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Guilherme M. Cesar, Rebecca Lewthwaite and Susan M. Sigward

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of practice on performance of a running task requiring maximal speed and accurate termination. Physically active pre-pubertal boys and men ran as fast as possible and stopped at a pre-determined target location. Twenty-five trials were collected and comparisons made between first five (early) and last five (late) trials. Approach velocity, normalized approach velocity (percent of maximal sprint velocity, %Vmax), stopping distance from target, and success rate were calculated. Self-efficacy for task performance and fatigue reports were collected prior to trials. Children ran more slowly than adults in absolute terms but performed at higher relative velocity. Both groups displayed similar accuracy and percentages of successful trials across early and late practice. Adults increased approach velocity and %Vmax from early to late; children, already higher in relative maximal velocity, did not change. Self-efficacy paralleled performance findings and correlated with %Vmax and success rate; both groups reported higher self-efficacy for late compared with early. With practice, adults increased approach velocity and children did not; however, children appeared to be performing at a higher relative level from the beginning, perhaps reflecting their more substantial recent histories of similar physical activity and limiting further effects of practice.

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George J. Salem, Man-Ying Wang and Susan Sigward

In order to obtain joint-specific baseline strength characteristics in older adults, clinicians and researchers must have knowledge regarding the relative stability of the various strength tests (the strength difference between repeated measures) and the number of prebaseline practice sessions required to obtain consistent data. To address these needs, the relative multiple-test stability and reliability associated with lower extremity isokinetic and 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) strength measures were assessed in a sample of older adults (N = 30, 65.2 ± 6.3 years), over 4 weeks (T1-T4). Isokinetic ankle plantar-flexion (30°/s) strength and 1RM ankle plantar-flexion, leg-press, and knee-flexion strength exhibited poor stability between Weeks T1 and T2 but stabilized between Weeks T2 and T3 and Weeks T3 and T4. The measures exhibited low incidence of injury and induced low levels of residual muscle soreness. Findings suggest that the 1RM measures require at least 1 prebaseline training session in order to establish consistent baseline performance and are more reliable than isokinetic ankle plantar-flexion tests.