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Thiago Oliveira Borges, Ben Dascombe, Nicola Bullock and Aaron J. Coutts

This study aimed to profile the physiological characteristics of junior sprint kayak athletes (n = 21, VO2max 4.1 ± 0.7 L/min, training experience 2.7 ± 1.2 y) and to establish the relationship between physiological variables (VO2max, VO2 kinetics, muscle-oxygen kinetics, paddling efficiency) and sprint kayak performance. VO2max, power at VO2max, power:weight ratio, paddling efficiency, VO2 at lactate threshold, and whole-body and muscle oxygen kinetics were determined on a kayak ergometer in the laboratory. Separately, on-water time trials (TT) were completed over 200 m and 1000 m. Large to nearly perfect (−.5 to −.9) inverse relationships were found between the physiological variables and on-water TT performance across both distances. Paddling efficiency and lactate threshold shared moderate to very large correlations (−.4 to −.7) with 200- and 1000-m performance. In addition, trivial to large correlations (−.11 to −.5) were observed between muscle-oxygenation parameters, muscle and whole-body oxygen kinetics, and performance. Multiple regression showed that 88% of the unadjusted variance for the 200-m TT performance was explained by VO2max, peripheral muscle deoxygenation, and maximal aerobic power (P < .001), whereas 85% of the unadjusted variance in 1000-m TT performance was explained by VO2max and deoxyhemoglobin (P < .001). The current findings show that well-trained junior sprint kayak athletes possess a high level of relative aerobic fitness and highlight the importance of the peripheral muscle metabolism for sprint kayak performance, particularly in 200-m races, where finalists and nonfinalists are separated by very small margins. Such data highlight the relative aerobic-fitness variables that can be used as benchmarks for talent-identification programs or monitoring longitudinal athlete development. However, such approaches need further investigation.

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Tyler L. Goodale, Tim J. Gabbett, Trent Stellingwerff, Ming-Chang Tsai and Jeremy M. Sheppard

Purpose:

To investigate the physical qualities that differentiate playing minutes in international-level women’s rugby sevens players.

Methods:

Twenty-four national-level female rugby sevens players underwent measurements of anthropometry, acceleration, speed, lower- and upper-body strength, lower-body power, and aerobic fitness. Playing minutes in international competition were used to differentiate players into 2 groups, a high- or low-playing-minutes group. Playing minutes were related to team selection, which was determined by the coaching staff. Playing minutes were therefore used to differentiate performance levels.

Results:

Players in the high-playing-minutes group (≥70 min) were older (mean ± SD 24.3 ± 3.1 vs 21.2 ± 4.3 y, P = .05, effect size [ES] = 0.77 ± 0.66, 90% confidence limit) and had greater experience in a national-training-center environment (2.4 ± 0.8 vs 1.7 ± 0.9 y, P = .03, ES = 0.83 ± 0.65), faster 1600-m time (374.5 ± 20.4 vs 393.5 ± 29.8 s, P = .09, ES = –0.70 ± 0.68), and greater 1-repetition-maximum upper-body strength (bench press 68.4 ± 6.3 vs 62.2 ± 8.1 kg, P = .07, ES = 0.80 ± 0.70, and neutral-grip pull-up 84.0 ± 8.2 vs 79.1 ± 5.4 kg, P = .12, ES = 0.68 ± 0.72) than athletes who played fewer minutes. Age (rs = .59 ± ~.28), training experience (rs = .57 ± ~.29), bench press (r = .44 ± ~.36), and 1600-m time (r = –.43 ± ~.34) were significantly associated with playing minutes. Neutral-grip pull-up and bench press contributed significantly to a discriminant analysis. The average squared canonical correlation was .46. The discriminant analysis predicted 7 of 9 and 6 of 10 high- and low-playing-minutes athletes, respectively.

Conclusions:

Age, training experience, upper-body strength, and aerobic fitness differentiated athlete playing minutes in international women’s rugby sevens.

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Stanley S.C. Hui, Neil Thomas and Brian Tomlinson

Background:

The impact of physical activity, aerobic fitness, and body composition on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors in Hong Kong Chinese adults has not been previously investigated.

Methods:

The study surveyed 707 randomly selected middle-age Hong Kong Chinese by telephone for Physical Activity Rating (PAR). Three hundred and sixteen respondents (age: 45.1 ± 8.1 y) participated in subsequent aerobic fitness testing (VO2max) and CHD risk factor screening.

Results:

More than 70% of respondents did not have sufficient levels of physical activity. Fifty percent of the men and 19.5% of the women had two or more CHD risk factors. PAR correlated poorly with VO2max and CHD risk factors. VO2max showed significant associations with CHD risk factors. The adjusted odds ratios of having CHD risk factors for unfit participants ranged from 1.11 to 6.61 as compared to fit participants. Obese but fit individuals demonstrated lower odds of CHD risk factors than the obese and unfit individuals. WC was found to be a stronger predictor for CHD risk factors than BMI.

Conclusions:

The prevalence of CHD risk factors in middle-age Chinese in Hong Kong was high and was related to levels of aerobic fitness and obesity.

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Humberto M. Carvalho, Manuel J. Coelho-e-Silva, Joey C. Eisenmann and Robert M. Malina

Relationships among chronological age (CA), maturation, training experience, and body dimensions with peak oxygen uptake (VO2max) were considered in male basketball players 14–16 y of age. Data for all players included maturity status estimated as percentage of predicted adult height attained at the time of the study (Khamis-Roche protocol), years of training, body dimensions, and VO2max (incremental maximal test on a treadmill). Proportional allometric models derived from stepwise regressions were used to incorporate either CA or maturity status and to incorporate years of formal training in basketball. Estimates for size exponents (95% CI) from the separate allometric models for VO2max were height 2.16 (1.23–3.09), body mass 0.65 (0.37–0.93), and fat-free mass 0.73 (0.46–1.02). Body dimensions explained 39% to 44% of variance. The independent variables in the proportional allometric models explained 47% to 60% of variance in VO2max. Estimated maturity status (11–16% of explained variance) and training experience (7–11% of explained variance) were significant predictors with either body mass or estimated fat-free mass (P ≤ .01) but not with height. Biological maturity status and training experience in basketball had a significant contribution to VO2max via body mass and fat-free fat mass and also had an independent positive relation with aerobic performance. The results highlight the importance of considering variation associated with biological maturation in aerobic performance of late-adolescent boys.

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Neil Armstrong

For ‘The Year that Was—2015’, I have selected 2 papers which review aspects of aerobic training. Studies of pediatric aerobic training generally focus on the effects of constant intensity exercise training (CIET) programs on peak oxygen uptake (VO2). The first paper has been chosen because it provides, for the first time, both a systematic review and a meta-analysis of the efficacy of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in improving health-related fitness in adolescents. The second paper has been selected because it not only reviews both generic and sport-specific aerobic training studies of young team sport athletes, but also applies the analysis to the design of an evidence-based model of young athlete development. However, the primary reasons for highlighting these reviews is that they expose gaps in our knowledge of youth aerobic trainability, particularly between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ pediatric sport science. They also identify areas where further research and appropriate data interpretation in relation to chronological age and biological maturation are required.

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Jantine Slinger, Eric van Breda and Harm Kuipers

The article presents the current performance capacity in 11–15 year old Dutch adolescents who participated in an incremental cycle test (n = 509) and or in a shuttle run test (N = 1,198). Cycle test results increased significantly with age in both genders, also after normalization to body weight. Shuttle run test results increased significantly with age only in boys. Compared with previous data, the absolute performance capacity in the cycle tests was comparable to data from 15 years ago, whereas the performance capacity normalized to kg body weight and the shuttle run test results seem to be fairly lower compared with the former data.

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Andrew Thomas, Brian Dawson and Carmel Goodman

Purpose:

The purpose of the study was to determine the reliability of yo-yo intermittent recovery test (yo-yo) scores and their degree of association with a 20-m shuttle run (20MSR) and VO2max values.

Methods:

Subjects were elite (Australian Football League [AFL], n = 23), state-level (hockey, n = 15, and cricket, n = 27), and recreational team-sport players (n = 33). All performed a 20MSR and the yo-yo at either level 1 (recreational and state level) or level 2 (AFL). A recreational subgroup (n = 19) also performed a treadmill VO2max test.

Results:

Test–retest results found the yo-yo (levels 1 and 2) to be reliable (ICC = .86 to .95). The 20MSR and yo-yo level 1 scores correlated (P < .01) in the recreational (r = .81 to .83) and state-level groups (r = .84 to .86), and 20MSR and yo-yo level 2 scores, in the elite (r = .86) and recreational groups (r = .55 to .57). The VO2max and yo-yo level 1 scores in the recreational group correlated (P < .01, r = .87), but no association was found with yo-yo level 2 (r = .40 to .43, non significant).

Conclusions:

We conclude that level 1 (recreational and state level) and level 2 (elite) yo-yo scores were both strongly associated with 20MSR scores and VO2max (level 1: recreational subjects only). The yo-yo appears to measure aerobic fitness similarly to the 20MSR but may also be used as a field test of the ability to repeat high-intensity efforts.

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Frankie H.Y. Tan, Ted Polglaze and Brian Dawson

Purpose:

To compare the Multistage Shuttle Swim Test (MSST), Water Polo Intermittent Shuttle Test (WIST) and 5 × 200 m Incremental Swimming Test (IST) responses in elite female water polo players.

Methods:

Fourteen Australian Women’s National Water Polo Squad members performed the MSST and WIST, and 13 players from a National Water Polo League club performed the IST, MSST and WIST on separate occasions (no goalkeepers were involved). Peak heart rate, blood lactate and ratings of perceived exertion were obtained for all tests. Expired air was collected following all tests for the National League players.

Results:

The National Squad players scored significantly better (ie, distance covered) in the MSST and WIST than the National League players (effect sizes = 1.60 to 1.79, P < .001). The MSST and WIST scores were significantly correlated (r = .80 to 0.88, P < .001). The MSST scores were significantly correlated with peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak; mL·kg−1·min−1) obtained for all tests (r = .58 to 0.59, P < .05). In contrast, there were no significant correlations between the WIST scores and VO2peak obtained for any of the tests (r = .43 to 0.52, P > .05). Differences in VO2peak for the IST, MSST and WIST were nonsignificant (P > .05).

Conclusions:

The MSST and WIST can discriminate players of different competition standards. The MSST can be used to estimate a player’s aerobic fitness and peak heart rate. The WIST appears to better mimic the intermittent activity pattern of the game, but its application to female players, to assess maximal intermittent endurance swimming performance, requires further evaluation.

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Michele Caroline de Souza, Raquel Nichele de Chaves, Vitor Pires Lopes, Robert M. Malina, Rui Garganta, André Seabra and José Maia

Background:

Health benefits of physical activity (PA) and physical fitness (PF) are reasonably well established, but tracking studies of PA and PF in childhood have not ordinarily considered the role of motor coordination.

Objectives:

To compare the growth status, gross motor coordination (GMC), PA, and PF characteristics of children at 6 years of age relative to aerobic fitness (fit, unfit) and PA (active, sedentary) at 10 years.

Methods:

285 primary school children (142 girls, 143 boys) resident on the 4 main Azorean islands, Portugal, were measured annually (in the fall) from 6 to 10 years. ANOVA and t tests were computed with SPSS 17.

Results:

Children with either high aerobic fitness or with high level of PA at 10 years of age tended to have a more favorable profile at 6 years compared with those with low fitness or low activity, respectively. Children who were both fit and active at 10 years of age had a more favorable activity and fitness profile and had better GMC at 6 years compared with children who were unfit and sedentary.

Conclusions:

Results highlight the need to consider not only PA, but also PF and GMC in health promotion through the primary school years.

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Kathryn L. Weston, Nicoleta Pasecinic and Laura Basterfield

Physical fitness can be defined as a set of characteristics related to health and performance, including aerobic fitness, muscular endurance, strength and power, body composition, flexibility, balance, agility, and reaction time ( 7 , 22 ). In children and adolescents, the characteristics directly