Special Issue "Health, Exercise and Sports Performance"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Daniel Almeida Marinho
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: health fitness and exercise; sports biomechanics; exercise physiology; resistance training; strength training; concurrent training; performance assessment; strength and conditioning; physical fitness; exercise evaluation; exercise prescription; swimming; water aerobics; warm-up procedures; recovery procedures
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Henrique Pereira Neiva
Website SciProfiles
Guest Editor
Department of Sport Sciences, University of Beira Interior, 6201-001 Covilhã, Portugal
Interests: strength and conditioning; health fitness and exercise; sports biomechanics; exercise physiology; resistance training; strength training; concurrent training; performance assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

From the beginning of the century, health fitness and exercise have become emerging topics in research. On a regular basis, sports-related professionals require the support of evidence-based knowledge to satisfactorily respond to an increasingly demanding population. Physical exercise is strongly linked to physiological variables, which are dependent on biomechanical profiles and motor strategies. Improvements, even considered marginal, in these features can lead to a significant final improvement. There is a need to better understand dose–response patterns to exercise challenges and to find strategies to enhance health and human performance (e.g., understand the response to different sports, design exercise programs, warm-ups, recovery techniques). There seems to exist a common ground for different exercise programs, and performance appears as the ultimate purpose for any physical activity participant. Everyone aspires to improve, meeting their final goals and consequently enhancing their performance. So, a deeper look at the dose–response effects in different populations and at how to design effective and efficient exercise programs for health and sports improvement is needed. For this Special Issue, we invite submissions that analyze physical exercise on the basis of physiological and biomechanical motor control and strength and conditioning inputs and describe and predict the human movement and its relationship to health benefits and fitness. Implications for performance enhancement may also be addressed.

Dr. Daniel Almeida Marinho
Dr. Henrique Pereira Neiva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • fitness
  • performance
  • biomechanics
  • physiology
  • strength

Published Papers (50 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Contextual Variables on Physical and Technical Performance in Male Amateur Basketball: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041193 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Currently, most basketball research is focused on professional and elite players. Studies at the amateur level are important to explain the physical and technical demands of competition and thus improve players’ and teams’ performance. The purpose of the present study was to describe [...] Read more.
Currently, most basketball research is focused on professional and elite players. Studies at the amateur level are important to explain the physical and technical demands of competition and thus improve players’ and teams’ performance. The purpose of the present study was to describe the competitive demands of an amateur-level basketball team and to analyze the influence of different situational variables on the physical and technical performance indicators. Eleven amateur senior basketball players participated in six official final-round games during the 2018/2019 season. External, internal load, and notational analysis were registered by inertial devices, heart rate bands, and video analysis. The Kruskal-Wallis H-test was applied for comparisons based on playing positions, periods, and final quarter game outcome, with the post hoc comparison accomplished by a Mann-Whitney U test. The Spearman correlation coefficient was realized for the relational analysis. The results showed that: (a) guards covered more volume of displacements (effective on-court time: p < 0.01, E R 2 = 0.05; steps/min: p < 0.01, E R 2 = 0.28) and the centers performed competitive actions of higher load ([>8G] Imp/min: p < 0.01, E R 2 = 0.20; jumps/min: p < 0.01, E R 2 = 0.33); (b) a performance decreasing was found between the first and second half of the game; (c) in balanced matches there was the most individual technical performance (PIR/min: p < 0.98, E R 2 = 0.01), while in the unbalanced games more high-intensity impacts were seen ([>8G] Imp/min: p < 0.01, E R 2 = 0.07). The situational variables analyzed had an influence on athletic performance in amateur senior basketball players and should be considered for designing training sessions and planning strategies during official matches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness and Durability of Transfer Training in Fencing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(3), 849; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17030849 - 29 Jan 2020
Abstract
This paper reports the results of an experiment that aimed to study transfer training in fencing. Fencers from the experimental group underwent six-week transfer training while those from the control group underwent regular fencing training. The fencers’ performance was analyzed thrice: before the [...] Read more.
This paper reports the results of an experiment that aimed to study transfer training in fencing. Fencers from the experimental group underwent six-week transfer training while those from the control group underwent regular fencing training. The fencers’ performance was analyzed thrice: before the experimental training (pretest), immediately after it (posttest), and four weeks after it (retention test). Using a device that simulates fencing moves and analyzes the accuracy of such performance, participants completed, with both hands, three tests related to straight thrust accuracy. While no differences in hand grip strength was observed between the two groups across the three tests, significant differences occurred in terms of their performance on the device. The groups did not differ in the pretests and the retention tests. However, the fencers from the experimental group generally performed better in postests than prestests. These results show that bilateral transfer can be effective in foil fencing training, although its positive effects are short-term. In order to be effective, transfer training should be used as a regular training tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Variability of Lower Limb Artery Systolic–Diastolic Velocities in Futsal Athletes and Non-Athletes: Evaluation by Arterial Doppler Ultrasound
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020570 - 16 Jan 2020
Abstract
Background: Sports athletes, namely high-intensity practitioners, suffer from vascular remodeling overtime. The purpose of this study was to analyze the systolic and diastolic velocities’ variation between non-athletes and futsal athletes by means of arterial lower limb doppler ultrasound. Additionally, we intended to [...] Read more.
Background: Sports athletes, namely high-intensity practitioners, suffer from vascular remodeling overtime. The purpose of this study was to analyze the systolic and diastolic velocities’ variation between non-athletes and futsal athletes by means of arterial lower limb doppler ultrasound. Additionally, we intended to verify if the velocity variations occur primarily at the systolic or the diastolic level and in which arteries. Methods: Seventy-six young males (mean ± SD: 24.9 ± 2.8 years old) volunteered to participate in this cross-sectional study and were divided into two groups: a futsal athletes group (n = 38; 24 ± 2.78 years) in the central region of Portugal playing on the 2nd national league with the same level of practice (16 ± 2.4 years of practice) and a non-athletes group (n = 38: 26 ± 1.8 years) who did not practice sports regularly and were not federated in any sport. All the subjects agreed to participate in the study with the aim of assessing the arterial lower limb through doppler ultrasound (Philips HD7 echograph with linear transducer 7–12 MHz). Results: Differences between groups (p ≤ 0.05) in the systolic velocity of the left deep femoral artery (p = 0.022; d = 0.546, small) and in the right superficial femoral artery (p = 0.028; d = −0.515, small) were found. We also found differences in the diastolic velocity: in the left common femoral artery (p = 0.002; d = −0.748, moderate), in the right deep femoral artery (p = 0.028; d = −0.521, small), in the right superficial femoral artery (p = 0.026; d = −0.522, small), in the right popliteal artery (p = 0.002; d = −0.763, moderate), and in the left popliteal artery (p = 0.007; d = −0.655, moderate). Moreover, the athletes’ group presented the highest mean values, with the exception of the systolic velocity of the left deep femoral artery. In intragroup analysis of variance referring to systolic and diastolic velocities in arterial levels in the right and left arteries, differences were found in all analyses (p ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: We conclude that futsal athletes of our sample go through a process of changes such as increased blood flow velocity in systolic and diastolic cardiac phase in all studied lower limb arteries, showing that the remodeling occurs regardless of vessel radius. Our results reinforce the existence of vascular remodeling that may vary with the sport and its intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison between Continuous and Fractionated Game Format on Internal and External Load in Small-Sided Games in Soccer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020405 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study aimed to identify the effects of continuous and fractionated game formats on internal and external load in small-sided games in soccer. Twenty male professional soccer players participated in the study performing the same exercise (5 vs. 5 players) continuously (1 × [...] Read more.
This study aimed to identify the effects of continuous and fractionated game formats on internal and external load in small-sided games in soccer. Twenty male professional soccer players participated in the study performing the same exercise (5 vs. 5 players) continuously (1 × 24 min) and in a repeated/fractioned manner (2 × 12 min, 4 × 6 min, and 6 × 4 min). A comparison between playing conditions was assessed by means of standardized mean differences calculated with combined variance and respective confidence intervals of 90%. The limits for the statistics were 0.2, trivial; 0.6, small; 1.2, moderate; 2.0, large; and >2.0, very large. The results indicate that the use of the continuous method seems to present the tendency of less physical impact on the internal and external loads compared to the fractionated method. In addition, the higher number of exercise repetitions in the fractionated method was found to increase the external load compared to the continuous method. This study showed that application of small-sided games by the fractionated method tends to result in higher training loads. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Backpacks on Ground Reaction Forces in Children of Different Ages When Walking, Running, and Jumping
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245154 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Backpacks for transporting school loads are heavily utilized by children, and their mechanical advantages have been allowing children to transport heavy loads. These heavy loads may increase ground reaction forces (GRFs), which can have a negative effect on joints and bone health. The [...] Read more.
Backpacks for transporting school loads are heavily utilized by children, and their mechanical advantages have been allowing children to transport heavy loads. These heavy loads may increase ground reaction forces (GRFs), which can have a negative effect on joints and bone health. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of backpacks on the GRFs generated by children during walking, running, and jumping. Twenty-one children from the fifth (G-5, n = 9) and ninth (G-9, n = 12) grades walked, ran, and jumped over a force plate. When walking, the G-5 had GRF increments in the first (17.3%; p < 0.001) and second (15.4%; p < 0.001) peak magnitude, and in the total integral of the vertical force (20%; p < 0.001), compared to the control condition (i.e., no backpack), and the G-9 had increments of 10.4%, 9%, and 9% (p < 0.001), respectively. The G-9 did not prolong their total stance time (p > 0.05), unlike the G-5 (p = 0.001). When running, total stance time increased 15% (p < 0.001) and 8.5% (p < 0.001) proportionally to the relative load carried, in the G-5 and G-9, respectively. Peak GRF did not increase in any group when running or landing from a jump over an obstacle. It was found that GRF was affected by the backpack load when walking and running. However, when landing from a jump with the backpack, schoolchildren smoothed the landing by prolonging the reception time and thus avoiding GRF peak magnitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
In-Water and On-Land Swimmers’ Symmetry and Force Production
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245018 - 10 Dec 2019
Abstract
Although performance and biomechanical evaluations are becoming more swimming-specific, dryland testing permits monitoring of a larger number of performance-related variables. However, as the degree of comparability of measurements conducted in-water and on land conditions is unclear, we aimed to assess the differences between [...] Read more.
Although performance and biomechanical evaluations are becoming more swimming-specific, dryland testing permits monitoring of a larger number of performance-related variables. However, as the degree of comparability of measurements conducted in-water and on land conditions is unclear, we aimed to assess the differences between force production in these two different conditions. Twelve elite swimmers performed a 30 s tethered swimming test and four isokinetic tests (shoulder and knee extension at 90 and 300°/s) to assess peak force, peak and average torque, and power symmetry index. We observed contralateral symmetry in all the tests performed, e.g., for 30 s tethered swimming and peak torque shoulder extension at 90°/s: 178 ± 50 vs. 183 ± 56 N (p = 0.38) and 95 ± 37 vs. 94 ± 35 N × m (p = 0.52). Moderate to very large direct relationships were evident between dryland testing and swimming force production (r = 0.62 to 0.96; p < 0.05). Swimmers maintained similar symmetry index values independently of the testing conditions (r = −0.06 to −0.41 and 0.04 to 0.44; p = 0.18–0.88). Asymmetries in water seems to be more related to technical constraints than muscular imbalances, but swimmers that displayed higher propulsive forces were the ones with greater force values on land. Thus, tethered swimming and isokinetic evaluations are useful for assessing muscular imbalances regarding propulsive force production and technical asymmetries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Peripheral Vision Tests in Sports: Training Effects and Reliability of Peripheral Perception Test
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5001; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245001 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Various studies suggest the importance of peripheral vision (PV) in sports. Computer-based test systems provide objective methods to measure PV. Nevertheless, the reliability and training effects are not clarified in detail. The purpose of this investigation was to present a short narrative non-systematic [...] Read more.
Various studies suggest the importance of peripheral vision (PV) in sports. Computer-based test systems provide objective methods to measure PV. Nevertheless, the reliability and training effects are not clarified in detail. The purpose of this investigation was to present a short narrative non-systematic review on computer-based PV tests and to determine the reliability and the training effects of peripheral perception sub-test (PP) of the Vienna test system (VTS) in a test–retest design. N = 21 male athletes aged between 20 and 30 years (M = 26.15; SD = 3.1) were included. The main outcome parameters were peripheral reaction (PR), PR left (PRL), PR right (PRR), field of vision (FOV), visual angle left (VAL), and visual angle right (VAR). Reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and Bland–Altman plots. Training effects were determined by students t-test. Good reliability was observed in PR, PRL, and PRR. Moderate reliability was found in FOV, VAL, and VAR. Significant improvements between T0 and T1 were found in PRL with a mean difference of 0.04 s (95% CI [0.00–0.07]) and in PR with a mean difference of 0.02 s (95% CI [0.00–0.05]). For PRR, FOV, VAL, VAR, no significant differences were detected. These results indicate that PP can be applied to asses PV abilities in sports. Future research is needed to clarify the influence of test repetitions on visuomotor learning in PP. Moreover, PV tests should be cross-validated with sport-specific measurements (e.g., on-field and/or ‘virtual reality’ approaches). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Endocrine Responses to Various 1 × 1 Small-Sided Games in Youth Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4974; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244974 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine relationships between repeated 1 × 1 small-sided games (SSGs) (variable duration, constant work-to-rest ratio) and the concentration of steroid hormones and characteristic fatigue markers in youth soccer players. Eighteen young male soccer players were assigned [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine relationships between repeated 1 × 1 small-sided games (SSGs) (variable duration, constant work-to-rest ratio) and the concentration of steroid hormones and characteristic fatigue markers in youth soccer players. Eighteen young male soccer players were assigned at random to two experimental groups: E1—undertaking a six 30 s one-on-one SSGs with a 2 min rest period; and E2—playing six 45 s SSGs with a 3 min rest interval. Capillary blood was collected from the players at rest, after the last game, and 15 and 30 min after the exercise protocol. The variables assessed included serum cortisol (C), free testosterone (FT) and total testosterone (TT). An effect was observed between the measurement times (TT (F = 15.26, p ≤ 0.0001), FT (F = 6.86, p = 0.0006)). In terms of cortisol (C) levels, no interactions or effect between the studied groups were revealed, but an interaction was found (F = 4.01, p = 0.0126) and the effect appeared between the measurement times (F = 11.16, p ≤ 0.0001). The study results show that in all likelihood, longer rest intervals in repeated 30 s 1 × 1 SSGs can reduce catabolic reactions and hence the risk of overtraining in youth soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Performance Factors in Dinghy Sailing: Laser Class
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4920; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244920 - 05 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Despite the relationship between performance and anthropometric characteristics, strength, and endurance in the action of dinghy hiking, there is no equation to predict the position obtained in competition. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of anthropometric characteristics, strength, and [...] Read more.
Despite the relationship between performance and anthropometric characteristics, strength, and endurance in the action of dinghy hiking, there is no equation to predict the position obtained in competition. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of anthropometric characteristics, strength, and endurance on the performance of the sailor. Twenty-nine male sailors of the Laser class were evaluated according to age, navigation experience, strength and resistance tests in a simulator, body weight, size, sitting height, Body Mass Index (BMI), body fat percentage, trochanteric length, thigh length, tibial length, foot length, abdominal perimeter, and upper thigh perimeter. The results show that the variables were related to performance are age, navigation experience, height, and length of the thigh. The variables that are most related to performance are age and sailing experience. Seventy-six percent of the performance can be estimated using the following equation: 311.971 + (−1.089 × height) + (−1946 × age) + (−1.537 × thigh length). Performance in the Laser class will be determined by the tactics (age and sailing experience) and the morphological characteristics of the sailor (height and sitting height). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Interactive Improvements of Visual and Auditory Function for Enhancing Performance in Youth Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244909 - 05 Dec 2019
Abstract
We analyzed the effects of a regular training program on the health- and skill-related physical fitness (PF) of talented soccer players aged < 12 years; visual reaction time (VRT) and auditory reaction time (ART) were also assessed. In this single-group interventional study, 78 [...] Read more.
We analyzed the effects of a regular training program on the health- and skill-related physical fitness (PF) of talented soccer players aged < 12 years; visual reaction time (VRT) and auditory reaction time (ART) were also assessed. In this single-group interventional study, 78 talented male youth soccer players (mean age, 9.54 years) were critically selected by the Korean Educational Development Institute and underwent a 22-week training program consisting of 16 weeks of PF and basic skill training (90 min/week) and 6 weeks of intensive training (3, 150-min sessions/week). We assessed the pre- and post-training body composition, cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and endurance, and flexibility. We also measured power, agility, coordination and speed, passing ability, VRT, and ART. All variables improved after training. Post-training VRT correlated with ART, muscle mass, power, cardiovascular endurance, 10-m dribble time, 10-m ball touch count, and 10-m successful pass count. ART only correlated with muscle mass. ART and 10-m ball-touch count influenced VRT, and VRT influenced ART. In conclusion, the training program enhanced the PF and visual- and auditory-related reactions in talented youth soccer players. This study suggests the importance of the assessed relationships, indicating that a training program that improves these parameters enhances the players’ performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Training Load on Post-Exercise Cardiac Troponin T Elevations in Young Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234853 - 02 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Training load (TL) metrics are usually assessed to estimate the individual, physiological and psychological, acute, and adaptive responses to training. Cardiac troponins (cTn) reflect myocardial damage and are routinely analyzed for the clinical diagnosis of myocardial injury. The association between TL and post-exercise [...] Read more.
Training load (TL) metrics are usually assessed to estimate the individual, physiological and psychological, acute, and adaptive responses to training. Cardiac troponins (cTn) reflect myocardial damage and are routinely analyzed for the clinical diagnosis of myocardial injury. The association between TL and post-exercise cTn elevations is scarcely investigated in young athletes, especially after playing common team sports such as soccer. The objective of this study was to assess the relationship between TL measurements during a small-sided soccer game and the subsequent increase in cTn in young players. Twenty male soccer players (age 11.9 ± 2 years, height 151 ± 13 cm, weight 43 ± 13 kg) were monitored during a 5 × 5 small-sided game and had blood samples drawn before, immediately after, and 3 h after exercise for a posterior analysis of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT). Internal, external, and mixed metrics of TL were obtained from the rating of perceived exertion (RPE), heart rate (HR), and GPS player tracking. The results show that the concentration of hs-cTnT peaked at 3 h post-exercise in all participants. The magnitude of hs-cTnT elevation was mainly explained by the exercise duration in the maximal heart rate zone (Maximum Probability of Effect (MPE) = 92.5%), time in the high-speed zone (MPE = 90.4 %), and distance in the high-speed zone (MPE = 90.45%). Our results support the idea that common metrics of TL in soccer, easily obtained using player tracking systems, are strongly associated with the release of hs-cTnT in children and adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
A Biophysical Analysis on the Arm Stroke Efficiency in Front Crawl Swimming: Comparing Methods and Determining the Main Performance Predictors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4715; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234715 - 26 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Purpose: to compare different methods to assess the arm stroke efficiency ( η F ), when swimming front crawl using the arms only on the Measurement of Active Drag System (MAD System) and in a free-swimming condition, and to identify biophysical adaptations to [...] Read more.
Purpose: to compare different methods to assess the arm stroke efficiency ( η F ), when swimming front crawl using the arms only on the Measurement of Active Drag System (MAD System) and in a free-swimming condition, and to identify biophysical adaptations to swimming on the MAD System and the main biophysical predictors of maximal swimming speed in the 200 m front crawl using the arms only ( v 200 m ). Methods: fourteen swimmers performed twice a 5 × 200 m incremental trial swimming the front crawl stroke using the arms only, once swimming freely, and once swimming on the MAD System. The total metabolic power was assessed in both conditions. The biomechanical parameters were obtained from video analysis and force data recorded on the MAD System. The η F was calculated using: (i) direct measures of mechanical and metabolic power (power-based method); (ii) forward speed/hand speed ratio (speed-based method), and (iii) the simplified paddle-wheel model. Results: both methods to assess η F on the MAD System differed (p < 0.001) from the expected values for this condition ( η F = 1), with the speed-based method providing the closest values ( η F ~0.96). In the free-swimming condition, the power-based ( η F ~0.75), speed-based ( η F ~0.62), and paddle-wheel ( η F ~0.39) efficiencies were significantly different (p < 0.001). Although all methods provided values within the limits of agreement, the speed-based method provided the closest values to the “actual efficiency”. The main biophysical predictors of v 200 m were included in two models: biomechanical (R2 = 0.98) and physiological (R2 = 0.98). Conclusions: our results suggest that the speed-based method provides the closest values to the “actual η F ” and confirm that swimming performance depends on the balance of biomechanical and bioenergetic parameters Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Encounter with Bullying in Sport and Its Consequences for Youth: Amateur Athletes’ Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4685; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234685 - 25 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In recent years, the problem of bullying, existing in sport and arising in athletes’ relationships, is increasingly emphasized. The aim of this research was to reveal the specificity of bullying in athletes’ interrelationships by elaborating on causes of its emergence, nature of actions, [...] Read more.
In recent years, the problem of bullying, existing in sport and arising in athletes’ relationships, is increasingly emphasized. The aim of this research was to reveal the specificity of bullying in athletes’ interrelationships by elaborating on causes of its emergence, nature of actions, and its consequences. To achieve the research aim, a qualitative research paradigm was chosen. The theoretical part of the research was prepared by applying the methods of scientific literature analysis and analogy. The empirical study involved seven organized sports athletes representing individual, duel, and team sports branches, belonging to the young adult age category. The survey was conducted using the semi-structured interview method. Data were analyzed employing the conceptual content analysis. Emic and etic perspectives were used for data processing. Research results revealed that the specificity of manifestation of bullying in sport unfolded through three generalized categories: intolerable perception of behavior, nature of bullying, and bipolarity of consequences. Every category was detailed by sub-categories, highlighting the nature, causes, and consequences of bullying accepted by athletes in the contexts of their emotional state and career. We found that the factors falling into these categories were interrelated and supplemented each other; therefore, they should be analyzed in a complex way, as bullying is determined not by some single factor but by the totality of them, functioning as a kind of well-established flawed tradition supported by the cultures of the sports organization and the sport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
What Do Olympic Shooters Think about Physical Training Factors and Their Performance?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4629; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234629 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: Many aspects affect precision sports like shooting. Skills such as strength and balance are related to shooting performance and therefore, they should be trained. Thus, planned physical workouts can help to improve Olympic Shooting performance. The main objective of this study was [...] Read more.
Background: Many aspects affect precision sports like shooting. Skills such as strength and balance are related to shooting performance and therefore, they should be trained. Thus, planned physical workouts can help to improve Olympic Shooting performance. The main objective of this study was to determine elite shooters’ perspective about fitness trainings. Methods: Eight elite international shooters were interviewed using a semi-structured script validated by an expert shooting committee. Their responses were transcribed and analyzed using qualitative methods. The following categories were obtained: fitness training importance on performance, fitness professional support, precompetitive fitness exercises’ orientation and intensity, main motor abilities, recovery process, fitness evaluation and test and physical training influence on the psychological state. Results: The results suggest that athletes consider physical training as a key factor in their performance. Shooters mainly train strength and endurance exercises, depending on the competitions schedule. However, no consensus exists regarding the professional in charge of fitness trainings, nor the recovery methods to minimize performance losses. In addition, general balance trainings or physical condition tests to evaluate the training progress do not seem to be used. Conclusion: We conclude that there should be greater control of fitness training and recovery processes in Olympic shooting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Influence of Running Phases on the Postural Balance of Modern Pentathlon Athletes in a Laser Run Event
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224440 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: The Laser Run combined event is part of the modern pentathlon, consisting of successive shooting and running phases. The main factor hindering accurate and fast shooting is the increasing fatigue caused by running effort. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Background: The Laser Run combined event is part of the modern pentathlon, consisting of successive shooting and running phases. The main factor hindering accurate and fast shooting is the increasing fatigue caused by running effort. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the running phases on the postural balance in the shooting position of pentathletes in a Laser Run event. Methods: 25 modern pentathletes (18.6 ± 1.7 years), members of the Polish Association of Modern Pentathlon, completed a Laser Run event. During each shooting series, a Zebris dynamometric platform recorded the displacement of the centre of pressure (COP). Results: Significant changes in the average velocity of the COP (F = 3.43; p = 0.0223) and the width of the ellipse of the COP shifts area WoE (F = 3.30; p = 0.0259) between the first and the second shooting series were observed. The average velocity of the COP in series I was 72.6 m/s and increased to 84.3 m/s in series II. In turn, the average width of the ellipse of the COP in series I reached 29.1 mm and in series II, 34.1 mm. Conclusions: The fatigue caused by the running phases in the Laser Run affects the stability of the shooting position of pentathletes. Disturbances that occur after the first running phase are maintained at the same level during the subsequent shooting series. The fatigue level does not affect the magnitude of the disturbances of the postural balance in the shooting position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Functional Laterality of the Lower Limbs Accompanying Special Exercises in the Context of Hurdling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4355; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224355 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the lateralization of the lead leg during special exercises and the relationship with athletic performance throughout a hurdling session. Methods: Thirty-eight physical education students participated in the study. A novel three-part “OSI” test (walking [...] Read more.
Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the lateralization of the lead leg during special exercises and the relationship with athletic performance throughout a hurdling session. Methods: Thirty-eight physical education students participated in the study. A novel three-part “OSI” test (walking over hurdles arranged in a circle, spiral, and straight line) was performed, and various hurdle practices (jogging and running) were selected as research tools. The lead leg selected by the participants was taken into consideration, and the relationship between the chosen lead leg and athletic performance in the five tests was established. Results: The lateralization of the lead leg changed depending on the shape of the running course. The results of further analysis showed (i) no correlation between the use of the right leg as the lead leg in three tests conducted at a marching pace, and (ii) a significant positive correlation between tests performed at the marching and running paces. Conclusion: Hurdlers flexibly change the dominant leading leg depending on the shape of the running course. The results of this research could prove helpful in the training of athletes for hurdling competitions, especially young runners in 400-m hurdles involving straight and corner tracks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Can Heart Rate Variability Determine Recovery Following Distinct Strength Loadings? A Randomized Cross-Over Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224353 - 07 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the acute effects of hypertrophic (HYP) and maximum strength (MAX) loadings on heart rate variability (HRV) and to compare possible loading-specific alterations with other markers of recovery. Ten young men with strength training experience performed two leg press [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the acute effects of hypertrophic (HYP) and maximum strength (MAX) loadings on heart rate variability (HRV) and to compare possible loading-specific alterations with other markers of recovery. Ten young men with strength training experience performed two leg press loadings (HYP: five times 10 repetitions at 70% of one repetition maximum (1RM) with 2 minutes inter-set rest; MAX: 15 times one repetition at 100% of 1RM with 3 minutes inter-set rest) in a randomized order. The root mean square of successive differences statistically decreased after both protocols (HYP: 65.7 ± 26.6 ms to 23.9 ± 18.7 ms, p = 0.026; MAX: 77.7 ± 37.0 ms to 55.3 ± 22.3 ms, p = 0.049), while the frequency domains of HRV remained statistically unaltered. The low frequency (LF) band statistically increased at 48h post-MAX only (p = 0.033). Maximal isometric voluntary contraction (MVC) statistically decreased after HYP (p = 0.026) and returned to baseline after 24h of recovery. Creatine kinase (CK) statistically increased above baseline at 1h post-loadings (HYP p = 0.028; MAX p = 0.020), returning to baseline at 24h post. Our findings indicate no distinct associations between changes in HRV and MVC or CK. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Emotion, Psychological Well-Being and Their Influence on Resilience. A Study with Semi-Professional Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4192; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214192 - 30 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of the present study is to analyze the influence of coaches on emotional intelligence and on levels of anxiety, motivation, self-esteem, and resilience among athletes. Five-hundred forty-seven semi-professional athletes between the ages of 16 and 19 participated in this study. Various [...] Read more.
The objective of the present study is to analyze the influence of coaches on emotional intelligence and on levels of anxiety, motivation, self-esteem, and resilience among athletes. Five-hundred forty-seven semi-professional athletes between the ages of 16 and 19 participated in this study. Various statistical analyses were conducted which explain the causal relationships between the variables. The results, obtained using a structural equations model, find that while autonomy support positively predicts emotional intelligence, perceived control predicts it negatively. Moreover, emotional intelligence positively predicts self-esteem and self-determined motivation, but negatively predicts anxiety. Other results show that self-esteem positively predicts self-determined motivation, whereas anxiety predicts it negatively. Finally, self-determined motivation positively predicts resilience. Indeed, the study demonstrates the influence and the importance of coaches in relation to the emotional intelligence, psychological well-being, and motivational processes of adolescent athletes when the latter engage in their respective sports. These results help to better understand how different behavioral, emotional, and social aspects belonging to the athlete interrelate with one another during competition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Performance Differences of Temporal Parameters and Point Outcome Between Elite Men’s and Women’s Badminton Players According to Match-Related Contexts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4057; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214057 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: the aim of the present study was to identify the temporal and notational performance differences between elite men’s and women’s badminton players according to match type and set. Methods: the sample was composed of 60 men’s and 60 women’s matches classified by [...] Read more.
Background: the aim of the present study was to identify the temporal and notational performance differences between elite men’s and women’s badminton players according to match type and set. Methods: the sample was composed of 60 men’s and 60 women’s matches classified by match type or duration: short (lower quartile), long (upper quartile) and regular matches (interquartile range). Temporal and notational variables were analysed for each match and compared between sexes accounting for match duration. Results: greater intensity for most variables (i.e., rally time, rest time, density, and strokes per match/rally) was exhibited in men’s matches compared with women’s matches (i.e., higher frequency between strokes). In addition, the greater intensity for men compared to women was more pertinent during long matches (13 significant variables) and less evident during short matches (six significant variables). Point outcome displayed similar trends for each sex during matches with more winners for men’s players when serving and more unforced errors for women’s players. Lastly, based on each match type, fewer sex differences were noted during sets 2 and 3, as the match progressed. Conclusion: men’s players performed at a greater intensity than women’s players for different match and set contexts, with this sex difference enhanced when controlling for match type and set. The development of sex- and match-specific scenarios will assist coaches and trainers in the design of specific training drills to enhance the athletic performance of elite badminton players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Relative Age Effect in Russian Soccer: The Role of Chronological Age and Performance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4055; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214055 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The relative age effect (RAE) has been well studied in adolescent and adult soccer players; however, less information has been available about children engaged in regular soccer training and the role of performance. Thus, the aim of the present study was to examine [...] Read more.
The relative age effect (RAE) has been well studied in adolescent and adult soccer players; however, less information has been available about children engaged in regular soccer training and the role of performance. Thus, the aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence of RAE in children and adolescent soccer players, as well as the role of age and performance. Russian soccer players (n = 10,446) of various ages, playing positions and performance levels were examined for their date of birth. It was observed that RAE was widespread in Russian soccer teams of all age groups. RAE was most pronounced in children teams of the top tier Russian soccer academies and junior Russia national teams, where the proportions of soccer players born in the first quarter were 43.9% and 39.8%, respectively, whereas those born in the fourth quarter of the year were 7.7% and 6.3%, respectively. In top tier soccer academies, RAE did not vary by age group. In the middle tier soccer academies, RAE was less pronounced. It was still prevalent in the junior teams of the top tier clubs of the Russian Premier League, where 14.3% of the soccer players were born in the fourth quarter of the year compared to 42.9% born in the first quarter of the year. RAE can be observed in the top tier Russian adult teams as well, although it is less pronounced there. In summary, RAE is highly prevalent in Russian children and junior soccer and is associated with the level of competitiveness. At the same time, the proportion of players born in the fourth quarter of the year is higher in adult teams than in junior and youth teams, which is most likely due to the wider selection of players, not limited by their age and place of residence. In junior teams, RAE results in a bias towards selection of players who are more physically mature, whereas children who may be more talented but are less developed due to their younger chronological age tend to be overlooked. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Analysis of the Association between Running Performance and Game Performance Indicators in Professional Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 4032; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16204032 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Running performance (RP) and game performance indicators (GPI) are important determinants of success in soccer (football), but there is an evident lack of knowledge about the possible associations between RP and GPI. This study aimed to identify associations between RP and GPI in [...] Read more.
Running performance (RP) and game performance indicators (GPI) are important determinants of success in soccer (football), but there is an evident lack of knowledge about the possible associations between RP and GPI. This study aimed to identify associations between RP and GPI in professional soccer players and to compare RP and GPI among soccer playing positions. One hundred one match performances were observed over the course of half of a season at the highest level of national competition in Croatia. Players (mean ± SD, age: 23.85 ± 2.88 years; body height: 183.05 ± 8.88 cm; body mass: 78.69 ± 7.17 kg) were classified into five playing positions (central defenders (n = 26), full-backs (n = 24), central midfielders (n = 33), wide midfielders (n = 10), and forwards (n = 8). RP, as measured by global positioning system, included the total distance covered, distance covered in five speed categories (walking, jogging, running, high-speed running, and maximal sprinting), total number of accelerations, number of high-intensity accelerations, total number of decelerations, and number of high-intensity decelerations. The GPI were collected by the position-specific performance statistics index (InStat index). The average total distance was 10,298.4 ± 928.7 m, with central defenders having the shortest and central midfielders having the greatest covered distances. The running (r = 0.419, p = 0.03) and high-intensity accelerations (r = 0.493, p = 0.01) were correlated with the InStat index for central defenders. The number of decelerations of full-backs (r = −0.43, p = 0.04) and the distance covered during sprinting of forwards (r = 0.80, p = 0.02) were associated with their GPI obtained by InStat index. The specific correlations between RP and GPI should be considered during the conditioning process in soccer. The soccer training should follow the specific requirements of the playing positions established herein, which will allow players to meet the game demands and to perform successfully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Gaze Behavior in Basketball Free Throws Developed in Constant and Variable Practice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16203875 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
There are a limited number of studies focusing on the mechanisms explaining why variable practice gives an advantage in a novel situation and constant practice in performance in trained conditions. We hypothesized that this may be due to the different gaze behavior that [...] Read more.
There are a limited number of studies focusing on the mechanisms explaining why variable practice gives an advantage in a novel situation and constant practice in performance in trained conditions. We hypothesized that this may be due to the different gaze behavior that is developed under different conditions. Twenty participants, randomly assigned to two different groups, practiced basketball free throws for three consecutive days, performing 100 throws per day. The constant group (n = 10) practiced at a free throw distance (4.57 m) only. The variable practice group (n = 10) randomly performed 20 shots per five throw distances (3.35, 3.96, 4.57, 5.18, and 5.79 m) on each day, also accumulating 100 shots per day. We analyzed the total gaze fixation duration, a number of fixations, and the average fixation duration on a basketball rim in a pretest and posttest at the 4.57 m distance. We computed a linear mixed model with test (pretest–posttest), group (constant–variable), and test × group interaction in order to analyze the total fixation duration and number of fixations. The average fixation duration was analyzed with a repeated measure two-way ANOVA, with practice conditions as a between-participants factor and test type as a within-participants factor. We found that the total fixation duration increased significantly in the posttest, regardless of the practice conditions (p < 0.001, effect size = 0.504). The number of fixations also increased significantly in the posttest (p = 0.037, effect size = 0.246). The average fixation duration increased in both groups; however, insignificantly. We also did not find any significant differences between groups. Our results suggest that variable and constant practice conditions may lead to the development of similar gaze behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Kinetic Analysis of Water Fitness Exercises: Contributions for Strength Development
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193784 - 08 Oct 2019
Abstract
The evaluation of propulsive forces in water allows the selection of the most appropriate strategies to develop strength during water fitness sessions. The aim of this study was threefold: (i) to analyze the rate of force production; (ii) to analyze the rate of [...] Read more.
The evaluation of propulsive forces in water allows the selection of the most appropriate strategies to develop strength during water fitness sessions. The aim of this study was threefold: (i) to analyze the rate of force production; (ii) to analyze the rate of force variation; and (iii) to compare limbs’ symmetry in two water fitness exercises. Twenty-two young health subjects (age: 21.23 ± 1.51 years old, body mass: 67.04 ± 9.31 kg, and height: 166.36 ± 8.01 cm) performed incremental protocols of horizontal adduction (HA) and rocking horse (RHadd), from 105 until 150 b·min−1. Data acquisition required an isokinetic dynamometer and a differential pressure system that allowed the assessment of (a) isometric peak force of dominant upper limb (IsometricFD); (b) propulsive peak force of dominant upper limb (PropulsiveFD); and (c) propulsive peak force of nondominant upper limb (PropulsiveFND). Significant differences were found in the rate of force production (RateFD) between the majority cadences in both exercises. The RateFD reached ~68% of the force in dry-land conditions, and lower cadences promoted a higher rate of force variation (ΔForce). Most actions were asymmetric, except for the HA at 135 b·min−1. In conclusion, the musical cadence of 135 b·min−1 seems to elicit a desired rate of force production with a symmetric motion in both exercises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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The Sedentary Time and Physical Activity Levels on Physical Fitness in the Elderly: A Comparative Cross Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3697; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193697 - 01 Oct 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Background: Ageing is a life-long process characterized by a progressive loss of physical fitness compromising strength, flexibility, and agility. The purpose of this study was to use accelerometry to examine the relationship between sedentary time, light physical activity (LPA), and moderate to vigorous [...] Read more.
Background: Ageing is a life-long process characterized by a progressive loss of physical fitness compromising strength, flexibility, and agility. The purpose of this study was to use accelerometry to examine the relationship between sedentary time, light physical activity (LPA), and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) with the elderly’s physical fitness. Additionally, we aimed to examine the association between the aforementioned variables on older adults who fulfilled global recommendations on physical activity for health and on those who did not fulfil these recommendations. Methods: Eighty-three elderly (mean ± SD: 72.14 ± 5.61 years old) of both genders volunteered to participate in this cross-sectional study, being divided into an active group (n = 53; 71.02 ± 5.27 years old) and an inactive group (n = 30; 74.13 ± 5.72 years old) according to the established guidelines. Sedentary and physical activity times were assessed using an ActiGraph® GT1M accelerometer, whereas physical fitness was evaluated with the Senior Fitness Test. Results: MVPA time was correlated with lower body mass index (BMI) ((rs = −0.218; p = 0.048; −0.3 < r ≤ −0.1 (small)) and shorter time to complete the agility test ((rs = −0.367; p = 0.001; −0.5 < r ≤ −0.3 (low)). Moreover, MVPA time was positively correlated with aerobic endurance ((rs = 0.397; p = 0.000; 0.5 < r ≤ 0.3 (low)) and strength ((rs = 0.243; p = 0.027; 0.3 < r ≤ 0.1 (small)). In the inactive group, MVPA time was positively correlated with upper limb flexibility ((rs = 0.400; p = 0.028; 0.5 < r ≤ 0.3 (low)); moreover, sedentary time was negatively correlated with upper limb flexibility ((r = −0.443; p = 0.014; −0.5 < r ≤ −0.3 (low)), and LPA time was negatively correlated with BMI ((r = −0.423; p = 0.020; −0.5 < r ≤ −0.3 (low)). In the active group, MVPA time was correlated with lower BMI ((rs = −0.320; p = 0.020; −0.5 < r ≤ −0.3 (low)), and shorter time to complete agility test ((rs = −0.296; p = 0.031; −0.3 < r ≤ −0.1 (small)). Conclusions: Our results reinforce the importance of promoting MVPA practice among the elderly, thereby allowing physical fitness maintenance or improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Session-To-Session Variations of External Load Measures of Youth Soccer Players in Medium-Sided Games
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193612 - 26 Sep 2019
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the variability of time-motion variables during five vs. five games when completed within the same session as, and between, two different sessions. Ten under-19 male soccer players (18.27 ± 0.47 years old) participated in this [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyze the variability of time-motion variables during five vs. five games when completed within the same session as, and between, two different sessions. Ten under-19 male soccer players (18.27 ± 0.47 years old) participated in this study. The five vs. five matches (3 × 5 min) were played twice with a 3-day interval of rest in the same week. Moderate between-session variations were observed for TD (total distance) (range coefficient of variation (CV), 6.9; 8.3%, confidence interval (CI), (5.0; 14.0), standardized typical error (STE), 0.68; 1.06, (0.64; 1.75)) and RD (running distance) (range CV, 53.3; 145.7%, (36.6; 338.9), STE, 0.83; 1.09, (0.60; 1.76)). PL (player load) showed small variations (range CV, 4.9; 6.0%, [3.6; 10.1], STE, 0.37; 0.43, (0.27; 0.71)). In within-session analyses for examining the differences between sets, a small decrease was observed in RD in set 3 versus set 2 (−14.8%, 90% CI (−32.1; 6.9%); standardized difference (ES): −0.39 (0.95; 0.16)). TD decreased with moderate (−3.5%, (−6.8; −0.1%); ES: −0.65(−1.30; −0.01)) and large (−8.2%, (−11.4; −4.9%); ES: −1.58(−2.24; −0.92)) effects in sets 2 and 3, respectively, versus set 1. Our results suggest that PL is the most stable performance variable. It was also verified that measures had a progressive decreasing tendency within a session. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Importance of Agility Performance in Professional Futsal Players; Reliability and Applicability of Newly Developed Testing Protocols
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183246 - 04 Sep 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the inter- and intra-testing reliability of newly developed tests of the change of direction speed (CODS) and reactive agility (RAG) in competitive futsal players. Additionally, the developed tests were evaluated for their validity with regard to the differentiation of two performance-levels. Thirty-two professional male futsal players (age = 26.22 ± 5.22 years; body height = 182.13 ± 5.99 cm, body mass = 77.43 ± 8.00 kg) participated in the study. The sample was divided into two groups based on their level of futsal performance: A top-level-group (n = 12) and a team-level-group (n = 20). The variables included body height, mass, body mass index, a sprint over a 10-m distance (S10M), and eight newly developed futsal specific CODS and RAG tests. The CODS and RAG tests were performed by dribbling the balls (CODS_D and RAG_D) and without dribbling (CODS_T and RAG_T), and the performances on the dominant and non-dominant sides were observed separately. All CODS, and RAG tests performed on dominant side and RAG_T tests performed on the non-dominant side had good inter-testing (CV = 5–8%; ICC = 0.76–0.89) and intra-testing (CV = 4–9%; ICC = 0.77–0.91) reliability. However, RAG_D performed on the non-dominant side was not reliable (ICC = 0.60, CV = 10%). The top-level-players outperformed the team-level-players in the CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling (t-test: 4.28 and 2.40, p < 0.05; effect sizes (ES): 0.81 and 1.5, respectively), while the team-level players achieved better results in the CODS_T (t-test: 2.08, p < 0.05; ES: 0.60). The proposed CODS and RAG tests that involved dribbling over a 3.2-m distance, especially on the dominant side, appeared to be reliable, as well as valid for distinguishing the performance level in futsal players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Effects of a Speed Training Program on Sprinting Step Kinematics and Performance
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3138; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173138 - 28 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of speed training on sprint step kinematics and performance in male sprinters. Two groups of seven elite (best 100-m time: 10.37 ± 0.04 s) and seven sub-elite (best 100-m time: 10.71 ± 0.15 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of speed training on sprint step kinematics and performance in male sprinters. Two groups of seven elite (best 100-m time: 10.37 ± 0.04 s) and seven sub-elite (best 100-m time: 10.71 ± 0.15 s) sprinters were recruited. Sprint performance was assessed in the 20 m (flying start), 40 m (standing start), and 60 m (starting block start). Step kinematics were extracted from the first nine running steps of the 20-m sprint using the Opto-Jump–Microgate system. Explosive power was quantified by performing the CMJ, standing long jump, standing triple jump, and standing five jumps. Significant post-test improvements (p < 0.05) were observed in both groups of sprinters. Performance improved by 0.11 s (elite) and 0.06 s (sub-elite) in the 20-m flying start and by 0.06 s (elite) and 0.08 s (sub-elite) in the 60-m start block start. Strong post-test correlations were observed between 60-m block start performance and standing five jumps (SFJ) in the elite group and between 20-m flying start and 40-m standing start performance and standing long jump (SLJ) and standing triple jump (STJ) in the sub-elite group. Speed training (ST) shows potential in the reduction of step variability and as an effective short-term intervention program in the improvement of sprint performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Training/Match External Load Ratios in Professional Soccer Players: A Full-Season Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3057; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173057 - 23 Aug 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was two-fold: (i) to describe the training/match ratios of different external load measures during a full professional soccer season while analyzing the variations between different types of weeks (three, four and five training sessions/week) and (ii) to investigate the relationship between weekly accumulated training loads and the match demands of the same week. Twenty-seven professional soccer players (24.9 ± 3.5 years old) were monitored daily using a 10-Hz global positioning system with a 100-Hz accelerometer. Total distance (TD), running distance (RD), high-speed running (HSR), sprinting distance (SD), player load (PL), number of high accelerations (ACC), and number of high decelerations (DEC) were recorded during training sessions and matches. An individual training/match ratio (TMr) was calculated for each external load measure. Weeks with five training sessions (5dW) presented meaningfully greater TMr than weeks with four (4dW) or three (3dW) training sessions. Additionally, TDratio (TDr) was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (mean differences dif: 1.23 arbitray units A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.80 A.U.); HSRr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.68 A.U.); and SDr was significantly greater in 5dW than in 3dW (dif: 0.77 A.U.) and 4dW (dif: 0.90 A.U.). Correlations between the weekly training loads and the match demands of the same week were small for PL (r = 0.250 [0.13;0.36]), ACC (r = 0.292 [0.17;0.40]) and DEC (r = 0.236 [0.11;0.35]). This study reveals that ratios of above 1 were observed for specific measures (e.g., HSR, SD). It was also observed that training sessions are not adjusted according to weekly variations in match demands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Variations of Internal and External Load Variables between Intermittent Small-Sided Soccer Game Training Regimens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2923; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162923 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The purpose of this study was twofold: (i) analyze the variations of internal and external load between intermittent regimens (6 × 3’ and 3 × 6’) during a small-sided game (SSG); and (ii) analyze the variations of internal and external load within-intermittent regimens [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was twofold: (i) analyze the variations of internal and external load between intermittent regimens (6 × 3’ and 3 × 6’) during a small-sided game (SSG); and (ii) analyze the variations of internal and external load within-intermittent regimens (between sets). Ten male amateur soccer players (age: 21.7 ± 2.1 years) participated in this study. Almost certain large decreases in total distance (−8.6%, [−12.3; −4.8], Effect Size (ES): −1.51, [−2.20; −0.82]) and running distance (−34.0%, [47.0; −17.8], ES: −2.23, [−3.40; −1.05]) were observed when comparing the 3 × 6’ and 6 × 3’. Very likely moderate and large decreases in total accelerations (−24.0%, [−35.1; −10.9]; ES: −1.11, [−1.75; −0.47]) and total of decelerations (−26.7%, [−38.8; −12.1]; ES:−1.49, [−2.36; −0.62]), respectively, were found when comparing the 3 × 6’ and 6 × 3’. Very likely increases in rated of perceived exertion in the set 3 in comparison to the 1st during the 3 × 6’ SSG (34.5%, [12.4; 61.0], ES: 1.35, [0.53; 2.16]) and the 6 × 3’ (29.9%, [11.6; 51.2]; ES: 1.17, [0.49; 1.85]). Longer sets increase the perception of effort and contribute to a large decrease in total and running distances, and total of accelerations and decelerations. Meaningful decreases in time-motion demands occur between sets 2 and 3 while perceived effort increases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Body Image Concern and Eating Disorder Symptoms Among Elite Icelandic Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2728; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16152728 - 31 Jul 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyse body image concerns and symptoms of eating disorders in elite Icelandic athletes according to their sex, and sport practiced. The participants were 755 athletes (24.8 ± 3.5 years in age) who compete at the highest [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyse body image concerns and symptoms of eating disorders in elite Icelandic athletes according to their sex, and sport practiced. The participants were 755 athletes (24.8 ± 3.5 years in age) who compete at the highest possible level in Iceland. Representing 20 different sports, they were divided into five sports groups. Three questionnaires were used: the Body Shape Questionnaire to assess body image concerns; the Bulimia Test-Revised to assess the main symptoms of bulimia; and the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire to identify disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. A chi-squared test was used to analyse differences in prevalence of body image concern and eating disorders, a t-test for the differences between men and women, and a one-way ANOVA to compare the different sports. The main findings were that 17.9% of the athletes presented severe or moderate body image dissatisfaction, and 18.2% (25.3% of the women) were above the clinical cutoff for body image concern. Women’s scores were higher than men’s (whole sample and ball games) in all variables except restraint. These results seem to point to the existence of a real problem that athlete, coaches, doctors, and institutions need to take into account. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Age- and Maturity-Related Variations in Morphology, Body Composition, and Motor Fitness among Young Female Tennis Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132412 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age and maturity on anthropometric and various fitness characteristics in young competitive female tennis players. Sixty-one players, aged 10.4–13.2 years (11.8 ± 0.8) were measured for standing and sitting heights, body mass, [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of age and maturity on anthropometric and various fitness characteristics in young competitive female tennis players. Sixty-one players, aged 10.4–13.2 years (11.8 ± 0.8) were measured for standing and sitting heights, body mass, skinfolds, grip strength, and agility, and dichotomized into two age (U12 and U14) and maturity (earliest and latest) groups according to their chronological age and maturity status. The results revealed significant age effects for stature, sitting height, leg length, and hand grip in favor of the older players. Girls contrasting in maturation differed significantly for all anthropometric and physical performance variables except for body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage (BF%), and hexagon agility test. The earliest maturing group showed significantly higher values for anthropometric measures and better results in the hand grip test than the latest maturing group. After controlling for chronological age, differences were revealed between contrasting maturity groups in stature, sitting height, BF%, and the hand grip test. The findings highlight the age- and maturity-related trends in body size and muscular strength among young female tennis players in the pubertal period. Nevertheless, the differences in the body composition and agility of the contrasting age and maturity groups were negligible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessArticle
Anthropometric Profile of Soccer Players as a Determinant of Position Specificity and Methodological Issues of Body Composition Estimation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132386 - 05 Jul 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The aim of the present study was (a) to describe the anthropometric profile of a large group of soccer players based on different age groups and their playing positions on the field, and (b) to examine the variations of body composition among adult [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was (a) to describe the anthropometric profile of a large group of soccer players based on different age groups and their playing positions on the field, and (b) to examine the variations of body composition among adult soccer players using diverse equations based on skinfold thickness. A total of 618 Greek soccer players who were grouped by age (i.e., 12–14, 14–16, 16–18, and 18–37 years) and playing position (i.e., goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, and forward) were evaluated for weight, height, and skinfolds. The Pařízková formula was used to estimate the percentage of body fat. Furthermore, for players who were 18 years or older the Reilly and Evans formulas was used to estimate the percentage of body fat. Independent of the age, in this large sample, goalkeepers presented higher values for weight, height and the percentage of body fat estimation as compared with other field positions. An anthropometric pattern was observed in each tactical position, namely, across a specific age of increasing maturation process (14–16 years). With the Pařízková formula, we found a mean (SD) range of variation in the percentage of body fat estimation between 4.87 ± 1.46 and 5.51 ± 1.46 as compared with the Evans formula. The same pattern of differences was found when the Reilly equation was considered. In conclusion, we observed a position specificity of anthropometric characteristics across different age categories. Additionally, the same data supported different validated equations which resulted in large differences in the final outcome estimations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Flèche versus Lunge as the Optimal Footwork Technique in Fencing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132315 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The objective of the study reported in this paper involved identifying the fencing attack (flèche versus lunge) that provides greater effectiveness in a real competition. Two hypotheses are presented in the study. The first hypothesis involves the greater effectiveness of the flèche with [...] Read more.
The objective of the study reported in this paper involved identifying the fencing attack (flèche versus lunge) that provides greater effectiveness in a real competition. Two hypotheses are presented in the study. The first hypothesis involves the greater effectiveness of the flèche with regard to bioelectric muscular tension, and the second hypothesis involves the reduction of movement time of the flèche. Therefore, analyses were conducted by the application of EMG (electromyography) signal, ground reaction forces, and parameters representing sensorimotor responses (RT—reaction time and MT—movement time). This study included six world-leading female épée fencers (mean age: 24.6 ± 6.2 years). Throughout the procedure, the subjects performed flèche and lunge touches at the command of the coach based on visual stimuli. The experimental results indicated the greater effectiveness of the flèche compared with the lunge with regard to increases in EMG values (p = 0.027) in the lateral and medial gastrocnemius muscles and decreases in the duration of the movement phase (p = 0.049) and vertical force of the rear leg (p = 0.028). In conclusion, higher levels of EMG and ground reaction forces were generated during the flèche compared with the lunge, which promotes an improvement in the explosive force and contributes to a reduction in the movement phase of the entire offensive action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
What Frequency of Technical Activity Is Needed to Improve Results? New Approach to Analysis of Match Status in Professional Soccer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(12), 2233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16122233 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The aim of the research detailed here has been to assess the frequency with which football players engage in technical activity of various different types, in relation to seven phases of a game associated with changes in match status. To this end, 2016–2017 [...] Read more.
The aim of the research detailed here has been to assess the frequency with which football players engage in technical activity of various different types, in relation to seven phases of a game associated with changes in match status. To this end, 2016–2017 domestic-season matches in Germany’s Bundesliga were analyzed, the relevant data being retrieved using an Opta Sportsdata Company system. Technical activity taken into consideration included shots, passes, ball possession, dribbles, and tackles. It was found that there was a large impact of frequency of shots on target (H = 466.999(6); p = 0.001) in relation to the different match-status phases. Furthermore, moderate effect sizes were then obtained for frequency of shots (H = 187.073(6); p = 0.001), frequency of passes (H = 133.547(6); p = 0.001), and percentage of ball possession (H = 123.401(6); p = 0.001). The implication would be that a team trying to change the match score of a game experienced at a given moment in a more favorable direction will need to raise the frequency and accuracy of passes, the percentage of ball possession, and the percentage of tackles ending in success. The maintenance of a winning match status requires a high frequency of occurrence of shots and shots on target as well as greater frequency and effectiveness of dribbling. The main finding from our work is that consideration of the consequences of a game presented in relation to seven potential phases to match status can point to a novel approach to analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Players’ Physical Performance Decreased After Two-Thirds of the Season: Results of 3 Consecutive Seasons in the German First Bundesliga
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16112044 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The study aimed to: (1) investigate physical and technical performance among players during six consecutive phases of a competitive season, (2) determine if levels of match running and technical performance between the 1st and 6th phases of a season can be maintained, (3) [...] Read more.
The study aimed to: (1) investigate physical and technical performance among players during six consecutive phases of a competitive season, (2) determine if levels of match running and technical performance between the 1st and 6th phases of a season can be maintained, (3) and determine which phase features the lowest and highest values for variables assessed. Seventy out of 556 outfield players who played at least 80% of the matches in each phase of the Bundesliga seasons were analysed. Each season was divided into 6 phases: phase 1 (matches 1–6), phase 2 (7–11), phase 3 (12–17), phase 4 (18–23), phase 5 (24–28) and phase 6 (29–34). Thirteen variables were selected to quantify the physical and technical activity of players. Our results showed that by reducing the distances covered at intensities below 11 km·h−1, players were able to cover greater distances at intensities in the range of 11–13.99 and 21–23.99 km·h−1 in subsequent phases of a season. Players’ capacity to maintain match running and technical performance between the first and sixth phases of the season has been demonstrated, though the 4th phase of the season showed a breakthrough point as regards the maintenance of exercise capacity among players participating in the Bundesliga. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Psychomotor Abilities of Professional Handball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(11), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111909 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The main purpose of the paper was to evaluate selected psychomotor abilities of handball players depending on the competition class (league), position on the court, training seniority and the dominant hand. The study covered a group of 40 handball players (age: 24.02 ± [...] Read more.
The main purpose of the paper was to evaluate selected psychomotor abilities of handball players depending on the competition class (league), position on the court, training seniority and the dominant hand. The study covered a group of 40 handball players (age: 24.02 ± 3.99), while 50 non-training men (age: 22.90 ± 1.13) formed the control group. Studies were performed using Test2Drive computer tests. The following four tests were used for measuring psychomotor fitness: simple reaction time test, choice reaction time test, hand-eye coordination test and spatial anticipation test. An analysis revealed that handball players had better reaction times and movement times than the control group. The league, position on the court, training seniority and the dominant upper limb were analysed for their impact on the reaction time and movement time in handball players. An analysis of psychomotor abilities of handball players with regard to the league revealed that in the majority of tests the Superliga players had a shorter reaction time than players in lower leagues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Ballistic Exercise as Pre-Activation for 100 m Sprints
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101850 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The benefits of warm-up in sports performance has received a special interest in the current literature. However, there is a large gap of knowledge about the tasks to be performed, specifically in the real competitive environment. The purpose of the study was to [...] Read more.
The benefits of warm-up in sports performance has received a special interest in the current literature. However, there is a large gap of knowledge about the tasks to be performed, specifically in the real competitive environment. The purpose of the study was to verify the acute effects of a warm-up including ballistic exercises in 100 m running performance. In addition, a second 100 m trial was assessed to better understand the warm-up effects in training and competition. Eleven men (25.4 ± 6.2 years of age, 1.76 ± 0.08 m of height, 78.2 ± 8.6 kg of body mass) were submitted to three different protocols, in a randomized order: no warm-up (NWU), typical warm-up (WU) and WU complemented with ballistic exercises (PAP). Biomechanical, physiological and psychophysiological variables were assessed. Differences were found between the three conditions assessed in the first 100 m sprint with 7.4% and 7.6% faster performances after the WU and PAP, compared to NWU. Stride length was higher in the second part of the 100 m after PAP compared with WU. These results highlight the positive effects of warm-up for sprinting performance. The inclusion of ballistic exercises, besides being used to improve sprint performance, can increase stride length in the final of the 100 m race. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Different Predictor Variables for Women and Men in Ultra-Marathon Running—The Wellington Urban Ultramarathon 2018
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101844 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Ultra-marathon races are increasing in popularity. Women are now 20% of all finishers, and this number is growing. Predictors of performance have been examined rarely for women in ultra-marathon running. This study aimed to examine the predictors of performance for women and men [...] Read more.
Ultra-marathon races are increasing in popularity. Women are now 20% of all finishers, and this number is growing. Predictors of performance have been examined rarely for women in ultra-marathon running. This study aimed to examine the predictors of performance for women and men in the 62 km Wellington Urban Ultramarathon 2018 (WUU2K) and create an equation to predict ultra-marathon race time. For women, volume of running during training per week (km) and personal best time (PBT) in 5 km, 10 km, and half-marathon (min) were all associated with race time. For men, age, body mass index (BMI), years running, running speed during training (min/km), marathon PBT, and 5 km PBT (min) were all associated with race time. For men, ultra-marathon race time might be predicted by the following equation: (r² = 0.44, adjusted r² = 0.35, SE = 78.15, degrees of freedom (df) = 18) ultra-marathon race time (min) = −30.85 ± 0.2352 × marathon PBT + 25.37 × 5 km PBT + 17.20 × running speed of training (min/km). For women, ultra-marathon race time might be predicted by the following equation: (r² = 0.83, adjusted r2 = 0.75, SE = 42.53, df = 6) ultra-marathon race time (min) = −148.83 + 3.824 × (half-marathon PBT) + 9.76 × (10 km PBT) − 6.899 × (5 km PBT). This study should help women in their preparation for performance in ultra-marathon and adds to the bulk of knowledge for ultra-marathon preparation available to men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Locus of Control, Agents of Socialization and Sport Socialization Situations on the Sports Participation of Women in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1841; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101841 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Compared to men, the sports participation of women is lower, especially in the East. Not many studies have compared the impacts of locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situations on the sports participation of women. Hence, the purpose of this [...] Read more.
Compared to men, the sports participation of women is lower, especially in the East. Not many studies have compared the impacts of locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situations on the sports participation of women. Hence, the purpose of this study is to explore the contributing factors which may promote the sports participation of women in Taiwan. To do this, 450 structured questionnaires were distributed to women in Chiayi, Taiwan, with an 89.3% return rate. The study found that internal locus of control, agents of socialization, and sport socialization situation had positive impacts on the sports participation of women. In line with these results, the study suggests the strengthening of the internal locus of control of women, making the best use of socialization agents, and improvement of sport socialization situations, in order to promote sports participation in women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
What Motivates Participants to Adhere to Green Exercise?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1832; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101832 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
There is a lack of research into green exercise which investigates and compares motivational drivers between the different types of outdoor activities. The current paper addressed this gap by classifying and comparing three types of green exercise: (i) Recreational physical activity, (ii) competitive [...] Read more.
There is a lack of research into green exercise which investigates and compares motivational drivers between the different types of outdoor activities. The current paper addressed this gap by classifying and comparing three types of green exercise: (i) Recreational physical activity, (ii) competitive sport, and (iii) outdoor adventure sport. Using a mixed methodological approach, the present study investigated the motivations for adhering to green exercise and directly compared the differences between these three forms of green exercise. Online questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were used to collect data. The results demonstrated that within all types of green exercise, enjoyment was the greatest motivator. Based on analysis of the qualitative materials, extrinsic motivators such as the environment, family, and friends were highlighted as key factors in beginning and continuing their activity. However, intrinsic motivators were also emphasised as more important in adherence to green exercise. Furthermore, as seen in other research, numerous psychological benefits were reported over time. The results of the study may act as a starting point in understanding how we may increase public engagement in green exercise by prompting participants to select a form of green exercise that best suits them based on their motivational profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance and Pacing of Age Groups in Half-Marathon and Marathon
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1777; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101777 - 20 May 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to examine the age-related differences in performance and pacing in a half-marathon compared to a marathon. All finishers (n = 9137) in the Ljubljana 2017 half-marathon (n = 7258) and marathon (n = [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to examine the age-related differences in performance and pacing in a half-marathon compared to a marathon. All finishers (n = 9137) in the Ljubljana 2017 half-marathon (n = 7258) and marathon (n = 1853) with available data on split times during the races, were analysed for pacing. Half-marathoners were slower than marathoners among women, (2.77 ± 0.35 versus 2.86 ± 0.39 m·s−1 respectively, p < 0.001), but faster among men (3.14 ± 0.45 versus 3.08 ± 0.46 m·s−1 respectively, p < 0.001). In both race distances, the <25 age group was the fastest and the >54 age group the slowest (p < 0.001). All age groups presented a positive pacing in both race distances and genders, with each segment being slower than the previous one. However, an end spurt was observed in the marathon, but not in the half-marathon. A more even pace in the half-marathon than in the marathon was shown for most age groups. In summary, age-group finishers in the half-marathon decreased running speed across the race, presented a more even pacing than marathoners, and did not show an end spurt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Static Postural Balance in Modern Pentathletes: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(10), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16101760 - 18 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Postural balance is a key element of shooting effectiveness, which determines the outcome of modern pentathlon competitions. The aim of the study is to examine the postural balance of 27 pentathletes (12 females and 15 males; mean age: 18.0 ± 1.8 years), and [...] Read more.
Postural balance is a key element of shooting effectiveness, which determines the outcome of modern pentathlon competitions. The aim of the study is to examine the postural balance of 27 pentathletes (12 females and 15 males; mean age: 18.0 ± 1.8 years), and 26 physically active, untrained subjects (12 females and 14 males; mean age: 22.5 ± 1.4 years), and to investigate the impact of footwear on the stability of the shooting position in pentathletes. Methods: Static postural balance was examined during quiet stance in four test conditions (standing in footwear with eyes opened, standing in footwear with eyes closed, standing barefoot with eyes opened, and standing barefoot with eyes closed). During each postural balance measurement, the participant remained still on the platform, with their arms in front of their body. Postural balance in the shooting position was only evaluated in the group of pentathletes. The athlete was asked to assume a comfortable shooting position on the platform and to aim at the target. Standard pentathlon targets and pistols were used in the study. Measurements were carried out twice (barefoot and in footwear). Results: In all conditions, pentathletes achieved lower values of posturographic measures than in the control group. In non-visual conditions, measures describing the surface area of the centre of pressure decreased in pentathletes and increased in the control group. Both pentathletes and non-athletes were equally stable barefoot as in footwear. Footwear did not affect postural sway in the shooting position in pentathletes. Conclusions: Pentathletes were found to have significantly better stance stability and were less vision-dependent in postural balance than untrained subjects. Bearing in mind that the shooting position of pentathletes was as stable barefoot as in footwear, the main factors which were most likely responsible for minimising body oscillations in the pentathletes were their high level of concentration and conscious control of body alignment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Changes in Jumping and Throwing Performances in Age-Group Athletes Competing in the European Masters Athletics Championships between 1978 and 2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(7), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16071200 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
The results of master athletes have been used previously to examine the age-related differences in aerobic capacity, however, less research has been conducted on the variation of jumping and throwing performances with aging. Therefore, the aim of the present study of elite master [...] Read more.
The results of master athletes have been used previously to examine the age-related differences in aerobic capacity, however, less research has been conducted on the variation of jumping and throwing performances with aging. Therefore, the aim of the present study of elite master athletes was to investigate (a) the age-related differences in throwing (i.e., discus, hammer, javelin, and shot put) and jumping events (i.e., high jump, long jump, pole vault, and triple jump) in 5-year age-group intervals from 35–39 to 95–99 years of elite master athletes, and (b) the trends in performance and sex differences. The top eight female and male finalists for each age group and in each event from 20 European Masters Athletics Championships held between 1978 and 2017 were considered. Overall, 13,673 observations from 4726 master athletes were analyzed. For each event separately, a mixed regression model was performed with sex, age group, calendar year, and interaction terms (sex-age group, sex-year) defined as fixed effects. Performances were improving over time with a linear trend overall for each event. Men had better performances as compared to women, (i.e., in triple jump the estimated difference was 2.58 m, p < 0.001). Performances declined with age for each event (i.e., in triple jump, compared with the age group 45–49 years, performance in the age group 35–39 years was 0.98 m better and performance in the age group 85–89 years was 6.24 m worse). The decline of male performances with age was either slower or faster than the decline of female performances depending on age groups and events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Celebrating 40 Years of Ironman: How the Champions Perform
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(6), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16061019 - 20 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
We aimed to determine which discipline had the greater performance improvements in the history of Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and also which discipline had the greater influence in overall race time. Data from 1983 to 2018 of the top three women and men [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine which discipline had the greater performance improvements in the history of Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and also which discipline had the greater influence in overall race time. Data from 1983 to 2018 of the top three women and men of each year who competed in the Ironman World Championship were included. In addition to exploratory data analyses, linear regressions between split times and years of achievement were performed. Further, a stepwise multiple linear regression was applied using total race time as the dependent variable and split times as the independent variables. Both women and men significantly improved their performances from 1983 to 2018 in the Ironman World Championship. Swimming had the largest difference in improvements between men and women (3.0% versus 12.1%, respectively). A negative and significant decrease in each discipline was identified for both women and men, with cycling being the discipline with the greatest reduction. The results from the stepwise multiple regression indicated that cycling was the discipline with the highest influence on overall race time for both sexes. Based on the findings of this study, cycling seems to be the Ironman triathlon discipline that most improved overall race times and is also the discipline with the greatest influence on the overall race time of elite men and women in the Ironman World Championship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessArticle
Selected Healthy Behaviors and Quality of Life in People Who Practice Combat Sports and Martial Arts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(5), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16050875 - 10 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: The quality of life of a society is conditioned by many factors, and depends, among other things, on preferred behavior patterns. Combat sports (CS) and martial arts (MA) have a special educational potential in the area of shaping positive behavior patterns [...] Read more.
Background: The quality of life of a society is conditioned by many factors, and depends, among other things, on preferred behavior patterns. Combat sports (CS) and martial arts (MA) have a special educational potential in the area of shaping positive behavior patterns and transmitting moral values which could help reduce aggression in society. The aim of the work was to determine the relationship between health behaviors and the quality of life of people who practice combat sports and martial arts (CS and MA) recreationally, in addition to practicing other sports, and as competitors at the master level. Methods: The research embraced 543 people who practice combat sports and martial arts. Three groups were selected: recreational (n = 362), people who reconciled practicing various sports (n = 115), and competitors who practiced combat sports or martial arts at the master level (n = 66). The average age of the respondents was 24.49 ± 7.82. The standardized WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire and another questionnaire for a lifestyle survey were applied. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare several independent samples. In the case of determining statistical significance of differences the Mann-Whitney test was employed, and for the qualitative data analyses the trait frequency and the independence chi-square test were used. The effect size was calculated for each test ( E R 2 , rg, Cramér’s V). The value of p ≤ 0.05 was assumed to be statistically significant. Results: The highest quality of life (in the physical, psychological and environmental domains) was characteristic of the competitors, who practiced only combat sports and martial arts. They also displayed the most health-oriented behaviors. The surprising results were: lower quality of life in the assessment of nondrinkers and nonsmokers, and higher among people who were overweight. Conclusions: We have found positive correlations between practicing CS and MA, health behaviours and higher scores in quality of life self-evaluation, particularly where practitioners are exclusively focused on CS and MA and practice these at a competitive level. Our findings thus support the growing evidence that competitive level CS and MA are an effective means of improving people’s quality of life. Future research needs to clarify whether CS and MA can also be recommended to recreational and non-competitive practitioners as a means to improve their subjective quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)

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Open AccessReview
Wearables for Integrative Performance and Tactic Analyses: Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Directions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010059 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) have reduced drastically in size, cost, and power consumption, while improving accuracy. The combination of different sensor technologies is considered a promising step in the monitoring of athletes. Those “wearables” enable the capturing of relevant physiological and tactical information in [...] Read more.
Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) have reduced drastically in size, cost, and power consumption, while improving accuracy. The combination of different sensor technologies is considered a promising step in the monitoring of athletes. Those “wearables” enable the capturing of relevant physiological and tactical information in individual and team sports and thus replacing subjective, time-consuming and qualitative methods with objective, quantitative ones. Prior studies mainly comprised sports categories such as: targeting sports, batting and fielding games as well as net and wall games, focusing on the detection of individual, non-locomotive movements. The increasing capabilities of wearables allow for more complex and integrative analysis expanding research into the last category: invasion sports. Such holistic approaches allow the derivation of metrics, estimation of physical conditions and the analysis of team strategic behavior, accompanied by integrative knowledge gains in technical, tactical, physical, and mental aspects of a sport. However, prior and current researchers find the precise measurement of the actual movement within highly dynamic and non-linear movement difficult. Thus, the present article showcases an overview of the environments in which the wearables are employed. It elaborates their use in individual as well as team-related performance analyses with a special focus on reliability and validity, challenges, and future directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
Open AccessReview
The Use of Wearable Sensors in Human Movement Analysis in Non-Swimming Aquatic Activities: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5067; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245067 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
The use of smart technology, specifically inertial sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers), to analyze swimming kinematics is being reported in the literature. However, little is known about the usage/application of such sensors in other human aquatic exercises. As the sensors are getting smaller, [...] Read more.
The use of smart technology, specifically inertial sensors (accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers), to analyze swimming kinematics is being reported in the literature. However, little is known about the usage/application of such sensors in other human aquatic exercises. As the sensors are getting smaller, less expensive, and simple to deal with (regarding data acquisition), one might consider that its application to a broader range of exercises should be a reality. The aim of this systematic review was to update the state of the art about the framework related to the use of sensors assessing human movement in an aquatic environment, besides swimming. The following databases were used: IEEE Xplore, Pubmed, Science Direct, Scopus, and Web of Science. Five articles published in indexed journals, aiming to assess human exercises/movements in the aquatic environment were reviewed. The data from the five articles was categorized and summarized based on the aim, purpose, participants, sensor’s specifications, body area and variables analyzed, and data analysis and statistics. The analyzed studies aimed to compare the movement/exercise kinematics between environments (i.e., dry land versus aquatic), and in some cases compared healthy to pathological participants. The use of sensors in a rehabilitation/hydrotherapy perspective may provide major advantages for therapists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessReview
Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897 - 04 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: Effective hypertrophy-oriented resistance training (RT) should comprise a combination of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Regarding training variables, the most effective values are widely described in the literature. However, there is still a lack of consensus regarding the efficiency of advanced RT [...] Read more.
Background: Effective hypertrophy-oriented resistance training (RT) should comprise a combination of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. Regarding training variables, the most effective values are widely described in the literature. However, there is still a lack of consensus regarding the efficiency of advanced RT techniques and methods in comparison to traditional approaches. Methods: MEDLINE and SPORTDiscus databases were searched from 1996 to September 2019 for all studies investigating the effects of advanced RT techniques and methods on muscle hypertrophy and training variables. Thirty articles met the inclusion criteria and were consequently included for the quality assessment and data extraction. Results: Concerning the time-efficiency of training, the use of agonist–antagonist, upper–lower body supersets, drop and cluster sets, sarcoplasma stimulating training, employment of fast, but controlled duration of eccentric contractions (~2s), and high-load RT supplemented with low-load RT under blood flow restriction may provide an additional stimulus and an advantage to traditional training protocols. With regard to the higher degree of mechanical tension, the use of accentuated eccentric loading in RT should be considered. Implementation of drop sets, sarcoplasma stimulating training, low-load RT in conjunction with low-load RT under blood flow restriction could provide time-efficient solutions to increased metabolic stress. Conclusions: Due to insufficient evidence, it is difficult to provide specific guidelines for volume, intensity of effort, and frequency of previously mentioned RT techniques and methods. However, well-trained athletes may integrate advanced RT techniques and methods into their routines as an additional stimulus to break through plateaus and to prevent training monotony. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessReview
The Effect of Plyometric Training in Volleyball Players: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2960; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162960 - 17 Aug 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Volleyball is considered a very explosive and fast-paced sport in which plyometric training is widely used. Our purpose was to review the effects of plyometric training on volleyball players’ performance. A systematic search was conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic [...] Read more.
Volleyball is considered a very explosive and fast-paced sport in which plyometric training is widely used. Our purpose was to review the effects of plyometric training on volleyball players’ performance. A systematic search was conducted according to the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines using PubMed, SciELO, SPORTDiscus, Medline, Scopus, Academic Search Complete, CINAHL and Web Science for articles published no later than December 2018. Any criteria were imposed for the included sample. The search focus was on interventional studies in which athletes underwent a plyometric program. To the 1831 articles found, another five were added, identified through other sources. Duplicated files were removed, titles and abstracts were screened, which left 21 remaining studies for extensive analysis. Results showed that the vertical jump (15 studies) was the major ability studied in plyometric training interventions, followed by strength (four studies), horizontal jump (four studies), flexibility (four studies) and agility/speed (three studies). In addition, it was observed that young (under 18 years old) female athletes were the most studied. The included studies indicated that plyometric training seems to increase vertical jump performance, strength, horizontal jump performance, flexibility and agility/speed in volleyball players. However, more studies are needed to better understand the benefits of plyometric training in volleyball players’ performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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Open AccessCase Report
Self-Selected Pacing during a 24 h Track Cycling World Record
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2943; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162943 - 16 Aug 2019
Abstract
The present case study analyzed the pacing in a self-paced world record attempt during a 24 h track cycling event by the current world record holder. The cyclist completed 3767 laps on a 250 m long cycling track and covered a total distance [...] Read more.
The present case study analyzed the pacing in a self-paced world record attempt during a 24 h track cycling event by the current world record holder. The cyclist completed 3767 laps on a 250 m long cycling track and covered a total distance of 941.873 km, breaking the existing world record by 37.99 km. The average cycling speed was 39.2 ± 1.9 km/h (range 35.5–42.8 km/h) and the power output measured was 214.5 ± 23.7 W (range 190.0–266.0 W) during the 24 h of cycling. We found a positive pacing result with negative correlations between cycling speed (r = −0.73, p < 0.001), power output (r = −0.66, p < 0.001), and laps per hour (r = −0.73, p < 0.001) and the covered distance. During the 24 h, we could identify four different phases: the first phase lasting from the start till the fourth hour with a relatively stable speed; the second phase from the fourth till the ninth hour, characterized by the largest decrease in cycling speed; the third phase from the ninth hour till the 22nd hour, showing relatively small changes in cycling speed; and the last phase from the 22nd hour till the end, presenting a final end spurt. The performance in the 24 h track cycling was 45.577 km better than in the 24 h road cycling, where the same athlete cycled slower but with higher power output. In summary, the current world-best ultracyclist covered more kilometers with less power output during the world record 24 h track cycling than during his world record 24 h road cycling. This was most probably due to the more favorable environmental conditions in the velodrome, which has no wind and stable temperatures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Exercise and Sports Performance)
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