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Adam J. Zemski, Shelley E. Keating, Elizabeth M. Broad, Damian J. Marsh, Karen Hind and Gary J. Slater

During preseason training, rugby union (RU) athletes endeavor to enhance physical performance characteristics that are aligned with on-field success. Specific physique traits are associated with performance; therefore body composition assessment is routinely undertaken in elite environments. This study aimed to quantify preseason physique changes in elite RU athletes with unique morphology and divergent ethnicity. Twenty-two White and Polynesian professional RU athletes received dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry assessments at the beginning and conclusion of an 11-week preseason. Interactions between on-field playing position and ethnicity in body composition adaptations were explored, and the least significant change model was used to evaluate variations at the individual level. There were no combined interaction effects with the variables position and ethnicity and any body composition measure. After accounting for baseline body composition, Whites gained more lean mass during the preseason than Polynesians (2,425 ± 1,303 g vs. 1,115 ± 1,169 g; F = 5.4, p = .03). Significant main effects of time were found for whole body and all regional measures with fat mass decreasing (F = 31.1–52.0, p < .01), and lean mass increasing (F = 12.0–40.4, p < .01). Seventeen athletes (nine White and eight Polynesian) had a reduction in fat mass, and eight athletes (six White and two Polynesian) increased lean mass. This study describes significant and meaningful physique changes in elite RU athletes during a preseason period. Given the individualized approach applied to athletes in regard to nutrition and conditioning interventions, a similar approach to that used in this study is recommended to assess physique changes in this population.

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Peter N. Wiebe, Cameron J. R. Blimkie, Nathalie Farpour-Lambert, Julie Briody, Damian Marsh, Allan Kemp, Chris Cowell and Robert Howman-Giles

Few studies have explored osteogenic potential of prepubertal populations. We conducted a 28-week school-based exercise trial of single-leg drop-landing exercise with 42 prepubertal girls (6 to 10 yrs) randomly assigned to control (C), low-drop (LD) or high-drop (HD) exercise groups. The latter two groups performed single-leg drop-landings (3 sessions/wk−1 and 50 landings/session−1) from 14cm(LD) and 28cm(HD) using the nondominant leg. Osteogenic responses were assessed using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA). Single-leg peak ground-reaction impact forces (PGRIF) in a subsample ranged from 2.5 to 4.4 × body-weight (BW). No differences (p > .05) were observed among groups at baseline for age, stature, lean tissue mass (LTM), leisure time physical activity, or average daily calcium intake. After adjusting for covariates of body mass, fat mass and LTM, no differences were found in bone mineral measures or site-specific bone mineral density (BMD) at the hip and lower leg among exercise or control groups. Combining data from both exercise groups failed to produce differences in bone properties when compared with the control group. No changes were apparent for between-leg differences from baseline to posttraining. In contrast to some reports, our findings suggest that strictly controlled unimodal, unidirectional single-leg drop-landing exercises involving low-moderate peak ground-reaction impact forces are not osteogenic in the developing prepubertal female skeleton.