Special Issue "Biological, Physiological, and Biomechanical Determinants of Human Performance Optimization"

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Physiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2023 | Viewed by 6313

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Filip Kukić
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Police Sports Education Center, Abu Dhabi 253, United Arab Emirates
Interests: applied exercise interventions; physical activity and health; physical activity behavior; body composition changes; data analysis; health promotion; tactical populations; obesity; sarcopenia; fitness
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Jay Dawes
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
Interests: tactical strength and conditioning; health and fitness; occupational health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Katie M. Heinrich
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
Interests: high-intensity functional training; applied exercise interventions; chronic disease prevention; fitness; body composition; tactical populations; group exercise behaviors; physical activity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sporting performance depends on biological and physiological processes, which in turn support the body’s ability to perform biomechanical movements. However, the degree to which each of these determinants is present during sporting performance is determined by the nature of the sport being played. Moreover, whether sporting performance is achieved to the detriment of an athlete’s health or a concomitant increased risk of injury is an ongoing debate. Occupational performance in physically demanding jobs is no different. Tactical personnel (military, police, firefighters) often carry occupational loads that impact their performance and increase their injury risk. Moreover, many tactical personnel play sport or are exposed to intensive physical training when attending training academies – both of which have been shown to increase injury risk in these personnel and pose a substantial economic burden to the military and law enforcement agencies. Conversely, a lack of physical training and sporting participation can lead to increases in body fatness and reductions in skeletal muscle mass, which in turn pose a significant burden to human performance.

To this end, the purpose of this Special Issue is to publish original, high-quality research, as well as informed narrative reviews, that focus on the performance, training, and health of persons engaging in sporting and tactical occupations and to explore injury occurrences and subsequent prevention strategies that may be applied.

We look forward to receiving contributions related, but not limited, to the following topics: (i) sporting and occupational morphology, biomechanics, and physiology; (ii) the effects of sport, exercise, and physical activity on the health, quality of life and performance of sporting and tactical persons; and iii) injury risks and prevention strategies for those participating in physical, sporting, and tactical training and activities.

Dr. Filip Kukić
Dr. Jay Dawes
Dr. Robin Orr
Prof. Dr. Katie M. Heinrich
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • human performance
  • sports performance
  • tactical task performance
  • occupational load
  • training load
  • fatigue
  • emergency first-responders
  • body composition
  • health promotion
  • neuromuscular performance
  • strength and conditioning
  • adaptation to training
  • physiological performance testing
  • physiological monitoring devices

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Article
Decline in Running Performance in Highest-Level Soccer: Analysis of the UEFA Champions League Matches
Biology 2022, 11(10), 1441; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11101441 (registering DOI) - 01 Oct 2022
Viewed by 188
Abstract
It is widely recognized that there is a decline in match running performance (MRP) towards the end of matches. To clarify whether it is primarily a consequence of fatigue, pacing or situational influences, this study aimed to examine MRP across 15-min match periods [...] Read more.
It is widely recognized that there is a decline in match running performance (MRP) towards the end of matches. To clarify whether it is primarily a consequence of fatigue, pacing or situational influences, this study aimed to examine MRP across 15-min match periods for players on different playing positions. Players’ MRP (n = 244) were examined from the UEFA Champions League matches (n = 20) using a semiautomatic optical tracking system. Linear mixed models for repeated measures were adjusted to analyze MRP over the six 15-min match periods while controlling the influence of situational factors. No effects of match outcome, match location, team, and opponent quality on total distance (TD) and high-intensity running (HIR) for players in all playing positions were found (F = 0.03–2.75; all p > 0.05). Significant differences in TD (F = 17.57–53.01; η2 = 0.39–0.52, all large effect sizes) and HIR (F = 3.67–7.64; η2 = 0.05–0.19, small to medium effect sizes) among six 15-minute match periods were found for players in all playing positions. In addition, players in all playing positions covered less TD (d = 1.41–2.15, large to very large effect sizes) and HIR (d = 0.16–0.6, trivial to medium effect sizes) in the last compared to the first 15-min match period. No differences in TD and HIR between the last two match periods in the second half were observed. This study confirmed that soccer players reduce MRP towards the end of matches, and suggest that the decline of MPR in highest-level soccer may be a consequence of pacing strategies. Full article
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Article
Effects of 6-Week Supplementation with GliSODin on Parameters of Muscle Damages, Metabolic, and Work Performance at International Level Rowers after Specific Maximal Effort
Biology 2022, 11(10), 1437; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11101437 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2022
Viewed by 227
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the effect of supplementation with plant origin superoxide dismutase (SOD), GliSODin, on parameters of muscle damage, metabolic, and work performance at international level rowers. Twenty-eight rowers were included in a randomized, double-blind study. The study was conducted during [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the effect of supplementation with plant origin superoxide dismutase (SOD), GliSODin, on parameters of muscle damage, metabolic, and work performance at international level rowers. Twenty-eight rowers were included in a randomized, double-blind study. The study was conducted during a 6-week preparation period. At the beginning of the study and after 6 weeks of the supplementation period, all rowers were tested on a rowing ergometer. Blood samples were taken from the antecubital vein before and after every ergometer testing. Muscle damage markers creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), inflammation parameters interleukin-6 (IL-6), and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured. Rowing performance was assessed by lactate level in capillary blood and power output on the rowing ergometer. After supplementation, experimental group had significantly lower CK (p = 0.049) and IL-6 (p = 0.035) before and IL-6 (p = 0.050) after exhausting exercise on ergometer. Relative change of power output at 4 mmol/L concentration of lactate in blood, considering the initial and final test, was significantly higher (p = 0.020) in the supplemented group. It was concluded that GliSODin could be considered a good supplement in preventing some deleterious effects of intensive physical activity, including inflammation and muscle damage, and consequently, to enable a better rowing performance of elite rowers. Full article
Article
Optimization of Ski Attitude for the In-Flight Aerodynamic Performance of Ski Jumping
Biology 2022, 11(9), 1362; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11091362 - 17 Sep 2022
Viewed by 281
Abstract
The control and adjustment of in-flight attitudes are critical to enlarging the flight distance of ski jumping. As one of the most important gears, the skis provide sufficient lift and drag forces for the athletes, and thus their in-flight attitudes should be optimized [...] Read more.
The control and adjustment of in-flight attitudes are critical to enlarging the flight distance of ski jumping. As one of the most important gears, the skis provide sufficient lift and drag forces for the athletes, and thus their in-flight attitudes should be optimized to improve flight performance. Here, the lift-to-drag ratio of a ski jumping ski is optimized with/without a constraint of lift capacity. The ski attitude is defined by three Eulerian angles and the resulting aerodynamic characteristics are predicted by Kriging models, which are established based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) data. The surrogated models are dynamically updated in the optimization process to ensure their accuracy. Our results find that the optimization of the lift-to-drag ratio should be constrained by a certain lift capacity to be more practical. The angle of attack of the ski dominates the optimal lift-to-drag ratio at different lift levels while the yaw and roll angles are almost independent of the constraint once the required lift coefficient surpasses 0.6. This thus suggests that the athletes should focus on the angle of attack when modifying the ski attitude in the flight, which may reduce the difficulties in their in-flight decision makings. Full article
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Article
Comparison of Individual Penalties According to Gender and Weight Categories of Elite Judo Athletes from Four World Championships
Biology 2022, 11(9), 1284; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11091284 - 29 Aug 2022
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Background: This research aimed to compare individual penalties by gender and weight categories in judo from the Judo World Championships (WC): Budapest—2017, Baku—2018, Tokyo—2019 and Budapest—2021 in all individual weight categories for females and males. Methods: Data were collected by notational analysis of [...] Read more.
Background: This research aimed to compare individual penalties by gender and weight categories in judo from the Judo World Championships (WC): Budapest—2017, Baku—2018, Tokyo—2019 and Budapest—2021 in all individual weight categories for females and males. Methods: Data were collected by notational analysis of 2041 penalty videos for females and 3473 penalty videos for males (total n = 5514). All individual penalties—Shido 1, 2, 3 and Hansoku Make (direct disqualification) were analysed by the Pearson chi-square test at the level of statistical significance of 5%. Results: Significant differences were noted in the assigned individual penalties between individual categories (p < 0.001) in both genders. The significant difference was contributed mainly by the weight category +78 kg with penalties Non-combativity (5.3) and Avoid Grip (−3.4) in females, while in males it impacted by the +100 kg weight category and the Non-combativity (4.2) and Avoid Grip (−4.0) penalties. For females, the most dominant individual penalties were Non-combativity (41.6%), Avoid Grip (16.2%) and False Attack (15.0%), and were Non-combativity (40.3%), Avoid Grip (19.5%) and False Attack (16.4%) for males. The largest number of penalties in females were in −52 kg (16.7%), −57 kg (15.9%) and +78 kg (15.2%) categories, while in males, they were −66 kg (17.2%), −73 kg (16.1%) and −90 kg (15.6%). Conclusions: The findings of this study highlight the leading penalties in all weight categories for both genders on WC to be Non-combativity, Avoid Grip and False Attack. Additionally, a new trend in heavyweight athletes with a lower number of penalties is noted. The obtained results indicate the need to pay more attention to working with competitors of all ages and genders on education to implement tactical variants, forms and means to use penalties to athletes’ advantage, especially after a possible rule change and to lower the occurrence of injuries. Full article
Article
Acute Dehydration Impairs Performance and Physiological Responses in Highly Trained Judo Athletes
Biology 2022, 11(6), 872; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11060872 - 06 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 893
Abstract
Background: The present study investigated highly trained male judo athletes and how a 5% body mass dehydration affects their judo-specific performance and physiological responses. Methods: Nine highly trained international-level male judo athletes who are weight-cyclers voluntarily participated in the study. The study had [...] Read more.
Background: The present study investigated highly trained male judo athletes and how a 5% body mass dehydration affects their judo-specific performance and physiological responses. Methods: Nine highly trained international-level male judo athletes who are weight-cyclers voluntarily participated in the study. The study had a controlled crossover design in nature. Athletes completed three sessions, including a familiarisation session and two experimental sessions (dehydration (DEHY) and control (CON)) with judo-specific tests, including maximal handgrip strength test (HGS), judogi grip strength tests (JGST), and the Special Judo Fitness Test (SJFT). Results: Intergroup analysis revealed a significant increase in urine specific gravity (USG) and decreased body mass following DEHY condition compared to CON. Furthermore, significant decreases were determined in HGS, JGSTs, and a number of throws in the first and third series of SJFTs, as well as higher heart rate (HR) responses in the second and third series of SJFT and worse SJFT index in DEHY condition (p < 0.05). Conclusions: We concluded that 5% dehydration of body mass led to impairment in dynamic and isometric strength in upper limbs and in judo-specific performance, as well as elevated HR during the SJFT. Full article
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Article
Match Running Performance in UEFA Champions League: Is There a Worthwhile Association with Team Achievement?
Biology 2022, 11(6), 867; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11060867 - 06 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
Although running performance (RP) is considered an important factor of success in soccer, there is a lack of studies to examine this issue in highest-level soccer competition, such as UEFA Champions League (UCL). Therefore, the main objective of this study was to analyse [...] Read more.
Although running performance (RP) is considered an important factor of success in soccer, there is a lack of studies to examine this issue in highest-level soccer competition, such as UEFA Champions League (UCL). Therefore, the main objective of this study was to analyse players’ RP according to the achievement of their teams in UCL. In addition, position specific RP of the players who competed in the UCL was evaluated. The players’ RPs (n = 244) were collected during UCL group stage matches (n = 20) in the 2020/21 season using semiautomatic optical system InStat Fitness. A team’s achievement was defined by qualification of the team from the group stage into the knockout stage of the UCL, and by total group points earned at the end of the UCL group stage. Linear mixed models and Pearson’s correlation were used to examine differences in players’ RP according to the achievement of their teams. Results indicated (i) similar values of RP irrespective of whether the teams qualified from the group stage into the knockout stage of the UCL, and (ii) trivial-to-small correlations between RP and total group points. Such findings show that players’ RP was poorly related to the achievement of their teams in the UCL group stage, indicating trivial influence of RP on success in elite-level soccer. Full article
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Article
Relationship between Performance and Inter-Limb Asymmetries Using Flywheel Resistance Device in Elite Youth Female Basketball Players
Biology 2022, 11(6), 812; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11060812 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
The purposes of this study were to quantify inter-limb asymmetries from unilateral jumps, change of direction (COD) speed, and flywheel resistance skill tests and to examine their relationship with physical performance in a sample of elite youth female basketball players. Eleven female basketball [...] Read more.
The purposes of this study were to quantify inter-limb asymmetries from unilateral jumps, change of direction (COD) speed, and flywheel resistance skill tests and to examine their relationship with physical performance in a sample of elite youth female basketball players. Eleven female basketball players (age = 17.56 ± 0.60 year; body mass = 75.13 ± 12.37 kg; height = 1.83 ± 0.08 m; BMI = 22.42 ± 2.28; sports experience = 6.31 ± 1.73 year; years post-peak height velocity = 4.79 ± 0.68 year) performed a battery of fitness tests in the post-season consisting of the Single Leg Countermovement Jump in vertical (SLCJ-V), horizontal (SLCJ-H), and lateral (SLCJ-L) directions, 135° and 90° COD tests, and four skills (acceleration step, deceleration step, sidestep, and crossover step) with an flywheel resistance device. The results showed significant differences between the higher performing and lower performing limbs across all tasks (p < 0.05). The mean asymmetry index values ranged from 1.26% (COD 135°) to 11.75% (SLC-V). Inter-limb asymmetries were greatest during the flywheel resistance skills. Spearman’s correlations (ρ) for all tests were only significant for inter-limb asymmetries during the sidestep test and reduced performance in SLCJ-L (ρ = −0.61; p = 0.046) and all COD deficits (ρ range = −0.72 to −0.81). The findings of the present study showed that inter-limb asymmetries are task-specific in female youth basketball players and suggest that the use of flywheel devices can be included in the battery of tests to detect inter-limb asymmetry. Full article
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Article
Effects of Maximal and Submaximal Anaerobic and Aerobic Running on Subsequent Change-of-Direction Speed Performance among Police Students
Biology 2022, 11(5), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11050767 - 18 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 623
Abstract
Change-of-direction speed (CODS) directly impacts success in sports, police, and military performance. Movements requiring CODS are often preceded by aerobic or anaerobic running. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of maximal and submaximal anaerobic and aerobic running on subsequent CODS performance. A sample [...] Read more.
Change-of-direction speed (CODS) directly impacts success in sports, police, and military performance. Movements requiring CODS are often preceded by aerobic or anaerobic running. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of maximal and submaximal anaerobic and aerobic running on subsequent CODS performance. A sample of 50 police students (42% female and 58% male) performed a maximal 300-yard shuttle run test (SR300y) and a 2.4-km Cooper test (CT2.4km) at maximal effort and also at 95, 90, 85, 80, and 75% of maximal effort. CODS was assessed using the Illinois Agility Test (IAT) immediately following each intensity level of each test at 12 separate testing sessions. To avoid fatigue, the period between each consecutive session was a minimum of 3 days. Paired samples t-tests were used to determine the differences between the two conditions (anaerobic lactic and aerobic) and for the IAT. A repeated measure analysis of variance with a Bonferroni post hoc test was used to analyze partial effects of different running intensities on the IAT. A significant reduction in speed was observed between the initial IATmax time and the IATmax time after performing the SR300y at intensities of 95, 90, 85, and 80% of maximal speed on this test. IAT performance was significantly slower when performed after the CT2.4km at 95 and 90% of maximal aerobic speed. The effects of the SR300y on the IAT were significantly greater than the effects of the CT2.4km. No significant differences were found by sex. Building up to 90% intensity, anaerobic running has a greater negative impact on subsequent CODS performance than does aerobic running. Full article
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Article
Does the Location of Shoe Upper Support on Basketball Shoes Influence Ground Reaction Force and Ankle Mechanics during Cutting Maneuvers?
Biology 2022, 11(5), 743; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11050743 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 773
Abstract
This study examined the location effect of lateral shoe upper supports on the ground reaction forces, as well as ankle kinematics and moments during the change of direction maneuvers using a statistical parametric mapping approach. University basketball athletes performed side-cuts, complete turns and [...] Read more.
This study examined the location effect of lateral shoe upper supports on the ground reaction forces, as well as ankle kinematics and moments during the change of direction maneuvers using a statistical parametric mapping approach. University basketball athletes performed side-cuts, complete turns and lateral shuffle maneuvers with their maximum-effort in four shoe conditions with varying shoe upper support locations: full-length, forefoot, rearfoot, none (control). The statistical parametric mapping repeated measures ANOVA test was applied to compare differences between the shoe conditions, followed-up with post-hoc statistical parametric mapping paired t-tests between all shoe conditions. The coronal ankle results revealed that the forefoot support shoe had a reduced eversion moment that varied between ~25–95% across all change of directions (p < 0.05). However, the forefoot upper shoe had increased ankle inversion between ~8–14% (complete turns) and ~96–100% (side-cuts and lateral shuffles), and increased inversion velocity in side-cuts than the other shoes (p < 0.05). Compared to the control, the rearfoot support shoes reduced inversion velocity in side-cut between ~78–92% (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that a forefoot upper support induced most changes in ankle mechanics during basketball cutting maneuvers, with only inversion angle in the complete turn being influenced during the initial period where ankle injury may occur. Future research should examine if these coronal ankle mechanics influence change-of-direction performance and injury risk with regular wear. Full article
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Article
Performance and Biomechanics in the Flight Period of Ski Jumping: Influence of Ski Attitude
Biology 2022, 11(5), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11050671 - 27 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 641
Abstract
The performance of ski jumping is underpinned by multi-disciplinary principles, in which the aerodynamics of the ski dominates the flying distance and affects the biomechanics of the athletes’ ankle during the flight period. Conventional research on this topic was supported by wind tunnel [...] Read more.
The performance of ski jumping is underpinned by multi-disciplinary principles, in which the aerodynamics of the ski dominates the flying distance and affects the biomechanics of the athletes’ ankle during the flight period. Conventional research on this topic was supported by wind tunnel experiments. Here, the aerodynamics of a full-scale ski jumping ski was calculated via Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methods and good agreement with experimental data was achieved. The impacts of the angle of attack, yaw angle, and roll angle on the aerodynamic performance are explained. The inclusion of yaw angle can enhance the lift generation, which originates from the formation of a tilted multi-vortex system and the induced low-pressure footprints on the upper surface of the ski. Our results thus establish a database for the aerodynamic forces and moments of the ski and the associations between our findings and the skills in ankle control are discussed. Full article
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