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Adam Beard, John Ashby, Ryan Chambers, Franck Brocherie and Grégoire P. Millet

Purpose: To investigate the effects of repeated-sprint training in hypoxia vs in normoxia on world-level male rugby union players’ repeated-sprint ability (RSA) during an international competition period. Methods: A total of 19 players belonging to an international rugby union senior male national team performed 4 sessions of cycling repeated sprints (consisting of 3 × eight 10-s sprints with 20 s passive recovery) either in normobaric hypoxia (RSH, 3000 m; n = 10) or in normoxia (RSN, 300 m; n = 9) over a 2-wk period. Before and after the training intervention, RSA was evaluated using a cycling repeated-sprint test (6 × 10-s maximal sprint and 20-s passive recovery) performed in normoxia. Results: Significant interaction effects (all P < .05, ηp2>.37) between condition and time were found for RSA-related parameters. Compared with Pre, maximal power significantly improved at Post in RSH (12.84 [0.83] vs 13.63 [1.03] W·kg−1, P < .01, ηp2=.15) but not in RSN (13.17 [0.89] vs 13.00 [1.01] W·kg−1, P = .45, ηp2=.01). Mean power was also significantly enhanced from Pre to Post in RSH (11.15 [0.58] vs 11.86 [0.63] W·kg−1, P < .001, ηp2=.26), whereas it remained unchanged in RSN (11.54 [0.61] vs 11.75 [0.65] W·kg−1, P = .23, ηp2=.03). Conclusion: As few as 4 dedicated specific RSH sessions were beneficial to enhance repeated power production in world-level rugby union players. Although the improvement from RSA to game behavior remains unclear, this finding appears to be of practical relevance as only a short preparation window is available prior to international rugby union games.

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Karen Hind, David Torgerson, Jim McKenna, Rebecca Ashby, Andy Daly-Smith, John Truscott, Heather MacKay and Andrew Jennings

Background:

Developing Interventions for Children’s Exercise (DICE) is an initiative aimed at determining effective schoolbased exercise programs. To assess feasibility, we conducted a pilot study of exercise sessions which varied in duration and frequency.

Methods:

Exercise interventions were delivered to Year 3 pupils (age 7–8 years; n = 73) in primary schools within Yorkshire, UK. Evaluations were conducted using focus group sessions, questionnaires and observations.

Results:

The study revealed positive aspects of all interventions, including favorable effects on children’s concentration during lessons and identified the value of incorporation of the DICE concept into curriculum lessons. Children appeared enthused and reported well-being and enjoyment. Areas requiring attention were the need for appropriate timetabling of sessions and ensuring the availability of space.

Conclusion:

The concept and sessions were well-accepted by teachers who confirmed their full support of any future implementation There appears to be potential for the encouragement and empowerment of teachers to support physical activity and healthy school environments, and to take an interest in the health of their pupils. Ultimately, these findings should assist in the design of successful exercise interventions in the school setting.