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Bradley D. Hatfield, Calvin M. Lu, and Jo B. Zimmerman

was the “Optimization of Human Performance,” and 13 scholars who are internationally recognized leaders in kinesiology and beyond presented their views on this topic from multiple perspectives spanning the historical and philosophical to the biophysical and sports-medicine dimensions. We now present

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Mark S. Dyreson

The 2019 National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) meetings gathered an array of scholars to explore the “Optimization of Human Performance.” In the program description he sketched for the assembly, Past President Bradley Hatfield (Fellow #452) offered a very modern vision of optimal performance

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Bart Roelands and Kevin De Pauw

Human performance optimization is probably the most studied topic in sport science, as it is in other closely related areas such as rehabilitation or settings like industry and the army. In the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance ( IJSPP ), an abundance of studies appears

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John Gleaves

Human performance enhancement is one of kinesiology’s many vibrant topics for inquiry. Though philosophers in kinesiology departments have offered some contribution to this topic, this paper argues that philosophers could improve their relevance by better engaging the existing scientific research. Rather than simply defending their place at the table, this paper proposes that philosophers build upon existing contributions to the ethics of human enhancement by increasing their scientific literacy. At the same time, this paper argues that certain patterns in philosophical discussions of human enhancement do not connect with scientific researchers. The paper concludes that ultimately philosophers must become more conversant with the language of science if they are going to continue contributing to central questions within the field of kinesiology.

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KRJ Kinesiology Review 2163-0453 2161-6035 1 02 2020 9 1 10.1123/kr.2020.9.issue-1 Proceedings of the National Academy of Kinesiology’s 2019 Meeting: Optimization of Human Performance Guest Editor: Bradley D. Hatfield INTRODUCTION 10.1123/kr.2019-0065 SCHOLARLY ARTICLES 10.1123/kr.2019-0063 10

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Christian P. Cheung, Joshua T. Slysz, and Jamie F. Burr

Purpose: Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) through purposeful circulatory occlusion may enhance exercise performance. The value of IPC for improving performance is controversial owing to challenges with employing effective placebo controls. This study examines the efficacy of IPC versus a deceptive sham protocol for improving performance to determine whether benefits of IPC are attributable to true physiological effects. It was hypothesized that IPC would favorably alter performance more than a sham treatment and that physiological responses to exercise would be affected only after IPC treatment. Methods: In a randomized order, 16 participants performed incremental exercise to exhaustion on a cycle ergometer in control conditions and after sham and IPC treatments. Participants rated their belief as to the efficacy of each treatment compared with control. Results: Time to exhaustion was greatest after IPC (control = 1331 [270] s, IPC = 1429 [300] s, sham = 1343 [255] s, P = .02), despite negative performance expectations after IPC and positive expectation after sham. Maximal aerobic power remained unchanged after both SHAM and IPC (control = 42.0 [5.2], IPC = 41.7 [5.5], sham = 41.6 [5.5] mL·kg−1·min−1, P = .7), as did submaximal lactate concentration (control = 8.9 [2.6], sham = 8.0 [1.9], IPC = 7.7 [2.1] mmol, P = .1) and oxygen uptake (control = 37.8 [4.8], sham = 37.5 [5.3], IPC = 37.5 [5.5] mL·kg−1·min−1, P = .6). Conclusions: IPC before cycling exercise provides an ergogenic benefit that is not attributable to a placebo effect from positive expectation and that was not explained by traditionally suggested mechanisms.

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Tracey Devonport, Andrew Lane, and Christopher L. Fullerton

Evidence from sequential-task studies demonstrate that if the first task requires self-control, then performance on the second task is compromised (Hagger, Wood, Stiff, & Chatzisarantis, 2010). In a novel extension of previous sequential-task research, the first self-control task in the current study was a sport psychology intervention, paradoxically proposed to be associated with improved performance. Eighteen participants (9 males, 9 females; mean age = 21.6 years, SD = 1.6), none of whom had previously performed the experimental task or motor imagery, were randomly assigned to an imagery condition or a control condition. After the collection of pretest data, participants completed the same 5-week physical training program designed to enhance swimming tumble-turn performance. Results indicated that performance improved significantly among participants from both conditions with no significant intervention effect. Hence, in contrast to expected findings from application of the imagery literature, there was no additive effect after an intervention. We suggest practitioners should be cognisant of the potential effects of sequential tasks, and future research is needed to investigate this line of research.

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Andrew C. Cornett and Joel M. Stager

It has been hypothesized that large differences in maximal performance can arise between various geopolitical regions solely on the basis of differing numbers of participants in the target activity. While there is evidence in support of this hypothesis for a measure of intellectual performance, the same relationship has not been examined for a measure of physical performance.


To determine whether the number of participants is a predictor of the best athletic performance in a region.


The 2005–2010 USA Swimming Age Group Detail reports were used to determine the number of competitive swimmers participating in each age group for the 59 local swimming communities in the United States. The USA Swimming performance database provided 50-yd-freestyle times in each community for boys and girls for each age (6–19 y). Simple linear regression was used to examine the relationship between the outcome variable (fastest time) and the predictor variable (log of the number of swimmers) for each combination of age, sex, and calendar year.


The log of the number of swimmers in a region was a significant predictor of the best performance in that region for all 168 combinations of age, sex, and calendar year (P < .05) and explained, on average, 41%, and as much as 62%, of the variance in the fastest time.


These findings have important implications for the development of regional sport strategic policy. Increasing the number of participants in the target activity appears a viable strategy for improving regional performance.