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Michael Doherty

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of acute caffeine ingestion on the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit (MAOD) and short-term running performance. Nine well-trained males performed a preliminary assessment and. at least 4 days later, a supramaximal run to exhaustion. Their VO2max values were determined, and the MAOD test at an exercise intensity equivalent to 125% VO2max was performed. Caffeine (5 mg ⋅ kg−1) or placebo was administered 1 hr prior to the MAOD in a double-blind, randomized cross-over study. In comparison to the placebo condition, subjects in the caffeine condition developed a significantly greater MAOD and increased their run lime to exhaustion. However, posl-MAOD blood lactate concentration ([HLa]) was not different between trials for caffeine and placebo. Caffeine ingestion can be an effective ergogenic aid for short-term, supramaximal running performance and can increase MAOD. However, these results do not appear to be related to an increased [HLa).

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Jeni R. McNeal, William A. Sands and Michael H. Stone

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a maximal repeated-jumps task on force production, muscle activation and kinematics, and to determine if changes in performance were dependent on gender.

Methods:

Eleven male and nine female athletes performed continuous countermovement jumps for 60 s on a force platform while muscle activation was assessed using surface electromyography. Performances were videotaped and digitized (60 Hz). Data were averaged across three jumps in 10-s intervals from the initial jump to the final 10 s of the test.

Results:

No interaction between time and gender was evident for any variable; therefore, all results represent data collapsed across gender. Preactivation magnitude decreased across time periods for anterior tibialis (AT, P < .001), gastrocnemius (GAS, P < .001) and biceps femoris (BF, P = .03), but not for vastus lateralis (VL, P = .16). Muscle activation during ground contact did not change across time for BF; however, VL, G, and AT showed significant reductions (all P < .001). Peak force was reduced at 40 s compared with the initial jumps, and continued to be reduced at 50 and 60 s (all P < .05). The time from peak force to takeoff was greater at 50 and 60 s compared with the initial jumps (P < .05). Both knee fexion and ankle dorsifexion were reduced across time (both P < .001), whereas no change in relative hip angle was evident (P = .10). Absolute angle of the trunk increased with time (P < .001), whereas the absolute angle of the shank decreased (P < .001).

Conclusions:

In response to the fatiguing task, subjects reduced muscle activation and force production and altered jumping technique; however, these changes were not dependent on gender.

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Jairus J. Quesnele, Michelle A. Laframboise, Jessica J. Wong, Peter Kim and Greg D. Wells

Purpose:

To critically review the methodological quality and synthesize information from systematic reviews and high quality studies on the effects of beta alanine (BA) on exercise and athletic performance.

Methods:

A search strategy was developed in accordance with the standards for the reporting of scientific literature via systematic reviews. Five databases were thoroughly searched from inception to November 2012. Inclusion criteria were English language, human studies, used BA to increase exercise or athletic performance, systematic reviews or randomized controlled trials and were published in a peer-reviewed journal. Included studies were systematically graded for their methodological quality by rotating pairs of reviewers and the results were qualitatively synthesized.

Results:

One systematic review and 19 randomized trials were included in this review. There is one systematic review with several methodological weaknesses that limit the confidence in its results. There are moderate to high quality studies that appear to support that BA may increase power output and working capacity, decrease the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, and have of positive effect on body composition and carnosine content. The reporting of side effects from BA supplementation in the athletic population was generally under-reported.

Conclusions:

There appears to be some evidence from this review that supplementation with BA may increase athletic performance. However, there is insufficient evidence examining the safety of BA supplementation and its side effects. It is therefore recommended to err on the side of caution in using BA as an ergogenic aid until there is sufficient evidence confirming its safety.

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Thomas A. Haugen, Espen Tønnessen and Stephen Seiler

Purpose:

To compare sprint and countermovement-jump (CMJ) performance among competitive soccer players as a function of performance level, field position, and age. In addition, the authors wanted to quantify the evolution of these physical characteristics among professional players over a 15-y period.

Methods:

939 athletes (22.1 ± 4.3 y), including national-team players, tested 40-m sprint with electronic timing and CMJ on a force platform at the Norwegian Olympic Training Center between 1995 and 2010.

Results:

National-team and 1st-division players were faster (P < .05) than 2nd-division (1.0–1.4%), 3rd- to 5th-division (3.0–3.8%), junior national-team (1.7–2.2%), and junior players (2.8–3.7%). Forwards were faster than defenders (1.4%), midfielders (2.5%), and goalkeepers (3.2%) over 0–20 m (P < .001). Midfielders jumped ~2.0 cm lower than the other playing positions (P < .05). Sprinting velocity peaked in the age range 20–28 y and declined significantly thereafter (P < .05). Players from 2006–2010 had 1–2% faster 0–20 m and peak velocity than players from the 1995–1999 and 2000–2005 epochs, whereas no differences in CMJ performance were observed.

Conclusions:

This study provides effect-magnitude estimates for the influence of performance level, position, and age on sprint and CMJ performance in soccer. While CMJ performance has remained stable over the time, there has been a small but positive development in sprinting velocity among professional players.

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Matthew Weston, Warren Gregson, Carlo Castagna, Simon Breivik, Franco M. Impellizzeri and Ric J. Lovell

Athlete case studies have often focused on the training outcome and not the training process. Consequently, there is a dearth of information detailing longitudinal training protocols, yet it is the combined assessment of both outcome and process that enhances the interpretation of physical test data. We were provided with a unique opportunity to assess the training load, physical match performance, and physiological fitness of an elite soccer referee from the referee’s final season before attaining full-time, professional status (2002) until the season when he refereed the 2010 UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup finals. An increased focus on on-field speed and gym-based strength training was observed toward the end of the study period and longitudinal match data showed a tendency for decreased total distances but an increased intensity of movements. Laboratory assessments demonstrated that VO2max remained stable (52.3 vs 50.8 mL-kg–1-min–1), whereas running speed at the lactate threshold (14.0 vs 12.0 km-h-1) and running economy (37.3 vs 43.4 mLkg–1min–1) both improved in 2010 compared with 2002.

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James C. Martin, Christopher J. Davidson and Eric R. Pardyjak

Sprint-cycling performance is paramount to competitive success in over half the world-championship and Olympic races in the sport of cycling. This review examines the current knowledge behind the interaction of propulsive and resistive forces that determine sprint performance. Because of recent innovation in field power-measuring devices, actual data from both elite track- and road-cycling sprint performances provide additional insight into key performance determinants and allow for the construction of complex models of sprint-cycling performance suitable for forward integration. Modeling of various strategic scenarios using a variety of field and laboratory data can highlight the relative value for certain tactically driven choices during competition.

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Trent Stellingwerff

This case study features an Olympic-level female middle-distance runner implementing a science-based approach to body composition periodization. Data are emerging to suggest that it is not sustainable from a health and/or performance perspective to be at peak body composition year-round, so body composition needs to be strategically periodized. Anthropometric (n = 44), hematological, other health measures, and 1,500-m race performances (n = 83) were periodically assessed throughout a 9-year career. General preparation phase (September to April) featured the athlete at ∼2–4% over ideal competition phase body weight (BW) and body fat (%), with optimal energy availability being prioritized. The competition body composition optimization phase (May to August) included creating an individualized time frame and caloric deficit with various feedback metrics (BW, performance, and hunger) to guide the process. There were significant seasonal fluctuations in anthropometric outcomes between phases (47.3 ± 0.8 vs. 48.3 ± 0.9 kg BW; 53.6 ± 7.8 vs. 61.6 ± 9.7 mm International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry sum of 8 [So8] skinfolds; p < .01), and a significant correlation of decreasing So8 during the peak competition period over her career (r = −.838; p = .018). The range of body composition during the competition period was 46.0–48.0 kg BW and a So8 range was 42.0–55.9 mm. There were also significant positive correlations between slower 1,500-m race times and increasing So8 (r = .437; p < .01), estimated fat mass (r = .445; p < .01), and BW (r = .511; p < .0001). The athlete only had two career injuries. This case study demonstrates a body composition periodization approach that allowed for targeted peak yearly performances, which improved throughout her career, while maximizing training adaptation and long-term athlete health through optimal energy availability.

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Hamdi Jaafar, Majdi Rouis, Elvis Attiogbé, Henry Vandewalle and Tarak Driss

Purpose:

To verify the hypothesis that the peak power (PP) of a Wingate test (WT) is an underestimation of maximal power (Pmax) computed from the force–velocity test (FVT), to examine possible fatigue effect on Pmax, and to investigate the effect of load on mean power (MP) and fatigue index (FI) during a WT in trained and recreational men.

Methods:

Ten recreational (22.9 ± 1.7 y, 1.81 ± 0.06 m, 73.3 ± 10.4 kg) and 10 highly trained subjects (22.7 ± 1.4 y, 1.85 ± 0.05 m, 78.9 ± 6.6 kg) performed 2 WTs with 2 loads (8.7% and 11% of body mass [BM]) and an FVT on the same cycle ergometer, in randomized order.

Results:

Optimal load was equal to 10% BM in recreational participants. Given the quadratic relationship between load and power, the underestimation of Pmax was lower than 10% for the average values of trained and recreational participants with both loads. However, PP with a load equal to 8.7% BM was a large underestimation (~30%) of Pmax in the most powerful individuals. In addition, PP was not greater than Pmax of FVT for the same load. FI was independent of the load only if it was expressed relative to PP. The optimal load for MP during WT was close to the optimal load for PP.

Conclusions:

The optimal load for WT performance should be approximately equal to 10% BM in recreational subjects. In powerful subjects, the FVT appears to be more appropriate in assessing maximal power, and loads higher than 11% BM should be verified for the WT.

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Martin Aedma, Saima Timpmann and Vahur Ööpik

Purpose:

Peak power (PP) and mean power (MP) attained in upper body sprint performance test are considered important factors for competitive success in wrestling. This study aimed to determine whether acute caffeine ingestion would better maintain PP and MP across a simulated competition day in wrestling.

Methods:

In a double-blind, counterbalanced, crossover study, 14 trained wrestlers ingested either placebo or 5 mg/kg caffeine and completed four 6-min upper body intermittent sprint performance tests with 30-min recovery periods between consecutive tests. PP and MP were recorded during and blood lactate concentration was measured before and after each test. Ratings of perceived fatigue (RPF) and exertion (RPE) were recorded before and after each test, respectively. Heart rate (HR) was monitored across the whole testing period.

Results:

Mean power decreased across four tests in both trials (p < .05), but the reduction in PP (from 277.2 ± 34.6 W to 257.3 ± 45.1 W; p < .05) only occurred in caffeine trial. Both pretest blood lactate concentration and HR were higher in caffeine than in placebo trial (p < .05) in the third and fourth tests. No between-trial differences occurred in RPF or RPE.

Conclusions:

Under simulated competition day conditions mimicking four consecutive wrestling matches, acute caffeine ingestion has a partially detrimental effect on upper body intermittent sprint performance in trained wrestlers. Elevated HR and blood lactate levels observed between tests after caffeine ingestion suggest that caffeine may impair recovery between consecutive maximal efforts.

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Avery D. Faigenbaum, Jie Kang, James McFarland, Jason M. Bloom, James Magnatta, Nicholas A. Ratamess and Jay R. Hoffman

Although pre-event static stretching (SS) is an accepted practice in most youth programs, pre-event dynamic exercise (DY) is becoming popular. The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of pre-event SS, DY, and combined SS and DY (SDY) on vertical jump (VJ), medicine-ball toss (MB), 10-yard sprint (SP), and pro-agility shuttle run (AG) in teenage athletes (15.5 ± 0.9 years). Thirty athletes participated in three testing sessions in random order on three nonconsecutive days. Before testing, participants performed 5 min of walking/jogging followed by one of the following 10 min warm-up protocols: a) five static stretches (2 × 30 s), b) nine moderate-to-high-intensity dynamic movements (2 × 10 yards), or c) five static stretches (1 × 30 s) followed by the same nine dynamic movements (1 × 10 yards). Statistical analysis of the data revealed that performance on the VJ, MB, and SP were significantly (p < .05) improved after DY and SDY as compared with SS. There were no significant differences in AG after the 3 warm-up treatments. The results of this study indicate that pre-event dynamic exercise or static stretching followed by dynamic exercise might be more beneficial than pre-event static stretching alone in teenage athletes who perform power activities.