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Lars Donath and Peter Wolf

Multiaxial force sensors were applied to measure interaction forces during dynamic movements, such as climbing. When interaction forces are interpreted, minimal detectable changes, typical errors, and coefficients of variation of related performance metrics should be quantified. Thus, the presented study evaluated absolute and relative between-trial reliability with and without previous familiarization trials. Eleven Swiss elite climbers (5 females, 6 males) were tested during 2 repetitive climbing sequences (including 4 instrumented holds: 2 crimps, 1 undercling, 1 sloper). To ensure comparable relative intensity, females climbed at 20°, 25°, 30°, 25°, and 20° wall inclination, while males climbed at 25°, 30°, 35°, 30°, and 25°. Contact time, maximal resultant force, mean resultant force, impulse, and the number of load changes were analyzed at the lowest inclination. Acceptable to good between-trial reliability was found for nearly all holds and performance metrics. Performance analyses after 5 minutes of familiarization on the unknown boulder, which equals up to 3 trials, yielded to higher variability compared with performance analyses after several familiarization trials. Accordingly, the majority of absolute and relative reliability data improved after familiarization trails. Thus, to be detectable, interventional changes have to exceed higher biological variability during on-sight conditions than during red-point conditions.

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Ralf Roth, Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner and Oliver Faude

For performance and injury prevention in sport, core strength and endurance are focused prerequisites. Therefore we evaluated characteristics of trunk muscle activation and performance during strength-endurance related trunk field tests. Strength-endurance ability, as total time to failure, and activation of trunk muscles was measured in 39 football players of the highest German female football league (Bundesliga) (N = 18, age: 20.7 y [SD 4.4]) and the highest national male under-19 league (N = 21, age: 17.9 y [0.7]) in prone plank, side plank, and dorsal position. Maximal isometric force was assessed during trunk extension and flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion to normalize EMG and to compare with the results of strength-endurance tests. For all positions of endurance strength tests, a continuous increase in normalized EMG activation was observed (P < .001). Muscle activation of the rectus abdominis and external oblique in prone plank position exceeded the maximal voluntary isometric contraction activation, with a significantly higher activation in females (P = .02). We conclude, that in the applied strength-endurance testing, the activation of trunk muscles was high, especially in females. As high trunk muscle activation can infer fatigue, limb strength can limit performance in prone and side plank position, particularly during high trunk muscle activation.

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Lars Donath, Lukas Zahner, Mareike Cordes, Henner Hanssen, Arno Schmidt-Trucksäss and Oliver Faude

The study investigated physiological responses during 2-km walking at a certain intensity of a previously performed maximal exercise test where moderate perceived exertion was reported. Twenty seniors were examined by an incremental walking treadmill test to obtain maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). A submaximal 2-km walking test was applied 1 wk later. The corresponding moderate perceived exertion (4 on the CR-10 scale) during the VO2max test was applied to the 2-km treadmill test. Moderate exertion (mean rating of perceived exertion [RPE]: 4 ± 1) led to 76% ± 8% of VO2max and 79% ± 6% of maximal heart rate. RPE values drifted with a significant time effect (p = .001, ηp = .58) during the 2-km test from 3 ± 0.7 to 4.6 ± 0.8. Total energy expenditure (EE) was 3.3 ± 0.5 kcal/kg. No gender differences in ventilatory, heart-rate, or EE data occurred. Brisk walking at moderate RPE of 3–5 would lead to a beneficial physiological response during endurance training and a weekly EE of nearly 1,200 kcal when exercising 5 times/wk for 30 min.

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Lars Donath, Oliver Faude, Stephanie A. Bridenbaugh, Ralf Roth, Martin Soltermann, Reto W. Kressig and Lukas Zahner

This study examined transfer effects of fall training on fear of falling (Falls Efficacy Scale—International [FES–I]), balance performance, and spatiotemporal gait characteristics in older adults. Eighteen community-dwelling older adults (ages 65–85) were randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The intervention group completed 12 training sessions (60 min, 6 weeks). During pre- and posttesting, we measured FES–I, balance performance (double limb, closed eyes; single limb, open eyes; double limb, open eyes with motor-interfered task), and gait parameters (e.g., velocity; cadence; stride time, stride width, and stride length; variability of stride time and stride length) under single- and motor-interfered tasks. Dual tasks were applied to appraise improvements of cognitive processing during balance and gait. FES–I (p = .33) and postural sway did not significantly change (0.36 < p < .79). Trends toward significant interaction effects were found for step width during normal walking and stride length variability during the motor dual task (p = .05, ηp 2 = .22). Fall training did not sufficiently improve fear of falling, balance, or gait performance under single- or dual-task conditions in healthy older adults.