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Rodney Negrete and Jay Brophy

Objectives:

To determine (1) correlations between isokinetic lower extremity strength and functional performance and (2) correlations among different modes of isokinetic testing.

Design and Setting:

A correlational design with 6 measures. A series of strength, power, and agility tests was performed at a hospital-based outpatient physical therapy clinic.

Participants:

A volunteer sample of 29 male and 31 female, college-age subjects participated.

Measurements:

All subjects were tested in the following isokinetic tests: reciprocal leg press, single-leg squat, and knee extension. Performance tests included single-leg hop and vertical jump and a speed/agility test.

Results:

Analysis showed isokinetic knee extension, leg press, and single-leg squat strength significantly correlated to all functional tests. There were significant correlations among the 3 different isokinetic strength measures, as well.

Conclusions:

These results suggest a significant relationship between lower extremity open and closed chain isokinetic strength and functional performance testing.

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Ro DiBrezzo, Barbara B. Shadden, Blake H. Raybon and Melissa Powers

Loss of balance and falling are critical concerns for older adults. Physical activity can improve balance and decrease the risk of falling. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a simple, low-cost exercise program for community-dwelling older adults. Sixteen senior adults were evaluated using the Senior Fitness Test for measures of functional strength, aerobic endurance, dynamic balance and agility, and flexibility. In addition, measures of height, weight, resting blood pressure, blood lipids, and cognitive function were obtained. Participants then attended a 10-week exercise class including stretching, strengthening, and balance-training exercises. At the completion of the program, significant improvements were observed in tests measuring dynamic balance and agility, lower and upper extremity strength, and upper extremity flexibility. The results indicate that exercise programs such as this are an effective, low-cost solution to improving health and factors that affect falling risk among older adults.

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Laura Capranica, Monica Tiberi, Francesco Figura and Wayne H. Osness

This study compared functional fitness scores of American and Italian older adults on the AAHPERD test battery for adults over 60 years old. Sedentary participants (N = 186, age 60–79 years) undertook the 6 AAHPERD test items: Between American and Italian men, no statistically significant difference was found for coordination and endurance. American men scored better on flexibility and strength, whereas Italian men scored better on body mass index (BMI) and agility. Between American and Italian women, no statistically significant difference was found for BMI and agility. American women scored better on coordination and endurance, whereas Italian women scored better on flexibility and strength. The data suggest that the AAHPERD test battery is an appropriate tool for assessing and comparing functional fitness levels of older adults in different societies.

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Martin G. Jorgensen, Uffe Laessoe, Carsten Hendriksen, Ole B.F. Nielsen and Per Aagaard

The aims of the current study were to examine the intrarater intersession reproducibility of the Nintendo Wii agility and stillness tests and explore the concurrent validity in relation to gold-standard force-plate analysis. Within-day intersession reproducibility was examined in 30 older adults (age 71.8 ± 5.1 yr). No systematic test–retest differences were found for the Wii stillness test; however, the Wii agility test scores differed systematically between test sessions (p < .05). The Wii stillness test yielded a test–retest ICC of .86 (95% CI 0.74–0.93), CV of 6.4%, LOA of 11.0, and LOA% of 17.9%. Likewise for the Wii agility test ICC was .73 (95% CI 0.50-0.86), CV 5.3%, LOA 1.8, and LOA% of 14.6%. Wii stillness scores correlated to force plate measures (r = .65–.82, p < .01), reflecting moderate to excellent validity. In conclusion, it appears that the Wii stillness test represents a low-cost, objective, reproducible, and valid test of undisturbed postural balance in community-dwelling older adults.

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Tamara Kramer, Barbara C.H. Huijgen, Marije T. Elferink-Gemser and Chris Visscher

Purpose:

To analyze how physical fitness (PF) improves in elite junior tennis players related to age, maturity, and performance level.

Methods:

Elite junior tennis players (n = 113 boys, n = 83 girls) divided by performance level were monitored longitudinally from U14 to U16. Maturity, upper and lower-body power, speed, and agility were measured during subsequent competitive seasons. Improvement was analyzed per sex using multilevel analysis.

Results:

PF components for boys and girls improved over age (U14-U16) (ES .53–.97). In boys, the more mature boys outscored the less mature boys in upper and lower-body power from U14-U16. In girls, high-ranked girls outscored lower-ranked girls on lower-body power, speed, and agility (U14-U16) (p < .05).

Conclusion:

Boys and girls improved on all PF components during U14-U16. In boys, power was related to maturity. In girls, lower-body power, speed, and agility were related to tennis performance. This has important implications for talent development.

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Cloe Cummins, Blake McLean, Mark Halaki and Rhonda Orr

Purpose:

To quantify the external training loads of positional groups in preseason training drills.

Methods:

Thirty-three elite rugby league players were categorized into 1 of 4 positional groups: outside backs (n = 9), adjustables (n = 9), wide-running forwards (n = 9), and hit-up forwards (n = 6). Data for 8 preseason weeks were collected using microtechnology devices. Training drills were classified based on drill focus: speed and agility, conditioning, and generic and positional skills.

Results:

Total, high-speed, and very-high-speed distance decreased across the preseason in speed and agility (moderate, small, and small, respectively), conditioning (large, large, and small) and generic skills (large, large, and large). The duration of speed and generic skills also decreased (77% and 48%, respectively). This was matched by a concomitant increase in total distance (small), high-speed running (small), very-high-speed running (moderate), and 2-dimensional (2D) BodyLoad (small) demands in positional skills. In positional skills, hit-up forwards (1240 ± 386 m) completed less very-high-speed running than outside backs (2570 ± 1331 m) and adjustables (2121 ± 1163 m). Hit-up forwards (674 ± 253 AU) experienced greater 2D BodyLoad demands than outside backs (432 ± 230 AU, P = .034). In positional drills, hit-up forwards experienced greater relative 2D BodyLoad demands than outside backs (P = .015). Conversely, outside backs experienced greater relative high- (P = .007) and very-high-speed-running (P < .001) demands than hit-up forwards.

Conclusion:

Significant differences were observed in training loads between positional groups during positional skills but not in speed and agility, conditioning, and generic skills. This work also highlights the importance of different external-load parameters to adequately quantify workload across different positional groups.

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Roberta E. Rikli and C. Jessie Jones

This article describes a nationwide study conducted to develop normative performance data for community-residing older adults. The physical parameters assessed are strength, aerobic endurance, flexibility, and agility/balance. Body mass index was also assessed as an estimate of body composition. The sample comprised 7,183 participants from 267 sites in 21 states. Summary data (M, SD, and percentiles) are reported separately for men and women in 5-year age groups. Results reveal a pattern of decline across most age groups on all variables. ANOVA and post hoc comparisons indicated a significant main effect for age on all variables and that most 5-year age-group declines were significant (p < .007). ANOVAs also revealed a significant main effect for gender on all test items (p < .0001): Men scored better on strength, aerobic endurance, and agility/balance; women scored better on flexibility. The data provide information about normal variations within and usual rates of change across age groups, and they provide a database for subsequent evaluation of individual and group performance.

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Damir Sekulic, Sasa Krstulovic, Ratko Katic and Ljerka Ostojic

In this article we compared the effects of 9 months of judo training (JT; N = 41) and recreational sports games training (SGT; N = 57) on the fitness development of 7-year-old boys. Both programs were performed three times per week. Apart from body height, body weight, and skinfold thickness (SUM2SF), changes in muscular and cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, speed, agility, and coordination were studied. Using the analysis of variance, we found no differences between the groups at study entry, but after 9 months the JT participants achieved significantly better results in the shuttle-run task to test agility, the sit-up test for abdominal muscle endurance, and the sit-and-reach test for flexibility. The JT group also maintained their SUM2SF over the 9-month period, whereas the SGT group showed a significant increase in SUM2SF. No differences were observed between the groups in coordination, flexibility of the shoulder joint, speed, endurance, body height, and body weight. In conclusion, the specialized JT allowed the participants to improve more of their fitness capacities compared with nonspecialized SGT.

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Justin Durandt, Jason C. Tee, Sebastian K. Prim and Michael I. Lambert

Purpose:

The 5-m repeat-sprint test (5-m RST) measures resistance to fatigue after repeated bouts of short-duration, high-intensity activity. This study determined the components of fitness associated with performance in 5-m RSTs.

Methods:

Speed (10-m and 40-m sprints), strength (bench press), agility, strength endurance (pull-ups and push-ups), and aerobic power (20-m shuttle-run test) were measured in male provincial- or national-level rugby (n = 110), hockey (n = 59), and soccer (n = 55) players.

Results:

Subjects with either high (HI) or low (LO) resistance to fatigue in the 5-m RST differed in body mass (76.9 ± 11.6 kg vs 102.1 ± 18.9 kg, HI vs LO, respectively, P < .001), agility (14.55 ± 0.41 seconds vs 15.56 ± 0.30 seconds, P < .001), bench press (86 ± 20 kg vs 114 ± 33 kg, P = .03), pull-ups (13 ± 4 vs 8 ± 5, P = .02), push-ups (56 ± 12 vs 39 ± 13, P = .002), and 20-m shuttle-run test (20-m SRT; 133 ± 11 vs 87 ± 12 shuttles, P < .001). Body mass, strength, and aerobic power were the best predictors of 5-m RST performance: 5-m RST = –1.274(mass) + 0.756(1RM bench press) + 2.053(number of 20-m SRT shuttles) + 549.409 (R 2 = .66).

Conclusions:

Performance in the 5-m RST is predicted best by a combination of factors including body mass, strength, and aerobic ability, rather than by any single component of fitness.

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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.