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Gina Sobrero, Scott Arnett, Mark Schafer, Whitley Stone, T. A. Tolbert, Amanda Salyer-Funk, Jason Crandall, Lauren B. Farley, Josh Brown, Scott Lyons, Travis Esslinger, Keri Esslinger and Jill Maples

High intensity functional training (HIFT) emphasizes constantly varied, high intensity, functional activity by programming strength and conditioning exercises, gymnastics, Olympic weightlifting, and specialty movements. Conversely, traditional circuit training (TCT) programs aim to improve muscular fitness by utilizing the progressive overload principle, similar movements weekly, and specified work-to-rest ratios. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if differences exist in health and performance measures in women participating in HIFT or TCT after a six-week training program. Recreationally active women were randomly assigned to a HIFT (n = 8, age 26.0 + 7.3 yrs) or TCT (n = 11, age 26.3 + 9.6 yrs) group. Participants trained three days a week for six weeks with certified trainers. Investigators examined body composition (BC), aerobic and anaerobic capacity, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility, power, and agility. Repeated-measures ANOVA were used for statistical analyses with an alpha level of 0.05. Both groups increased body mass (p = .011), and improved muscular endurance (p < .000), upper body strength (p = .007), lower body power (p = .029) and agility (p = .003). In addition, the HIFT group decreased body fat (BF) %, while the TCT group increased BF% (p = .011). No changes were observed in aerobic or anaerobic capacity, flexibility, upper body power, or lower body stair climbing power. Newer, high intensity functional exercise programs such as HIFT may have better results on BC and similar effects when compared with TCT programs on health and fitness variables such as musculoskeletal strength and performance.

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Mark A. Tarnopolsky and Dan P. MacLennan

Creatine monohydrate supplementation has been shown to enhance high-intensity exercise performance in some but not all studies. Part of the controversy surrounding the ergogenic effect(s) of creatine monohydrate supplementation may relate to design issues that result in low statistical power. A further question that remains unresolved in the creatine literature is whether or not males and females respond in a similar manner to supplementation. We studied the effect of creatine supplementation upon high intensity exercise performance in 24 subjects (n = 12 males, n = 12 females). Creatine monohydrate (Cr; 5g, 4x/d × 4d) and placebo (PI; glucose polymer × 4d) were provided using a randomized. double-blind crossover design (7 week washout). Outcome measures included: 2 × 30-S anaerobic cycle lest, with plasma lactate pre- and post-test; dorsi-flexor: maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), 2-min fatigue test, and electrically stimulated peak and tetanic torque; isokinetic knee extension torque and I -min ischeniic handgrip strength. Significant main effects of Cr treatment included: increased peak and relative peak anaerobic cycling power (↑3.7%; p < .05), dorsi-flexion MVC torque (↑6.6% p < .05), and increased lactate (↑20.8%; p < .05) with no gender specific responses. We concluded that short-term Cr supplementation can increase indices of high-intensity exercise performance for both males and females.

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Helen T. Douda, Argyris G. Toubekis, Alexandra A. Avloniti and Savvas P. Tokmakidis

Purpose:

To identify the physiological and anthropometric predictors of rhythmic gymnastics performance, which was defined from the total ranking score of each athlete in a national competition.

Methods:

Thirty-four rhythmic gymnasts were divided into 2 groups, elite (n = 15) and nonelite (n = 19), and they underwent a battery of anthropometric, physical fitness, and physiological measurements. The principal-components analysis extracted 6 components: anthropometric, flexibility, explosive strength, aerobic capacity, body dimensions, and anaerobic metabolism. These were used in a simultaneous multiple-regression procedure to determine which best explain the variance in rhythmic gymnastics performance.

Results:

Based on the principal-component analysis, the anthropometric component explained 45% of the total variance, flexibility 12.1%, explosive strength 9.2%, aerobic capacity 7.4%, body dimensions 6.8%, and anaerobic metabolism 4.6%. Components of anthropometric (r = .50) and aerobic capacity (r = .49) were significantly correlated with performance (P < .01). When the multiple-regression model—y = 10.708 + (0.0005121 × VO2 max) + (0.157 × arm span) + (0.814 × midthigh circumference) - (0.293 × body mass)—was applied to elite gymnasts, 92.5% of the variation was explained by VO2max (58.9%), arm span (12%), midthigh circumference (13.1%), and body mass (8.5%).

Conclusion:

Selected anthropometric characteristics, aerobic power, flexibility, and explosive strength are important determinants of successful performance. These findings might have practical implications for both training and talent identification in rhythmic gymnastics.

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Claire Rechichi, Brian Dawson and Carmel Goodman

Some reports suggest variation in physiological responses and athletic performance, for female athletes at specific phases of the menstrual cycle. However, inconsistent findings are common due to the inappropriate verification of menstrual cycle phase, small subject numbers, high intra- and interindividual variability in estrogen and progesterone concentration, and the pulsatile secretion of these hormones. Therefore, the oral contraceptive (OC) cycle may provide a more stable environment in which to evaluate the acute effect of reproductive hormones on physiological variables and exercise performance. To date, most of the OC research has compared differences between OC use and nonuse, and few researchers have examined within-cycle effects of the OC. It is also apparent that OC use is becoming far more prevalent in athletes; hence the effect of the different exogenous and endogenous hormonal profiles on athletic performance should be investigated. Research to date identifies potential for variation in aerobic performance, anaerobic capacity, anaerobic power and reactive strength throughout an OC cycle. The purpose of this review is to present and evaluate the current literature on the physiology of exercise and athletic performance during the OC cycle.

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Jason D. Vescovi, Teena M. Murray and Jaci L. VanHeest

Purpose:

The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether positional profiling is possible for elite ice hockey players by examining anthropometric characteristics and physiological performance. In addition, performance ranges and percentiles were determined for each position (forwards, defensemen, and goalkeepers) on all dependent variables.

Methods:

A retrospective, cross-sectional study design was used with performance data from ice hockey players (mean age = 18.0 ± 0.6 years) attending the 2001 (n = 74), 2002 (n = 84), and 2003 (n = 92) Combines. Four anthropometric characteristics and 12 performance tests were the dependent variables. A 3 × 3 (position × year) 2-way ANOVA was used to determine whether any significant interactions were present. No significant interactions were observed, so the data were collapsed over the 3-year period and positional characteristics were analyzed using a 1-way ANOVA.

Results:

Defenders were heavier and/or taller compared with the other 2 positions (P ≤ .01), whereas goalkeepers showed greater body-fat percentage compared with that of forwards (P = .001). It was found that goalkeepers had significantly lower strength measures for the upper body (P ≤ .043) and lower anaerobic capacity (P ≤ .039) values compared with at least one other position, but they had greater flexibility (P ≤ .013). No positional differences were observed for the broad jump, vertical jump, aerobic power, or curl-ups.

Conclusion:

The current findings provide evidence supporting the use of anthropometric measurements, upper body strength, and anaerobic capacity to effectively distinguish among positions for elite-level ice hockey players.

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Edward J. Smith, Ryan Storey and Mayur K. Ranchordas

Bouldering competitions are held up to International level and governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing. Bouldering has been selected to feature at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, however, physiological qualities and nutritional requirements to optimize performance remain inadequately defined due to large gaps in the literature. The primary goals of training include optimizing the capacity of the anaerobic energy systems and developing sport-specific strength, with emphasis on the isometric function of the forearm flexors responsible for grip. Bouldering athletes typically possess a lean physique, similar to the characteristics of sport climbers with reported body fat values of 6–12%. Athletes strive for a low body weight to improve power to weight ratio and limit the load on the extremities. Specialized nutritional support is uncommon and poor nutritional practices such as chronic carbohydrate restriction are prevalent, compromising the health of the athletes. The high intensity nature of bouldering demands a focus on adequate carbohydrate availability. Protein intake and timing should be structured to maximize muscle protein synthesis and recovery, with the literature suggesting 0.25–0.3 g/kg in 3–4 hr intervals. Supplementing with creatine and b-alanine may provide some benefit by augmenting the capacity of the anaerobic systems. Boulderers are encouraged to seek advice from nutrition experts to enhance performance, particularly important when weight loss is the desired outcome. Further research is warranted across all nutritional aspects of bouldering which is summarized in this review.

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Rachel A. Hildebrand, Bridget Miller, Aric Warren, Deana Hildebrand and Brenda J. Smith

Increasing evidence indicates that compromised vitamin D status, as indicated by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH D), is associated with decreased muscle function. The purpose of this study was to determine the vitamin D status of collegiate athletes residing in the southern U.S. and its effects on muscular strength and anaerobic power. Collegiate athletes (n = 103) from three separate NCAA athletic programs were recruited for the study. Anthropometrics, vitamin D and calcium intake, and sun exposure data were collected along with serum 25-OH D and physical performance measures (Vertical Jump Test, Shuttle Run Test, Triple Hop for Distance Test and the 1 Repetition Maximum Squat Test) to determine the influence of vitamin D status on muscular strength and anaerobic power. Approximately 68% of the study participants were vitamin D adequate (>75 nmol/L), whereas 23% were insufficient (75–50 nmol/L) and 9%, predominantly non-Caucasian athletes, were deficient (<50 nmol/L). Athletes who had lower vitamin D status had reduced performance scores (p < .01) with odds ratios of 0.85 on the Vertical Jump Test, 0.82 on the Shuttle Run Test, 0.28 on the Triple Hop for Distance Test, and 0.23 on the 1 RM Squat Test. These findings demonstrate that even NCAA athletes living in the southern US are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency and that maintaining adequate vitamin D status may be important for these athletes to optimize their muscular strength and power.

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Sebastian Ludyga, Thomas Gronwald and Kuno Hottenrott

Although men and women are suggested to vary in resistance to fatigue, possible sex difference in its central component have rarely been investigated via electroencephalography (EEG). Therefore, we examined differences in cortical activity between male and female cyclists (n = 26) during cycling exercise. Participants performed an incremental test to derive the anaerobic threshold from the lactate power curve. In addition, cyclists’ cortical activity was recorded with EEG before and during cycling exercise. Whereas women showed higher frontal alpha and beta activity at rest, no sex-specific differences of relative EEG spectral power occurred during cycling at higher intensity. Women and men’s brains respond similarly during submaximal cycling, as both sexes show an inverted U-shaped curve of alpha power. Therefore, sex differences observable at rest vanish after the onset of exercise.

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Michael R. Bracko and Gilbert W. Fellingham

Fifty-four female and 77 male hockey players ranging in age from 10–15 years volunteered for this study. Demographic data included: age (AGE) and years of playing experience (YPE). Off-ice tests included: height (HGT), body mass (BM), lean body mass (LBM), predicted body fat % (FAT%), 40-yard dash (40YD), vertical jump (VJ), push-ups/min (PUPS), sit-ups/min (SUPS), and sit-and-reach flexibility (S&R). On-ice performance skating tests included: acceleration (ACC), agility (AGL), and speed (SPD). On-ice anaerobic power (AnPow) was calculated using the formula of Watson and Sargeant (IS). Generally speaking, the females and males in this study had similar results in office fitness. The males consistently out-performed the females in the on-ice tests. It would be difficult for females to compete with or against same-aged males based on the fact that males are superior skaters.

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Terry J. Housh, Glen O. Johnson and Dona J. Housh

The purpose of this investigation was to examine age related changes in muscular power of high school wrestlers. A total of 155 high school wrestlers (M age±SD = 16.5±2.4 yrs) volunteered as subjects for this investigation. The sample included only wrestlers who were ≤ 16.00 years (younger group, n=75) or >17.00 years (older group, n=80). All subjects completed a Wingate anaerobic test to determine mean (MP) and peak (PP) power as well as underwater weighing for body composition assessment. The results indicated significant (p<0.05) group differences for absolute MP and PP but no differences when adjusted for BW and FFW. Thus the enhanced muscular power in the older group of high school wrestlers was associated with increases in BW and FFW.