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Kinesio Taping and Jump Performance in Elite Female Track and Field Athletes

Thorsten Schiffer, Anne Möllinger, Billy Sperlich, and Daniel Memmert


The application of kinesio tape (KT) to lower-extremity muscles as an ergogenic aid to improve muscle-strength-related parameters such as jumping is controversial.


To test the hypothesis that the application of KT enhances the jumping performance of healthy uninjured elite female track and field athletes.


A double 1-legged jump test was performed before and after the application of blue K-Active tape without traction on the maximally stretched gastrocnemius, hamstrings, rectus femoris, and iliopsoas muscles according to the generally accepted technique.


18 German elite female track and field athletes (age 21 ± 2 y, height 172 ± 4 cm, body mass 62 ± 5 kg, active time in their sport 13 ± 4 y).


Factorial analysis of variance with repeated measures (ANOVA, Bonferroni) revealed no significant differences in jumping performance between the tests (P > .05, d = 0.26).


These findings suggest that the application of KT has no influence on jumping performance in healthy, uninjured female elite athletes. The authors do not recommend the use of KT for the purpose of improving jump performance.

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The SpeedCourt: Reliability, Usefulness, and Validity of a New Method to Determine Change-of-Direction Speed

Peter Düking, Dennis-Peter Born, and Billy Sperlich


To determine the reliability, usefulness, and validity of 3 different change-of-direction tests on a SpeedCourt (SCCODT) in team-sport players.


For reliability and usefulness, 30 players (16 female and 14 male; age 19 ± 3 y, height 169 ± 30 cm, body mass 70 ± 11 kg) performed 3 SCCODTs differing in duration (7–45 s) on 3 occasions 1 wk apart. The total sprint times (TT) and time to change direction (TCD) were analyzed for each SCCODT. For validity, 14 players performed the Illinois Agility Test (IAT) and 505 test on a separate occasion.


TT for all SCCODTs is reliable (ICC > .79, CV < 5%), useful (TE < SWC0.5), and valid (IAT r > .71, P < .05; 505 test r > .54, P < .05). SCCODT variable TCD may be useful (TE = SWC0.5) but shows limited reliability with ICC >.65 and a CV >5%.


All SCCODTs are reliable, useful, and valid to detect moderate performance changes regarding TT, with limited reliability for TCD. The quality of assessment improves when players are well familiarized with the SCCODT.

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Comparison of Physiological Parameters During On-Water and Ergometer Kayaking and Their Relationship to Performance in Sprint Kayak Competitions

Manuel Matzka, Christoph Zinner, Philipp Kunz, Hans-Christer Holmberg, and Billy Sperlich

Purpose: (1) To compare various physiological indicators of performance during a 5 × 1500-m incremental kayak test performed on an ergometer and on-water and (2) to analyze the relationships between these indicators and the actual competition performance of elite sprint kayakers, aiming to provide information to coaches for evaluating and planning training on-water. Methods: A total of 14 male and female German elite sprint kayakers performed an incremental test both on an ergometer and on-water. The tissue saturation index of the musculus (m.) biceps brachii, oxygen consumption, ratings of perceived exertion, and levels of blood lactate were measured and compared with actual racing times. In addition, power output was monitored during ergometer testing only. Results: Oxygen consumption during the fourth (P = .02; d = 0.32) and final (fifth; P < .001; d = 0.32) steps of incremental testing was higher on-water than on the ergometer. The tissue saturation index of the m. biceps brachii was approximately 21% higher at the end of the ergometer test (P = .002; d = 1.14). During the second (P = .01; d = 0.78), third (P = .005; d = 0.93), and fourth stages (P = .005; d = 1.02), the ratings of perceived exertion for ergometer kayaking was higher. During the final step, power output was most closely correlated to 200- (r = .88), 500- (r = .93), and 1000-m (r = .86) racing times (all Ps < .01). Conclusions: During high-intensity kayaking on an ergometer or on-water, the oxygen consumption and tissue saturation index of the m. biceps brachii differ. Furthermore, at moderate to submaximal intensities, the ratings of perceived exertion were higher for ergometer than for on-water kayaking. Finally, of all parameters assessed, the power output during ergometer kayaking exhibited the strongest correlation with actual racing performance.

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Table Tennis: Cardiorespiratory and Metabolic Analysis of Match and Exercise in Elite Junior National Players

Billy Sperlich, Karsten Koehler, Hans-Christer Holmberg, Christoph Zinner, and Joachim Mester


The aim of the study was to determine the cardiorespiratory and metabolic characteristics during intense and moderate table tennis (TT) training, as well as during actual match play conditions.


Blood lactate concentration (Lac), heart rate (HR, beats per minute [bpm]), oxygen uptake (VO2), and energy expenditure (EE) in 7 male participants of the German junior national team (age: 14 ± 1 y, weight: 60.5 ± 5.6 kg height; 165 ± 8 cm) were examined during six training sessions (TS) and during an international match. The VO2 was measured continuously with portable gas analyzers. Lac was assessed every 1 to 3 min during short breaks.


Mean (peak) values for Lac, HR, VO2, and EE during the TS were 1.2 ± 0.7 (4.5) mmol·L–1, 135 ± 18 (184) bpm, 23.5 ± 7.3 (43.0) mL·kg–1· min–1, and 6.8 ± 2.0 (11.2) METs, respectively. During match play, mean (peak) values were 1.1 ± 0.2 (1.6) mmol·L–1, 126 ± 22 (189) bpm, 25.6 ± 10.1 (45.9) mL·kg–1·min–1, and 4.8 ± 1.4 (9.6) METs, respectively.


For the frst time, cardiorespiratory and metabolic data in elite junior table tennis have been documented demonstrating low cardiorespiratory and metabolic demands during TT training and match play in internationally competing juniors.

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Bringing Light into the Dark: Effects of Compression Clothing on Performance and Recovery

Dennis-Peter Born, Billy Sperlich, and Hans-Christer Holmberg

To assess original research addressing the effect of the application of compression clothing on sport performance and recovery after exercise, a computer-based literature research was performed in July 2011 using the electronic databases PubMed, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science. Studies examining the effect of compression clothing on endurance, strength and power, motor control, and physiological, psychological, and biomechanical parameters during or after exercise were included, and means and measures of variability of the outcome measures were recorded to estimate the effect size (Hedges g) and associated 95% confidence intervals for comparisons of experimental (compression) and control trials (noncompression). The characteristics of the compression clothing, participants, and study design were also extracted. The original research from peer-reviewed journals was examined using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) Scale. Results indicated small effect sizes for the application of compression clothing during exercise for shortduration sprints (10–60 m), vertical-jump height, extending time to exhaustion (such as running at VO2max or during incremental tests), and time-trial performance (3–60 min). When compression clothing was applied for recovery purposes after exercise, small to moderate effect sizes were observed in recovery of maximal strength and power, especially vertical-jump exercise; reductions in muscle swelling and perceived muscle pain; blood lactate removal; and increases in body temperature. These results suggest that the application of compression clothing may assist athletic performance and recovery in given situations with consideration of the effects magnitude and practical relevance.

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Does a 3-Minute All-Out Test Provide Suitable Measures of Exercise Intensity at the Maximal Lactate Steady State or Peak Oxygen Uptake for Well-Trained Runners?

Billy Sperlich, Christoph Zinner, David Trenk, and Hans-Christer Holmberg


To examine whether a 3-min all-out test can be used to obtain accurate values for the maximal lactate steady state (v MLSS) and/or peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) of well-trained runners.


The 15 male volunteers (25 ± 5 y, 181 ± 6 cm, 76 ± 7 kg, VO2peak 69.3 ± 9.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1) performed a ramp test, a 3-min all-out test, and several submaximal 30-min runs at constant paces of v END (mean velocity during the last 30 s of the 3-min all-out test) itself and v END +0.2, +0.1, –0.1, –0.2, –0.3, or –0.4 m/s.


v MLSS and v END were correlated (r = .69, P = .004), although v MLSS was lower (mean difference: 0.26 ± 0.32 m/s, 95% CI –.44 to –.08 m/s, P = .007, effect size = 0.65). The VO2peak values derived from the ramp and 3-min all-out tests were not correlated (r = .41, P = .12), with a mean difference of 523 ± 1002 mL (95% CI –31 to 1077 mL).


A 3-min all-out test does not provide a suitable measure of v MLSS or VO2peak for well-trained runners.

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The Impact of Low Energy Availability on Nonexercise Activity Thermogenesis and Physical Activity Behavior in Recreationally Trained Adults

Alexandra Martin, Hande Hofmann, Clemens Drenowatz, Birgit Wallmann-Sperlich, Billy Sperlich, and Karsten Koehler

Energy availability describes the amount of dietary energy remaining for physiological functionality after the energy cost of exercise is deducted. The physiological and hormonal consequences of low energy availability (LEA) are well established, but the impact of LEA on physical activity behavior outside of exercise and, specifically, nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) has not been systematically examined. The authors conducted a secondary analysis of a repeated-measures crossover study in which recreationally trained young men (n = 6, 25 ± 1.0 years) underwent two 4-day conditions of LEA (15 kcal·kg fat-free mass−1 ·day−1) with and without endurance exercise (LEA + EX and LEA EX) and two energy-balanced control conditions (CON + EX and CON EX). The duration and intensity of physical activity outside of prescribed exercise were assessed using the SenseWear Pro3 armband. LEA did not alter NEAT (p = .41), nor time spent in moderate to vigorous (p = .20) and low-intensity physical activity (p = .17). However, time spent in low-intensity physical activity was lower in LEA + EX than LEA − EX (13.7 ± 0.3 vs. 15.2 ± 0.3 hr/day; p = .002). Short-term LEA does not seem to impact NEAT per se, but the way it is attained may impact physical activity behavior outside of exercise. As the participants expended similar amounts of energy during NEAT (900–1,300 kcal/day = 12.5–18.0 kcal·kg fat-free mass−1·day−1) and prescribed exercise bouts (15.0 kcal·kg fat-free mass−1·day−1), excluding it as a component of energy expenditure may skew the true energy available for physiological functionality in active populations.

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Running Activity Profile of Adolescent Tennis Players During Match Play

Matthias W. Hoppe, Christian Baumgart, Jutta Bornefeld, Billy Sperlich, Jürgen Freiwald, and Hans-Christer Holmberg

The aims of this study were (1) to assess the running activities of adolescent tennis players during match play with respect to velocity, acceleration, and deceleration; (2) to characterize changes in these activities during the course of a match; and (3) to identify potential differences between winners and losers. Twenty well-trained adolescent male athletes (13 ± 1 y) played one simulated match each (giving a total of 10 matches), during which distances covered at different velocity categories (0 to < 1, 1 to < 2, 2 to < 3, 3 to < 4, and ≥ 4 m·s−1) and number of running activities involving high velocity (≥ 3 m·s−1), acceleration (≥ 2 m·s−2), and deceleration (≤ −2 m·s−2) were monitored using a global positioning system (10 Hz). Heart rate was also assessed. The total match time, total distance covered, peak velocity, and mean heart rate were 81.2 ± 14.6 min, 3362 ± 869 m, 4.4 ± 0.8 ms−1, and 159 ± 12 beats min−1, respectively. Running activities involving high acceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) or deceleration (0.6 ± 0.2 n·min−1) were three times as frequent as those involving high velocity (0.2 ± 0.1 n·min−1). No change in the pattern of running activities (P ≥ .13, d ≤ 0.39) and no differences between winners and losers (P ≥ .22, d ≤ 0.53) were evident during match play. We conclude that training of well-trained adolescent male tennis players need not focus on further development of their running abilities, since this physical component of multifactorial tennis performance does not change during the course of a match and does not differ between the winners and losers.

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Hormonal, Metabolic, and Cardiorespiratory Responses of Young and Adult Athletes to a Single Session of High-Intensity Cycle Exercise

Florian Engel, Sascha Härtel, Jana Strahler, Matthias Oliver Wagner, Klaus Bös, and Billy Sperlich

This study aimed to determine the effects of a single high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session on salivary cortisol (SC) levels, physiological responses, and performance in trained boys and men. Twenty-three boys (11.5 ± 0.8 years) and 25 men (29.7 ± 4.6 years) performed HIIT (4 consecutive Wingate Anaerobic Tests). SC in boys and men increased after HIIT from 5.55 ± 3.3 nmol/l to 15.13 ± 9.7 nmol/l (+173%) and from 7.07 ± 4.7 nmol/l to 19.19 ± 12.7 nmol/l (+171%), respectively (p < .01). Pretest SC as well as posttest changes were comparable in both groups (both p < .01). Peak blood lactate concentration was significantly lower in boys (12.6 ± 3.5 mmol/l) than in men (16.3 ± 3.1 mmol/l; p < .01). Throughout the HIIT, mean heart rates in boys were higher (p < .001) but relative peak oxygen uptake (ml·min−1·kg−1; p < .05) and performance were lower (p < .001) in boys than in men. HIIT in young athletes is associated with a higher activation of the hormonal stress axis than other types of exercise regimes as described in the literature. This study is the first to show a pronounced SC increase to HIIT in trained boys accompanied by elevated levels of blood lactate concentrations and heart rate suggesting a high cardio-respiratory, metabolic, and hormonal response to HIIT in 11-year-old boys.

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Repeated Sprint Protocols With Standardized Versus Self-Selected Recovery Periods in Elite Youth Soccer Players: Can They Pace Themselves? A Replication Study

Florian A. Engel, Stefan Altmann, Hamdi Chtourou, Alexander Woll, Rainer Neumann, Tomer Yona, and Billy Sperlich

Purpose: Replicating the studies of Gibson et al and Brownstein et al to assess performance, and physiological, and perceived variables during a repeated sprint protocol (RSP) with standardized versus self-selected recovery in youth soccer players. Methods: Nineteen male soccer players (age 13.1 [1.3] y) completed 2 separate RSPs. RSP1: 10 × 30-m sprints with 30-second recovery and RSP2: 10 × 30-m sprints interspersed with self-selected recovery periods. Mean time of both 10 × 30-m RSPs and self-selected recovery periods of RSP2 were assessed. Heart rate, blood lactate concentration, and rates of perceived exertion were measured following RSPs. Results: RSP2 revealed longer recovery periods (RSP1: 30.0 [0.0] s; RSP2: 39.0 [7.7] s; P < .001; effect size d = 1.648) with shorter repeated sprint time (mean 30-m sprint time: RSP1: 4.965 [0.256] s; RSP2: 4.865 [0.227] s; P = .014; d = 0.414). Blood lactate concentration (P = .002–.005; d = 0.730–0.958), heart rate (P < .001; d = 1.353), and rates of perceived exertion (RSP1: 14.9 [1.9]; RSP2: 12.9 [2.1]; P = .016; d = 1.046) were higher following RSP1. Conclusion: In contrast to the original studies, the present replication study demonstrated that self-selected recovery periods during a RSP leads to better repeated sprint performance compared with standardized recovery periods in youth soccer players. The better repeated sprint performance with individual recovery durations in RSP2 was achieved with less physiological and perceived effort.