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Adam S. Lepley, Allison M. Strouse, Hayley M. Ericksen, Kate R. Pfile, Phillip A. Gribble and Brian G. Pietrosimone

Context:

Components of gluteal neuromuscular function, such as strength and corticospinal excitability, could potentially influence alterations in lower extremity biomechanics during jump landing.

Objective:

To determine the relationship between gluteal muscle strength, gluteal corticospinal excitability, and jump-landing biomechanics in healthy women.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Design:

Descriptive laboratory study.

Participants:

37 healthy women (21.08 ± 2.15 y, 164.8 ± 5.9 cm, 65.4 ± 12.0 kg).

Interventions:

Bilateral gluteal strength was assessed through maximal voluntary isometric contractions (MVIC) using an isokinetic dynamometer. Strength was tested in the open chain in prone and side-lying positions for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius muscles, respectively. Transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to elicit measures of corticospinal excitability. Participants then performed 3 trials of jump landing from a 30-cm box to a distance of 50% of their height, with an immediate rebound to a maximal vertical jump. Each jump-landing trial was video recorded (2-D) and later scored for errors.

Main Outcome Measures:

MVICs normalized to body mass were used to assess strength in the gluteal muscles of the dominant and nondominant limbs. Corticospinal excitability was assessed by means of active motor threshold (AMT) and motor-evoked potentials (MEP) elicited at 120% of AMT. The Landing Error Scoring System (LESS) was used to evaluate jump-landing biomechanics.

Results:

A moderate, positive correlation was found between dominant gluteus maximus MEP and LESS scores (r = .562, P = .029). No other significant correlations were observed for MVIC, AMT, or MEP for the gluteus maximus and gluteus medius, regardless of limb.

Conclusions:

The findings suggest a moderate relationship between dominant gluteus maximus corticospinal excitability and a clinical measure of jump-landing biomechanics. Further research is required to substantiate the findings and expand our understanding of the central nervous system’s role in athletic movement.

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Mark D. Tillman, Rachel M. Criss, Denis Brunt and Chris J. Hass

The purposes of this study were to analyze double-limb, dominant-limb, and nondominant-limb landings, each with a two-footed takeoff, in order to detect potential differences in muscle activity and ground reaction forces and to examine the possible influence of leg dominance on these parameters. Each of the three jump landing combinations was analyzed in 11 healthy female volleyball players (age 21 ± 3 yrs; height 171 ± 5 cm, mass 61.6 ± 5.5 kg, max. vertical jump height 28 ± 4 cm). Ground reaction forces under each limb and bilateral muscle activity of the vastus medialis, hamstrings, and lateral gastrocnemius muscles were synchronized and collected at 1,000 Hz. Normalized EMG amplitude and force platform data were averaged over five trials for each participant and analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA. During the takeoff phase in jumps with one-footed landings, the non-landing limb loaded more than the landing limb (p = 0.003). During the 100 ms prior to initial contact, single-footed landings generated higher EMG values than two-footed landings (p = 0.004). One-footed landings resulted in higher peak vertical loading, lateral loading, and rate of lateral loading than two-footed landings (p < 0.05). Trends were observed indicating that muscle activation during one-footed landings is greater than for two-footed landings (p = 0.053 vs. p = 0.077). The greater forces and rate of loading produced during single-limb landings implies a higher predisposition to injury. It appears that strategic planning and training of jumps in volleyball and other jumping sports is critical.

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Noriaki Maeda, Yukio Urabe, Junpei Sasadai, Akira Miyamoto, Masahito Murakami and Junichi Kato

Context:

Whole-body-vibration (WBV) stimulus equipment has been used as a new training method for health promotion. Its use in the clinic has expanded to the field of sports and rehabilitation for disabled patients. WBV training is rapidly gaining popularity in health and fitness centers as an alternative method for improving muscle performance. Acute positive effects of WBV have been shown on lower-extremity muscle power and vertical-jump ability; however, there have not been any studies focusing on the long-term effects of WBV for trunk muscle and dynamic balance.

Objective:

To investigate the effects of an 8-wk program of WBV in combination with trunk-muscle training on muscle performance in healthy, untrained adults.

Design:

Laboratory-based, repeated-measures study.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Participants:

20 healthy university men.

Intervention:

Participants were randomly assigned to a WBV or non-WBV group. The WBV group performed a trunk-muscle-training program in combination with WBV; the non-WBV group performed the same muscle-training program without WBV for 8 wk.

Main Outcome Measures:

In the pre- and posttraining period, the participants were evaluated using the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), Y Balance Test (Y-test) (anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach), trunk-muscle isometric strength (flexor, extensor, and flexor:extensor ratio), squat jump, and countermovement jump.

Results:

The WBV group had greater improvement than the non-WBV group in both trunk-flexor muscle strength (P = .02) and the Y-test (anterior reach) (P = .004) between pre- and posttraining.

Conclusion:

Adding WBV to a trunk-muscle-strengthening program may improve trunk-flexor isometric strength and anterior reach during the Y-test more than training without WBV. The WBV protocol used in this study had no significant impact on FMS scores, squat jumping, countermovement jumping, trunk-extensor isometric strength, or trunk flexor:extensor ratio.

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Chris J. Hass, Elizabeth A. Schick, John W. Chow, Mark D. Tillman, Denis Brunt and James H. Cauraugh

Epidemiological evidence suggests the incidence of injury in female athletes is greater after the onset of puberty and that landing from a jump is a common mechanism of knee injury. This investigation compared lower extremity joint kinematics and joint resultant forces and moments during three types of stride jump (stride jump followed by a static landing; a ballistic vertical jump; and a ballistic lateral jump) between pre- and postpubescent recreational athletes to provide some insight into the increased incidence of injury. Sixteen recreationally active postpubescent women (ages 18–25 years) and 16 recreationally active prepubescent girls (ages 8–11 years) participated in this study. High speed 3D videography and force plate data were used to record each jumper’s performance of the stride jumps, and an inverse dynamic procedure was used to estimate lower extremity joint resultant forces and moments and power. These dependent variables were submitted to a 2 × 3 (Maturation Level × Landing Sequence) MANOVA with repeated measures on the last factor. The findings indicated that postpubescents landed with the knee more extended (4.4°) and had greater extension moments (approximately 30% greater hip and knee extension moments) and powers (40% greater knee power). Further, the post-pubescent athletes had greater knee anterior/posterior forces as well as medio-lateral resultant forces. The differences found between the two groups suggest there may be anatomical and physiological changes with puberty that lead to differences in strength or neuromuscular control which influence the dynamic restraint system in these recreational athletes. A combination of these factors likely plays a role in the increased risk of injury in postpubescent females.

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Gerald T. Mangine, Jay R. Hoffman, Jose Vazquez, Napoleon Pichardo, Maren S. Fragala and Jeffrey R. Stout

The ultimate zone-rating extrapolation (UZR/150) rates fielding performance by runs saved or cost within a zone of responsibility in comparison with the league average (150 games) for a position. Spring-training anthropometric and performance measures have been previously related to hitting performance; however, their relationships with fielding performance measures are unknown.

Purpose:

To examine the relationship between anthropometric and performance measurements on fielding performance in professional baseball players.

Methods:

Body mass, lean body mass (LBM), grip strength, 10-yd sprint, proagility, and vertical-jump mean (VJMP) and peak power (VJPP) were collected during spring training over the course of 5 seasons (2007–2011) for professional corner infielders (CI; n = 17, fielding opportunities = 420.7 ± 307.1), middle infielders (MI; n = 14, fielding opportunities = 497.3 ± 259.1), and outfielders (OF; n = 16, fielding opportunities = 227.9 ± 70.9). The relationships between these data and regular-season (100-opportunity minimum) fielding statistics were examined using Pearson correlation coefficients, while stepwise regression identified the single best predictor of UZR/150.

Results:

Significant correlations (P < .05) were observed between UZR/150 and body mass (r = .364), LBM (r = .396), VJPP (r = .397), and VJMP (r = .405). Of these variables, stepwise regression indicated VJMP (R = .405, SEE = 14.441, P = .005) as the single best predictor for all players, although the addition of proagility performance strengthened (R = .496, SEE = 13.865, P = .002) predictive ability by 8.3%. The best predictor for UZR/150 was body mass for CI (R = .519, SEE = 15.364, P = .033) and MI (R = .672, SEE = 12.331, P = .009), while proagility time was the best predictor for OF (R = .514, SEE = 8.850, P = .042).

Conclusions:

Spring-training measurements of VJMP and proagility time may predict the defensive run value of a player over the course of a professional baseball season.

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Geoff Minett, Rob Duffield and Stephen P. Bird

Purpose:

To investigate the effects of an acute multinutrient supplement on game-based running performance, peak power output, anaerobic by-products, hormonal profiles, markers of muscle damage, and perceived muscular soreness before, immediately after, and 24 h following competitive rugby union games.

Methods:

Twelve male rugby union players ingested either a comprehensive multinutrient supplement (SUPP), [RE-ACTIVATE:01], or a placebo (PL) for 5 d. Participants then performed a competitive rugby union game (with global positioning system tracking), with associated blood draws and vertical jump assessments pre, immediately post and 24 h following competition.

Results:

SUPP ingestion resulted in moderate to large effects for augmented 1st half very high intensity running (VHIR) mean speed (5.9 ± 0.4 vs 4.8 ± 2.3 m·min−1; d = 0.93). Further, moderate increases in 2nd half VHIR distance (137 ± 119 vs 83 ± 89 m; d = 0.73) and VHIR mean speed (5.9 ± 0.6 v 5.3 ± 1.7 m·min−1; d = 0.56) in SUPP condition were also apparent. Postgame aspartate aminotransferase (AST; 44.1 ± 11.8 vs 37.0 ± 3.2 UL; d = 1.16) and creatine kinase (CK; 882 ± 472 vs. 645 ± 123 UL; d = 0.97) measures demonstrated increased values in the SUPP condition, while AST and CK values correlated with 2nd half VHIR distance (r = −0.71 and r = −0.76 respectively). Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was observed postgame in both conditions; however, it was significantly blunted with SUPP (P = .05).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest SUPP may assist in the maintenance of VHIR during rugby union games, possibly via the buffering qualities of SUPP ingredients. However, correlations between increased work completed at very high intensities and muscular degradation in SUPP conditions, may mask any anticatabolic properties of the supplement.

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Patrick B. Wilson, John S. Fitzgerald, Gregory S. Rhodes, Chris J. Lundstrom and Stacy J. Ingraham

Context:

Analgesics are commonly used by individuals undertaking endurance training; unfortunately, many commonly-used analgesics cause significant adverse effects. Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) has been used effectively as an analgesic in several contexts, but to date, no research is available to evaluate ginger root’s effects in the context of endurance training.

Objective:

Determine whether ginger root supplementation reduces muscle soreness and prevents impairments in muscle function following a long-distance training run.

Design:

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

Setting:

University marathon training course.

Participants:

Twenty college students (n = 8 for ginger root group and n = 12 for placebo group).

Intervention:

Supplementation with 2.2 g·day–1 of ginger root or placebo for three days before, the day of, and the day after a 20–22 mile training run.

Main Outcome Measures:

Four days before and 24-hr postrun, participants rated soreness on a 100-mm visual analog scale, while vertical jump (VJ), peak force, and average rate of force development (RFD) were assessed during a squat jump. Quade’s rank analysis of covariance was used to assess between-group differences.

Results:

Median (range) soreness during jogging at 24-hr postrun was lower with ginger root supplementation (37 mm, 15–58) compared with placebo (62 mm, 6–85) (F = 4.6, p = .04). No significant differences for VJ, peak force, and RFD were found between groups.

Conclusions:

Ginger root may modestly reduce muscle soreness stemming from long-distance running, although it may have little to no effect on measures of muscle function during a VJ. Future studies should explore the mechanisms responsible for reductions in running-induced muscle soreness, as well as evaluate the benefit-to-risk profile of ginger root in the context of endurance training.

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Paul B. Gastin, Denny Meyer, Emy Huntsman and Jill Cook

Purpose:

To assess the relationships between player characteristics (including age, playing experience, ethnicity, and physical fitness) and in-season injury in elite Australian football.

Design:

Single-cohort, prospective, longitudinal study.

Methods:

Player characteristics (height, body mass, age, experience, ethnicity, playing position), preseason fitness (6-min run, 40-m sprint, 6 × 40-m sprint, vertical jump), and in-season injury data were collected over 4 seasons from 1 professional Australian football club. Data were analyzed for 69 players, for a total of 3879 player rounds and 174 seasons. Injury risk (odds ratio [OR]) and injury severity (matches missed; rate ratio [RR]) were assessed using a series of multilevel univariate and multivariate hierarchical linear models.

Results:

A total of 177 injuries were recorded with 494 matches missed (2.8 ± 3.3 matches/injury). The majority (87%) of injuries affected the lower body, with hamstring (20%) and groin/hip (14%) most prevalent. Nineteen players (28%) suffered recurrent injuries. Injury incidence was increased in players with low body mass (OR = 0.887, P = .005), with poor 6-min-run performance (OR = 0.994, P = .051), and playing as forwards (OR = 2.216, P = .036). Injury severity was increased in players with low body mass (RR = 0.892, P = .008), tall stature (RR = 1.131, P = .002), poor 6-min-run (RR = 0.990, P = .006), and slow 40-m-sprint (RR = 3.963, P = .082) performance.

Conclusions:

The potential to modify intrinsic risk factors is greatest in the preseason period, and improvements in aerobic-running fitness and increased body mass may protect against in-season injury in elite Australian football.

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Deborah L. King and Barbara C. Belyea

Context: Landing kinematics have been identified as a risk factor for knee injury. Detecting atypical kinematics in clinical settings is important for identifying individuals at risk for these injuries. Objective: To determine the reliability of a handheld tablet and application (app) for measuring lower-extremity kinematics during drop vertical-jump landings. Design: Measurement reliability. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 23 healthy young adults with no lower-extremity injuries and no contraindications for jumping and landing. Intervention: Subjects performed 6 drop vertical jumps that were captured with an iPad2 and analyzed with a KinesioCapture app by 2 novice and 2 experienced raters. Three trials each were captured in the frontal and sagittal planes. Main Outcome Measures: Frontal-plane projection angles, knee flexion, and hip flexion at initial contact and maximum knee flexion were measured. ICC and SEM were calculated to determine intertrial and interrater reliability. One-way ANOVAs were used to examine differences between the measured angles of the raters. Results: Average intertrial reliability ranged from .71 to .98 for novice raters and .77 to .99 for experienced raters. SEMs were 2.3-4.3° for novice raters and 1.6-3.9° for experienced raters. Interrater ICC2,1 was .39-.98 for the novice raters and .69-.93 for the experienced raters. SEMs were smallest with the experienced raters, all less than 1.5°. Conclusion: A handheld tablet and app is promising for evaluating landing kinematics and identifying individuals at risk for knee injury in a clinical setting. Intertrial reliability is good to excellent when using average trial measures. Interrater reliability is fair to excellent depending on experience level. Multiple trials should be assessed by a single rater when assessing lower-extremity mechanics with a handheld tablet and app, and results may vary with experience level or training.

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Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau, Maarten F. Bobbert and Arnold de Haan

This target article addresses the role of storage and reutilization of elastic energy in stretch-shortening cycles. It is argued that for discrete movements such as the vertical jump, elastic energy does not explain the work enhancement due to the prestretch. This enhancement seems to occur because the prestretch allows muscles to develop a high level of active state and force before starting to shorten. For cyclic movements in which stretch-shortening cycles occur repetitively, some authors have claimed that elastic energy enhances mechanical efficiency. In the current article it is demonstrated that this claim is often based on disputable concepts such as the efficiency of positive work or absolute work, and it is argued that elastic energy cannot affect mechanical efficiency simply because this energy is not related to the conversion of metabolic energy into mechanical energy. A comparison of work and efficiency measures obtained at different levels of organization reveals that there is in fact no decisive evidence to either support or reject the claim that the stretch-shortening cycle enhances muscle efficiency. These explorations lead to the conclusion that the body of knowledge about the mechanics and energetics of the stretch-shortening cycle is in fact quite lean. A major challenge is to bridge the gap between knowledge obtained at different levels of organization, with the ultimate purpose of understanding how the intrinsic properties of muscles manifest themselves under in-vivo-like conditions and how they are exploited in whole-body activities such as running. To achieve this purpose, a close cooperation is required between muscle physiologists and human movement scientists performing inverse and forward dynamic simulation studies of whole-body exercises.