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Eleni Michopoulou, Alexandra Avloniti, Antonios Kambas, Diamanda Leontsini, Maria Michalopoulou, Symeon Tournis, and Ioannis G. Fatouros

This study determined dietary intake and energy balance of elite premenarcheal rhythmic gymnasts during their preseason training. Forty rhythmic gymnasts and 40 sedentary age-matched females (10–12 yrs) participated in the study. Anthropometric profile and skeletal ages were determined. Dietary intake and physical activity were assessed to estimate daily energy intake, daily energy expenditure, and resting metabolic rate. Groups demonstrated comparable height, bone age, pubertal development, resting metabolic rate. Gymnasts had lower body mass, BMI, body fat than age-matched controls. Although groups demonstrated comparable daily energy intake, gymnasts exhibited a higher daily energy expenditure resulting in a daily energy deficit. Gymnasts also had higher carbohydrate intake but lower fat and calcium intake. Both groups were below the recommended dietary allowances for fiber, water, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin intake. Gymnasts may need to raise their daily energy intake to avoid the energy deficit during periods of intense training.

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Chariklia K. Deli, Ioannis G. Fatouros, Vassilis Paschalis, Kalliopi Georgakouli, Athanasios Zalavras, Alexandra Avloniti, Yiannis Koutedakis, and Athanasios Z. Jamurtas


Research regarding exercise-induced muscle-damage mainly focuses on adults. The present study examined exercise-induced muscle-damage responses in adults compared with children.


Eleven healthy boys (10–12 y) and 15 healthy men (18–45 y) performed 5 sets of 15 maximal eccentric contractions of the knee extensors. Range of motion (ROM), delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) during squat and walking, and peak isometric, concentric and eccentric torque were assessed before, post, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hr postexercise. Creatine kinase (CK) activity was assessed before and 72 hr postexercise.


Eccentric exercise resulted in DOMS during squat that persisted for up to 96h in men, and 48 hr in boys (p < .05), and DOMS during walking that persisted for up to 72 hr in men, and 48 hr in boys (p < .01). The ROM was lower in both age groups 48 hr postexercise (p < .001). Isometric (p < .001), concentric (p < .01) and eccentric (p < .01) force decreased post, and up to 48 hr postexercise in men. Except for a reduction in isometric force immediately after exercise, no other changes occurred in boys’ isokinetic force. CK activity increased in men at 72 hr postexercise compared with pre exercise levels (p = .05).


Our data provide further confirmation that children are less susceptible to exercise-induced muscle damage compared with adults.

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Sofia Aggeloussi, Anastasios A. Theodorou, Vassilis Paschalis, Michalis G. Nikolaidis, Ioannis G. Fatouros, Emmanuel O. Owolabi, Dimitris Kouretas, Yiannis Koutedakis, and Athanasios Z. Jamurtas

To investigate the effects of obesity and exercise training on plasma adipocytokines a sample of 42 children (lean = 24, %BF = 17.8 ± 7.5%; obese = 18; %BF = 29.1 ± 9.3%; mean age = 12.4 ± 1.9 yrs), were divided into 4 age-matched for activity groups: lean inactive (n = 11), obese inactive (n = 9), lean active (n = 13) and obese active (n = 9). Active children participated in swimming training (≥1 year, ≥3 times/week, ≥1 h per session, covering a distance of 10,000−12,000 m per week). Obese individuals demonstrated greater visfatin levels (3.3 ± 1.3 ng/ml) than their lean counterparts (2.6 ± 1.1 ng/ml; p = .06) whereas adiponectin was significantly lower in obese children (3.8 ± 1.9) than their lean counterparts (5.9 ± 2.7; p £ .05). Insulin and HOMA values were significantly greater in obese compared with lean children (p £ .05). Within obese individuals, active individuals had significantly lower visfatin levels (2.8 ± 1.2 ng/ml) compared with their inactive counterparts (3.8 ± 1.2 ng/ml; p £ .05). Resistin levels were comparable between groups (p > .05). Childhood obesity elevates visfatin and lowers adiponectin levels whereas exercise training could reduce visfatin levels in obese children.

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Antonis Kambas, Maria Michalopoulou, Ioannis G. Fatouros, Christos Christoforidis, Eirini Manthou, Dimitra Giannakidou, Fotini Venetsanou, Elke Haberer, Athanassios Chatzinikolaou, Vassilios Gourgoulis, and Renate Zimmer

The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between motor proficiency and pedometer-determined physical activity in 5–6 year-old children. Participants (n = 232) were randomly recruited and assessed from 30 kindergartens in Northern Greece. Two trained researchers administered the measurements for the assessment of children’s motor proficiency by using the BOTMP-SF. Physical activity was assessed by OMRON pedometers. Significant relationships between BOTMP-SF standard score and steps (S), aerobic walking time (AWT) and aerobic steps (AS), (p < .05) were found. When motor proficiency was divided into quartiles to assess the distribution of the relationship between motor proficiency and pedometer- derived variables, significant associations were found for AWT, S and AS (p < .001). Young children with high levels of motor proficiency were more active in contrast to their peers with lower motor proficiency. The findings add to the growing body of literature that considers motor skills/abilities as important elements of physical activity participation. (Abbreviations: S-steps per day; AS-aerobic steps per day; AWT-aerobic walking time (minutesfiay−1); BOTMP-SF-Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form (standard score))

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Athanasios Chatzinikolaou, Konstantinos Michaloglou, Alexandra Avloniti, Diamanda Leontsini, Chariklia K. Deli, Dimitris Vlachopoulos, Luis Gracia-Marco, Sotirios Arsenis, Ioannis Athanailidis, Dimitrios Draganidis, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas, Craig A. Williams, and Ioannis G. Fatouros

Purpose: To investigate the effect of a complex, short-term strength/power training protocol on performance and body composition of elite early adolescent soccer players. Methods: Twenty-two players (14–15 y) were randomly assigned to (1) an experimental group (N = 12; participated in a 5-wk training protocol with traditional multijoint power resistance exercises, Olympic-style lifts, plyometric drills, and speed work; 4 times per week) or (2) a control group (N = 10). Strength and power performance (jumping, speed, change of direction, repeated sprint ability, endurance, isokinetic strength of knee flexors and extensors, maximal strength in various lifts, and speed-endurance) were evaluated pretraining and posttraining. Results: Cessation of training for 5 weeks in the control group induced a marked performance deterioration (∼5%–20%). Training not only prevented strength performance deterioration but also increased it (∼2%–30%). Endurance and repeated sprint ability declined to a smaller extent in experimental group compared with control group (15% vs 7.5%). Isometric strength and body composition remained unaltered in both groups. Conclusions: Results demonstrate that (1) young players exhibit a high level of trainability of their strength/power performance (but not endurance) in response to a short-term complex training protocol during early adolescence, (2) Olympic-style lifts are characterized by increased safety in this age group and appear to be highly effective, (3) lifts incorporating a hip thrust result in increased strength of both knee extensors and flexors, (4) cessation of training for only 5 weeks results in marked deterioration of strength/power and endurance performance, and (5) improvement of strength/power performance may be related to neural-based adaptation as body composition remained unaffected.

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Konstantinos Papanikolaou, Panagiotis Tsimeas, Angeliki Anagnostou, Alexandros Varypatis, Christos Mourikis, Theofanis Tzatzakis, Dimitrios Draganidis, Dimitrios Batsilas, Theodoros Mersinias, Georgios Loules, Athanasios Poulios, Chariklia K. Deli, Alexios Batrakoulis, Athanasios Chatzinikolaou, Magni Mohr, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas, and Ioannis G. Fatouros

Purpose: To examine the recovery kinetics of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), neuromuscular fatigue, and performance following small-sided games (SSGs) of different densities in soccer. Methods: Ten male players randomly completed 3 trials: a control trial (no SSGs), 4v4 SSGs (62.5 m2/player), and 8v8 SSGs (284.4 m2/player). External and internal load were monitored using GPS technology, heart-rate monitors, and rating of perceived exertion. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), creatine kinase (CK), isokinetic strength, countermovement jump (CMJ), and sprint were determined at baseline, as well as at 24, 48, and 72 hours post-SSGs. Neuromuscular fatigue was assessed at baseline and at 1, 2, and 3 hours post-SSGs. Results: DOMS increased (P < .05) in 4v4 for 72 hours and in 8v8 for 24 hours with that of knee flexors being more pronounced than that of extensors. CK increased (P < .05) in 4v4 for 72 hours and in 8v8 for 24 hours. Neuromuscular fatigue increased (P < .05) in 4v4 for 2 hours and in 8v8 for 3 hours. Strength declined (P < .05) in 4v4 for 48 hours and in 8v8 for 72 hours. CMJ decreased (P < .05) in 4v4 for 24 hours and in 8v8 for 48 hours. Sprint decreased (P < .05) for 48 hours in 4v4 and for 72 hours in 8v8. Conclusions: SSGs are associated with a prolonged rise of EIMD and induce short-term neuromuscular fatigue and slow recovery kinetics of strength, jump, and sprinting performance. The time for complete recovery is longer for SSGs of lower density.

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Theofanis Tzatzakis, Konstantinos Papanikolaou, Dimitrios Draganidis, Panagiotis Tsimeas, Savvas Kritikos, Athanasios Poulios, Vasiliki C. Laschou, Chariklia K. Deli, Athanasios Chatzinikolaou, Alexios Batrakoulis, Georgios Basdekis, Magni Mohr, Peter Krustrup, Athanasios Z. Jamurtas, and Ioannis G. Fatouros

Purpose: To determine the recovery kinetics of performance, muscle damage, and neuromuscular fatigue following 2 speed-endurance production training (SEPT) protocols in soccer. Methods: Ten well-trained, male soccer athletes randomly completed 3 trials: work-to-rest ratio (SEPT) 1:5, SEPT/1:8, and a control trial. Training load during SEPT was monitored using global positioning system and heart-rate monitors. Performance (isokinetic strength of knee extensors and flexors, speed, and countermovement jump) and muscle damage (delayed-onset muscle soreness [DOMS] and creatine kinase) were evaluated at baseline and at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h posttraining. Maximal voluntary contraction (fatigue index) of knee extensors and flexors was additionally assessed at 1, 2, and 3 h posttraining. Results: Fatigue increased (P < .05) in SEPT/1:5 (∼4–30%) for 3 h and in SEPT/1:8 (∼8–17%) for 2 h. Strength performance declined (P < .05) in both SEPT trials (∼5–20%) for 48 h. Speed decreased (∼4–18%; P < .05) for 72 h in SEPT/1:5 and for 48 h in SEPT/1:8. Countermovement-jump performance decreased (∼7–12%; P < .05) in both SEPT trials for 24 h. DOMS increased (P < .05) in SEPT/1:5 (∼2-fold) for 72 and in SEPT/1:8 (∼1- to 2-fold) for 48 h. Creatine kinase increased (∼1- to 2-fold, P < .05) in both SEPT trials for 72 h. Conclusions: SEPT induces short-term neuromuscular fatigue; provokes a prolonged deterioration of strength (48 h), speed (72 h), and jump performance (24 h); and is associated with a prolonged (72-h) rise of DOMS and creatine kinase. Time for recovery is reduced when longer work-to-rest ratios are applied. Fitness status may affect quality of SEPT and recovery kinetics.