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  • Author: Nicola A. Maffiuletti x
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Nicola A. Maffiuletti

After a brief introduction on electro stimulation methodology and applications in competitive sport for performance optimization, this technical report presents the principal effects of electro stimulation-induced resistance exercise on neuromus-cular features. The advantages and limitations of this technique compared with those of voluntary exercise training are also discussed.

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Federico Donghi, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Maurizio Fanchini, Domenico Carlomagno, and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To compare the effects of different modalities of morning priming exercise on afternoon physical performance with the associated hormonal and psychophysiological responses in young soccer players. Methods: In a randomized counterbalanced crossover design, 12 young soccer players completed 3 different morning conditions on 3 different days: repeated-sprint running (6 × 40 m), easy exercise (4 × 12 fast half squats, 6 speed ladder drills, and 20-m sprints), and control (no exercise). Blood testosterone and cortisol concentrations were assessed upon arrival (approximately 8:30AM) and approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes later. Body temperature, self-reported mood, quadriceps neuromuscular function (maximal voluntary contraction, voluntary activation, rate of torque development, and twitch contractile properties), jump, and sprint performance were evaluated twice per day, while rating of perceived exertion, motivation, and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 (IR2) tests were assessed once per day. Results: Compared with the control, repeated-sprint running induced a possible positive effect on testosterone (+11.6%) but a possible to very likely negative effect on twitch contractile properties (−13.0%), jump height (−1.4%), and Yo-Yo IR2 (−7.1%). On the other hand, easy exercise had an unclear effect on testosterone (−3.3%), resulted in lower self-reported fatigue (−31.0%) and cortisol (−12.9%), and had a possible positive effect on the rate of torque development (+4.3%) and Yo-Yo IR2 (+6.5%) compared with the control. Conclusions: Players’ testosterone levels were positively influenced by repeated-sprint running, but this did not translate into better physical function, as both muscular and endurance performance were reduced. Easy exercise seemed to be suitable to optimize the physical performance and psychophysiological state of young soccer players.

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Davide Ferioli, Ermanno Rampinini, Andrea Bosio, Antonio La Torre, and Nicola A. Maffiuletti

Purpose: To examine differences between adult male basketball players of different competitive levels (study 1) and changes over a basketball season (study 2) of knee-extensor peripheral muscle function during multistage change-of-direction exercise (MCODE). Methods: In study 1, 111 players from 4 different divisions completed the MCODE during the regular season. In study 2, the MCODE was performed before (T1) and after (T2) the preparation period and during the competitive season (T3) by 32 players from divisions I, II, and III. The MCODE comprised 4 levels of increasing intensity for each player. The twitch peak torque (PT) of knee extensors was measured after each level. PTmax (the highest value of PT) and fatigue were calculated. Results: In study 1, the authors found possibly small differences (effect size [ES] [90% confidence interval] −0.24 [0.39]) in fatigue between divisions I and II. Division I was characterized by likely (ES 0.30–0.65) and very likely to almost certain (ES 0.74–1.41) better PTmax and fatigue levels than divisions III and VI, respectively. In study 2, fatigue was very likely reduced (ES −0.91 to −0.51) among all divisions from T1 to T2, whereas PTmax was likely to very likely reduced (ES −0.51 to −0.39) in divisions II and III. Conclusions: Professional basketball players are characterized by a better peripheral muscle function during MCODE. Most of the seasonal changes in peripheral muscle function occurred after the preparation period. These findings inform practitioners on the development of training programs to enhance the ability to sustain repeated change-of-direction efforts.