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  • Author: Dominic Thewlis x
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Dominic Thewlis, Jim Richards and Judith Bower

The aim was to investigate the effects of three anatomical frames using palpable anatomical landmarks of the knee on the net knee joint moments. The femoral epicondyles, femoral condyles, and tibial ridges were used to define the different anatomical frames and the segment end points of the distal femur and proximal tibia, which represent the origin of the tibial coordinate system. Gait data were then collected using the calibrated anatomical system technique (CAST), and the external net knee joint moments in the sagittal, coronal, and transverse planes were calculated based upon the three anatomical frames. Peak knee moments were found to be significantly different in the sagittal plane by approximately 25% (p ≤ 0.05), but no significant differences were seen in the coronal or transverse planes. Based on these findings it is important to consider the definition of anatomical frames and be aware that the use of numerous anatomical landmarks around the knee can have significant effects on knee joint moments.

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Dominic Thewlis, Chris Bishop, Nathan Daniell and Gunther Paul

The objective quantification of three-dimensional kinematics during different functional and occupational tasks is now more in demand than ever. The introduction of new generation of low-cost passive motion capture systems from a number of manufacturers has made this technology accessible for teaching, clinical practice and in small/medium industry. Despite the attractive nature of these systems, their accuracy remains unproved in independent tests. We assessed static linear accuracy, dynamic linear accuracy and compared gait kinematics from a Vicon MX-f20 system to a Natural Point OptiTrack system. In all experiments data were sampled simultaneously. We identified both systems perform excellently in linear accuracy tests with absolute errors not exceeding 1%. In gait data there was again strong agreement between the two systems in sagittal and coronal plane kinematics. Transverse plane kinematics differed by up to 3° at the knee and hip, which we attributed to the impact of soft tissue artifact accelerations on the data. We suggest that low-cost systems are comparably accurate to their high-end competitors and offer a platform with accuracy acceptable in research for laboratories with a limited budget.

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Jason C. Bartram, Dominic Thewlis, David T. Martin and Kevin I. Norton

Purpose:

New applications of the critical-power concept, such as the modeling of intermittent-work capabilities, are exciting prospects for elite cycling. However, accurate calculation of the required parameters is traditionally time invasive and somewhat impractical. An alternative single-test protocol (3-min all-out) has recently been proposed, but validation in an elite population is lacking. The traditional approach for parameter establishment, but with fewer tests, could also prove an acceptable compromise.

Methods:

Six senior Australian endurance track-cycling representatives completed 6 efforts to exhaustion on 2 separate days over a 3-wk period. These included 1-, 4-, 6-, 8-, and 10-min self-paced efforts, plus the 3-min all-out protocol. Traditional work-vs-time calculations of CP and anaerobic energy contribution (W′) using the 5 self-paced efforts were compared with calculations from the 3-min all-out protocol. The impact of using just 2 or 3 self-paced efforts for traditional CP and W′ estimation was also explored using thresholds of agreement (8 W, 2.0 kJ, respectively).

Results:

CP estimated from the 3-min all-out approach was significantly higher than from the traditional approach (402 ± 33, 351 ± 27 W, P < .001), while W′ was lower (15.5 ± 3.0, 24.3 ± 4.0 kJ, P = .02). Five different combinations of 2 or 3 self-paced efforts led to CP estimates within the threshold of agreement, with only 1 combination deemed accurate for W′.

Conclusions:

In elite cyclists the 3-min all-out approach is not suitable to estimate CP when compared with the traditional method. However, reducing the number of tests used in the traditional method lessens testing burden while maintaining appropriate parameter accuracy.

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Jason C. Bartram, Dominic Thewlis, David T. Martin and Kevin I. Norton

Purpose: With knowledge of an individual’s critical power and W′, the SKIBA 2 model provides a framework with which to track W′ balance during intermittent high-intensity work bouts. There are fears that the time constant controlling the recovery rate of W′ (τ W) may require refinement to enable effective use in an elite population. Methods: Four elite endurance cyclists completed an array of intermittent exercise protocols to volitional exhaustion. Each protocol lasted approximately 3.5–6 min and featured a range of recovery intensities, set in relation to the athlete’s critical power (D CP). Using the framework of the SKIBA 2 model, the τ W values were modified for each protocol to achieve an accurate W′ at volitional exhaustion. Modified τ W values were compared with equivalent SKIBA 2 τ W values to assess the difference in recovery rates for this population. Plotting modified τ W values against D CP showed the adjusted relationship between work rate and recovery rate. Results: Comparing modified τ W values against the SKIBA 2 τ W values showed a negative bias of 112 (46) s (mean ± 95% confidence limits), suggesting that athletes recovered W′ faster than predicted by SKIBA 2 (P = .0001). The modified τ WD CP relationship was best described by a power function: τ W = 2287.2 × D CP –0.688 (R 2 = .433). Conclusions: The current SKIBA 2 model is not appropriate for use in elite cyclists, as it underpredicts the recovery rate of W′. The modified τ W equation presented will require validation but appears more appropriate for high-performance athletes. Individual τ W relationships may be necessary to maximize the model’s validity.

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Joel T. Fuller, Clint R. Bellenger, Dominic Thewlis, John Arnold, Rebecca L. Thomson, Margarita D. Tsiros, Eileen Y. Robertson and Jonathan D. Buckley

Purpose:

Stride-to-stride fluctuations in running-stride interval display long-range correlations that break down in the presence of fatigue accumulated during an exhaustive run. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether long-range correlations in running-stride interval were reduced by fatigue accumulated during prolonged exposure to a high training load (functional overreaching) and were associated with decrements in performance caused by functional overreaching.

Methods:

Ten trained male runners completed 7 d of light training (LT7), 14 d of heavy training (HT14) designed to induce a state of functional overreaching, and 10 d of light training (LT10) in a fixed order. Running-stride intervals and 5-km time-trial (5TT) performance were assessed after each training phase. The strength of long-range correlations in running-stride interval was assessed at 3 speeds (8, 10.5, and 13 km/h) using detrended fluctuation analysis.

Results:

Relative to performance post-LT7, time to complete the 5TT was increased after HT14 (+18 s; P < .05) and decreased after LT10 (–20 s; P = .03), but stride-interval long-range correlations remained unchanged at HT14 and LT10 (P > .50). Changes in stride-interval long-range correlations measured at a 10.5-km/h running speed were negatively associated with changes in 5TT performance (r –.46; P = .03).

Conclusions:

Runners who were most affected by the prolonged exposure to high training load (as evidenced by greater reductions in 5TT performance) experienced the greatest reductions in stride-interval long-range correlations. Measurement of stride-interval long-range correlations may be useful for monitoring the effect of high training loads on athlete performance.