limb strength and clinical measures of PAD severity. Participants were evaluated by 6-min-walk distance, normal and maximal walking speed over 10 m, isometric plantar-flexion strength, and dynamic dorsi-/plantar-flexion strength. Hemodynamic measures of the lower limbs were recorded at rest and after maximal treadmill testing. PAD participants walked significantly less far during the 6-min walk, and there were large differences in normal and maximal walking speeds. Small to moderate differences were found for isometric plantar-flexion strength. In the diseased legs of the PAD participants, resting systolic hallux photoplethysmography was significantly correlated with isokinetic plantar-flexion strength and onset of claudication pain during the 6-min-walk test. In addition to confirming the documented loss of walking endurance, these data suggest that loss of strength of the plantar flexors is associated with increasing PAD impairment.

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Kieran P. Young, G. Gregory Haff, Robert U. Newton, Tim J. Gabbett, and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

To evaluate whether the dynamic strength index (DSI: ballistic peak force/isometric peak force) could be effectively used to guide specific training interventions and detect training-induced changes in maximal and ballistic strength.

Methods:

Twenty-four elite male athletes were assessed in the isometric bench press and a 45% 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) ballistic bench throw using a force plate and linear position transducer. The DSI was calculated using the peak force values obtained during the ballistic bench throw and isometric bench press. Athletes were then allocated into 2 groups as matched pairs based on their DSI and strength in the 1RM bench press. Over the 5 wk of training, athletes performed either high-load (80–100% 1RM) bench press or moderate-load (40–55% 1RM) ballistic bench throws.

Results:

The DSI was sensitive to disparate training methods, with the bench-press group increasing isometric bench-press peak force (P = .035, 91% likely), and the ballistic-bench-throw group increasing bench-throw peak force to a greater extent (P ≤ .001, 83% likely). A significant increase (P ≤ .001, 93% likely) in the DSI was observed for both groups.

Conclusions:

The DSI can be used to guide specific training interventions and can detect training-induced changes in isometric bench-press and ballistic bench-throw peak force over periods as short as 5 wk.

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Joseph O.C. Coyne, Aaron J. Coutts, Robert U. Newton, and G. Gregory Haff

Purpose: To investigate the relationships between internal and external training load (TL) metrics with elite international women’s basketball performance. Methods: Sessional ratings of perceived exertion, PlayerLoad/minute, and training duration were collected from 13 elite international-level female basketball athletes (age 29.0 [3.7] y, stature 186.0 [9.8] cm, body mass 77.9 [11.6] kg) during the 18 weeks prior to the International Basketball Federation Olympic qualifying event for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Training stress balance, differential load, and the training efficiency index were calculated with 3 different smoothing methods. These TL metrics and their change in the last 21 days prior to competition were examined for their relationship to competition performance as coach ratings of performance. Results: For a number of TL variables, there were consistent significant small to moderate correlations with performance and significant small to large differences between successful and unsuccessful performances. However, these differences were only evident for external TL when using exponentially weighted moving averages to calculate TL. The variable that seemed most sensitive to performance was the change in training efficiency index in the last 21 days prior to competition (performance r = .47–.56, P < .001 and difference between successful and unsuccessful performance P < .001, f2 = 0.305–0.431). Conclusions: Internal and external TL variables were correlated with performance and distinguished between successful and unsuccessful performances among the same players during international women’s basketball games. Manipulating TL in the last 3 weeks prior to competition may be worthwhile for basketball players’ performance, especially in internal TL.

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Michael R. McGuigan, Abdulaziz Al Dayel, David Tod, Carl Foster, Robert U. Newton, and Simone Pettigrew

The purpose of this study was to investigate the use of the OMNI Resistance Exercise scale (OMNI-RES) for monitoring the intensity of different modes of resistance training in children who are overweight or obese. Sixty-one children (mean age = 9.7 ± 1.4 years) performed three resistance training sessions every week for 4 weeks. Each session consisted of three sets of 3–15 repetitions of eight different resistance exercises. OMNI-RES RPE measures (0–10) were obtained following each set and following the end of the exercise session. There was a significant difference between average RPE (1.68 ± 0.61) and Session RPE (3.10 ± 1.18) during the 4 weeks of training (p < .05). There was no significant change in session RPE over the 4 weeks of training. The correlation coefficient between average and session RPE values was significant (r = .88, p < .05). The findings of the current study indicate that the RPE values are higher when OMNI-RES measures are obtained following the whole training session than when obtained following every single set of exercise. This suggests that in children the session RPE provides different information to the average RPE across the entire session.

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Robert U. Newton, William J. Kraemer, Keijo Häkkinen, Brendan J. Humphries, and Aron J. Murphy

The aim of this study was to investigate the kinematics, kinetics, and neural activation of the traditional bench press movement performed explosively and the explosive bench throw in which the barbell was projected from the hands. Seventeen male subjects completed three trials with a bar weight of 45% of the subject's previously determined 1RM. Performance was significantly higher during the throw movement compared to the press for average velocity, peak velocity, average force, average power, and peak power. Average muscle activity during the concentric phase for pectoralis major, anterior deltoid, triceps brachii, and biceps brachii was higher for the throw condition. It was concluded that performing traditional press movements rapidly with light loads does not create ideal loading conditions for the neuromuscular system with regard to explosive strength production, especially in the final stages of the movement, because ballistic weight loading conditions where the resistance was accelerated throughout the movement resulted in a greater velocity of movement, force output, and EMG activity.

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Jeremy M. Sheppard, Sophia Nimphius, Greg G. Haff, Tai T. Tran, Tania Spiteri, Hedda Brooks, Gary Slater, and Robert U. Newton

Purpose:

Appropriate and valid testing protocols for evaluating the physical performances of surfing athletes are not well refined. The purpose of this project was to develop, refine, and evaluate a testing protocol for use with elite surfers, including measures of anthropometry, strength and power, and endurance.

Methods:

After pilot testing and consultation with athletes, coaches, and sport scientists, a specific suite of tests was developed. Forty-four competitive junior surfers (16.2 ± 1.3 y, 166.3 ± 7.3 cm, 57.9 ± 8.5 kg) participated in this study involving a within-day repeated-measures analysis, using an elite junior group of 22 international competitors (EJG), to establish reliability of the measures. To reflect validity of the testing measures, a comparison of performance results was then undertaken between the EJG and an age-matched competitive junior group of 22 nationally competitive surfers (CJG).

Results:

Percent typical error of measurement (%TEM) for primary variables gained from the assessments ranged from 1.1% to 3.0%, with intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from .96 to .99. One-way analysis of variance revealed that the EJG had lower skinfolds (P = .005, d = 0.9) than the CJG, despite no difference in stature (P = .102) or body mass (P = .827). The EJG were faster in 15-m sprint-paddle velocity (P < .001, d = 1.3) and had higher lower-body isometric peak force (P = .04, d = 0.7) and superior endurance-paddling velocity (P = .008, d = 0.9).

Conclusions:

The relatively low %TEM of these tests in this population allows for high sensitivity to detect change. The results of this study suggest that competitively superior junior surfers are leaner and possess superior strength, paddling power, and paddling endurance.

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Keijo Häkkinen, Markku Alen, Mauri Kallinen, Mikel Izquierdo, Kirsi Jokelainen, Helka Lassila, Esko Mälkiä, William J. Kraemer, and Robert U. Newton

Forty-two healthy men and women in two age groups (40 and 70 years) were examined for muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), maximal voluntary bilateral isometric force, force-time characteristics, maximal concentric 1 RM. and power performance of the leg extensors in a sitting position, squat jump, and standing long-jump. The results suggested that the decline in maximal strength with increasing age is related to the decline in muscle CSA; however, particularly in older women, the force/CSA ratio may also be lowered. Explosive force seems to decrease with increasing age even more than maximal strength. suggesting that muscle atrophy with aging is greater in fast-twitch fibers. The voluntary activation of the agonist and antagonist muscles seems to vary depending on the type of muscle action and/or velocity and time duration of the action in both age groups but to a greater extent in older people. There appears to be an age-related increase in antagonist co activation. especially in dynamic explosive movements.