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Martin G.C. Lewis, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon and Filipe Conceição

This study determines whether maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torque could be more accurately represented using a torque generator that is a function of both knee and ankle kinematics. Isovelocity and isometric ankle plantar flexor torques were measured on a single participant for knee joint angles of 111° to 169° (approximately full extension) using a Contrex MJ dynamometer. Maximal voluntary torque was represented by a 19-parameter two-joint function of ankle and knee joint angles and angular velocities with the parameters determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference between measured torques and the two-joint function. The weighted root mean square difference between the two-joint function and the measured torques was 10 N-m or 3% of maximum torque. The two-joint function was a more accurate representation of maximal voluntary ankle plantar flexor torques than an existing single-joint function where differences of 19% of maximum torque were found. It is concluded that when the knee is flexed by more than 40°, a two-joint representation is necessary.

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Filipe Ricardo Pires de Carvalho, Ana Teresa da Conceição Figueira Martins and Ana Maria Miranda Botelho Teixeira

In spite of the advances in knowledge on the multi–factorial nature of obesity, many questions related to the consequences of the disease continue to be unanswered. Several studies have reported biomechanic and kinematic adaptation and alterations in walking and in tasks of every day life, motivated by the additional load of fat mass in children and adults. The main objective of this study was to understand the effect of obesity in the electromyographic activity of four lower extremity muscles during three speeds of walking and during a countermovement jump (CMJ) in twenty two (9 obese and 13 normal weight) female adolescents aged 13. Although electromyographic differences were not observed between groups for normal, slow and fast speeds, data suggests that the preferred pace of the obese is less efficient than that of the normal weight group. In CMJ task, differences in the after–fall jump phase were observed. More studies are needed to explain if the few differences observed between groups are caused by the bigger amount of fat mass.

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Raquel Carvalho, Olga Vasconcelos, Pedro Gonçalves, Filipe Conceição and João Paulo Vilas-Boas

Exercise seems to attenuate the postural control system and anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) decline, but no conclusive findings are available. This study analyses, in elderly people, the exercise effect in APAs during the raising of a load with both arms in the sagittal plane. Twenty eight males over the age of 60 (65,8 ± 4,07 yr old)—9 veterans in exercising, 9 who exercise recently, and 10 sedentary—were asked to raise a load with both arms simultaneously to shoulder level, in standing position, as fast as possible. It was studied the electromyography (EMG) pattern of the main muscles. The APAs were quantified through the time integral of EMG records (iEMG). Anticipatory changes in the postural muscles were seen in all groups. We observed, in the tibialis anterior activity, a higher significant activation in the sedentary compared with the other groups, suggesting that exercise can modulate the postural control system.

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Filipe Conceição, Mark A. King, Maurice R. Yeadon, Martin G.C. Lewis and Stephanie E. Forrester

This study aimed to determine whether subject-specific individual muscle models for the ankle plantar flexors could be obtained from single joint isometric and isovelocity maximum torque measurements in combination with a model of plantar flexion. Maximum plantar flexion torque measurements were taken on one subject at six knee angles spanning full flexion to full extension. A planar three-segment (foot, shank and thigh), two-muscle (soleus and gastrocnemius) model of plantar flexion was developed. Seven parameters per muscle were determined by minimizing a weighted root mean square difference (wRMSD) between the model output and the experimental torque data. Valid individual muscle models were obtained using experimental data from only two knee angles giving a wRMSD score of 16 N m, with values ranging from 11 to 17 N m for each of the six knee angles. The robustness of the methodology was confirmed through repeating the optimization with perturbed experimental torques (±20%) and segment lengths (±10%) resulting in wRMSD scores of between 13 and 20 N m. Hence, good representations of maximum torque can be achieved from subject-specific individual muscle models determined from single joint maximum torque measurements. The proposed methodology could be applied to muscle-driven models of human movement with the potential to improve their validity.

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Juan A. Escobar Álvarez, Juan P. Fuentes García, Filipe A. Da Conceição and Pedro Jiménez-Reyes

Purpose: Ballet dancers are required to achieve performance feats such as exciting and dramatic elevations. Dancers with a greater jump height can perform a wider range of skills during their flight time and implement more specific technical skills related to the aesthetic components of a dance choreography. New findings suggest the relationship between force and velocity mechanical capabilities (F-V profile) as an important variable for jumping performance. A new field method based on several series of loaded vertical jumps provides information on the theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal velocity, theoretical maximal power, and the imbalance between force and velocity (F-V IMB). The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of 9 wk of individualized F-V profile-based training during countermovement jumps (CMJs) in female ballet dancers. Methods: CMJ and mechanical outputs of 46 dancers (age = 18.9 [1.1] y, body mass = 54.8 [6.1] kg, height = 163.7 [8.4] cm) were estimated in a pre–post intervention. The control group (10 participants) continued with the standardized training regimen (no resistance training), whereas the experimental group (36 participants) performed 2 sessions over 9 wk of a training plan based on their F-V profile. Results: The experimental group presented significant differences with large effect sizes in CMJ height (29.3 [3.2] cm vs 33.5 [3.72] cm), theoretical maximal force (24.1 [2.2] N/kg vs 29.9 [2.8] N/kg), and theoretical maximal velocity (4 [0.6] m/s vs 3.2 [0.5] m/s). Significant differences with a very large effect size were found in F-V IMB (43.8% [15.3%] vs 24.9% [8.7%]). Conclusion: A training program addressing F-V IMB is an effective way to improve CMJ height in female ballet dancers.

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Pedro Jiménez-Reyes, Pierre Samozino, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Filipe Conceição, Víctor Cuadrado-Peñafiel, Juan José González-Badillo and Jean-Benoît Morin

Purpose:

To analyze the reliability and validity of a simple computation method to evaluate force (F), velocity (v), and power (P) output during a countermovement jump (CMJ) suitable for use in field conditions and to verify the validity of this computation method to compute the CMJ force–velocity (Fv) profile (including unloaded and loaded jumps) in trained athletes.

Methods:

Sixteen high-level male sprinters and jumpers performed maximal CMJs under 6 different load conditions (0–87 kg). A force plate sampling at 1000 Hz was used to record vertical ground-reaction force and derive vertical-displacement data during CMJ trials. For each condition, mean F, v, and P of the push-off phase were determined from both force-plate data (reference method) and simple computation measures based on body mass, jump height (from flight time), and push-off distance and used to establish the linear Fv relationship for each individual.

Results:

Mean absolute bias values were 0.9% (± 1.6%), 4.7% (± 6.2%), 3.7% (± 4.8%), and 5% (± 6.8%) for F, v, P, and slope of the Fv relationship (SFv), respectively. Both methods showed high correlations for Fv-profile-related variables (r = .985–.991). Finally, all variables computed from the simple method showed high reliability, with ICC >.980 and CV <1.0%.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that the simple method presented here is valid and reliable for computing CMJ force, velocity, power, and Fv profiles in athletes and could be used in practice under field conditions when body mass, push-off distance, and jump height are known.

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Beatriz B. Gomes, Nuno V. Ramos, Filipe A.V. Conceição, Ross H. Sanders, Mário A.P. Vaz and João Paulo Vilas-Boas

In sprint kayaking the role that paddling technique plays in optimizing paddle forces and resultant kayak kinematics is still unclear. The aim of this study was to analyze the magnitude and shape of the paddle force–time curve at different stroke rates, and their implications for kayak performance. Ten elite kayak paddlers (5 males and 5 females) were analyzed while performing 2000-m on-water trials, at 4 different paces (60, 80, and 100 strokes per minute, and race pace). The paddle and kayak were instrumented with strain gauges and accelerometers, respectively. For both sexes, the force–time curves were characterized at training pace by having a bell shape and at race pace by a first small peak, followed by a small decrease in force and then followed by a main plateau. The force profile, represented by the mean force/peak force ratio, became more rectangular with increasing stroke rate (F[3,40] = 7.87, P < .01). To obtain a rectangular shape to maximize performance, kayak paddlers should seek a stronger water phase with a rapid increase in force immediately after blade entry, and a quick exit before the force dropping far below the maximum force. This pattern should be sought when training at race pace and in competition.