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Jose A. Rodríguez-Marroyo, Javier Medina-Carrillo, Juan García-López, Juan C. Morante, José G. Villa and Carl Foster

Purpose:

To analyze the concurrent and construct validity of a volleyball intermittent endurance test (VIET). The VIET’s test–retest reliability and sensitivity to assess seasonal changes was also studied.

Methods:

During the preseason, 71 volleyball players of different competitive levels took part in this study. All performed the VIET and a graded treadmill test with gas-exchange measurement (GXT). Thirty-one of the players performed an additional VIET to analyze the test–retest reliability. To test the VIET’s sensitivity, 28 players repeated the VIET and GXT at the end of their season.

Results:

Significant (P < .001) relationships between VIET distance and maximal oxygen uptake (r = .74) and GXT maximal speed (r = .78) were observed. There were no significant differences between the VIET performance test and retest (1542.1 ± 338.1 vs 1567.1 ± 358.2 m). Significant (P < .001) relationships and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) were found (r = .95, ICC = .96) for VIET performance. VIET performance increased significantly (P < .001) with player performance level and was sensitive to fitness changes across the season (1458.8 ± 343.5 vs 1581.1 ± 334.0 m, P < .01).

Conclusions:

The VIET may be considered a valid, reliable, and sensitive test to assess the aerobic endurance in volleyball players.

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Benoit Capostagno, Michael I. Lambert and Robert P. Lamberts

Finding the optimal balance between high training loads and recovery is a constant challenge for cyclists and their coaches. Monitoring improvements in performance and levels of fatigue is recommended to correctly adjust training to ensure optimal adaptation. However, many performance tests require a maximal or exhaustive effort, which reduces their real-world application. The purpose of this review was to investigate the development and use of submaximal cycling tests that can be used to predict and monitor cycling performance and training status. Twelve studies met the inclusion criteria, and 3 separate submaximal cycling tests were identified from within those 12. Submaximal variables including gross mechanical efficiency, oxygen uptake (VO2), heart rate, lactate, predicted time to exhaustion (pTE), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), power output, and heart-rate recovery (HRR) were the components of the 3 tests. pTE, submaximal power output, RPE, and HRR appear to have the most value for monitoring improvements in performance and indicate a state of fatigue. This literature review shows that several submaximal cycle tests have been developed over the last decade with the aim to predict, monitor, and optimize cycling performance. To be able to conduct a submaximal test on a regular basis, the test needs to be short in duration and as noninvasive as possible. In addition, a test should capture multiple variables and use multivariate analyses to interpret the submaximal outcomes correctly and alter training prescription if needed.

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Jason Moran, Gavin R.H. Sandercock, Rodrigo Ramírez-Campillo, Oliver Todd, Jay Collison and Dave A. Parry

Purpose:

The purpose of this intervention study was to investigate if a low-dose of plyometric training (PT) could improve sprint and jump performance in groups of different maturity status.

Method:

Male youth field hockey players were divided into Pre-PHV (from -1 to -1.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 9; Control = 12) and Mid-PHV (0 to +0.9 from PHV; Experimental: n = 8; Control = 9) groups. Participants in the experimental groups completed 60 foot contacts, twice-weekly for 6 weeks.

Results:

PT exerted a positive effect (effect size: 0.4 [-0.4–1.2]) on 10 m sprint time in the experimental Mid-PHV group but this was less pronounced in the Pre-PHV group (0.1 [-0.6–0.9]). Sprint time over 30 m (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.1 [-0.7–0.9]) and CMJ (Mid-PHV: 0.1 [-0.8–0.9]; Pre-PHV: 0.0 [-0.7–0.8]) was maintained across both experimental groups. Conversely, the control groups showed decreased performance in most tests at follow up. Between-group analysis showed positive effect sizes across all performance tests in the Mid-PHV group, contrasting with all negative effect sizes in the Pre-PHV group.

Conclusion:

These results indicate that more mature hockey players may benefit to a greater extent than less mature hockey players from a low-dose PT stimulus. Sixty foot contacts, twice per week, seems effective in improving short sprint performance in Mid-PHV hockey players.

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Jeremy Williams, Grant Abt and Andrew E. Kilding

Purpose:

To determine the effects of acute short-term creatine (Cr) supplementation on physical performance during a 90-min soccer-specific performance test.

Methods:

A double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental design was adopted during which 16 male amateur soccer players were required to consume 20 g/d Cr for 7 d or a placebo. A Ball-Sport Endurance and Speed Test (BEAST) comprising measures of aerobic (circuit time), speed (12- and 20-m sprint), and explosive-power (vertical jump) abilities performed over 90 min was performed presupplementation and postsupplementation.

Results:

Performance measures during the BEAST deteriorated during the second half relative to the first for both Cr (1.2–2.3%) and placebo (1.0–2.2%) groups, indicating a fatigue effect associated with the BEAST. However, no significant differences existed between groups, suggesting that Cr had no performance-enhancing effect or ability to offset fatigue. When effect sizes were considered, some measures (12-m sprint, –0.53 ± 0.69; 20-m sprint, –0.39 ± 0.59) showed a negative tendency, indicating chances of harm were greater than chances of benefit.

Conclusions:

Acute short-term Cr supplementation has no beneficial effect on physical measures obtained during a 90-min soccer-simulation test, thus bringing into question its potential as an effective ergogenic aid for soccer players.

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Jessica C. Dobek, Karen N. White and Katherine B. Gunter

The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which a novel training program based on activities of daily living (ADL) would affect performance of ADLs, as well as the fitness of older adults. Fourteen individuals (mean age 82 years) took part in a 10-week control period followed by a 10-week ADL-based training program. Pre- and posttests included the Physical Performance Test (PPT), the Physical Functional Performance–10 (PFP-10), and the Senior Fitness Test (SFT). After the training period, improvements ranging from 7% to 33% (p < .05) were seen on the PPT and PFP-10 and on three items of the SFT. After conversion to standard scores, the magnitude of change in the PPT and the PFP-10 was significantly greater (p < .05) than the magnitude of change in the SFT. These data support the idea that this novel ADL-based training program was able to facilitate improved performance of ADLs, as well as select measures of fitness among older adults.

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David M. Morris, Rebecca S. Shafer, Kimberly R. Fairbrother and Mark W. Woodall

The authors sought to determine the effects of oral lactate consumption on blood bicarbonate (HCO3−) levels, pH levels, and performance during high-intensity exercise on a cycle ergometer. Subjects (N = 11) were trained male and female cyclists. Time to exhaustion (TTE) and total work were measured during high-intensity exercise bouts 80 min after the consumption of 120 mg/kg body mass of lactate (L), an equal volume of placebo (PL), or no treatment (NT). Blood HCO3− increased significantly after ingestion of lactate (p < .05) but was not affected in PL or NT (p > .05). No changes in pH were observed as a result of treatment. TTE and total work during the performance test increased significantly by 17% in L compared with PL and NT (p = .02). No significant differences in TTE and total work were seen between the PL and NT protocols (p = .85). The authors conclude that consuming 120 mg/kg body mass of lactate increases HCO3− levels and increases exercise performance during high-intensity cycling ergometry to exhaustion.

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Andrew M. Edwards and Raewyn E. Walker

The efficacy of inspiratory muscle training (IMT) has been the subject of considerable controversy in terms of whether it is beneficial to endurance athletes and because a convincing physiological rationale has not been identified to explain its mechanism of action. Early studies suggested that IMT was an ineffectual intervention for gains in either maximal aerobic power or endurance-specific performance. More rigorous recent research supports the observation that maximal aerobic power is not receptive to IMT; however, closer evaluation of both early and contemporary research indicates that responses to endurance-specific performance tests are sensitive to IMT. As the aim of endurance training is to improve endurance performance rather than maximal aerobic power, it is plausible that IMT may be useful in specific performance-related circumstances. Performance adaptations following IMT appear to be connected with post training reports of attenuated effort sensations, but this common observation has tended to be overlooked by researchers in preference for a reductionist explanation. This commentary examines the pertinent research and practical performance implications of IMT from the holistic perspective of complex central metabolic control.

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Julio Tous-Fajardo, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, José Luis Arjol-Serrano and Per Tesch

Purpose:

To examine the effects of a novel isoinertial eccentric-overload and vibration training (EVT) paradigm on change-ofdirection (COD) speed and multiple performance tests applicable to soccer.

Methods:

Twenty-four young male players were assigned to an EVT (n = 12) or conventional combined (CONV, n = 12) group, once weekly for 11 wk. EVT consisted of 2 sets of 6–10 repetitions in 5 specific and 3 complementary exercises. CONV used comparable volume (2 sets of 6–10 reps in 3 sequences of 3 exercises) of conventional combined weight, plyometric, and linear speed exercises. Pre- and postintervention tests included 25-m sprint with 4 × 45° COD every 5th m (V-cut test), 10- and 30-m sprints, repeat-sprint ability, countermovement jump, and hopping (RJ5).

Results:

Group comparison showed very likely to likely better performance for EVT in the COD (effect size [ES] = 1.42), 30-m (ES = 0.98), 10-m (ES = 1.17), and average power (ES = 0.69) and jump height (ES = 0.69) during RJ5. There was a large (r = –.55) relationship between the increase in average hopping power and the reduced V-cut time.

Conclusions:

As EVT, not CONV, improved not only COD ability but also linear speed and reactive jumping, this “proof-of-principle” study suggests that this novel exercise paradigm performed once weekly could serve as a viable adjunct to improve performance tasks specific to soccer.

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Yuko Oguma, Yusuke Osawa, Michiyo Takayama, Yukiko Abe, Shigeho Tanaka, I-Min Lee and Yasumichi Arai

Background:

To date, there is no physical activity (PA) questionnaire with convergent and construct validity for the oldest-old. The aim of the current study was to investigate the validity of questionnaire-assessed PA in comparison with objective measures determined by uniaxial and triaxial accelerometers and physical performance measures in the oldest-old.

Methods:

Participants were 155 elderly (mean age 90 years) who were examined at the university and agreed to wear an accelerometer for 7 days in the 3-year-follow-up survey of the Tokyo Oldest-Old Survey of Total Health. Fifty-nine participants wore a uniaxial and triaxial accelerometer simultaneously. Self-rated walking, exercise, and household PA were measured using a modified Zutphen PA Questionnaire (PAQ). Several physical performance tests were done, and the associations among PAQ, accelerometer-assessed PA, and physical performances were compared by Spearman’s correlation coefficients.

Results:

Significant, low to moderate correlations between PA measures were seen on questionnaire and accelerometer assessments (ρ = 0.19 to 0.34). Questionnaireassessed PA measure were correlated with a range of lower extremity performance (ρ = 0.21 to 0.29).

Conclusions:

This PAQ demonstrated convergent and construct validity. Our findings suggest that the PAQ can reasonably be used in this oldest-old population to rank their PA level.

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Robert S. Weinberg, Thomas G. Seabourne and Allen Jackson

The present investigation attempted to determine whether imagery combined with relaxation (VMBR) is more effective in facilitating karate performance than either imagery or relaxation alone. Each subject (N = 32) was randomly assigned to either a VMBR, relaxation, imagery, or attention-placebo control condition in a one-way design. During the first day of the karate class (which met twice a week), each group was individually provided with an explanation of how to practice their assigned strategy at home. Trait anxiety tests were administered at the beginning and the end of the 6-week test period. In addition, performance tests were administered at the end of the testing period along with precompetitive state anxiety. Trait anxiety results indicated that all subjects displayed a reduction in trait anxiety over the course of the testing period. State anxiety results indicated that the VMBR and relaxation groups exhibited lower levels of state anxiety than the imagery and attention-control groups. Performance was broken down into three subareas which consisted of skill, combinations, and sparring (actual competition). Results only showed an effect for sparring, with VMBR group exhibiting better performance than all other groups.