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Nichola Callow, Dan Jiang, Ross Roberts and Martin G. Edwards

Recent brain imaging research demonstrates that the use of internal visual imagery (IVI) or kinesthetic imagery (KIN) activates common and distinct brain areas. In this paper, we argue that combining the imagery modalities (IVI and KIN) will lead to a greater cognitive representation (with more brain areas activated), and this will cause a greater slalom-based motor performance compared with using IVI alone. To examine this assertion, we randomly allocated 56 participants to one of the three groups: IVI, IVI and KIN, or a math control group. Participants performed a slalom-based driving task in a driving simulator, with average lap time used as a measure of performance. Results revealed that the IVI and KIN group achieved significantly quicker lap times than the IVI and the control groups. The discussion includes a theoretical advancement on why the combination of imagery modalities might facilitate performance, with links made to the cognitive neuroscience literature and applied practice.

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George Wilson, Dan Martin, James P. Morton and Graeme L. Close

Despite consistent reports of poor bone health in male jockeys, it is not yet known if this is a consequence of low energy availability or lack of an osteogenic stimulus. Given the rationale that low energy availability is a contributing factor in low bone health, we tested the hypothesis that both hip and lumbar bone mineral density (BMD) should progressively worsen in accordance with the years of riding. In a cross-sectional design, male apprentice (n = 17) and senior (n = 14) jockeys (matched for body mass and fat-free mass) were assessed for hip and lumbar spine BMD, as well as both measured and predicted resting metabolic rate (RMR). Despite differences (p < .05) in years of race riding (3.4 ± 2 vs. 16.3 ± 6.8), no differences were apparent (p > .05) in hip (−0.9 ± 1.1 vs. −0.8 ± 0.7) and lumbar Z-scores (−1.3 ± 1.4 vs. −1.5 ± 1) or measured RMR (1,459 ± 160 vs. 1,500 ± 165 kcal/day) between apprentices and senior jockeys, respectively. Additionally, years of race riding did not demonstrate any significant correlations (p > .05) with either hip or lumbar spine BMD. Measured RMR was also not different (p > .05) from predicted RMR in either apprentice (1,520 ± 44 kcal/day) or senior jockeys (1,505 ± 70 kcal/day). When considered with previously published data examining underreporting of energy intake and direct assessments of energy expenditure, we suggest that low BMD in jockeys is not due to low energy availability per se but rather the lack of an osteogenic stimulus associated with riding.

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Stephanie Hanrahan, Jean Côtô, Dan Weigand, Kathleen Martin and Cathy Lirgg

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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David V.B. James, Leigh E. Sandals, Stephen B. Draper, Sara Maldonado-Martín and Dan M. Wood

Purpose:

Previously it has been observed that, in well-trained 800-m athletes, VO2max is not attained during middle-distance running events on a treadmill, even when a race-type pacing strategy is adopted. Therefore, the authors investigated whether specialization in a particular running distance (400-m or 800-m) influences the VO2 attained during running on a treadmill.

Methods:

Six 400-m and six 800-m running specialists participated in the study. A 400-m trial and a progressive test to determine VO2max were completed in a counterbalanced order. Oxygen uptakes attained during the 400-m trial were compared to examine the influence of specialist event.

Results:

A VO2 plateau was observed in all participants for the progressive test, demonstrating the attainment of VO2max. The VO2max values were 56.2 ± 4.7 and 69.3 ± 4.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1 for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively (P = .0003). Durations for the 400-m trial were 55.1 ± 4.2 s and 55.8 ± 2.3 s for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively. The VO2 responses achieved were 93.1% ± 2.0% and 85.7% ± 3.0% VO2max for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively (P = .001).

Conclusions:

These results demonstrate that specialist running events do appear to influence the percentage of VO2max achieved in the 400-m trial, with the 800-m specialists attaining a lower percentage of VO2max than the 400-m specialists. The 400-m specialists appear to compensate for a lower VO2max by attaining a higher percentage VO2max during a 400-m trial.

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Ruth M. Hobson, Roger C. Harris, Dan Martin, Perry Smith, Ben Macklin, Bruno Gualano and Craig Sale

Purpose:

To examine the effect of beta-alanine only and beta-alanine with sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 2,000-m rowing performance.

Methods:

Twenty well-trained rowers (age 23 ± 4 y; height 1.85 ± 0.08 m; body mass 82.5 ± 8.9 kg) were assigned to either a placebo or beta-alanine (6.4 g·d−1 for 4 weeks) group. A 2,000-m rowing time trial (TT) was performed before supplementation (Baseline) and after 28 and 30 days of supplementation. The post supplementation trials involved supplementation with either maltodextrin or sodium bicarbonate in a double-blind, crossover design, creating four study conditions (placebo with maltodextrin; placebo with sodium bicarbonate; beta-alanine with maltodextrin; beta-alanine with sodium bicarbonate). Blood lactate, pH, bicarbonate, and base excess were measured pre-TT, immediately post-TT and at TT+5 min. Performance data were analyzed using magnitude based inferences.

Results:

Beta-alanine supplementation was very likely to be beneficial to 2,000-m rowing performance (6.4 ± 8.1 s effect compared with placebo), with the effect of sodium bicarbonate having a likely benefit (3.2 ± 8.8 s). There was a small (1.1 ± 5.6 s) but possibly beneficial additional effect when combining chronic beta-alanine supplementation with acute sodium bicarbonate supplementation compared with chronic beta-alanine supplementation alone. Sodium bicarbonate ingestion led to increases in plasma pH, base excess, bicarbonate, and lactate concentrations.

Conclusions:

Both chronic beta-alanine and acute sodium bicarbonate supplementation alone had positive effects on 2,000-m rowing performance. The addition of acute sodium bicarbonate to chronic beta-alanine supplementation may further enhance rowing performance.

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Martin J. Barwood, Jo Corbett, John Feeney, Paul Hannaford, Dan Henderson, Ian Jones and Jade Kirke

Purpose:

To establish the thermal and performance effects of wearing a lower-body graduated compression garment (GCG) in a hot environment (35.2°C ± 0.1°C) with a representative radiant heat load (~800 W/m2) in contrast to a control (running shorts) and sham condition (a compression garment 1 size larger than that recommended by the manufacturer), with the latter included to establish any placebo effect.

Method:

Eight participants (mean ± SD; age 21 ± 2 y, height 1.77 ± 0.06 m, mass 72.8 ± 7.1 kg, surface area, 1.89 ± 0.10 m2) completed 3 treadmill tests at a fixed speed for 15 min followed by a self-paced 5-km time trial. Performance (completion time) and pacing (split time), thermal responses (aural, skin, and mean body temperature, cardiac frequency), and perceptual responses (rating of perceived exertion [RPE], thermal sensation, thermal comfort) were measured.

Results:

Performance in the compression group was not different than in either sham or control at any stage (P > .05); completion time 26.08 ± 4.08, 26.05 ± 3.27, and 25.18 ± 3.15 min, respectively. At the end of the 5-km time trial, RPE was not different; it was 19 ± 1 across conditions. In general, thermal and perceptual responses were not different, although the radiant heat load increased site-specific skin temperature (quadriceps) in the garment conditions.

Conclusion:

GCG did not enhance performance in a hot environment with a representative radiant heat load. The sham treatment did not benefit perception. GCG provided no evidence of performance enhancement.

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Martin J. Barwood, Jo Corbett, Christopher R.D. Wagstaff, Dan McVeigh and Richard C. Thelwell

Purpose:

Unpleasant physical sensations during maximal exercise may manifest themselves as negative cognitions that impair performance, alter pacing, and are linked to increased rating of perceived exertion (RPE). This study examined whether motivational self-talk (M-ST) could reduce RPE and change pacing strategy, thereby enhancing 10-km time-trial (TT) cycling performance in contrast to neutral self-talk (N-ST).

Methods:

Fourteen men undertook 4 TTs, TT1–TT4. After TT2, participants were matched into groups based on TT2 completion time and underwent M-ST (n = 7) or N-ST (n = 7) after TT3. Performance, power output, RPE, and oxygen uptake (VO2) were compared across 1-km segments using ANOVA. Confidence intervals (95%CI) were calculated for performance data.

Results:

After TT3 (ie, before intervention), completion times were not different between groups (M-ST, 1120 ± 113 s; N-ST, 1150 ± 110 s). After M-ST, TT4 completion time was faster (1078 ± 96 s); the N-ST remained similar (1165 ± 111 s). The M-ST group achieved this through a higher power output and VO2 in TT4 (6th–10th km). RPE was unchanged. CI data indicated the likely true performance effect lay between 13- and 71-s improvement (TT4 vs TT3).

Conclusion:

M-ST improved endurance performance and enabled a higher power output, whereas N-ST induced no change. The VO2 response matched the increase in power output, yet RPE was unchanged, thereby inferring a perceptual benefit through M-ST. The valence and content of self-talk are important determinants of the efficacy of this intervention. These findings are primarily discussed in the context of the psychobiological model of pacing.

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Dan A. Weigand, Cathy Lirgg, Jean Côté, Kathleen A. Martin, M. Sørensen and Oliver Stoll

Edited by J. Robert Grove

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Ruth M. Hobson, Roger C. Harris, Dan Martin, Perry Smith, Ben Macklin, Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale and Craig Sale

The ability to buffer H+ could be vital to exercise performance, as high concentrations of H+ contribute to the development of fatigue.

Purpose:

The authors examined the effect of sodium bicarbonate (SB) supplementation on 2000-m rowing-ergometer performance.

Methods:

Twenty male rowers (age 23 ± 4 y, height 1.85 ± 0.08 m, mass 82.5 ± 8.9 kg, 2000-m personal-best time 409 ± 16 s) completed two 2000-m rowing-ergometer time trials, separated by 48 h. Participants were supplemented before exercise with 0.3 g/kg body mass of SB or a placebo (maltodextrin; PLA). The trials were conducted using a double-blinded, randomized, counterbalanced crossover study design. Time to complete the 2000-m and time taken for each 500-m split were recorded. Blood lactate, bicarbonate, pH, and base excess were determined preexercise, immediately postexercise, and 5 min postexercise. Performance data were analyzed using paired t tests, as well as magnitude-based inferences; hematological data were analyzed using a repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results:

Using paired t tests, there was no benefit of SB over PLA (P = .095). However, using magnitude-based inferences there was a likely beneficial effect of SB compared with PLA (PLA 412.0 ± 15.1 s, SB 410.7 ± 14.9 s). Furthermore, SB was 0.5 ± 1.2 s faster than PLA in the third 500 m (P = .035; possibly beneficial) and 1.1 ± 1.7 s faster in the fourth 500 m (P = .004; very likely beneficial). All hematological data were different between SB and PLA and were different from preexercise to postexercise.

Conclusion:

SB supplementation is likely to be beneficial to the performance of those competing in 2000-m rowing events, particularly in the second half of the event.