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Tom R. Eaton, Aaron Potter, François Billaut, Derek Panchuk, David B. Pyne, Christopher J. Gore, Ting-Ting Chen, Leon McQuade and Nigel K. Stepto

Heat and hypoxia exacerbate central nervous system (CNS) fatigue. We therefore investigated whether essential amino acid (EAA) and caffeine ingestion attenuates CNS fatigue in a simulated team sport–specific running protocol in a hot, hypoxic environment. Subelite male team sport athletes (n = 8) performed a repeat sprint running protocol on a nonmotorized treadmill in an extreme environment on 4 separate occasions. Participants ingested one of four supplements: a double placebo, 3 mg.kg-1 body mass of caffeine + placebo, 2 × 7 g EAA (Musashi Create)+placebo, or caffeine + EAA before each exercise session using a randomized, double-blind crossover design. Electromyography (EMG) activity and quadriceps evoked responses to magnetic stimulation were assessed from the dominant leg at preexercise, halftime, and postexercise. Central activation ratio (CAR) was used to quantify completeness of quadriceps activation. Oxygenation of the prefrontal cortex was measured via near-infrared spectroscopy. Mean sprint work was higher (M = 174 J, 95% CI [23, 324], p < .05, d = 0.30; effect size, likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition versus EAAs alone. The decline in EMG activity was less (M = 13%, 95% CI [0, 26]; p < .01, d = 0.58, likely beneficial) in caffeine + EAA versus EAA alone. Similarly, the pre- to postexercise decrement in CAR was significantly less (M = −2.7%, 95% CI [0.4, 5.4]; p < .05, d = 0.50, likely beneficial) when caffeine + EAA were ingested compared with placebo. Cerebral oxygenation was lower (M = −5.6%, 95% CI [1.0, 10.1]; p < .01, d = 0.60, very likely beneficial) in the caffeine + EAA condition compared with LNAA alone. Coingestion of caffeine and EAA appears to maintain muscle activation and central drive, with a small improvement in running performance.

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Heather Myers, Mary Poletti and Robert J. Butler

Context:

The Upper Quarter Y-Balance Test (YBT-UQ) is a unique movement test where individuals perform at the limits of their stability, requiring the coordination of balance, proprioception, range of motion, and stabilization. It is not yet clear if performance on the YBT-UQ differs between sports with dissimilar emphasis on upper-extremity performance.

Objective:

To compare performance on the YBT-UQ between wrestlers, whose sport requires some degree of closed-chain activity, and baseball players, whose sport is primarily open kinetic chain in nature.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Setting:

High school preparticipation physical assessment.

Participants:

24 healthy high school male wrestlers (mean age 16.12 ± 1.24 y) and 24 healthy high school male baseball players (mean age 15.79 ± 1.25 y).

Interventions:

All subjects performed the YBT-UQ, which requires reaching in 3 directions while maintaining a push-up position.

Main Outcome Measures:

The variables of interest include the maximum reach in each direction, as well as the composite score. In addition, asymmetries between limbs for each reach direction were compared.

Results:

Wrestlers performed significantly better than baseball players in the medial direction, inferolateral direction, and in composite scores. In the medial direction, wrestlers exhibited greater scores (P < .01) on both left and right limbs, 10.5 ± 10.2%LL and 9.95 ± 10.2%LL, respectively. Significant differences (P < .01) were also observed in the inferolateral direction, with a difference of 11.3 ± 12.0%LL on the left and 8.7 ± 11.0%LL on the right. Composite scores were higher (P < .01) for the wrestlers, with a difference of 7.0% on the left and 7.1% on the right.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that wrestlers perform better on the YBT-UQ than baseball players. The findings may suggest sport-specific normative data for the YBT-UQ in high school athletes.

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Marco Beato, Stuart A. McErlain-Naylor, Israel Halperin and Antonio Dello Iacono

Purpose: To summarize the evidence on postactivation potentiation (PAP) protocols using flywheel eccentric overload (EOL) exercises. Methods: Studies were searched using the electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, and Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge. Results: In total, 7 eligible studies were identified based on the following results: First, practitioners can use different inertia intensities (eg, 0.03–0.11 kg·m2), based on the exercise selected, to enhance sport-specific performance. Second, the PAP time window following EOL exercise seems to be consistent with traditional PAP literature, where acute fatigue is dominant in the early part of the recovery period (eg, 30 s), and PAP is dominant in the second part (eg, 3 and 6 min). Third, as EOL exercises require large force and power outputs, a volume of 3 sets with the conditioning activity (eg, half-squat or lunge) seems to be a sensible approach. This could reduce the transitory muscle fatigue and thereby allow for a stronger potentiation effect compared with larger exercise volumes. Fourth, athletes should gain experience by performing EOL exercises before using the tool as part of a PAP protocol (3 or 4 sessions of familiarization). Finally, the dimensions of common flywheel devices offer useful and practical solutions to induce PAP effects outside of normal training environments and prior to competitions. Conclusions: EOL exercise can be used to stimulate PAP responses to obtain performance advantages in various sports. However, future research is needed to determine which EOL exercise modalities among intensity, volume, and rest intervals optimally induce the PAP phenomenon and facilitate transfer effects on athletic performances.

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Gregg Afman, Richard M. Garside, Neal Dinan, Nicholas Gant, James A. Betts and Clyde Williams

Current recommendations for nutritional interventions in basketball are largely extrapolated from laboratory-based studies that are not sport-specific. We therefore adapted and validated a basketball simulation test relative to competitive basketball games using well-trained basketball players (n = 10), then employed this test to evaluate the effects of two common preexercise nutritional interventions on basketball-specific physical and skilled performance. Specifically, in a randomized and counterbalanced order, participants ingested solutions providing either 75 g carbohydrate (sucrose) 45 min before exercise (Study A; n = 10) or 2 × 0.2 g·kg−1 sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) 90 and 20 min before exercise (Study B; n = 7), each relative to appropriate placebos (H2O and 2 × 0.14 g·kg−1 NaCl, respectively). Heart rate, sweat rate, pedometer count, and perceived exertion did not systematically differ between the 60-min basketball simulation test and competitive basketball, with a strong positive correlation in heart rate response (r = .9, p < .001). Preexercise carbohydrate ingestion resulted in marked hypoglycemia (< 3.5 mmol·l−1) throughout the first quarter, coincident with impaired sprinting (+0.08 ± 0.05 second; p = .01) and layup shooting performance (8.5/11 versus 10.3/11 baskets; p < .01). However, ingestion of either carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate before exercise offset fatigue such that sprinting performance was maintained into the final quarter relative to placebo (Study A: –0.07 ± 0.04 second; p < .01 and Study B: -0.08 ± 0.05 second; p = .02), although neither translated into improved skilled (layup shooting) performance. This basketball simulation test provides a valid reflection of physiological demands in competitive basketball and is sufficiently sensitive to detect meaningful changes in physical and skilled performance. While there are benefits of preexercise carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion, these should be balanced against potential negative side effects.

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Øyvind Sandbakk

, developing sport-specific benchmarks, and providing a framework for load management, training prescription, and recovery strategies. Although some of these solutions provide helpful scientifically backed decision support, others give nonvalidated information that can either confuse or lead to wrong decision

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Hannah Butler-Coyne, Vaithehy Shanmuganathan-Felton and Jamie Taylor

, & Stanimirovic, 2015 ). Unique emotional “ups and downs,” pressures of competitive sport, stress of daily training, consequences of physical injuries, aging and transition (e.g., leaving and retirement), sport-specific challenges (e.g., team membership, aesthetic determinants) as well as stigma and media

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Sophia Nimphius

In reflection on the numerous studies investigating differences in athletic performance and risk of injury in male and female athletes, I question whether a lack of control or consideration of physical capacity (eg, strength) or skill (eg, sport-specific or movement skill) potentially confounds

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Bradley S. Beardt, Myranda R. McCollum, Taylour J. Hinshaw, Jacob S. Layer, Margaret A. Wilson, Qin Zhu and Boyi Dai

previously utilized double-leg drop-jump as the screening task may also be improved to better simulate sport-specific movements. 20 Previously, investigators have observed different lower-extremity biomechanics between a double-leg drop-jump task and sport-specific jump-landing or cutting tasks. 21 , 22 Fox

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Daniel J. Madigan, Thomas Curran, Joachim Stoeber, Andrew P. Hill, Martin M. Smith and Louis Passfield

). Reflecting this feature of perfectionism, athletes have been found to report higher levels of perfectionism in sport than in other domains of their life ( Dunn, Gotwals, & Dunn, 2005 ). Adopting sport-specific models and measures also show greater explanatory utility for sports outcomes than general measures

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Chun-Hao Wang and Kuo-Cheng Tu

which the target is most likely to occur ( Anzeneder & Bosel, 1998 ; Lum, Enns, & Pratt, 2002 ). Following this logic, we adopted a modified attentional cueing paradigm involving sport-specific information to further explore the neural mechanism underlying sport-related anticipation. To better