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Raouf Hammami, Anis Chaouachi, Issam Makhlouf, Urs Granacher and David G. Behm

Balance, strength and power relationships may contain important information at various maturational stages to determine training priorities.

Purpose:

The objective was to examine maturity-specific relationships of static/dynamic balance with strength and power measures in young male athletes.

Methods:

Soccer players (N = 130) aged 10–16 were assessed with the Stork and Y balance (YBT) tests. Strength/power measures included back extensor muscle strength, standing long jump (SLJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and 3-hop jump tests. Associations between balance with strength/power variables were calculated according to peak-height-velocity (PHV).

Results:

There were significant medium-large sized correlations between all balance measures with back extensor strength (r = .486–.791) and large associations with power (r = .511–.827). These correlation coefficients were significantly different between pre-PHV and circa PHV as well as pre-PHV and post-PHV with larger associations in the more mature groups. Irrespective of maturity-status, SLJ was the best strength/power predictor with the highest proportion of variance (12–47%) for balance (i.e., Stork eyes opened) and the YBT was the best balance predictor with the highest proportion of variance (43–78%) for all strength/power variables.

Conclusion:

The associations between balance and muscle strength/power measures in youth athletes that increase with maturity may imply transfer effects from balance to strength/power training and vice versa in youth athletes.

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Anis Zribi, Mohamed Zouch, Hamada Chaari, Elyes Bouajina, Hela Ben Nasr, Monia Zaouali and Zouhair Tabka

The effects of a 9-week lower-body plyometric training program on bone mass, bone markers and physical fitness was examined in 51 early pubertal male basketball players divided randomly into a plyometric group (PG: 25 participants) and a control group (CG: 26 participants). Areal bone mineral density (aBMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and bone area (BA) in the whole body, L2-L4 vertebrae, and in total hip, serum levels of osteocalcin (Oc) and C-terminal telopeptide fragment of Type I collagen (CTx), jump, sprint and power abilities were assessed at baseline and 9 weeks. Group comparisons were done by independent student’s t-test between means and analyses of (ANOVA) and covariance (ANCOVA), adjusting for baseline values. PG experienced a significant increase in Oc (p < .01) and all physical fitness except for the 5-jump test. However, there was no improvement in aBMD, BMC and BA in any measured site, except in whole body BMC of the PG. A positive correlation was observed between percentage increase (Δ%) of physical fitness and those of (Oc) for the PG. In summary, biweekly sessions of lower body plyometric training program were successful for improving whole body BMC, bone formation marker (Oc) and physical fitness in early pubertal male basketball players.

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Boyi Dai, Christopher J. Sorensen, Timothy R. Derrick and Jason C. Gillette

The effects of training on biomechanical risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries have been investigated, but the effects of detraining have received little attention. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a one-month postseason break on knee biomechanics and lower extremity electromyography (EMG) during a stop-jump task. A postseason break is the phase between two seasons when no regular training routines are performed. Twelve NCAA female volleyball players participated in two stop-jump tests before and after the postseason break. Knee kinematics, kinetics, quadriceps EMG, and hamstring EMG were assessed. After one month of postseason break, the players demonstrated significantly decreased jump height, decreased initial knee flexion angle, decreased knee flexion angle at peak anterior tibial resultant force, decreased prelanding vastus lateralis EMG, and decreased prelanding biceps femoris EMG as compared with prebreak. No significant differences were observed for frontal plane biomechanics and quadriceps and hamstring landing EMG between prebreak and postbreak. Although it is still unknown whether internal ACL loading changes after a postseason break, the more extended knee movement pattern may present an increased risk factor for ACL injuries.

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Thorsten Schiffer, Anne Möllinger, Billy Sperlich and Daniel Memmert

Context:

The application of kinesio tape (KT) to lower-extremity muscles as an ergogenic aid to improve muscle-strength-related parameters such as jumping is controversial.

Objective:

To test the hypothesis that the application of KT enhances the jumping performance of healthy uninjured elite female track and field athletes.

Design:

A double 1-legged jump test was performed before and after the application of blue K-Active tape without traction on the maximally stretched gastrocnemius, hamstrings, rectus femoris, and iliopsoas muscles according to the generally accepted technique.

Participants:

18 German elite female track and field athletes (age 21 ± 2 y, height 172 ± 4 cm, body mass 62 ± 5 kg, active time in their sport 13 ± 4 y).

Results:

Factorial analysis of variance with repeated measures (ANOVA, Bonferroni) revealed no significant differences in jumping performance between the tests (P > .05, d = 0.26).

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that the application of KT has no influence on jumping performance in healthy, uninjured female elite athletes. The authors do not recommend the use of KT for the purpose of improving jump performance.

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Trynke Hoekstra, Colin A. Boreham, Liam J. Murray and Jos W.R. Twisk

Background:

It is not clear what the relative contribution is of specific components of physical fitness (aerobic and muscular) to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. We investigated associations between aerobic fitness (endurance) and muscular fitness (power) and CVD risk factors.

Methods:

Data were obtained from the Young Hearts project, a representative sample of 12- and 15-year-old boys and girls from Northern Ireland (N = 2016). Aerobic fitness was determined by the 20-m shuttle run test, muscular fitness by the Sargent jump test. CVD risk factors included sum of skinfolds, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, serum total cholesterol (TC), HDL cholesterol, and TC:HDL ratio. Several linear regression analyses were conducted for 4 age and gender groups separately, with the risk factor as the outcome variable.

Results:

Significant associations between aerobic fitness and a healthy CVD risk profile were found. These observed relationships were independent of power, whereas the (few) relationships between muscular fitness and the risk factors were partly explained by endurance.

Conclusions:

Tailored, preventive strategies during adolescence, incorporating endurance rather than power sports, could be encouraged to help prevent CVD. This is important because existing studies propose that healthiness during adulthood is founded on healthiness in adolescence.

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Khalid S. Almuzaini

The main purpose of the present study was to determine isokinetic strength and endurance, isometric strength, and anaerobic power for untrained healthy Saudi children and adolescents. The secondary purpose was to evaluate the effects of age in relation to anthropometric characteristics on strength and anaerobic performances. Forty-four (untrained) 11- to 19-year-old boys were grouped by age: 11-13 years, 14–16 years, and 17–19 years. All participants underwent anthropometric measurements, a flexibility test, a vertical jump test, a grip strength test, isokinetic strength measurements (Cybex Norm), and a Wingate anaerobic power test. Oneway ANOVA results indicated age-related increases in muscle strength and power. High correlation coefficients that were found among age and strength and anaerobic power indices almost disappeared when fat-free mass (FFM) was controlled for, indicating that the amount of variance in these indices that was explained by age is mostly shared by FFM. In addition, stepwise linear regression models indicated that FFM was the main predictor of strength and power performances. Thus, FFM was the best scaling variable for body size when comparing these age groups of Saudis. Until wide-range normal representative values for isokinetic strength and anaerobic power for Saudi children and adolescents are available, the present study’s results can serve as a reference for these indices.

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Samuel Ryan, Emidio Pacecca, Jye Tebble, Joel Hocking, Thomas Kempton and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To examine the measurement reliability and sensitivity of common athlete monitoring tools in professional Australian Football players. Methods: Test–retest reliability (noise) and weekly variation (signal) data were collected from 42 professional Australian footballers from 1 club during a competition season. Perceptual wellness was measured via questionnaires completed before main training sessions (48, 72, and 96 h postmatch), with players providing a rating (1–5 Likert scale) regarding their muscle soreness, sleep quality, fatigue level, stress, and motivation. Eccentric hamstring force and countermovement jumps were assessed via proprietary systems once per week. Heart rate recovery was assessed via a standard submaximal run test on a grass-covered field with players wearing a heart rate monitor. The heart rate recovery was calculated by subtracting average heart rate during final 10 seconds of rest from average heart rate during final 30 seconds of exercise. Typical test error was reported as coefficient of variation percentage (CV%) and intraclass coefficients. Sensitivity was calculated by dividing weekly CV% by test CV% to produce a signal to noise ratio. Results: All measures displayed acceptable sensitivity. Signal to noise ratio ranged from 1.3 to 11.1. Intraclass coefficients ranged from .30 to .97 for all measures. Conclusions: The heart rate recovery test, countermovement jump test, eccentric hamstring force test, and perceptual wellness all possess acceptable measurement sensitivity. Signal to noise ratio analysis is a novel method of assessing measurement characteristics of monitoring tools. These data can be used by coaches and scientists to identify meaningful changes in common measures of fitness and fatigue in professional Australian football.

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Jan Boone and Jan Bourgois

Purpose:

The current study aimed to gain insight into the physiological profile of elite basketball players in Belgium in relation to their position on the field.

Methods:

The group consisted of 144 players, divided into 5 groups according to position (point guards [PGs], shooting guards [SGs], small forwards [SFs], power forwards [PFs], and centers [Cs]). The anthropometrics were measured and the subjects underwent fitness tests (incremental running test, 10-m sprint, 5 ×-10 m, squat and countermovement jump, isokinetic test) to obtain insight into endurance, speed, agility, and power. The parameters of these tests were compared among the different positions by means of 1-way variance analysis (MANOVA). Tukey post hoc tests were performed in case of a significant MANOVA.

Results:

It was observed that Cs were taller and heavier and had a higher percentage body fat than PGs and SGs. For the anaerobic sprint test Cs were slower than the other positions. For the 5 × 10-m the PGs and SGs were faster than SFs and PFs. For the jump test Cs displayed a significantly lower absolute performance than the other positions. PGs and SGs had a higher VO2peak and speed at the anaerobic threshold than PFs and Cs. The isokinetic strength test showed that the quadriceps muscle group of Cs could exert a higher torque during knee extension than the other positions.

Conclusions:

The current study showed that the physiological profile of elite players in the Belgian first division differs by player position. More specifically, guards were characterized by high endurance, speed, and agility, whereas centers and power forwards had higher muscle strength than the other positions.

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Michael Fuchs, Oliver Faude, Melissa Wegmann and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

To overcome the limitations of traditional 1-dimensional fitness tests in analyzing physiological properties of badminton players, a badminton-specific endurance test (BST) was created. This study aimed at analyzing the influence of various fitness dimensions on BST performance.

Methods:

18 internationally competing male German badminton players (22.4 ± 3.2 y, 79.2 ± 7.7 kg, 1.84 ± 0.06 m, world-ranking position [WRP] 21–501) completed a straight-sprint test, a change-of-direction speed test, various jump tests (countermovement jump, drop jump, standing long jump), a multistage running test (MST), and the BST. During this on-court field test players have to respond to a computerized sign indicating direction and speed of badminton-specific movements by moving into the corresponding corners.

Results:

Significant correlations were found between performance in MST and BST (individual anaerobic threshold [IAT], r = .63, P = .005; maximum velocity [Vmax], r = .60, P = .009). A negative correlation (r = –.59, P = .014) was observed between IAT in BST and drop-jump contact time. No further associations between performance indices could be detected. Apart from a small portion explained by MST results (IAT, R2 = .40; Vmax, R2 = .36), the majority of BST performance cannot be explained by the determined physiological correlates. Moreover, it was impossible to predict the WRP of a player on the basis of BST results (r = –.15, P = .55).

Conclusions:

Neither discipline-specific performance nor basic physiological properties were appropriately reflected by a BST in elite badminton players. This does not substantiate its validity for regular use as a testing tool. However, it may be useful for monitoring on-court training sessions.

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Hyun Chul Jung, Myong Won Seo, Sukho Lee, Sung Woo Jung and Jong Kook Song

We investigated the effects of vitamin D3 supplementation on physical performance during winter training in vitamin D insufficient taekwondo athletes. Thirty-five collegiate male and female taekwondo athletes, aged 19–22 years with low serum 25(OH)D concentration (28.8 ± 1.10 nmol/L), were randomly assigned to a vitamin D group (n = 20) or a placebo group (n = 15). Subjects received either a vitamin D3 capsule (5,000 IU/day) or a placebo during 4 weeks of winter training. Blood samples were collected for analyzing serum 25(OH)D concentration. Physical performance tests included Wingate anaerobic test, isokinetic muscle strength and endurance, a countermovement jump test, sit-ups, agility test, and 20-m pacer. Serum 25(OH)D concentrations increased significantly in the vitamin D group (96.0 ± 3.77 nmol/L) after 4 weeks of supplementation, but no changes were found in the placebo group (F = 242.44, p = .000). There were significant interaction effects for anaerobic peak power (F = 7.49, p = .010) and isokinetic knee extension at 180 deg/s (F = 6.08, p = .019). Changes in serum 25(OH)D concentration were positively associated with changes in peak power and isokinetic knee extension at 180 deg/s. However, no significant interaction effects were observed in other performance variables. This study suggests that 4 weeks of vitamin D supplementation elevates serum 25(OH)D concentration to sufficient levels. Correcting vitamin D insufficiency improves some but not all aspects of performance. Thus, efficacy of vitamin D supplementation to enhance performance remains unclear.