Context: A detailed analysis of wheelchair basketball skills in beginner wheelchair basketball players (WBP) can provide practitioners with important indications regarding the selection and prospective development of potential sports talents. A comprehensive WBP evaluation can be very time consuming, mainly during the initial phases of the training processes, which could be a barrier in clinical and practical settings. Moreover, the large number and the turnover of beginner WBP attending rehabilitation centers make the applicability of field and strength tests unfeasible. Objective: To verify the relationships between the medicine ball throw (MBT) and wheelchair basketball mobility performance field tests and the shoulder and trunk peak torque in male and female beginner WBP. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Rehabilitation Hospital Network, Paralympic Program. Participants: Thirty-seven female and male beginner WBP. Main Outcomes Measures: Participants performed wheelchair basketball field tests (speed, agility, strength, and power tests) and the maximum strength test in the isokinetic dynamometer. The outcomes were correlated with the MBT results. Results: The MBT presented significantly very high and perfect correlations with all wheelchair basketball field tests assessed (5-m sprint, 20-m sprint, and zig-zag agility test with and without a ball), and peak torque (R 2 ranging from .810 to .995; P ≤ .05) for male and female athletes. Conclusions: The MBT, a simple and feasible test, can be used for estimating and determining the wheelchair mobility performance of female and male beginner WBP. It is suggested to measure the distance of a 5-kg medicine ball thrown by athletes during training and testing routines to follow the players’ progression.
Frederico Ribeiro Neto, Irineu Loturco, Guilherme Henrique Lopes, Jefferson Rodrigues Dorneles, José Irineu Gorla, and Rodrigo Rodrigues Gomes Costa
Irineu Loturco, Lucas A. Pereira, Tomás T. Freitas, Chris Bishop, Fernando Pareja-Blanco, and Michael R. McGuigan
Purpose: To test the relationships between maximum and relative strength (MS and RS), absolute and relative peak force (PF and RPF), and strength deficit (SDef), with sprint and jump performance, and to compare these mechanical variables between elite sprinters and professional rugby union players. Methods: Thirty-five male rugby union players and 30 male sprinters performed vertical jumps, 30-m sprint, and half-squat 1-repetition maximum (1RM), where these force-related parameters were collected. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to test the relationships between the variables. An independent t test and magnitude-based inferences compared the mechanical variables between sprinters and rugby players. Results: Almost certain significant differences were observed for jump and sprint performance between groups (P < .0001). The rugby union players demonstrated a likely significant higher MS (P = .03) but a very likely lower RS (P = .007) than the sprinters. No significant differences were observed for PF between them. The sprinters exhibited an almost certain significant higher RPF than the rugby players (P < .0001). Furthermore, the rugby players demonstrated almost certain to likely significant higher SDef from 40% to 70% 1RM (P < .05) compared with the sprinters. Overall, all strength-derived parameters were significantly related to functional performance. Conclusions: Elite sprinters present higher levels of RS and RPF, lower levels of SDef, and better sprint and jump performance than professional rugby players. Relative strength-derived values (RS and RPF) and SDef are significantly associated with speed–power measures and may be used as effective and practical indicators of athletic performance.
Irineu Loturco, Timothy Suchomel, Chris Bishop, Ronaldo Kobal, Lucas A. Pereira, and Michael McGuigan
Purpose: To compare the associations between optimum power loads and 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) values (assessed in half-squat and jump-squat exercises) and multiple performance measures in elite athletes. Methods: Sixty-one elite athletes (15 Olympians) from 4 different sports (track and field [sprinters and jumpers], rugby sevens, bobsled, and soccer) performed squat and countermovement jumps, half-squat exercise (to assess 1RM), half-squat and jump-squat exercises (to assess bar-power output), and sprint tests (60 m for sprinters and jumpers and 40 m for the other athletes). Pearson product–moment correlation test was used to determine relationships between 1RM and bar-power outputs with vertical jumps and sprint times in both exercises. Results: Overall, both measurements were moderately to near perfectly related to speed performance (r values varying from −.35 to −.69 for correlations between 1RM and sprint times, and from −.36 to −.91 for correlations between bar-power outputs and sprint times; P < .05). However, on average, the magnitude of these correlations was stronger for power-related variables, and only the bar-power outputs were significantly related to vertical jump height. Conclusions: The bar-power outputs were more strongly associated with sprint-speed and power performance than the 1RM measures. Therefore, coaches and researchers can use the bar-power approach for athlete testing and monitoring. Due to the strong correlations presented, it is possible to infer that meaningful variations in bar-power production may also represent substantial changes in actual sport performance.
Irineu Loturco, Timothy Suchomel, Chris Bishop, Ronaldo Kobal, Lucas A. Pereira, and Michael R. McGuigan
Purpose: To identify the bar velocities that optimize power output in the barbell hip thrust exercise. Methods: A total of 40 athletes from 2 sports disciplines (30 track-and-field sprinters and jumpers and 10 rugby union players) participated in this study. Maximum bar-power outputs and their respective bar velocities were assessed in the barbell hip thrust exercise. Athletes were divided, using a median split analysis, into 2 groups according to their bar-power outputs in the barbell hip thrust exercise (“higher” and “lower” power groups). The magnitude-based inferences method was used to analyze the differences between groups in the power and velocity outcomes. To assess the precision of the bar velocities for determining the maximum power values, the coefficient of variation (CV%) was also calculated. Results: Athletes achieved the maximum power outputs at a mean velocity, mean propulsive velocity, and peak velocity of 0.92 (0.04) m·s−1 (CV: 4.1%), 1.02 (0.05) m·s−1 (CV: 4.4%), and 1.72 (0.14) m·s−1 (CV: 8.4%), respectively. No meaningful differences were observed in the optimum bar velocities between higher and lower power groups. Conclusions: Independent of the athletes’ power output and bar-velocity variable, the optimum power loads frequently occur at very close bar velocities.
Irineu Loturco, Lucas A. Pereira, Ciro Winckler, Weverton L. Santos, Ronaldo Kobal, and Michael McGuigan
Purpose: To examine the relationships between different loading intensities and movement velocities in the bench-press exercise (BP) in Paralympic powerlifters. Methods: A total of 17 national Paralympic powerlifters performed maximum dynamic strength tests to determine their BP 1-repetition maximum (1RM) in a Smith-machine device. A linear position transducer was used to measure movement velocity over a comprehensive range of loads. Linear-regression analysis was performed to establish the relationships between the different bar velocities and the distinct percentages of 1RM. Results: Overall, the correlations between bar velocities and %1RM were strong over the entire range of loads (R 2 .80–.91), but the precision of the predictive equations (expressed as mean differences [%] between actual and predicted 1RM values) were higher at heavier loading intensities (∼20% for loads ≤70% 1RM and ∼5% for loads ≥70% 1RM). In addition, it seems that these very strong athletes (eg, 1RM relative in the BP = 2.22 [0.36] kg·kg−1, for male participants) perform BP 1RM assessments at lower velocities than those previously reported in the literature. Conclusions: The load–velocity relationship was strong and consistent in Paralympic powerlifters, especially at higher loads (≥70% 1RM). Therefore, Paralympic coaches can use the predictive equations and the reference values provided here to determine and monitor the BP loading intensity in national Paralympic powerlifters.
Tomás T. Freitas, Pedro E. Alcaraz, Ciro Winckler, Santiago Zabaloy, Lucas A. Pereira, and Irineu Loturco
Purpose: To compare the strength, speed, and power performance of elite sprinters with and without visual impairment. Methods: Twelve elite able-bodied sprinters and 15 Paralympic sprinters with visual impairment took part in this study. Sprinters from both groups performed the following tests: squat and countermovement jumps, maximum bar-power output in the half-squat and jump-squat exercises, and 60-m sprint. The differences between groups in all variables examined were analyzed using the independent t test. Results: Olympic sprinters revealed better performances in all tests when compared with Paralympic sprinters with visual impairment (effect sizes ranging from 1.29 to 9.04; P < .001). Differences of ∼32% and ∼20% were found for the half-squat and loaded and unloaded vertical jumps, respectively. Smaller differences (from ∼8% to ∼11%) were obtained in linear sprint performance. Conclusions: Between-groups differences peaked at low-velocity exercises (eg, ∼32% in the half-squat) and decreased as movement velocity and specificity increased (eg, ∼8% at 60-m sprint). Thus, the greatest differences between Olympic and Paralympic sprinters seem to be related to their ability to apply force at low movement velocities. Coaches are encouraged to work on all sprinting phases and across the entire force–velocity spectrum, bearing in mind that improvements in strength capacity will possibly lead to increased sprint performance in Paralympic sprinters with visual impairment, especially in the acceleration phase of sprinting.
Fabio Y. Nakamura, Lucas A. Pereira, César C. Cal Abad, Emerson Franchini, and Irineu Loturco
To quantify the training loads reported by karate athletes of the Brazilian national team in the week immediately before their participation in the 2015 Pan American Games.
Eleven elite karate athletes (7 men and 4 women, 24.42 ± 3.75 y, 1.70 ± 0.09 m, 69.6 ± 13.2 kg) from the Brazilian national team took part in this study. Session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) was quantified in all training sessions. Moreover, resting heart-rate variability (HRV), as analyzed through the natural log of the root-mean-square difference of successive normal RR intervals (lnRMSSD), and countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance before and after 8 training sessions were assessed throughout the week. The differences based on magnitudes were calculated comparing pre- and posttraining session, as well as measures performed every morning during the week.
The weekly s-RPE was 2608.5 ± 431.2 a.u. The lnRMSSD was very likely higher on Monday than on the following days of the week, remaining stable during this period. CMJ height did not change during the week. Almost certain differences were observed in lnRMSSD pre- and posttraining session, while CMJ height did not change.
The national karate-team athletes did not present signs of fatigue accumulation, as indicated by relatively steady HRV and unchanged CMJ during the week, as planned by the coaches for precompetition technical and tactical refinement.
Lucas A. Pereira, Andrew A. Flatt, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Irineu Loturco, and Fabio Y. Nakamura
To compare the LnRMSSD and the LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during a 5-min stabilization period with the subsequent 5-min criterion period and to determine the time course for LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR stabilization at 1-min analysis in elite team-sport athletes.
35 elite futsal players (23.9 ± 4.5 y, 174.2 ± 4.0 cm, 74.0 ± 7.5 kg, 1576.2 ± 396.3 m in the Yo-Yo test level 1).
The RR-interval recordings were obtained using a portable heart-rate monitor continuously for 10 min in the seated position. The 2 dependent variables analyzed were LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR. To calculate the magnitude of the differences between time periods, effect-size (ES) analysis was conducted. To assess the levels of agreement, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and Bland-Altman plots were used.
The LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR values obtained during the stabilization period (0–5 min) presented very large to nearly perfect ICCs with the values obtained during the criterion period (5–10 min), with trivial ESs. In the ultra-short-term analysis (ie, 1-min segments) the data showed slightly less accurate results, but only trivial to small differences with very large to nearly perfect ICCs were found.
LnRMSSD and LnRMSSD:RR can be recorded in 5 min without traditional stabilization periods under resting conditions in team-sport athletes. The ultra-short-term analysis (1 min) also revealed acceptable levels of agreement with the criterion.
Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Cristian Alvarez, Felipe García-Pinillos, Paulo Gentil, Jason Moran, Lucas A. Pereira, and Irineu Loturco
Purpose: To compare the effects of plyometric drop jump (DJ) training against those induced by regular soccer training and assess the transference effect coefficient (TEC) of DJs (“trained exercises”) performed from 20- (DJ20) and 40-cm (DJ40) height boxes with respect to different physical qualities (jumping, linear and change of direction speed, kicking, endurance, and maximal strength) in youth male soccer players. Methods: Participants were randomly divided into a control group (n = 20; age: 13.5 [1.9] y) and a DJ training group (n = 19; age: 13.2 [1.8] y), and trained for 7 weeks. A 2-way analysis of variance for repeated measures with the within-subject factor time (preintervention and postintervention) and between-subject factor group (intervention vs control) was performed. To calculate the TECs between the trained exercises (DJ20 and DJ40) and the physical tests, the ratio between the “result gains” (effect size [ES]) in the analyzed physical qualities and the result gains in the trained exercises were calculated. The TECs were only calculated for variables presenting an ES ≥ 0.2. Results: Significant improvements (ES = 0.21–0.46; P < .05) were observed in the DJ training group, except in linear sprint performance. The control group improved only the maximal strength (ES = 0.28; P < .05). Significant differences were observed in all variables (ES = 0.20–0.55; P < .05) in favor of the DJ training group, except for maximal strength (group × time interaction). Conclusions: A plyometric training scheme based on DJs was able to significantly improve the physical performance of youth male soccer players. Overall, greater TECs were observed for DJ40 (0.58–1.28) than DJ20 (0.55–1.21).
Irineu Loturco, Michael R. McGuigan, Valter P. Reis, Sileno Santos, Javier Yanci, Lucas A. Pereira, and Ciro Winckler
This study aimed to investigate the association between the optimum power load in the bench press (BP), shoulder press (SP), and prone bench pull (PBP) exercises and acceleration (ACC) and speed performances in 11 National Team wheelchair basketball (WB) players with similar levels of disability. All athletes were previously familiarized with the testing procedures that were performed on the same day during the competitive period of the season. First, athletes performed a wheelchair 20-m sprint assessment and, subsequently, a maximum power load test to determine the mean propulsive power (MPP) in the BP, SP, and PBP. A Pearson product–moment correlation was used to examine the relationships between sprint velocity (VEL), ACC, and the MPP in the three exercises. The significance level was set as p < .05. Large to very large significant associations were observed between VEL and ACC and the MPP in the BP, SP, and PBP exercises (r varying from .60 to .77; p < .05). The results reveal that WB players who produce more power in these three exercises are also able to accelerate faster and achieve higher speeds over short distances. Given the key importance of high and successive ACCs during wheelchair game-related maneuvers, it is recommended that coaches frequently assess the optimum power load in BP, SP, and PBP in WB players, even during their regular training sessions.