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Special Issue "Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2021) | Viewed by 15169

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Special Issue Editors

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure, 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
Interests: football; soccer; match analysis; performance analysis; network analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Ana Filipa Silva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The creation of a consolidated body of knowledge about women’s participation in sports and exercise should be prioritized, since the great majority of research in sports is still conducting in men. Despite a call for equity, consistent findings and research about women’s physiology, performance, and response to exercise are still needed to increase the capacity to understand the specific opportunities to adjust the training process to women. The understanding of biological mechanisms and interactions with training load, recovery, and performance is determinant for increasing consolidated evidence. Therefore, this Special Issue aims to open a window of opportunity to publish original research, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses about women in sports and exercise. Not limiting the topics of research, we welcome research focused on physical activity and exercise for health for different age-groups or populations of women, sports performance in youth and adults, and exercise for injury treatment or prevention.

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Dr. Ana Filipa Silva
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Female
  • Woman
  • Physical activity
  • Exercise
  • Clinical exercise
  • Sports training
  • Sports performance
  • Injury prevention

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Article
The Role of Competition Area and Training Type on Physiological Responses and Perceived Exertion in Female Judo Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(6), 3457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19063457 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 616
Abstract
This study investigated the combined effects of competition area (4 × 4, 6 × 6, and 8 × 8 m) and judo-specific training type (tachi-waza, ne-waza, and free randori) on physiological responses and perceived exertion in female judo athletes. In a within-subject design, [...] Read more.
This study investigated the combined effects of competition area (4 × 4, 6 × 6, and 8 × 8 m) and judo-specific training type (tachi-waza, ne-waza, and free randori) on physiological responses and perceived exertion in female judo athletes. In a within-subject design, 12 female subelite and elite athletes who competed at regional or national levels with a mean training background of 8.4 ± 0.5 years performed the experimental conditions (i.e., combats (viz., matches) featuring different area/training type combinations) in random order. The following measurements at different time points were chosen: blood lactate before and after each match; heart rate before, mean, and peak for each match; and rating of perceived exertion immediately after each match. Two-factor analysis of variance was used to compare between conditions, while Bonferroni post hoc test and magnitude of difference were used to measure significance. There was no main effect of training type or area size on lactate before each match, heart rate (HR) before each match, HR mean during each match, and rating of perceived exertion. Main effects of training type and area size were found for lactate after each event, with the values being greater in free randori compared to tachi-waza and ne-waza and in 4 × 4 m compared to 6 × 6 and 8 × 8 m area. Main effects of training type and area size were also found in peak heart rate, with lower values in ne-waza compared to free randori and tachi-waza and in 8 × 8 m compared to 4 × 4 m area. The results demonstrate that varying training modality and area size may alter physiological responses during female judo combats by putting stress on the cardiovascular system and increasing anaerobic glycolysis solicitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
Article
Morning versus Evening Intake of Creatine in Elite Female Handball Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010393 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 854
Abstract
A great deal of evidence has been gathered on the use of creatine as an ergogenic supplement. Recent studies show greater benefits when creatine ingestion is performed close in time to training, but few studies tackle the way that circadian rhythms could influence [...] Read more.
A great deal of evidence has been gathered on the use of creatine as an ergogenic supplement. Recent studies show greater benefits when creatine ingestion is performed close in time to training, but few studies tackle the way that circadian rhythms could influence creatine consumption. The aim of this study was therefore to observe the influence circadian rhythms exert on sports performance after creatine supplementation. Our method involved randomly assigning fourteen women players of a handball team into two groups in a single-blind study: one that consumed the supplement in the morning and one that consumed it in the evening, with both groups following a specific training program. After twelve weeks, the participants exhibited a decreased fat percentage, increased body weight and body water, and improved performance, with these results being very similar in the two groups. It is therefore concluded that, although circadian rhythms may influence performance, these appear not to affect creatine supplementation, as creatine is stored intramuscularly and is available for those moments of high energy demand, regardless of the time of day. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Comparisons of the Prevalence, Severity, and Risk Factors of Dysmenorrhea between Japanese Female Athletes and Non-Athletes in Universities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010052 - 21 Dec 2021
Viewed by 932
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the difference in the prevalence, severity, and risk factors of dysmenorrhea between Japanese female athletes and non-athletes in universities. The participants were 18 to 30 years old with no history of a previous pregnancy and/or childbirth. After application [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the difference in the prevalence, severity, and risk factors of dysmenorrhea between Japanese female athletes and non-athletes in universities. The participants were 18 to 30 years old with no history of a previous pregnancy and/or childbirth. After application of the exclusion criteria, the cohort comprised 605 athletes and 295 non-athletes. An anonymous questionnaire, which included self-reported information on age, height, weight, age at menarche, menstrual cycle days, menstrual duration, dysmenorrhea severity, sleeping hours, dietary habits, exercise habits, training hours, and competition level was administered. Compared with athletes, non-athletes had a higher prevalence of dysmenorrhea (85.6% in athletes, 90.5% in non-athletes, p < 0.05); non-athletes also demonstrated increased severity (none/mild 27.8%, moderate 19.3%, and severe 52.9% in athletes; none/mild 21.2%, moderate 17.2%, and severe 61.6% in non-athletes; p < 0.05). Factors related to severe dysmenorrhea in athletes included long training hours, early menarche, and prolonged menstrual periods. In non-athletes, short menstrual cycle days and extended menstrual periods were related to severe dysmenorrhea. The prevalence and severity of dysmenorrhea were higher among non-athletes than among athletes; different factors were related to severe dysmenorrhea in these two groups. Thus, different strategies are necessary to manage dysmenorrhea for athletes and non-athletes in universities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
On-Match Impact and Outcomes of Scoring First in Professional European Female Football
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 12009; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212009 - 16 Nov 2021
Viewed by 670
Abstract
Background: Scoring first seems to be a determinant in professional football playing; several factors could influence the development of the match and the outcome. This study aimed to identify which factors could influence scoring first and impact match outcomes in professional European female [...] Read more.
Background: Scoring first seems to be a determinant in professional football playing; several factors could influence the development of the match and the outcome. This study aimed to identify which factors could influence scoring first and impact match outcomes in professional European female football. Methods: There were 504 official matches held on 74 match days during the 2018–2019 professional female European football seasons (Primera Iberdrola, D1 Féminine, and Frauen-Bundesliga), analysed using a notational and inferential assessment. Results: There was a direct positive relationship (p < 0.05) between scoring first and winning the match; 75.9% of the winning teams scored first. Moreover, those teams that usually scored first had a better final league classification (p < 0.05). These relationships were not influenced by home or away conditions. Conclusions: Scoring first is a determinant in the outcomes of professional European female football matches. Physical and tactical training and programming should focus on those variables, leading female teams to score first. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
Article
No Relationship between Lean Mass and Functional Asymmetry in High-Level Female Tennis Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 11928; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182211928 - 13 Nov 2021
Viewed by 574
Abstract
The relationship between lean mass and functional asymmetry in terms of their magnitude and direction was examined in 22 high-level female tennis players (20.9 ± 3.6 years). Lean mass of both upper and lower extremities was examined using Dual X-ray Absorptiometry. Functional asymmetry [...] Read more.
The relationship between lean mass and functional asymmetry in terms of their magnitude and direction was examined in 22 high-level female tennis players (20.9 ± 3.6 years). Lean mass of both upper and lower extremities was examined using Dual X-ray Absorptiometry. Functional asymmetry was assessed using a battery of field tests (handgrip strength, seated shot-put throw, plate tapping, single leg countermovement jump, single leg forward hop test, 6 m single leg hop test, and 505 change of direction (time and deficit)). Paired sample t-tests compared the dominant (overall highest/best (performance) value) against the non-dominant value (highest/best (performance) value of the opposing extremity). Linear regressions were used to explore the relationship between lean mass and functional asymmetry magnitudes. Kappa coefficients were used to examine the consistency in direction between the extremity displaying the highest lean mass value and the extremity performing dominantly across tests. Significant asymmetry magnitudes (p < 0.05) were found for all upper and lower extremity lean mass and functional values. No relationship was apparent between lean mass and functional asymmetry magnitudes (p-value range = 0.131–0.889). Despite finding perfect consistency in asymmetry direction (k-value = 1.00) for the upper extremity, poor to fair consistency (k-value range = −0.00–0.21) was found for the lower extremity. In conclusion, lean mass and functional asymmetries should be examined independently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
The Effects of Running Compared with Functional High-Intensity Interval Training on Body Composition and Aerobic Fitness in Female University Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(21), 11312; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111312 - 28 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 937
Abstract
High-intensity interval running (HIIT-R) and high-intensity functional training (HIFT) are two forms of HIIT exercise that are commonly used. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of HIFT on aerobic capacity and body composition when compared to HIIT-R in females. [...] Read more.
High-intensity interval running (HIIT-R) and high-intensity functional training (HIFT) are two forms of HIIT exercise that are commonly used. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of HIFT on aerobic capacity and body composition when compared to HIIT-R in females. Twenty healthy, untrained female university students (age 20.5 ± 0.7 year) were randomly assigned to a 12-week HIIT-R or HIFT intervention. The HIIT-R group involved a 30 s maximal shuttle run with a 30 s recovery period, whereas the HIFT involved multiple functional exercises with a 2:1 work-active recovery ratio. Body composition, VO2max, and muscle performance were measured before and post intervention. As a result, HIIT-R and HIIT-F stimulated similar improvements in VO2max (17.1% ± 5.6% and 12.7% ± 6.7%, respectively, p > 0.05). Only the HIIT-F group revealed significant improvements in muscle performance (sit-ups, 16.5% ± 3.1%, standing broad jump 5.1% ± 2.2%, p < 0.05). Body fat percentage decreased (17.1% ± 7.4% and 12.6% ± 5.1%, respectively, p < 0.05) in both HIIT-R and HIIT-F with no between-group differences. We concluded that HIFT was equally effective in promoting body composition and aerobic fitness compared to HIIT-R. HIFT resulted in improved muscle performance, whereas the HIIT-R protocol demonstrated no gains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Associations between Physical Status and Training Load in Women Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10015; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910015 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 883
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze the variations of fitness status, as well as test the relationships between accumulated training load and fitness changes in women soccer players. This study followed an observational analytic cohort design. Observations were conducted over 23 consecutive weeks (from [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze the variations of fitness status, as well as test the relationships between accumulated training load and fitness changes in women soccer players. This study followed an observational analytic cohort design. Observations were conducted over 23 consecutive weeks (from the preseason to the midseason). Twenty-two women soccer players from the same first Portuguese league team (22.7 ± 5.21 years old) took part in the study. The fitness assessment included anthropometry, hip adductor and abductor strength, vertical jump, change of direction, linear speed, repeated sprint ability, and the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test. The training load was monitored daily using session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE). A one-way repeated ANOVA revealed no significant differences for any of the variables analyzed across the three moments of fitness assessments (p > 0.05). The t-test also revealed no differences in the training load across the moments of the season (t = 1.216; p = 0.235). No significant correlations were found between fitness levels and accumulated training load (range: r = 0.023 to −0.447; p > 0.05). This study revealed no differences in the fitness status during the analyzed season, and the fitness status had no significant relationship with accumulated training load. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Quantifying Coordination between Agonist and Antagonist Elbow Muscles during Backhand Crosscourt Shots in Adult Female Squash Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(18), 9825; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189825 - 17 Sep 2021
Viewed by 777
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to quantify the coordination between agonist and antagonist elbow muscles during squash backhand crosscourt shots in adult female players. Ten right-handed, international-level, female squash players participated in the study. The electrical muscle activity of two right elbow [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to quantify the coordination between agonist and antagonist elbow muscles during squash backhand crosscourt shots in adult female players. Ten right-handed, international-level, female squash players participated in the study. The electrical muscle activity of two right elbow agonist/antagonist muscles, the biceps brachii and triceps brachii, were recorded using a surface EMG system, and processed using the integrated EMG to calculate a co-activation index (CoI) for the preparation phase, the execution phase, and the follow-through phase. A significant effect of the phases on the CoI was observed. Co-activation was significantly different between the follow-through and the execution phase (45.93 ± 6.00% and 30.14 ± 4.11%, p < 0.001), and also between the preparation and the execution phase (44.74 ± 9.88% and 30.14 ± 4.11%, p < 0.01). No significant difference was found between the preparation and the follow-through phase (p = 0.953). In conclusion, the co-activation of the elbow muscles varies within the squash backhand crosscourt shots. The highest level of co-activation was observed in the preparation phase and the lowest level of co-activation was observed during the execution. The co-activation index could be a useful method for the interpretation of elbow muscle co-activity during a squash backhand crosscourt shot. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
The Impact of Physical Performance on Functional Movement Screen Scores and Asymmetries in Female University Physical Education Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8872; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168872 - 23 Aug 2021
Viewed by 835
Abstract
Association between physical performance and movement quality remains ambiguous. However, both affect injury risk. Furthermore, existing research rarely regards women. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the impact of physical performance components on FMS scores and asymmetries among young women—University Physical Education Students. [...] Read more.
Association between physical performance and movement quality remains ambiguous. However, both affect injury risk. Furthermore, existing research rarely regards women. Therefore, this study aimed to assess the impact of physical performance components on FMS scores and asymmetries among young women—University Physical Education Students. The study sample was 101 women, 21.72 ± 1.57 years, body mass index 21.52 ± 2.49 [kg/m2]. The FMS test was conducted to assess the movement patterns quality. Physical performance tests were done to evaluate strength, power, flexibility. Flexibility has the strongest correlation with FMS overall (r = 0.25, p = 0.0130) and single tasks scores. A higher level of flexibility and strength of abdominal muscles are associated with fewer asymmetries (r = −0.31, p = 0.0018; r = −0.27, p = 0.0057, respectively). However, the main findings determine that flexibility has the strongest and statistically significant impact on FMS overall (ß = 0.25, p = 0.0106) and asymmetries (ß = −0.30, p = 0.0014). Additionally, a significant effect of abdominal muscles strength on FMS asymmetries were observed (ß = −0.29, p = 0.0027). Flexibility and abdominal muscles strength have the most decisive impact on movement patterns quality. These results suggest possibilities for shaping FMS scores in young women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Impact of Rowing Training on Quality of Life and Physical Activity Levels in Female Breast Cancer Survivors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 7188; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18137188 - 05 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1084
Abstract
The aim of this longitudinal study was to determine whether a rowing training program improved the quality of life and the physical activity levels in female breast cancer survivors (n = 28) (stage 1–4.54%; stage 2–36.36%; stage 3–54.54%; and stage 4–4.54%), diagnosed [...] Read more.
The aim of this longitudinal study was to determine whether a rowing training program improved the quality of life and the physical activity levels in female breast cancer survivors (n = 28) (stage 1–4.54%; stage 2–36.36%; stage 3–54.54%; and stage 4–4.54%), diagnosed 4.68 ± 3.00 years previously, who had undergone a subsequent intervention (preservation 56.53% and total mastectomy 43.47%) and had a current mean age of 52.30 ± 3.78 years. The participants (n = 28) engaged in a 12-week training program, each week comprising three sessions and each session lasting 60–90 min. The short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SF) and the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) were also administered. The results showed statistically significant improvements in levels of physical activity and in the dimensions of quality of life. We can conclude that a 12-week rowing training program tailored to women who have had breast cancer increases physical activity levels, leading to improved health status and quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Contribution of Solid Food to Achieve Individual Nutritional Requirement during a Continuous 438 km Mountain Ultramarathon in Female Athlete
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105153 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1230
Abstract
Background: Races and competitions over 100 miles have recently increased. Limited information exists about the effect of multiday continuous endurance exercise on blood glucose control and appropriate intake of food and drink in a female athlete. The present study aimed to examine the [...] Read more.
Background: Races and competitions over 100 miles have recently increased. Limited information exists about the effect of multiday continuous endurance exercise on blood glucose control and appropriate intake of food and drink in a female athlete. The present study aimed to examine the variation of blood glucose control and its relationship with nutritional intake and running performance in a professional female athlete during a 155.7 h ultramarathon race with little sleep. Methods: We divided the mountain course of 438 km into 33 segments by timing gates and continuously monitored the participant’s glucose profile throughout the ultramarathon. The running speed in each segment was standardized to the scheduled required time-based on three trial runs. Concurrently, the accompanying runners recorded the participant’s food and drink intake. Nutrient, energy, and water intake were then calculated. Results: Throughout the ultramarathon of 155.7 h, including 16.0 h of rest and sleep, diurnal variation had almost disappeared with the overall increase in blood glucose levels (25–30 mg/dL) compared with that during resting (p < 0.0001). Plasma total protein and triglyceride levels were decreased after the ultramarathon. The intake of protein and fat directly or indirectly contributed to maintaining blood glucose levels and running speed as substrates for gluconeogenesis or as alternative sources of energy when the carbohydrate intake was at a lower recommended limit. The higher amounts of nutrient intakes from solid foods correlated with a higher running pace compared with those from liquids and gels to supply carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Conclusion: Carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake from solid foods contributed to maintaining a fast pace with a steady, mild rise in blood glucose levels compared with liquids and gels when female runner completed a multiday continuous ultramarathon with little sleep. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Effects of the Menstrual Cycle on Jumping, Sprinting and Force-Velocity Profiling in Resistance-Trained Women: A Preliminary Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4830; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094830 - 30 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1738
Abstract
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the menstrual cycle on vertical jumping, sprint performance and force-velocity profiling in resistance-trained women. A group of resistance-trained eumenorrheic women (n = 9) were tested in three phases over the menstrual [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to examine the effects of the menstrual cycle on vertical jumping, sprint performance and force-velocity profiling in resistance-trained women. A group of resistance-trained eumenorrheic women (n = 9) were tested in three phases over the menstrual cycle: bleeding phase, follicular phase, and luteal phase (i.e., days 1–3, 7–10, and 19–21 of the cycle, respectively). Each testing phase consisted of a battery of jumping tests (i.e., squat jump [SJ], countermovement jump [CMJ], drop jump from a 30 cm box [DJ30], and the reactive strength index) and 30 m sprint running test. Two different applications for smartphone (My Jump 2 and My Sprint) were used to record the jumping and sprinting trials, respectively, at high speed (240 fps). The repeated measures ANOVA reported no significant differences (p ≥ 0.05, ES < 0.25) in CMJ, DJ30, reactive strength index and sprint times between the different phases of the menstrual cycle. A greater SJ height performance was observed during the follicular phase compared to the bleeding phase (p = 0.033, ES = −0.22). No differences (p ≥ 0.05, ES < 0.45) were found in the CMJ and sprint force-velocity profile over the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Vertical jump, sprint performance and the force-velocity profiling remain constant in trained women, regardless of the phase of the menstrual cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Exploring the Determinants of Repeated-Sprint Ability in Adult Women Soccer Players
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4595; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094595 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1338
Abstract
This study aimed to explore the main determinants of repeated-sprint ability (RSA) in women soccer players considering aerobic capacity, sprinting performance, change-of-direction, vertical height jump, and hip adductor/abductor isometric strength. Twenty-two women soccer players from the same team participating in the first Portuguese [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the main determinants of repeated-sprint ability (RSA) in women soccer players considering aerobic capacity, sprinting performance, change-of-direction, vertical height jump, and hip adductor/abductor isometric strength. Twenty-two women soccer players from the same team participating in the first Portuguese league were observed. Fitness assessments were performed three times during a 22-week cohort period. The following assessments were made: (i) hip abductor and adductor strength, (ii) squat and countermovement jump (height), (iii) change-of-direction test, (iv) linear sprinting at 10- and 30-m, (v) RSA test, and (vi) Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1. Positive moderate correlations were found between peak minimum RSA and adductor and abductor strength (r = 0.51, p < 0.02 and r = 0.54, p < 0.01, respectively). Positive moderate correlations were also found between peak maximum RSA and adductor and abductor strength (r = 0.55, p < 0.02 and r = 0.46, p < 0.01, respectively). Lastly, a moderate negative correlation was found between fatigue index in RSA and YYIR1 test performance (r = −0.62, p < 0.004). In conclusion, abductor and adductor isometric strength-based coadjutant training programs, together with a high degree of aerobic endurance, may be suitable for inducing RSA in female soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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Article
Training Habits of Eumenorrheic Active Women during the Different Phases of Their Menstrual Cycle: A Descriptive Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3662; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073662 - 01 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1481
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the training habits of eumenorrheic active women during their menstrual cycle (MC), and its perceived influence on physical performance regarding their athletic level. A group of 1250 sportswomen filled in a questionnaire referring to demographic [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine the training habits of eumenorrheic active women during their menstrual cycle (MC), and its perceived influence on physical performance regarding their athletic level. A group of 1250 sportswomen filled in a questionnaire referring to demographic information, athletic performance and MC-related training habits. Of the participants, 81% reported having a stable duration of MC, with most of them (57%) lasting 26–30 days. Concerning MC-related training habits, 79% indicated that their MC affects athletic performance, although 71% did not consider their MC in their training program, with no differences or modifications in training volume or in training intensity for low-level athletes (LLA) and high-level athletes (HLA) with hormonal contraceptive (HC) use. However, LLA with a normal MC adapted their training habits more, compared with HLA, also stopping their training (47.1% vs. 16.1%, respectively). Thus, different training strategies should be designed for HLA and LLA with a normal MC, but this is not so necessary for HLA and LLA who use HC. To sum up, training adaptations should be individually designed according to the training level and use or non-use of HC, always taking into account the pain suffered during the menstrual phase in most of the athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Sports and Exercise: From Health to Sports Performance)
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