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Special Issue "Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, Universidad de León, 24004 Leon, Spain
Interests: racket sports; maturation and performance; injury prevention; neuromuscular training
Prof. Dr. Urs Granacher
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Training and Movement Sciences, University of Potsdam, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
Interests: postural control, muscle strength, resistance training, youth
Dr. Manuel Moya-Ramon
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sports Science, Miguel Hernández University of Elche, 03202 Elche, Spain
Interests: monitoring training loads; heart rate variability; youth athletes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The main purpose of the training process is not only to achieve a high level of success in the sport, but also to induce physical adaptations that enhance sport-specific skills and health. In this regard, the manipulation of training and exercise parameters (e.g., volume, intensity, density) are key factors to maximize training adaptations and physical performance. In order to achieve high levels of success, coaches and strength and conditioning coaches should correctly monitor these loads, which should be carefully planned for the optimization of athletic performance and health. Moreover, since the athlete and/or practitioner is a unique individual, it should be relevant to focus on individual responses rather than only on the group’s results, since this approach could result in missing important individual responses.  

Thus, the aim of this Special issue entitled “Physical fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention” is to provide in-depth knowledge in the form of original work, review articles, and meta-analyses on the effects and effectiveness to different training and exercise methods, considered together with the importance of considering an individualized approach in training and exercise. A special emphasis will be placed on athletic performance, gender, and injury prevention in youth athletes during the different stages of maturation.

Prof. Dr. Jaime Fernandez-Fernandez
Prof. Dr. Urs Granacher
Dr. Manuel Moya-Ramon
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • physical activity and health
  • physical fitness
  • training and injury prevention
  • youth athletes

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Gender Differences in Physical Fitness Characteristics in Professional Padel Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115967 - 02 Jun 2021
Viewed by 866
Abstract
The aims of the present study were to examine the fitness characteristics of professional padel players and to determine differences in physical performance regarding players’ gender. Thirty professional padel players (men: n = 15, age = 27.4 ± 6.8 years, height = 177.9 [...] Read more.
The aims of the present study were to examine the fitness characteristics of professional padel players and to determine differences in physical performance regarding players’ gender. Thirty professional padel players (men: n = 15, age = 27.4 ± 6.8 years, height = 177.9 ± 4.0 cm; women: n = 15, age = 30.0 ± 4.2 years, height = 166.6 ± 4.8 cm) completed a 4-day evaluation process, including: isometric handgrip strength, sit and reach, 10 × 5 shuttle test, countermovement jump (CMJ), squat jump (SJ), Abalakov test, one-repetition maximum test (bench press, leg extension, leg curl, lat pulldowns, overhead press, and shoulder press), anthropometry and VO2 max tests. The men players had higher values in terms of weight, height, one maximum repetition, jump tests (CMJ and ABK) and VO2 max test than the women (p < 0.005). By contrast, the women had higher values for fat mass (p = 0.005; ES: 2.49). The values from this multifaceted test battery can be a useful guide for coaches regarding players’ development in future evaluations and monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Changes in the Trunk and Lower Extremity Kinematics Due to Fatigue Can Predispose to Chronic Injuries in Cycling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3719; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073719 - 02 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1669
Abstract
Kinematic analysis of the cycling position is a determining factor in injury prevention and optimal performance. Fatigue caused by high volume training can alter the kinematics of the lower body and spinal structures, thus increasing the risk of chronic injury. However, very few [...] Read more.
Kinematic analysis of the cycling position is a determining factor in injury prevention and optimal performance. Fatigue caused by high volume training can alter the kinematics of the lower body and spinal structures, thus increasing the risk of chronic injury. However, very few studies have established relationships between fatigue and postural change, being these in 2D analysis or incremental intensity protocols. Therefore, this study aimed to perform a 3D kinematic analysis of pedaling technique in a stable power fatigue protocol 23 amateur cyclists (28.3 ± 8.4 years) participated in this study. For this purpose, 3D kinematics in hip, knee, ankle, and lumbar joints, and thorax and pelvis were collected at three separate times during the protocol. Kinematic differences at the beginning, middle, and end of the protocol were analyzed for all joints using one-dimensional statistical parametric mapping. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were found in all the joints studied, but not all of them occur in the same planes or the same phase of the cycle. Some of the changes produced, such as greater lumbar and thoracic flexion, greater thoracic and pelvic tilt, or greater hip adduction, could lead to chronic knee and lumbar injuries. Therefore, bike fitting protocols should be carried out in fatigue situations to detect risk factor situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
The Effect of Autoregulated Flywheel and Traditional Strength Training on Training Load Progression and Motor Skill Performance in Youth Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073479 - 27 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Background: The effects of flywheel resistance training (FRT) on youth are relatively unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of autoregulated FRT with traditional strength training (TST) on jumping, running performance and resistance training load progression in youth athletes. [...] Read more.
Background: The effects of flywheel resistance training (FRT) on youth are relatively unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of autoregulated FRT with traditional strength training (TST) on jumping, running performance and resistance training load progression in youth athletes. Thirty youth athletes (11.8 ± 0.9 yr) were matched for peak height velocity (PHV) status and block-randomised into two groups: FRT (n = 15, PHV −0.8 ± 1.6) and TST (n = 15, PHV −0.8 ± 1.5). Twelve resistance training sessions over a six-week intervention with flywheel or barbell squats were performed using autoregulated load prescription. Squat jump (SJ); countermovement jump (CMJ); and 10 m, 20 m and 30 m sprints were assessed pre- and post-intervention. The external load increased similarly for FRT and TST (z = 3.8, p = 0.06). SJ increased for both groups (p < 0.05) but running performance was unaffected (p > 0.05). Conclusions: FRT resulted in similar load progression and motor skill development in youth athletes as TST, but the perceived exertion was less. Autoregulation is a practical method for adjusting training load during FRT and should be considered as an alternative to autoregulated TST. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Curve Sprint in Elite Female Soccer Players: Relationship with Linear Sprint and Jump Performance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052306 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 921
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the associations between linear sprint, curve sprint (CS), change of direction (COD) speed, and jump performance in a sample of 17 professional female soccer players. All athletes performed squat and countermovement jumps, single leg horizontal [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to examine the associations between linear sprint, curve sprint (CS), change of direction (COD) speed, and jump performance in a sample of 17 professional female soccer players. All athletes performed squat and countermovement jumps, single leg horizontal triple jumps, 17 m linear sprints, CS tests, and a 17 m Zigzag COD test. A Pearson product–moment test was performed to determine the relationships among the assessed variables. The significance level was set at p < 0.05. Nearly perfect associations (r > 0.9) were found between linear and CS velocities. Players faster in linear sprints and CS exhibited greater COD deficits. No significant associations were found between COD deficit and either body mass or sprint momentum. Jumping ability was significantly correlated with linear sprint and CS performance, but not to COD performance. These findings may be used by coaches and practitioners to guide testing and training prescriptions in this population. The associations observed here suggest that training methods designed to improve linear sprint and CS velocities may benefit from the implementation of vertically and horizontally oriented plyometric exercises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Internal and External Training Load in Under-19 versus Professional Soccer Players during the In-Season Period
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020558 - 11 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1202
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the training load of a professional under-19 soccer team (U-19) to that of an elite adult team (EAT), from the same club, during the in-season period. Thirty-nine healthy soccer players were involved (EAT [n = 20]; U-19 [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the training load of a professional under-19 soccer team (U-19) to that of an elite adult team (EAT), from the same club, during the in-season period. Thirty-nine healthy soccer players were involved (EAT [n = 20]; U-19 [n = 19]) in the study which spanned four weeks. Training load (TL) was monitored as external TL, using a global positioning system (GPS), and internal TL, using a rating of perceived exertion (RPE). TL data were recorded after each training session. During soccer matches, players’ RPEs were recorded. The internal TL was quantified daily by means of the session rating of perceived exertion (session-RPE) using Borg’s 0–10 scale. For GPS data, the selected running speed intensities (over 0.5 s time intervals) were 12–15.9 km/h; 16–19.9 km/h; 20–24.9 km/h; >25 km/h (sprint). Distances covered between 16 and 19.9 km/h, > 20 km/h and >25 km/h were significantly higher in U-19 compared to EAT over the course of the study (p = 0.023, d = 0.243, small; p = 0.016, d = 0.298, small; and p = 0.001, d = 0.564, small, respectively). EAT players performed significantly fewer sprints per week compared to U-19 players (p = 0.002, d = 0.526, small). RPE was significantly higher in U-19 compared to EAT (p = 0.001, d = 0.188, trivial). The external and internal measures of TL were significantly higher in the U-19 group compared to the EAT soccer players. In conclusion, the results obtained show that the training load is greater in U19 compared to EAT. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
Article
Are Early or Late Maturers Likely to Be Fitter in the General Population?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020497 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1099
Abstract
The present study aims to identify the optimal body-size/shape and maturity characteristics associated with superior fitness test performances having controlled for body-size, sex, and chronological-age differences. The sample consisted of 597 Tunisian children (396 boys and 201 girls) aged 8 to 15 years. [...] Read more.
The present study aims to identify the optimal body-size/shape and maturity characteristics associated with superior fitness test performances having controlled for body-size, sex, and chronological-age differences. The sample consisted of 597 Tunisian children (396 boys and 201 girls) aged 8 to 15 years. Three sprint speeds recorded at 10, 20 and 30 m; two vertical and two horizontal jump tests; a change-of-direction and a handgrip-strength tests, were assessed during physical-education classes. Allometric modelling was used to identify the benefit of being an early or late maturer. Findings showed that being tall and light is the ideal shape to be successful at most physical fitness tests, but the height-to-weight “shape” ratio seems to be test-dependent. Having controlled for body-size/shape, sex, and chronological age, the model identified maturity-offset as an additional predictor. Boys who go earlier/younger through peak-height-velocity (PHV) outperform those who go at a later/older age. However, most of the girls’ physical-fitness tests peaked at the age at PHV and decline thereafter. Girls whose age at PHV was near the middle of the age range would appear to have an advantage compared to early or late maturers. These findings have important implications for talent scouts and coaches wishing to recruit children into their sports/athletic clubs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Within-Session Sequence of the Tennis Serve Training in Youth Elite Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010244 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
The influence of muscular fatigue on tennis serve performance within regular training sessions is unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the within-session sequence of the tennis serve in youth tennis. Twenty-five young male (14.9 ± 0.9 years) and [...] Read more.
The influence of muscular fatigue on tennis serve performance within regular training sessions is unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine the within-session sequence of the tennis serve in youth tennis. Twenty-five young male (14.9 ± 0.9 years) and female (14.5 ± 0.9 years) players participated in this within-subject crossover study, and they were randomly but sex-matched assigned to different training sequences (serve exercise before tennis training (BTS) or after tennis training (ATS)). Pre- and post-tests included serve velocity performance and accuracy, shoulder strength, and range-of-motion (ROM) performance (internal/external rotation). Results showed that after one week of serve training conducted following the ATS sequence, significant decreases were found in serve performance (e.g., speed and accuracy), with standardized differences ranging from d = 0.29 to 1.13, as well as the shoulder function (strength [d = 0.20 to 1.0] and ROM [d = 0.17 to 0.31]) in both female and male players, compared to the BTS sequence. Based on the present findings, it appears more effective to implement serve training before the regular tennis training in youth players. If applied after training, excessive levels of fatigue may cause shoulder imbalances that could be related to an increased injury risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Change-of-Direction Performance in Elite Soccer Players: Preliminary Analysis According to Their Playing Positions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8360; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228360 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Our objective was to examine the relationship between change of direction (CoD) performance, with (CoDb), and without the ball (CoDwb), and selected measures of physical fitness (jump performance, speed, balance) in elite soccer players, according to players’ positions. Forty elite male soccer players [...] Read more.
Our objective was to examine the relationship between change of direction (CoD) performance, with (CoDb), and without the ball (CoDwb), and selected measures of physical fitness (jump performance, speed, balance) in elite soccer players, according to players’ positions. Forty elite male soccer players performed the change-of-direction and acceleration test (CODAT) with (CODATb), and without the ball (CODATwb), 5- and 20-m sprint tests, the 5-jump test (5JT), and the Y-balance test (YBT). Analyses of the whole sample showed significant correlations between all CODAT measures (CODATwb and CODATb, respectively) and sprint 5-m (r = 0.72, p < 0.001; r = 0.52, p < 0.01), sprint 20-m (r = 0.54, p < 0.03; r = 0.45, p < 0.05), jump (r = −0.62, p < 0.01; r = −0.64, p < 0.01) and balance (r = −0.50, p < 0.01; r = −0.83, p < 0.001) performances. Correlations were significantly different between player positions (defender, midfielder and striker). When examining the entire sample, the single best predictor of CODATwb was performance in the 5-m test with an explained variance of 52% (p < 0.001). For CODATb, the Y-balance performance explained 68% of the variance of performance (p < 0.001). In conclusion, soccer coaches and fitness trainers are advised to improve players’ CoD using neuromuscular training that mimic crucial match actions. Meanwhile, CoD testing and training should be designed in line with the demands of playing position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Effects of a 12-Week Change-of-Direction Sprints Training Program on Selected Physical and Physiological Parameters in Professional Basketball Male Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17218214 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
Multidirectional repeated sprints with quick changes-of-direction (CoD) are considered a key performance determinant in basketball. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a 12-week CoD sprint training program compared to regular basketball training on selected measures of physical fitness [...] Read more.
Multidirectional repeated sprints with quick changes-of-direction (CoD) are considered a key performance determinant in basketball. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a 12-week CoD sprint training program compared to regular basketball training on selected measures of physical fitness and physiological adaptations in male basketball players. Sixteen professional basketball players were randomly assigned to an intervention group (INT = 8) or an active control group (CON = 8). INT completed a 12-week CoD sprint training program with two sessions per week while CON continued their regular training. Training volume was similar between groups. Before and after the intervention, the two groups were evaluated for the repeated sprint ability test with CoD (IRSA5COD), the squat jump (SJ) and countermovement jump (CMJ) test, the five time-jump test (FJT) and change of direction t-test. Blood samples were taken before the beginning of the experimental protocol, after 4, 8 and 12 weeks to monitor the testosterone/cortisol ratio (T/C). For t-test, post-hoc tests revealed significant pre-to-post improvements for INT (3.4%; p = 0.001, ES = 0.91). For CMJ, post-hoc tests revealed a significant pre-to-post decrease for INT (−11.6%; p = 0.001, ES = 0.94), and a significant improvement for CON (4.96%; p = 0.014, ES = 0.60). For T/C ratio, post-hoc tests revealed a significant decrease after 12 weeks of training for INT (52.3%; p < 0.001; ES = 0.63). In conclusion, twelve weeks of CoD sprint training enhanced CoD performance but negatively affected vertical jump capacity in male basketball players. T/C ratio indicated that the physiological demands associated with INT were well-balanced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Seasonal Changes in Anthropometry, Body Composition, and Physical Fitness and the Relationships with Sporting Success in Young Sub-Elite Judo Athletes: An Exploratory Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7169; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197169 - 30 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 962
Abstract
This exploratory study aimed to monitor long-term seasonal developments in measures of anthropometry, body composition, and physical fitness in young judo athletes, and to compute associations between these measures and sporting success. Forty-four young judoka (20 females, 24 males) volunteered to participate. Tests [...] Read more.
This exploratory study aimed to monitor long-term seasonal developments in measures of anthropometry, body composition, and physical fitness in young judo athletes, and to compute associations between these measures and sporting success. Forty-four young judoka (20 females, 24 males) volunteered to participate. Tests for the assessment of anthropometry (e.g., body height/mass), body-composition (e.g., lean body mass), muscle strength (isometric handgrip strength), vertical jumping (e.g., countermovement-jump (CMJ) height), and dynamic balance (Y-balance test) were conducted at the beginning and end of a 10-month training season. Additionally, sporting success at the end of the season was recorded for each athlete. Analyses revealed significant time × sex interaction effects for lean-body-mass, isometric handgrip strength, and CMJ height (0.7 ≤ d ≤ 1.6). Post-hoc analyses showed larger gains for all measures in young males (1.9 ≤ d ≤6.0) compared with females (d = 2.4) across the season. Additionally, significant increases in body height and mass as well as Y-balance test scores were found from pre-to-post-test (1.2 ≤ d ≤4.3), irrespective of sex. Further, non-significant small-to-moderate-sized correlations were identified between changes in anthropometry/body composition/physical fitness and sporting success (p > 0.05; −0.34 ≤ ρ ≤ 0.32). Regression analysis confirmed that no model significantly predicted sporting success. Ten months of judo training and/or growth/maturation contributed to significant changes in anthropometry, body composition, and physical fitness, particularly in young male judo athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Article
Strength Conditioning Program to Prevent Adductor Muscle Strains in Football: Does it Really Help Professional Football Players?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176408 - 02 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1759
Abstract
Coaches at the professional level are often concerned about negative side effects from testing and intensive resistance training periods, and they are not willing to base their training prescriptions on data obtained from semiprofessional or amateur football players. Consequently, the purpose of this [...] Read more.
Coaches at the professional level are often concerned about negative side effects from testing and intensive resistance training periods, and they are not willing to base their training prescriptions on data obtained from semiprofessional or amateur football players. Consequently, the purpose of this study was to analyze the reliability and effectiveness of two adductor injury active prevention programs using the adductor/abductor ratio and deficit between legs, on the basis of adduction–abduction power output during the exercises proposed, in professional football players. Forty-eight professional football players undertook complementary strength training for the adductor and abductor muscles in their dominant and non-dominant legs, once or twice a week throughout the playing season. The volume of the session was determined by the adductor/abductor ratio and the deficit between legs in the last session training measured. The number and severity of muscle injuries per 1000 h of exposure were recorded. Both prevention programs showed a very low rate of adductor injury (0.27 and 0.07 injuries/1000 h) with mild-to-moderate severity, maintaining a balance in percentage asymmetry between dominant and non-dominant legs for adductor (10.37%) and in the adductor/abductor ratio (0.92) in top professional football players throughout the season. The strength conditioning program proposed can help to prevent adductor muscle injuries in top professional football players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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Review

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Review
Back Problems: Pros and Cons of Core Strengthening Exercises as a Part of Athlete Training
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105400 - 18 May 2021
Viewed by 812
Abstract
While competitive training is usually associated with the prevalence of back pain and injuries in athletes, little attention is being paid to the positive effects of sport-specific exercises on core musculature in the prevention of back problems. This scoping review aims (i) to [...] Read more.
While competitive training is usually associated with the prevalence of back pain and injuries in athletes, little attention is being paid to the positive effects of sport-specific exercises on core musculature in the prevention of back problems. This scoping review aims (i) to map the literature that addresses the effects on reduction of back problems following athlete training with differing demands on the core musculature and (ii) to identify gaps in the existing literature and propose future research on this topic. The main literature search was conducted on the MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases and was completed on Elsevier, SpringerLink, and Google Scholar. A total of 21 research articles met the inclusion criteria. The findings of 17 studies identified that core strengthening and core stabilization exercises, alone or in combination with athlete training, contribute to the reduction of back pain in athletes, whereas only four studies revealed no significant association of core muscle strength and/or endurance with back problems. Nevertheless, more research is warranted to elucidate the pros and cons of purely sport-specific training with differing demands on the core musculature on back health in athletes. This could help us to design prevention strategies specifically tailored to individual athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Fitness and Sport Sciences: Training and Injury Prevention)
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