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Geoff D.C. Ball, J. Dru Marshall and Linda J. McCargar

We investigated whether body composition, physical activity, physical inactivity, and cardiorespiratory fitness explained the presence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes in youth. Eighty-three obese children (6–12 years old) were classified as either low health risk (LHR; n = 30) or high health risk (HHR; n = 53) based on the absence/presence of metabolic risk factors that included measures of dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and elevated blood pressure. Along with demographic and anthropometric data, body composition, physical activity, physical inactivity, and cardiorespiratory fitness variables were assessed. Risk factor clustering was evident in this sample with 24/83 (29%) possessing at least 2 risk factors. Percent body fat did not differ between the LHR (38.5%) and HHR (39.8%) groups, but total fat mass, total fat-free mass, and central body fat mass were greater in the high health risk group. The strongest predictor for the presence of risk factors was central body fat accumulation. Physical activity, physical inactivity, and cardiorespiratory fitness were unable to predict metabolic risk. Overall, we found that risk factors for CVD and type 2 diabetes were common and that body fat mass and central body fat distribution, in particular, were more important than physical activity, physical inactivity, and cardiorespiratory fitness in predicting metabolic risk in obese children.

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Anthony N. Turner, Conor Buttigieg, Geoff Marshall, Angelo Noto, James Phillips and Liam Kilduff

Session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is known to significantly relate to heart-rate (HR) -based methods of quantifying internal training load (TL) in a variety of sports. However, to date this has not been investigated in fencing and was therefore the aim of this study. TL was calculated by multiplying the sRPE with exercise duration and through HR-based methods calculated using Banister and Edwards TRIMP. Seven male elite foil fencers (mean ± SD age 22.3 ± 1.6 y, height 181.3 ± 6.5 cm, body mass 77.7 ± 7.6 kg) were monitored over the period of 1 competitive season. The sRPE and HR of 67 training sessions and 3 competitions (87 poule bouts and 12 knockout rounds) were recorded and analyzed. Correlation analysis was used to determine any relationships between sRPE- and HR-based methods, accounting for individual variation, mode of training (footwork drills vs sparring sessions), and stage of competition (poules vs knockouts). Across 2 footwork sessions, sRPE and Banister and Edwards TRIMP were found to be reliable, with coefficient of variation values of 6.0%, 5.2%, and 4.5%, respectively. Significant correlations with sRPE for individual fencers (r = .84–.98) and across mode of exercise (r = .73–.85) and competition stages (r = .82–.92) were found with HR-based measures. sRPE is a simple and valuable tool coaches can use to quantify TL in fencing.

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Anthony N. Turner, Geoff Marshall, Angelo Noto, Shyam Chavda, Nathan Atlay and David Kirby

To avoid being hit, fencers typically adopt an out-of-range position, which was hypothesized to be governed by body- and action-scaled affordances. This theory was measured in elite and national-level junior (under 20 y of age) fencers. Associations between “reachability” of lunging and step-lunging attacks were assessed against height, arm span, leg span, body mass, and lower-body power and then compared across level. Reachability was determined as the distance covered by fencers during these attacks and was reported as actual and estimated distances. Elite fencers are better at estimating their lunging and step-lunge distance compared to nationally ranked junior fencers (−0.9% vs 7.3% and 5.4% vs 10.9%, respectively). Surprisingly, elite fencers’ actual and estimated distances for these was less than the junior fencers’ (222.6 vs 251.5 cm and 299.3 vs 360.2 cm, respectively), and significantly so in the former. Finally, only arm span (r = .81) and leg span (r = .71) were significantly correlated to estimated lunging distance, and this was only in elite fencers. Findings suggest that better fencers can accurately predict their attack range and that reachability appears to be positively influenced by arm and leg span; these may feed in to talent identification. Given that distances were less in elite fencers, findings suggest that timing and distance estimation are key skills to master and that the mastery of these in offensive actions can mitigate, to a large extent, the physical benefits of an opponent’s greater height.