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Yung-Sheng Chen, Shi Zhou and Colleen Cartwright

This study investigated the effects of ankle joint position and submaximal contraction intensity on soleus (SOL) H-reflex modulation. Twenty young (25.1 ± 4.8 years) and 20 older adults (74.2 ± 5.1 years) performed plantar flexions during 10%, 30% and 50% maximal voluntary contractions (MVC) and at ankle positions of neutral (0°), plantar flexion (20°) and dorsiflexion (–20°) in a sitting position. The SOL H-reflex gain in older adults was relatively lower than that in young adults during 10%, 30% and 50% MVC. The SOL H-reflex gain was significantly affected by the intensity of plantar flexion in the respective ankle joint position in both age groups. The latency of H-reflex was prolonged in older adults and was ankle joint dependent in young adults. Young adults demonstrated a shorter duration of the H-reflex response than that of older adults. The results indicated that there were age-related changes in the SOL H-reflex during the ankle plantar flexors activities.

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Ryan Holding, Rudi Meir and Shi Zhou

The purpose of this study was to examine whether a video-based warm-up could provide an acute performance benefit to response time for athletes in a sport-specific agility task. In addition, 2 learning strategies, explicit and implicit, were compared for their effectiveness in facilitating an improvement in sport-specific agility. Thirty representative male junior rugby union players (age 14–16 y, mean age 14.6 ± 1.09 y) were placed in 3 experimental groups (explicit, implicit, and control) and completed 2 intervention sessions. Testing sessions included preintervention testing, completion of the video-based warm-up intervention, and postintervention testing. A 3D motion-analysis system was used to assess response time in the testing battery. The athletes’ response times on the pre- to postintervention tests were compared to determine the effectiveness of the video-based warm-up. A 2-way general linear model with repeated-measures analysis indicated that both the explicit (P = .030, d = 0.28) and implicit (P = .049, d = 0.33) groups significantly improved their response time by the intervention compared with the control group (P = .367, d = 0.08). The mean postintervention response time for the explicit group improved by 19.1% (from 0.246 s pre to 0.199 s post), and the implicit group improved by 15.7% (from 0.268 s to 0.226 s). Findings suggest that a video-based warm-up may provide an acute benefit to sport-specific agility performance for junior athletes.