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  • Author: C. Roger James x
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C. Roger James, Barry T. Bates and Janet S. Dufek

The purposes of this study were to (a) present a theoretical model to explain the methods by which individuals accommodate impact force in response to increases in an applied stressor, (b) use the model and a correlation procedure to classify a sample of individuals based on their observed response patterns, and (c) statistically evaluate the classification process. Ten participants performed landings from three heights while video and force platform data were being collected. Magnitudes of impact-force characteristics from ground reaction force and lower extremity joint moments were evaluated relative to changes in landing momentum. Correlation between impact force and landing momentum was used to classify participant responses into either a positive or negative biomechanical strategy, as defined by the model. Positive and negative groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Results indicated that all responses fit within the categories defined by the model. Some individuals preferred positive strategies while others preferred negative ones depending on the specific variable. Only one participant consistently exhibited the negative strategy for all variables. Positive and negative groups were determined to be statistically different, p ≤ 0.05, for 61% of the comparisons, suggesting actual differences between groups. The proposed model appeared robust and accounted for all responses in the current experiment. The model should be evaluated further using landing and other impact activities; it should be refined and used to help researchers understand individual impact-response strategies in order to identify those who may be at risk for impact related injuries.

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Ram Haddas, Steven F. Sawyer, Phillip S. Sizer, Toby Brooks, Ming-Chien Chyu and C. Roger James

Introduction:

Recurrent lower back pain (rLBP) and neuromuscular fatigue are independently thought to increase the risk of lower extremity (LE) injury. Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction (VPAC) is thought to improve lumbar spine and pelvis control in individuals with rLBP. The effects of VPAC on fatigued landing performance in individuals with rLBP are unknown.

Objectives:

To determine the effects of VPAC and LE fatigue on landing performance in a rLBP population.

Design:

Cross-sectional pretest-posttest cohort control design.

Setting:

A clinical biomechanics laboratory.

Subjects:

32 rLBP (age 21.2 ± 2.7 y) but without current symptoms and 33 healthy (age 20.9 ± 2.3 y) subjects.

Intervention(s):

(i) Volitional preemptive abdominal contraction using abdominal bracing and (ii) fatigue using submaximal free-weight squat protocol with 15% body weight until task failure was achieved.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Knee and ankle angles, moments, electromyographic measurements from semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscles, and ground reaction force (GRF) were collected during 0.30 m drop-jump landings.

Results:

The VPAC resulted in significantly earlier muscle onsets across all muscles with and without fatigue in both groups (mean ± SD, 0.063 ± 0.016 s earlier; P ≤ .001). Fatigue significantly delayed semitendinosus muscle onsets (0.033 ± 0.024 s later; P ≤ .001), decreased GRF (P ≤ .001), and altered landing kinematics in a variety of ways. The rLBP group exhibited delayed semitendinosus and vastus medialis muscle onsets (0.031 ± 0.028 s later; P ≤ .001) and 1.8° less knee flexion at initial contact (P ≤ .008).

Conclusion:

The VPAC decreases some of the detrimental effects of fatigue on landing biomechanics and thus may reduce LE injury risk in a rLBP population.

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John R. Harry, Max R. Paquette, Brian K. Schilling, Leland A. Barker, C. Roger James and Janet S. Dufek

This study sought to identify kinetic and electromyographic subphase characteristics distinguishing good from poor jumpers during countermovement vertical jumps (CMVJs), as defined by the reactive strength index (RSI, CMVJ displacement divided by jump time; cutoff = 0.46 m·s−1). A total of 15 men (1.8 [0.6] m, 84.5 [8.5] kg, 24 [2] y) were stratified by RSI into good (n = 6; RSI = 0.57 [0.07] m·s−1) and poor (n = 9; RSI = 0.39 [0.06] m·s−1) performance groups. The following variables were compared between groups using independent t tests (α = .05) and Cohen’s d effect sizes (d ≥ 0.8, large): jump height, propulsive impulse, eccentric rate of force development, and jump time, unloading, eccentric, and concentric subphase times, and average electromyographic amplitudes of 8 lower extremity muscles. Compared with the poor RSI group, the good RSI group exhibited a greater, though not statistically different CMVJ displacement (d = 1.07, P = .06). In addition, the good RSI group exhibited a significantly greater propulsive impulse (P = .04, d = 1.27) and a significantly more rapid unloading subphase (P = .04, d = 1.08). No other significant or noteworthy differences were detected. Enhanced RSI appears related to a quicker unloading phase, allowing a greater portion of the total jumping phase to be utilized generating positive net force. Poor jumpers should aim to use unloading strategies that emphasize quickness to enhance RSI during CMVJ.

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Colin R. Carriker, Christine M. Mermier, Trisha A. VanDusseldorp, Kelly E. Johnson, Nicholas M. Beltz, Roger A. Vaughan, James J. McCormick, Nathan H. Cole, Christopher C. Witt and Ann L. Gibson

Reduced partial pressure of oxygen impairs exercise performance at altitude. Acute nitrate supplementation, at sea level, may reduce oxygen cost during submaximal exercise in hypobaric hypoxia. Therefore, we investigated the metabolic response during exercise at altitude following acute nitrate consumption. Ten well-trained (61.0 ± 7.4 ml/kg/min) males (age 28 ± 7 yr) completed 3 experimental trials (T1, T2, T3). T1 included baseline demographics, a maximal aerobic capacity test (VO2max) and five submaximal intensity cycling determination bouts at an elevation of 1600 m. A 4-day dietary washout, minimizing consumption of nitrate-rich foods, preceded T2 and T3. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover fashion, subjects consumed either a nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (PL) or ~12.8 mmol nitrate rich (NR) beverage 2.5 hr before T2 and T3. Exercise at 3500 m (T2 and T3) via hypobaric hypoxia consisted of a 5-min warm-up (25% of normobaric (VO2max) and four 5-min cycling bouts (40, 50, 60, 70% of normobaric VO2max) each separated by a 4-min rest period. Cycling RPM and watts for each submaximal bout during T2 and T3 were determined during T1. Preexercise plasma nitrite was elevated following NR consumption compared with PL (1.4 ± 1.2 and 0.7 ± 0.3 uM respectively; p < .05). There was no difference in oxygen consumption (−0.5 ± 1.8, 0.1 ± 1.7, 0.7 ± 2.1, and 1.0 ± 3.0 ml/kg/min) at any intensity (40, 50, 60, 70% of VO2max), respectively) between NR and PL. Further, respiratory exchange ratio, oxygen saturation, heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were not different at any submaximal intensity between NR and PL either. Blood lactate, however, was reduced following NR consumption compared with PL at 40 and 60% of VO2max (p < .0.05). Our findings suggest that acute nitrate supplementation before exercise at 3500 m does not reduce oxygen cost but may reduce blood lactate accumulation at lower intensity workloads.