Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Is the Integration of Additional Eccentric, Balance and Core Muscles Exercises into a Typical Soccer Program Effective in Improving Strength and Postural Stability?
Sports 2021, 9(11), 147; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9110147 - 25 Oct 2021
Abstract
Soccer teams integrate specific exercises into their typical workout programs for injury prevention. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the incorporation of a brief and supplementary training program that involves eccentric, balance, and core exercises into the weekly soccer schedule [...] Read more.
Soccer teams integrate specific exercises into their typical workout programs for injury prevention. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the incorporation of a brief and supplementary training program that involves eccentric, balance, and core exercises into the weekly soccer schedule can cause positive neuromuscular adaptations. Twenty-one soccer players were randomly allocated to either a training (n = 11) or a control group (n = 10). All players followed their teams’ typical program, consisting of 4–5 soccer-specific sessions plus 1 match, weekly. Training group players additionally performed biweekly, hamstring eccentric, balance, and core stability exercises for 8 weeks. Isokinetic concentric and eccentric peak torque (PT) of the hamstrings and quadriceps, changes in the center of pressure (COP) during a 30 s single-leg stance, and a supine bridge (trunk stability) test were assessed before and after the intervention. After the intervention, a 27% increase in hamstring concentric PT and a 33% reduction in COP sway in the stance test, were observed for the training group only (p < 0.05). These improvements were significant only for the non-dominant leg. Furthermore, the control group displayed an increase in COP sway during the bridge test compared to baseline values (p < 0.05), which reflects a deterioration in postural balance over time. Consequently, incorporating small doses of hamstring eccentric, proprioception, and core stability exercises into a typical training program of youth soccer players improves strength and postural balance in the non-dominant leg, as well as core muscle performance. Full article
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Article
Relative Training Load and Match Outcome: Are Professional Soccer Players Actually Undertrained during the In-Season?
Sports 2021, 9(10), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9100139 - 08 Oct 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Previous studies examined training/match ratios (TMr) to determine the training load relative to the match load, but the influence of the relative training load (RTL) on success in soccer is still unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible influence of RTL [...] Read more.
Previous studies examined training/match ratios (TMr) to determine the training load relative to the match load, but the influence of the relative training load (RTL) on success in soccer is still unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible influence of RTL on final match outcome in soccer (win, draw, and loss). Running performances (RP) of soccer players (n = 21) in the Croatian highest national soccer competition were analyzed during the season 2020–2021. Data were measured by the global positioning system in 14 official matches and 67 training sessions. RTL was assessed by TMr, which were calculated as the ratio of RP during training and match in the same week, evaluating the following measures: TDr (total distance ratio), LIDr (low-intensity distance ratio), RDr (running distance ratio), HIDr (high-intensity distance ratio), ACCr (total accelerations ratio), DECr (total decelerations ratio), HI-ACCr (high-intensity accelerations ratio), HI-DECr (high-intensity decelerations ratio). All TMr were examined separately for each training session within in-season microcycles (categorized as days before the match day, i.e., MD minus). Spearman correlations were used to identify association between match outcome and TMr. The results indicated negative associations between match outcome and TDr, LIDr, ACCr and DECr on MD-1 and MD-2). In contrast, positive associations were evidenced between match outcome, and HIDr on MD-3 and TDr, LIDr, ACCr and DECr on MD-5 (p < 0.05; all moderate correlations). These findings demonstrate that final match outcome in soccer was associated with greater RTL of (i) high-intensity running three days before the match, (ii) total and low-intensity running, accelerations and decelerations five days before the match, and (iii) lower RTL of total and low-intensity running, accelerations and decelerations one and two days before the match. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Performance Monitoring in Sports)
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Article
Comparison of High and Low Responders to a Cross-Country Skiing Talent Transfer Program: A Coach’s Perspective
Sports 2021, 9(10), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9100138 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Purpose: To examine how coaches differentiate athletes with successful and non-successful development during a cross-country (XC) skiing talent transfer (TT) program. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with seven Norwegian coaches working with a group of 23 Chinese summer endurance athletes transferring from [...] Read more.
Purpose: To examine how coaches differentiate athletes with successful and non-successful development during a cross-country (XC) skiing talent transfer (TT) program. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with seven Norwegian coaches working with a group of 23 Chinese summer endurance athletes transferring from running, rowing, and kayaking to the winter endurance sport XC skiing over a six-month training period. The athletes were grouped as either high (n = 9), moderate (n = 3), or low responders (n = 11) based on objective performance development, quantified using laboratory testing. The interview guide contained six sections: physiological development, technical development, psychological characteristics, training and recovery routines, athlete background, and considerations about the effectiveness of TT initiatives in general. Results: The assessments of the coaches revealed that greater development of both physiological and technical capacities among the high-responding TT athletes were associated with higher motivation, as well as superior ability to deal with adversity in the development process. Conclusion: The coaches considered the TT program to be effective; however, successful transfer of athletes to a world class level in a complex sport such as XC skiing requires a multidisciplinary selection process and a longer time frame than the six-month period used in the current project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
Article
Resisted Sled Sprint Kinematics: The Acute Effect of Load and Sporting Population
Sports 2021, 9(10), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9100137 - 30 Sep 2021
Abstract
In this study, we assessed the acute kinematic effects of different sled load conditions (unloaded and at 10%, 20%, 30% decrement from maximum velocity (Vdec)) in different sporting populations. It is well-known that an athlete’s kinematics change with increasing sled load. However, to [...] Read more.
In this study, we assessed the acute kinematic effects of different sled load conditions (unloaded and at 10%, 20%, 30% decrement from maximum velocity (Vdec)) in different sporting populations. It is well-known that an athlete’s kinematics change with increasing sled load. However, to our knowledge, the relationship between the different loads in resisted sled sprinting (RSS) and kinematic characteristics is unknown. Thirty-three athletes (sprinters n = 10; team sport athletes n = 23) performed a familiarization session (day 1), and 12 sprints at different loads (day 2) over a distance of 40 m. Sprint time and average velocity were measured. Sagittal-plane high-speed video data was recorded for early acceleration and maximum velocity phase and joint angles computed. Loading introduced significant changes to hip, knee, ankle, and trunk angle for touch-down and toe-off for the acceleration and maximum velocity phase (p < 0.05). Knee, hip, and ankle angles became more flexed with increasing load for all groups and trunk lean increased linearly with increasing loading conditions. The results of this study provide coaches with important information that may influence how RSS is employed as a training tool to improve sprint performance for acceleration and maximal velocity running and that prescription may not change based on sporting population, as there were only minimal differences observed between groups. The trunk lean increase was related to the heavy loads and appeared to prevent athletes to reach mechanics that were truly reflective of maximum velocity sprinting. Lighter loads seem to be more adequate to not provoke changes in maxV kinematics. However, heavy loading extended the distance over which it is possible to train acceleration. Full article
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Article
Turn Fast and Win: The Importance of Acyclic Phases in Top-Elite Female Swimmers
Sports 2021, 9(9), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9090122 - 31 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of start and turn performances on race times in top-elite female swimmers and provide benchmarks for all performance levels, all swimming strokes, and all race distances of the European Short-Course Championships (EC). The [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of start and turn performances on race times in top-elite female swimmers and provide benchmarks for all performance levels, all swimming strokes, and all race distances of the European Short-Course Championships (EC). The individual races (n = 798) of all female competitors (age: 20.6 ± 3.9 years, FINA points: 792 ± 78) were video-monitored for subsequent analysis of start and turn performances. Benchmarks were established across all competitors of each event based on the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles. Start and turn performances contributed up to 27.43% and 56.37% to total race time, respectively. Mechanistic analysis revealed that the fastest swimmers had the lowest contribution of the acyclic phases to race time. Therefore, relative to their faster race times, these swimmers were even faster during starts and turns. Multiple linear regression analysis showed large effects of turn performance on 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 m race times (β = 0.616, 0.813, 0.988, 1.004, and 1.011, respectively), while the effect of start performance continuously decreased the longer the race distance. As turn performance may be the distinguishing factor in modern short-course races, benchmarks should be used to set goals and establish training guidelines depending on the targeted race time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Performance Monitoring in Sports)
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Article
Validation of a Smartwatch-Based Workout Analysis Application in Exercise Recognition, Repetition Count and Prediction of 1RM in the Strength Training-Specific Setting
Sports 2021, 9(9), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9090118 - 27 Aug 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
The goal of this study was to assess the validity, reliability and accuracy of a smartwatch-based workout analysis application in exercise recognition, repetition count and One Repetition Maximum (1RM) prediction in the strength training-specific setting. Thirty recreationally trained athletes performed four consecutive sets [...] Read more.
The goal of this study was to assess the validity, reliability and accuracy of a smartwatch-based workout analysis application in exercise recognition, repetition count and One Repetition Maximum (1RM) prediction in the strength training-specific setting. Thirty recreationally trained athletes performed four consecutive sets of barbell deadlift, barbell bench press and barbell back squat exercises with increasing loads from 60% to 80% of their estimated 1RM with maximum lift velocity. Data was measured using an Apple Watch Sport and instantaneously analyzed using an iOS workout analysis application called StrengthControl. The accuracies in exercise recognition and repetition count, as well as the reliability in predicting 1RM, were statistically analyzed and compared. The correct strength exercise was recognised in 88.4% of all the performed sets (N = 363) with accurate repetition count for the barbell back squat (p = 0.68) and the barbell deadlift (p = 0.09); however, repetition count for the barbell bench press was poor (p = 0.01). Only 8.9% of attempts to predict 1RM using the StrengthControl app were successful, with failed attempts being due to technical difficulties and time lag in data transfer. Using data from a linear position transducer instead, significantly different 1RM estimates were obtained when analysing repetition to failure versus load-velocity relationships. The present results provide new perspectives on the applicability of smartwatch-based strength training monitoring to improve athlete performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in Resistance Training)
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Article
A Comparison of Motives by Gender and Age Categories for Training at Norwegian Fitness Centres
Sports 2021, 9(8), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9080113 - 21 Aug 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
Examining participatory motives clarifies what engages and keeps individuals participating in exercise. The popularity of training at fitness centres has greatly increased over the last two decades, but individual determinants for motivation remain uncertain. This study compared motives between gender and age categories [...] Read more.
Examining participatory motives clarifies what engages and keeps individuals participating in exercise. The popularity of training at fitness centres has greatly increased over the last two decades, but individual determinants for motivation remain uncertain. This study compared motives between gender and age categories in training and performing physical activity at Norwegian fitness centres. To compare motives, a survey utilising a standardised questionnaire (MPAM-R) was conducted at six different Norwegian fitness centres. It was hypothesised that the intrinsic motive socialisation and extrinsic motive fitness would be more important among the older age categories for both genders, while the extrinsic motive appearance and intrinsic motive enjoyment would be more important among younger age groups. A total response of 183 men and 150 women, aged 14–80 years, was divided into seven categories based on their age and included in the statistical analysis. The main findings after conducting a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures, were that the most important motive for training at fitness centres was increasing fitness, followed by enjoyment, competence, vitality and appearance. The social motive was rated the lowest. Women rated fitness and enjoyment higher compared to men, and men rated the motive for appearance higher than women, but this decreased with age in both genders. With increasing age, the importance of enjoyment and competence decreased in men, while women seemed to place increased importance on vitality with age. The importance of the social motive decreased first as age increased, but then increased again in the age group 41–50 years and older. It was concluded that the motives for participating in exercise at fitness centres was dependent on individual characteristics and that motives about training at fitness centres differed by gender and changed with age. Full article
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Article
Changes in Physical Activity during the COVID-19 Pandemic—An Analysis of Differences Based on Mitigation Policies and Incidence Values in the Federal States of Germany
Sports 2021, 9(7), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9070102 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have had an impact on the daily life and physical activity (PA) of many people. Nevertheless, in Germany, mitigation policies and incidence values vary widely across the federal states (Länder). Thus, the aim of [...] Read more.
Measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 have had an impact on the daily life and physical activity (PA) of many people. Nevertheless, in Germany, mitigation policies and incidence values vary widely across the federal states (Länder). Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate regional differences in PA during the coronavirus pandemic. This study is based on the SPOVID project (Examining physical activity and sports behavior in the face of COVID-19 pandemic: a social inequality perspective) that incorporates a large-scale, representative cross-sectional survey representing the German population (≥14 years). Based on the survey that took place in October 2020 (N = 1477), we investigated the relationships between the COVID-19 incidence values as well as the mitigation policies across the federal states in Germany and changes in PA. Pearson correlations indicated a strong negative relationship between PA change and 7-day incidence values (r = −0.688 **, p = 0.009) and a moderate negative relationship between PA changes and an index of mitigation policies (r = −0.444, p = 0.112). Higher 7-day incidence values and stricter mitigation policies were associated with a stronger decline in PA levels. Therefore, it is important to support people to stay active even if there are restrictions. In particular, in federal states and regions with high incidences and stricter mitigation policies, measures to promote health-enhancing PA are necessary. Full article
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Article
“Is It Overtraining or Just Work Ethic?”: Coaches’ Perceptions of Overtraining in High-Performance Strength Sports
Sports 2021, 9(6), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9060085 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 3
Abstract
Optimal physical performance is achieved through the careful manipulation of training and recovery. Short-term increases in training demand can induce functional overreaching (FOR) that can lead to improved physical capabilities, whereas nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS) occur when high training-demand [...] Read more.
Optimal physical performance is achieved through the careful manipulation of training and recovery. Short-term increases in training demand can induce functional overreaching (FOR) that can lead to improved physical capabilities, whereas nonfunctional overreaching (NFOR) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS) occur when high training-demand is applied for extensive periods with limited recovery. To date, little is known about the OTS in strength sports, particularly from the perspective of the strength sport coach. Fourteen high-performance strength sport coaches from a range of strength sports (weightlifting; n = 5, powerlifting; n = 4, sprinting; n = 2, throws; n = 2, jumps; n = 1) participated in semistructured interviews (mean duration 57; SD = 10 min) to discuss their experiences of the OTS. Reflexive thematic analysis resulted in the identification of four higher order themes: definitions, symptoms, recovery and experiences and observations. Additional subthemes were created to facilitate organisation and presentation of data, and to aid both cohesiveness of reporting and publicising of results. Participants provided varied and sometimes dichotomous perceptions of the OTS and proposed a multifactorial profile of diagnostic symptoms. Prevalence of OTS within strength sports was considered low, with the majority of participants not observing or experiencing long-term reductions in performance with their athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives in Resistance Training)
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Article
Maximum Strength Benchmarks for Difficult Static Elements on Rings in Male Elite Gymnastics
Sports 2021, 9(6), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9060078 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
On rings, in men’s artistic gymnastics, the general strength requirements for important static elements remain elusive. Therefore, the aim was to describe the relationship between a new conditioning strength test and a maximum strength test of static elements on rings in order to [...] Read more.
On rings, in men’s artistic gymnastics, the general strength requirements for important static elements remain elusive. Therefore, the aim was to describe the relationship between a new conditioning strength test and a maximum strength test of static elements on rings in order to determine the minimal strength level (benchmarks) required to maintain these elements with one’s own body weight. Nineteen elite gymnasts performed a concentric (1RM isoinertial) and eccentric (isokinetic: 0.1 m/s) conditioning strength test for swallow/support scale (supine position) and inverted cross (seated position) on a computer-controlled device and a maximum strength test maintaining these elements for 5 s on rings with counterweight or additional weight. High correlation coefficients were found between the conditioning maximum strength for swallow/support scale (r: 0.65 to 0.92; p < 0.05) and inverted cross (r: 0.62 to 0.69; p > 0.05) and the maximum strength of the elements on rings. Strength benchmarks varied between 56.66% (inverted cross concentric) and 94.10% (swallow eccentric) of body weight. Differences in biomechanical characteristics and technical requirements of strength elements on rings may (inter alia) explain the differences between correlations. Benchmarks of conditioning strength may help coaches and athletes systematize the training of strength elements on rings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Performance Monitoring in Sports)
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Article
Trait and Ability Emotional Intelligence and Its Impact on Sports Performance of Athletes
Sports 2021, 9(5), 60; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9050060 - 10 May 2021
Abstract
Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered a determinant of sports performance. Two opposing perspectives have been discussed in the theoretical discourse on EI: EI as an ability versus EI as a trait, both widely differing in content and method of assessment. Previous applied sport [...] Read more.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is considered a determinant of sports performance. Two opposing perspectives have been discussed in the theoretical discourse on EI: EI as an ability versus EI as a trait, both widely differing in content and method of assessment. Previous applied sport psychology research is characterized by a heterogeneous use of different conceptualizations and measurements of EI. However, evidence for the superiority of an EI concept does not exist. This study directly compares the ability and trait EI concepts in the relationship with athletic performance. An online survey was conducted (response rate = 19%). Participants completed the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire Short Form, a list of questions about biographical information as well as information related to sports performance and sport participation. We used regression analyses and controlled type of sports to investigate how sports performance is influenced by EI. Trait EI positively predicted self-assessment of athletes’ performance (B = 1.02; p < 0.01) whereby ability EI did not predict any outcome of sports performance. The effect of trait EI was independent of the ability EI. Overall, the result indicates some evidence for the superiority of the trait EI in applied sports psychology. Full article
Article
Differences in Kinetics during One- and Two-Leg Hang Power Clean
Sports 2021, 9(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9040045 - 27 Mar 2021
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to quantify the kinetics per leg during the one- and two-leg hang power clean using various loads. Nine male track and field athletes performed the one- and two-leg hang power clean on a force platform. The estimated [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to quantify the kinetics per leg during the one- and two-leg hang power clean using various loads. Nine male track and field athletes performed the one- and two-leg hang power clean on a force platform. The estimated one-repetition maximum was used for the one-leg hang power clean (OHPC), and the one-repetition maximum was used for the two-leg hang power clean (THPC). The loads used were 30%, 60%, and 90% during both trials. We calculated peak power, peak force, and peak rate of force development during the pull phase from the force-time data. The peak power and the peak force for all loads during the OHPC were statistically greater than during the THPC. The peak rates of force development at 60% and 90% during the OHPC were statistically greater than during the THPC. Additionally, the peak power at 90% was significantly less than at 60% during the THPC. These findings suggest that the OHPC at loads of 60% and 90% is a weightlifting exercise that exhibits greater explosive force and power development characteristics than the THPC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Biomechanics for Sports)
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Article
Predictive Factors of Recovery after an Acute Lateral Ankle Sprain: A Longitudinal Study
Sports 2021, 9(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9030041 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
A prominent feature of ankle sprains is their variable clinical course. The difficulty of providing a reliable early prognosis may be responsible for the substantial rate of poor outcomes after an ankle sprain. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the [...] Read more.
A prominent feature of ankle sprains is their variable clinical course. The difficulty of providing a reliable early prognosis may be responsible for the substantial rate of poor outcomes after an ankle sprain. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the prognostic value of objective clinical measures, pain, and functional scores for ankle sprain recovery. Fifty-two participants suffering from lateral ankle sprain were included. Sprain status was assessed four weeks following injury and included evaluations of ankle range of motion, strength, function, and pain. Seven months following injury, a second assessment classified the patients into recovered and non-recovered groups using ankle ability measures. Following a predictor pre-selection procedure, logistic regressions evaluated the association between the four-week predictors and the seven-month recovery status. Twenty-seven participants (52%) fully recovered and 25 did not (48%). The results of the logistic regressions showed that walking pain was negatively associated with the probability of recovering at seven months (odds ratio: 0.71, 95% CI: 0.53–0.95). Pain four weeks after ankle sprain had relevant predictive value for long-term recovery. Special attention should be paid to patients reporting persistent pain while walking four weeks following sprain to reduce the risk of chronicity. Full article
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Article
The Intake of Kiwifruits Improve the Potential Antioxidant Capacity in Male Middle- and Long-Distance Runners Routinely Exposed to Oxidative Stress in Japan
Sports 2021, 9(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9030037 - 03 Mar 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Oxidation damages cells and muscles, and thus, causes injuries and fatigue, which negatively affect the conditioning of athletes. Thus, in this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of high-antioxidant fruits (kiwifruit) intake on oxidative stress level (d-ROMs) and antioxidant activity (BAP) in [...] Read more.
Oxidation damages cells and muscles, and thus, causes injuries and fatigue, which negatively affect the conditioning of athletes. Thus, in this study, we aimed to investigate the effects of high-antioxidant fruits (kiwifruit) intake on oxidative stress level (d-ROMs) and antioxidant activity (BAP) in male middle- and long-distance runners routinely exposed to oxidative stress. This study was performed from May to July 2017 (Study 1) and October to December 2018 (Study 2). The subjects in Study 1 were 30 male runners, of which 15 consumed two yellow kiwifruits (Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit) per day for one month of the survey period (Intake group). The subjects of Study 2 were 20 male runners who had high d-ROMs from preliminary testing. These runners consumed two yellow kiwifruits (Zespri® SunGold Kiwifruit) per day for two months. d-ROMs and BAP were measured using a free radical analyzer. In study 1, the d-ROMs decreased while the potential antioxidant capacity (BAP/d-ROMs ratio) increased in the Intake group. In study 2, BAP/d-ROMs ratio was higher after one and two months compared to that at pre-intervention. Study findings suggested that consumption of kiwifruits may reduce oxidative stress levels and increase antioxidant activity, resulting in improved potential antioxidant capacity. Full article
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Article
Recovery from Different High-Intensity Interval Training Protocols: Comparing Well-Trained Women and Men
Sports 2021, 9(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9030034 - 02 Mar 2021
Cited by 4
Abstract
Due to physiological and anatomical sex differences, there are variations in the training response, and the recovery periods following exercise may be different. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols are well-suited to differentially investigate the course of recovery. This study was conducted to determine [...] Read more.
Due to physiological and anatomical sex differences, there are variations in the training response, and the recovery periods following exercise may be different. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) protocols are well-suited to differentially investigate the course of recovery. This study was conducted to determine sex-specific differences in the recovery following HIIT intervals interspersed with recovery phases of different lengths. Methods: Well-trained cyclists and triathletes (n = 11 females, n = 11 males) participated in this study. There were no significant sex differences in maximal heart rate (HR), relative peak power to body mass and fat-free mass, training volume, and VO2max-percentiles (females: 91.8 ± 5.5 %, males: 94.6 ± 5.4 %). A 30 s Wingate test was performed four times, separated by different active recovery periods (1, 3, or 10 min). Lactate, HR, oxygen uptake, and subjective rating of exertion and recovery were determined. Results: For the recovery time of three and ten minutes, men showed significantly higher lactate concentrations (p = 0.04, p = 0.004). Contrary, HR recovery and subjective recovery were significant slower in women than in men. Conclusion: During HIIT, women may be more resistant to fatigue and have a greater ability to recover metabolically, but have a slower HR and subjective recovery. Full article
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Article
Impact of Different Exercise Modalities on the Human Gut Microbiome
Sports 2021, 9(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9020014 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 18
Abstract
In this study we examined changes to the human gut microbiome resulting from an eight-week intervention of either cardiorespiratory exercise (CRE) or resistance training exercise (RTE). Twenty-eight subjects (21 F; aged 18–26) were recruited for our CRE study and 28 subjects (17 F; [...] Read more.
In this study we examined changes to the human gut microbiome resulting from an eight-week intervention of either cardiorespiratory exercise (CRE) or resistance training exercise (RTE). Twenty-eight subjects (21 F; aged 18–26) were recruited for our CRE study and 28 subjects (17 F; aged 18–33) were recruited for our RTE study. Fecal samples for gut microbiome profiling were collected twice weekly during the pre-intervention phase (three weeks), intervention phase (eight weeks), and post-intervention phase (three weeks). Pre/post VO2max, three repetition maximum (3RM), and body composition measurements were conducted. Heart rate ranges for CRE were determined by subjects’ initial VO2max test. RTE weight ranges were established by subjects’ initial 3RM testing for squat, bench press, and bent-over row. Gut microbiota were profiled using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Microbiome sequence data were analyzed with QIIME 2. CRE resulted in initial changes to the gut microbiome which were not sustained through or after the intervention period, while RTE resulted in no detectable changes to the gut microbiota. For both CRE and RTE, we observe some evidence that the baseline microbiome composition may be predictive of exercise gains. This work suggests that the human gut microbiome can change in response to a new exercise program, but the type of exercise likely impacts whether a change occurs. The changes observed in our CRE intervention resemble a disturbance to the microbiome, where an initial shift is observed followed by a return to the baseline state. More work is needed to understand how sustained changes to the microbiome occur, resulting in differences that have been reported in cross sectional studies of athletes and non-athletes. Full article
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Article
Identifying Reliable and Relatable Force–Time Metrics in Athletes—Considerations for the Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull and Countermovement Jump
Sports 2021, 9(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9010004 - 31 Dec 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate intrasession reliability of countermovement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) force–time characteristics, as well as relationships between CMJ and IMTP metrics. Division I sport and club athletes (n = 112) completed two maximal [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate intrasession reliability of countermovement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) force–time characteristics, as well as relationships between CMJ and IMTP metrics. Division I sport and club athletes (n = 112) completed two maximal effort CMJ and IMTP trials, in that order, on force plates. Relative and absolute reliability were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) > 0.80 and coefficients of variation (CVs) < 10%. Intrasession reliability was acceptable for the majority of the CMJ force–time metrics except for concentric rate of force development (RFD), eccentric impulse and RFD, and lower limb stiffness. The IMTP’s time to peak force, instantaneous force at 150 ms, instantaneous net force, and RFD measures were not reliable. Statistically significant weak to moderate relationships (r = 0.20–0.46) existed between allometrically scaled CMJ and IMTP metrics, with the exception of CMJ eccentric mean power not being related with IMTP performances. A majority of CMJ and IMTP metrics met acceptable reliability standards, except RFD measures which should be used with caution. Provided CMJs and IMTPs are indicative of distinct physical fitness capabilities, it is suggested to monitor athlete performance in both tests via changes in those variables that demonstrate the greatest degree of reliability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Performance of Collegiate or College-Aged Athletes)
Article
Use, Practices and Attitudes of Sports Nutrition and Strength and Conditioning Practitioners towards Tart Cherry Supplementation
Sports 2021, 9(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9010002 - 22 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tart cherry (TC) supplementation has been shown to accelerate post-exercise recovery, enhance endurance performance and improve sleep duration and quality. This study aimed to identify the use, practices and attitudes of sports nutrition and strength and conditioning practitioners towards tart cherry supplementation. Thirty-five [...] Read more.
Tart cherry (TC) supplementation has been shown to accelerate post-exercise recovery, enhance endurance performance and improve sleep duration and quality. This study aimed to identify the use, practices and attitudes of sports nutrition and strength and conditioning practitioners towards tart cherry supplementation. Thirty-five practitioners anonymously completed an online survey investigating their use, practices and attitudes towards tart cherry supplements. Forty-six percent of the responders were currently recommending TC supplements, 11% had previously recommended TC supplements and 26% have not previously recommended TC supplements but were planning on doing so in the future. Of those recommending TC, 50% recommended or were planning on recommending TC supplements to enhance exercise recovery and 26% to improve sleep duration and quality. Acute supplementation and daily use during multi-day competition or demanding training blocks with a 2–3-day pre-load were the most reported supplementation recommendations (28% and 18%, respectively). Fifty-two percent of responders indicated uncertainty about the daily polyphenol dose to recommend as part of a TC supplementation protocol. Despite the high use and interest from sports nutrition and strength and conditioning practitioners in TC supplements, their practices did not align with the protocols found to be effective within the literature. Full article
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Article
Effect of Two Strength Training Models on Muscle Power and Strength in Elite Women’s Football Players
Sports 2020, 8(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8040042 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study evaluates changes in power and strength after implementing two different models of 9-week strength training in elite women’s football players. A group of 13 players (age 20.2 ± 3.3 years, body mass 57.2 ± 3.7 kg, height 163.6 ± 5.3 cm, [...] Read more.
This study evaluates changes in power and strength after implementing two different models of 9-week strength training in elite women’s football players. A group of 13 players (age 20.2 ± 3.3 years, body mass 57.2 ± 3.7 kg, height 163.6 ± 5.3 cm, VO2max 45.2 ± ml/min) underwent either a complex (the intermittent load type) or combined (the maximal strength and dynamic method) model of training. The training load was tailored to each athlete. Results showed that the complex model of training improved power (10 W/kg, p = 0.006) and height of vertical jump (5.3 cm, p = 0.001), weight of 1 Repeat Maximum (1RM) which was (5.8 kg, p = 0.015), power and speed in the acceleration phase of barbell half squats (BHS) at weights from 20 to 60 kg, and the number of repetitions in BHS (10.3%, p = 0.012). The combined model of training improved the time of shuttle run (0.44 s, p = 0.000), weight of 1RM in BHS (9.6kg, p = 0.000) and BP (4 kg, p = 0.000), power in the acceleration phase of BHS at weights from 50 to 60 kg, the number of repetitions in BP (14.3%, p = 0.000), BHS (9.4%, p = 0.002), barbell bench pulls (11.9%, p = 0.002) and sit-ups (7.7%, p = 0.001). These findings indicate that the complex model of training improves explosive abilities, whereas the combined model is effective for developing strength at weights close to players’ 1RM and for repeatedly overcoming resistance. Therefore, coaches should choose the training model based on the needs of individual players. Full article
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Article
Relationships between Change of Direction, Sprint, Jump, and Squat Power Performance
Sports 2020, 8(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8030038 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 15
Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate the relationships between countermovement jump (CMJ) height and inertial power in squat and sprint variables with change of direction (COD) performance. Fifty young healthy active males participated in the study. To determine these relationships, we [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate the relationships between countermovement jump (CMJ) height and inertial power in squat and sprint variables with change of direction (COD) performance. Fifty young healthy active males participated in the study. To determine these relationships, we carried out a 10-m linear sprint test (T 10 m), vertical jump tests (CMJ and CMJ Abalakov), an assessment of power relative to bodyweight in a flywheel squat (Pbw), and 10-m COD sprints with two different turn types (COD-90° and COD-180°). T10 m showed statistically large and moderate correlations with T10 m COD-180° (r = 0.55) and T10-m COD-90° (r = 0.41), respectively. Moderate to large correlations between jumping height, linear sprinting, and sprints with COD were found (r = −0.43 to r = −0.59), and there were unclear correlations between jumping height and the loss of speed caused by executing COD (DEC-COD). Pbw showed a large correlation with CMJ Abalakov and CMJ jump height (r = 0.65 and r = 0.57, respectively), and a moderate and large correlation with T 10 m, T 10 m COD-180°, and T10 m COD-90° (r = −0.33, r = −0.38, and r = −0.54, respectively). Despite the existence of substantial correlations between variables, straight linear sprinting, jumping performance, CODs and squat power were, for the most part, separate motor qualities (R2 from 14% to 34%), suggesting that all of them should be specifically assessed and trained. Full article
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Article
Injuries in Novice Participants during an Eight-Week Start up CrossFit Program—A Prospective Cohort Study
Sports 2020, 8(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8020021 - 13 Feb 2020
Cited by 10
Abstract
Background: Previously published studies have reported injury rates ranging from 0.74 to 3.3 per 1000 h of exposure in CrossFit participants. However, the existing body of evidence is mainly based on experienced participants; therefore, the injury incidence and injury rate within novice CrossFit [...] Read more.
Background: Previously published studies have reported injury rates ranging from 0.74 to 3.3 per 1000 h of exposure in CrossFit participants. However, the existing body of evidence is mainly based on experienced participants; therefore, the injury incidence and injury rate within novice CrossFit participants remains relatively unknown. The aim of this study wasto investigate the injury incidence and injury rate among novice participants in an eight-week CrossFit program. Methods: This survey-based prospective cohort study included CrossFit Copenhagen’s novice members who began an eight-week, free-of-charge membership period. A questionnaire was distributed at baseline and at eight-week follow-up. Information about exposure was retrieved through the online booking system. Injury incidence, defined as proportion of participants who sustained an injury, and injury rates per 1000 h of exposure were calculated. Results: Among the 168 included participants, a total of 28 injuries (14.9%) were reported. The number of injured participants and total exposure time resulted in an injury rate per 1000 h of exposure of 9.5. Conclusions: Compared to the existing body of evidence, the findings in this study indicate that the risk of injuries is higher among novice participants than among experienced CrossFit participants. Full article
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Article
Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Lower-Limb Muscle Endurance Following an Acute Bout of Aerobic Exercise in Young Men
Sports 2020, 8(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8020012 - 21 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
We aimed to determine whether creatine supplementation influences lower-limb muscle endurance following an acute bout of aerobic exercise (AE) in young healthy men. Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design, 11 men (26.5 ± 6.2 years, body mass index 26.6 ± 2.1 kg/m [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine whether creatine supplementation influences lower-limb muscle endurance following an acute bout of aerobic exercise (AE) in young healthy men. Using a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design, 11 men (26.5 ± 6.2 years, body mass index 26.6 ± 2.1 kg/m2),with 12 months of experience in strength training (three times/week) and AE (two times/week) were randomized to receive creatine (20 g/day plus 20 g/day maltodextrin) and placebo (40 g/day maltodextrin) for 7 days, separated by a washout period of 14 days, before performing an acute bout of AE (30 min on treadmill at 80% baseline maximum velocity) which was followed by four sets of bilateral leg extension endurance exercise using a 10-repetition maximum protocol (10 RM)). There was a significant decrease in the number of repetitions performed in the third (Placebo: −20% vs. Creatine: −22%) and fourth set (Placebo: −22% vs. Creatine: −28%) compared with the first set (p < 0.05), with no differences between creatine and placebo. Additionally, no differences were observed between creatine and placebo for the total number of repetitions performed across all four sets (Placebo: 33.9 ± 7.0 vs. Creatine: 34.0 ± 6.9 repetitions, p = 0.97), nor for total work volume (Placebo: 3030.5 ± 1068.2 vs. Creatine: 3039.8 ± 1087.7 kg, p = 0.98). Short-term creatine supplementation has no effect on lower-limb muscle endurance following an acute bout of aerobic exercise in trained young men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition Intervention in Exercise)
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Article
Maximal Heart Rate for Swimmers
Sports 2019, 7(11), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110235 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to identify whether a different protocol to achieve maximal heart rate should be used in sprinters when compared to middle-distance swimmers. As incorporating running training into swim training is gaining increased popularity, a secondary aim was [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to identify whether a different protocol to achieve maximal heart rate should be used in sprinters when compared to middle-distance swimmers. As incorporating running training into swim training is gaining increased popularity, a secondary aim was to determine the difference in maximal heart rate between front crawl swimming and running among elite swimmers. Twelve elite swimmers (4 female and 8 male, 7 sprinters and 5 middle-distance, age 18.8 years and body mass index 22.9 kg/m2) swam three different maximal heart rate protocols using a 50 m, 100 m and 200 m step-test protocol followed by a maximal heart rate test in running. There were no differences in maximal heart rate between sprinters and middle-distance swimmers in each of the swimming protocols or between land and water (all p ≥ 0.05). There were no significant differences in maximal heart rate beats-per-minute (bpm) between the 200 m (mean ± SD; 192.0 ± 6.9 bpm), 100 m (190.8 ± 8.3 bpm) or 50 m protocol (191.9 ± 8.4 bpm). Maximal heart rate was 6.7 ± 5.3 bpm lower for swimming compared to running (199.9 ± 8.9 bpm for running; p = 0.015). We conclude that all reported step-test protocols were suitable for achieving maximal heart rate during front crawl swimming and suggest that no separate protocol is needed for swimmers specialized on sprint or middle-distance. Further, we suggest conducting sport-specific maximal heart rate tests for different sports that are targeted to improve the aerobic capacity among the elite swimmers of today. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring Physiological Adaptation to Physical Training)
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Article
A Comparison of Machine versus Free-Weight Squats for the Enhancement of Lower-Body Power, Speed, and Change-of-Direction Ability during an Initial Training Phase of Recreationally-Active Women
Sports 2019, 7(10), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7100215 - 30 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine differences between a free-weight squat (FWS) and machine squat (MS) during an initial resistance training phase for augmentation of performance tests in recreationally active women. Twenty-seven women (22.7 ± 3.5 years) were block-randomized to three [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine differences between a free-weight squat (FWS) and machine squat (MS) during an initial resistance training phase for augmentation of performance tests in recreationally active women. Twenty-seven women (22.7 ± 3.5 years) were block-randomized to three groups: FWS, MS, or control (CON) and completed pre- and post-testing sessions consisting of the squat one-repetition maximum (1-RM), vertical jump, pro-agility test, zig-zag change-of-direction (COD) test, and 30-meter sprint. Participants trained two sessions per week for six weeks by performing jumping, sprinting, and COD drills followed by FWS, MS, or no squats (CON). Peak jump power increased for CON (p = 0.03) and MS (p < 0.01) groups. Change in peak jump power was greater for the MS group compared with the FWS group (p = 0.05). Average jump power increased for the MS group (p < 0.01). Change in average jump power was greater for the MS group compared with the CON group (p = 0.04). Vertical jump height, pro-agility, 30-meter sprint, and zig-zag COD tests improved over time (p < 0.01), with no difference between groups (p > 0.05). Machine squat training maximized jumping power compared with FWS training and CON. Both resistance training groups and the CON group improved equally in the pro-agility, 30-meter sprint, and zig-zag COD tests. Machine squat training may provide performance-enhancing benefits of equal or superior value to those obtained with free-weight squat training in recreationally active women during an initial training mesocycle. These findings also stress the importance of task-specific training in this population of untrained women, as the control group improved in terms of performance to the same degree as both resistance training groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological Responses and Adaptations in Resistance Exercise)
Article
Effects of Bio-Banding upon Physical and Technical Performance during Soccer Competition: A Preliminary Analysis
Sports 2019, 7(8), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7080193 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 25
Abstract
Bio-banded competition has been introduced to address the variation in physical maturity within soccer. To date, no research has investigated the effect of bio-banded competition relative to chronological competition. The current study investigated the effect of bio-banding upon physical and technical performance in [...] Read more.
Bio-banded competition has been introduced to address the variation in physical maturity within soccer. To date, no research has investigated the effect of bio-banded competition relative to chronological competition. The current study investigated the effect of bio-banding upon physical and technical performance in elite youth soccer athletes. Twenty-five male soccer athletes (11–15 years) from an English Premier League soccer academy participated in bio-banded and chronological competition, with physical and technical performance data collected for each athlete. Athletes were between 85–90% of predicted adult stature, and sub-divided into early, on-time and late developers. For early developers, significantly more short passes, significantly less dribbles and a higher rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were evident during bio-banded competition compared to chronological competition (p < 0.05). Significantly more short passes and dribbles, and significantly fewer long passes were seen for on-time developers during bio-banded competition (p < 0.05). For late developers, significantly more tackles, and significantly fewer long passes were evident during bio-banded competition (p < 0.05). No significant differences in physical performance were identified between competition formats. Results demonstrated that bio-banded competition changed the technical demand placed upon athletes compared to chronological competition, without reducing the physical demands. Bio-banded competition can be prescribed to athletes of differing maturation groups dependent upon their specific developmental needs. Full article
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Article
The Importance of Fundamental Motor Skills in Identifying Differences in Performance Levels of U10 Soccer Players
Sports 2019, 7(7), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070178 - 22 Jul 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
This study examined the differences in fundamental motor skills (FMSs) and specific conditioning capacities (SCCs) between a coach’s classification of first team (FT) and second team (ST) U10 soccer players and examined the most important qualities based on how the coach differentiates them. [...] Read more.
This study examined the differences in fundamental motor skills (FMSs) and specific conditioning capacities (SCCs) between a coach’s classification of first team (FT) and second team (ST) U10 soccer players and examined the most important qualities based on how the coach differentiates them. The FT (n = 12; Mage = 9.72 ± 0.41) and ST (n = 11; Mage = 9.57 ± 0.41) soccer players were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2, standing long jump, sit and reach, diverse sprints, and the 20 m multistage fitness test (MSFT). The coach’s subjective evaluation of players was obtained using a questionnaire. No significant differences existed between the FT and ST in any variables (p > 0.05). However, large and moderate effect sizes were present in favour of the FT group in locomotor skills (d = 0.82 (0.08, 1.51)), gross motor quotient (d = 0.73 (0.00, 1.41)), height (d = 0.61 (−0.12, 1.29)), MSFT (d = 0.58 (−0.14, 1.25)), and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) (d = 0.55 (−0.17, 1.22)). Furthermore, the coach perceived the FT group as having greater technical and tactical qualities relative to ST players. This suggests that it might be more relevant for players of this age to develop good FMS connected to technical skills, before focusing on SCC. Therefore, it might be beneficial for soccer coaches to emphasize the development of FMSs due to their potential to identify talented young soccer players and because they underpin the technical soccer skills that are required for future soccer success. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Process in Soccer Players)
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Article
Skeletal Muscle Fiber Adaptations Following Resistance Training Using Repetition Maximums or Relative Intensity
Sports 2019, 7(7), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070169 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to compare the physiological responses of skeletal muscle to a resistance training (RT) program using repetition maximum (RM) or relative intensity (RISR). Fifteen well-trained males underwent RT 3 d·wk−1 for 10 weeks in either [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to compare the physiological responses of skeletal muscle to a resistance training (RT) program using repetition maximum (RM) or relative intensity (RISR). Fifteen well-trained males underwent RT 3 d·wk−1 for 10 weeks in either an RM group (n = 8) or RISR group (n = 7). The RM group achieved a relative maximum each day, while the RISR group trained based on percentages. The RM group exercised until muscular failure on each exercise, while the RISR group did not reach muscular failure throughout the intervention. Percutaneous needle biopsies of the vastus lateralis were obtained pre-post the training intervention, along with ultrasonography measures. Dependent variables were: Fiber type-specific cross-sectional area (CSA); anatomical CSA (ACSA); muscle thickness (MT); mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); adenosine monophosphate protein kinase (AMPK); and myosin heavy chains (MHC) specific for type I (MHC1), type IIA (MHC2A), and type IIX (MHC2X). Mixed-design analysis of variance and effect size using Hedge’s g were used to assess within- and between-group alterations. RISR statistically increased type I CSA (p = 0.018, g = 0.56), type II CSA (p = 0.012, g = 0.81), ACSA (p = 0.002, g = 0.53), and MT (p < 0.001, g = 1.47). RISR also yielded a significant mTOR reduction (p = 0.031, g = −1.40). Conversely, RM statistically increased only MT (p = 0.003, g = 0.80). Between-group effect sizes supported RISR for type I CSA (g = 0.48), type II CSA (g = 0.50), ACSA (g = 1.03), MT (g = 0.72), MHC2X (g = 0.31), MHC2A (g = 0.87), and MHC1 (g = 0.59); with all other effects being of trivial magnitude (g < 0.20). Our results demonstrated greater adaptations in fiber size, whole-muscle size, and several key contractile proteins when using RISR compared to RM loading paradigms. Full article
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Article
Is Perceived Exertion a Useful Indicator of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Responses to a Metabolic Conditioning Session of Functional Fitness?
Sports 2019, 7(7), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070161 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to assess whether the self-regulation of training intensity based on rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a reliable method to control the intensity during metabolic conditioning sessions of functional fitness. In addition, the relationship between RPE and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to assess whether the self-regulation of training intensity based on rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a reliable method to control the intensity during metabolic conditioning sessions of functional fitness. In addition, the relationship between RPE and the changes in heart rate, number of repetitions, and lactate responses was also analyzed. Eight male participants (age 28.1 ± 5.4 years; body mass 77.2 ± 4.4 kg; VO2 max: 52.6 ± 4.6 mL·(kg·min)−1 completed two sessions (five to seven days apart), in a randomized order, under different conditions, as follows: (1) all-out (ALL), or (2) self-regulation of intensity based on an RPE of six (hard) on the Borg CR-10 scale (RPE6). The rating of perceived exertion, lactate (LAC), and heart rate (HR) response were measured before, during, and immediately after the sessions. The RPE and LAC during the all-out sessions were higher (p < 0.0005) than the RPE6 session for all of the analyzed time points during the session. There was no difference in the HR area under the curve for the all-out and RPE6 sessions. The average number of repetitions performed was lower (p ≤ 0.009) for the RPE6 session (190.5 ± 12.5 repetitions) when compared to the all-out session (214.4 ± 18.6 repetitions). There was a significant correlation between the RPE and LAC (p = 0.005; r = 0.66; large) and number of repetitions during the session (p = 0.026; r = 0.55; large). No correlation was observed between the RPE and HR (p = 0.147; r = 0.380). These results indicate that the self-regulation of intensity of effort based on the RPE may be a useful tool to control the exercise intensity during a metabolic conditioning session of functional fitness. Full article
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Article
Effects of Self-Talk Training on Competitive Anxiety, Self-Efficacy, Volitional Skills, and Performance: An Intervention Study with Junior Sub-Elite Athletes
Sports 2019, 7(6), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060148 - 19 Jun 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
(1) Background: Self-talk (ST) is used to influence athletes’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Samples of squad and competitive athletes are underrepresented, although research has proven the positive effects of ST in the context of sports. Thus, the present study focused on the impact [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Self-talk (ST) is used to influence athletes’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Samples of squad and competitive athletes are underrepresented, although research has proven the positive effects of ST in the context of sports. Thus, the present study focused on the impact of ST on psychological and performance outcomes of junior sub-elite athletes. (2) Methods: N = 117 athletes (55 females, 62 males; M = 16.0 years) were randomly assigned to either one of two experimental groups or to a control group (n = 30). The experimental groups received an ST intervention for either one week (n = 36) or eight weeks (n = 38), and the control group received no ST training. The dependent variables (competitive anxiety, volitional skills, self-efficacy, and coaches’ performance ratings) were assessed three times before and after the intervention. It was expected that (a) an ST intervention would reduce the competitive anxiety and increase volitional skills, self-efficacy, and performance; and, (b) long-term training would lead to higher effects than short-term training. (3) Results: As expected, ST training led to (less) somatic state anxiety and (higher) state self-confidence, self-optimization, self-efficacy, and performance. Additionally, long-term training was more effective than short-term training. (4) Conclusions: Targeted ST interventions may help to improve junior athletes’ psychological states and performance. Full article
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Article
Nature–Based Interventions for Improving Health and Wellbeing: The Purpose, the People and the Outcomes
Sports 2019, 7(6), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060141 - 10 Jun 2019
Cited by 54
Abstract
Engagement with nature is an important part of many people’s lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature–based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine. Despite this, urbanisation, challenges of modern life and environmental degradation are leading [...] Read more.
Engagement with nature is an important part of many people’s lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature–based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine. Despite this, urbanisation, challenges of modern life and environmental degradation are leading to a reduction in both the quantity and the quality of nature experiences. Nature–based health interventions (NBIs) can facilitate behavioural change through a somewhat structured promotion of nature–based experiences and, in doing so, promote improved physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. We conducted a Delphi expert elicitation process with 19 experts from seven countries (all named authors on this paper) to identify the different forms that such interventions take, the potential health outcomes and the target beneficiaries. In total, 27 NBIs were identified, aiming to prevent illness, promote wellbeing and treat specific physical, mental or social health and wellbeing conditions. These interventions were broadly categorized into those that change the environment in which people live, work, learn, recreate or heal (for example, the provision of gardens in hospitals or parks in cities) and those that change behaviour (for example, engaging people through organized programmes or other activities). We also noted the range of factors (such as socioeconomic variation) that will inevitably influence the extent to which these interventions succeed. We conclude with a call for research to identify the drivers influencing the effectiveness of NBIs in enhancing health and wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing in an Outdoor and Adventure Sports Context)
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Article
Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage and Recovery in Young and Middle-Aged Males with Different Resistance Training Experience
Sports 2019, 7(6), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060132 - 29 May 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
This study compared the time course of recovery after a squatting exercise in trained young (YG; n = 9; age 22.3 ± 1.7 years) and trained (MT; n = 9; 39.9 ± 6.2 years) and untrained (MU; n = 9; age 44.4 ± [...] Read more.
This study compared the time course of recovery after a squatting exercise in trained young (YG; n = 9; age 22.3 ± 1.7 years) and trained (MT; n = 9; 39.9 ± 6.2 years) and untrained (MU; n = 9; age 44.4 ± 6.3 years) middle-aged males. Before and at 24 and 72 h after 10 × 10 squats at 60% one-repetition maximum (1RM), participants provided measurements of perceived muscle soreness (VAS), creatine kinase (CK), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), and resting doublet force of the knee extensors and squatting peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM. When compared to the YG males, the MT experienced likely and very likely moderate decrements in MVC, resting doublet force, and peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM accompanied by unclear differences in VAS, CK, and VA after the squatting exercise. MU males, compared to MT, experienced greater alterations in peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM and VAS. Alterations in CK, MVC, VA, and resting doublet force were unclear at all time-points between the middle-aged groups. Middle-aged males experienced greater symptoms of muscle damage and an impaired recovery profile than young resistance trained males. Moreover, regardless of resistance training experience, middle-aged males are subject to similar symptoms after muscle-damaging lower-body exercise. Full article
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Article
Blood-Flow Restricted Warm-Up Alters Muscle Hemodynamics and Oxygenation during Repeated Sprints in American Football Players
Sports 2019, 7(5), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050121 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Team-sport athletes and coaches use varied strategies to enhance repeated-sprint ability (RSA). Aside from physical training, a well-conducted warm-up enhances RSA via increased oxidative metabolism. Strategies that impede blood flow could potentiate the effects of a warm-up due to their effects on the [...] Read more.
Team-sport athletes and coaches use varied strategies to enhance repeated-sprint ability (RSA). Aside from physical training, a well-conducted warm-up enhances RSA via increased oxidative metabolism. Strategies that impede blood flow could potentiate the effects of a warm-up due to their effects on the endothelial and metabolic functions. This study investigated whether performing a warm-up combined with blood-flow restriction (WFR) induces ergogenic changes in blood volume, muscle oxygenation, and RSA. In a pair-matched, single-blind, pre-post parallel group design, 15 American football players completed an RSA test (12 × 20 m, 20 s rest), preceded by WFR or a regular warm-up (SHAM). Pressure was applied on the athletes’ upper thighs for ≈15 min using elastic bands. Both legs were wrapped at a perceived pressure of 7 and 3 out of 10 in WFR and SHAM, respectively. Changes in gastrocnemius muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2) and total hemoglobin concentration ([THb]) were monitored with near-infrared spectroscopy. Cohen’s effect sizes (ES) were used to estimate the impact of WFR. WFR did not clearly alter best sprint time (ES −0.25), average speed (ES 0.25), total time (ES −0.12), and percent decrement score (ES 0.39). While WFR did not meaningfully alter average SmO2 and [THb], the intervention clearly increased the maximum [THb] and the minimum and maximum SmO2 during some of the 12 sprint/recovery periods (ES 0.34–1.43). Results indicate that WFR positively alters skeletal muscle hemodynamics during an RSA test. These physiological changes did not improve short-term RSA, but could be beneficial to players during longer activities such as games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimising Interval Training Prescription)
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Article
Effect of Plyometric Training on Jumping, Sprinting and Change of Direction Speed in Child Female Athletes
Sports 2019, 7(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050116 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 14
Abstract
Background: This study examined the effects of 8 weeks of plyometric training on jumping, sprinting, and change of direction (COD) performance. Methods: Fifty female 7–9-year-old gymnasts were randomly assigned to a plyometric training group (PG; n = 33), that performed supplementary plyometric training [...] Read more.
Background: This study examined the effects of 8 weeks of plyometric training on jumping, sprinting, and change of direction (COD) performance. Methods: Fifty female 7–9-year-old gymnasts were randomly assigned to a plyometric training group (PG; n = 33), that performed supplementary plyometric training twice per week, and a control group (CG; n = 17) that continued regular training. The following tests were performed before and after the intervention: 10 and 20 m sprints, 5 + 5 m and 10 + 10 m COD tests, one-leg and two-leg countermovement jump (CMJ), drop jump (DJ), squat jump (SJ), and standing long jump (SLJ). Results: Only a main effect for time was found for all jumping performance parameters (p = 0.001). However, the improvement of one- and two-leg CMJ in PG had a greater effect size than CG (0.72 and 0.67 vs. 0.34 and 0.18, respectively). Group × time interactions were found for 10 and 20 m sprint tests (p = 0.018 and p = 0.011, respectively) and for 10 + 10 m COD (p = 0.008) with the post hoc test showing improvement only for the PG (p = 0.001, 0.001, and 0.003 and d = 1.1, 1.14, and 0.6, respectively). Conclusions: Supplementary plyometric training increased sprint and COD performance more than regular gymnastics training, while jumping performance was equally improved in both groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physiological Responses and Adaptations in Resistance Exercise)
Article
Effects of 7-Week Hip Thrust Versus Back Squat Resistance Training on Performance in Adolescent Female Soccer Players
Sports 2019, 7(4), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7040080 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Hip thrust (HT) is a loaded bridging exercise that requires more hip extension than a back squat (SQ) does, while in a back squat, triple flex extension occurs. Due to the specificity of each exercise, it is claimed that HT gains can be [...] Read more.
Hip thrust (HT) is a loaded bridging exercise that requires more hip extension than a back squat (SQ) does, while in a back squat, triple flex extension occurs. Due to the specificity of each exercise, it is claimed that HT gains can be better transferred to actions where hip extension occurs. In addition, strength improvements during squatting can be transferred in a greater way to vertical plane movement, such as vertical jumping. However, its effects on the performance of female soccer players are unclear. For this reason, the purpose of this study was to analyze a 7-week training program on performance variables using either HT or SQ exercises in female adolescent soccer players without lifting experience (N = 24, age = 16.82 ± 1.56 years, height = 1.64 ± 0.55 cm, body mass = 58.35 ± 6.28 kg). Players were randomized into three groups: A back squat group (SQG; N = 8), hip thrust group (HTG; N = 8), and control group (CG; N = 8). Participants in the HTG and SQG joined a progressive resistance training program twice per week for 7 weeks with either HT or SQ exercises. A countermovement jump, 10–20 m sprint, T-test, and barbell velocity during HTs and SQs (with the load that represents ~60 and ~80% RM) were measured before and after the intervention. The HTG showed greater improvements in the 10-m sprint (d = 0.7), 20-m sprint (d = 0.46), T-test (d = 0.36), and barbell velocity at 80% repetition maximal (RM) (d = 0.53) and 60% RM (d = 1.02) during hip thrusts, while the SQG showed higher barbell velocity at 80% RM (d = −0.7) during back squats. These results may be useful for strength and conditioning coaches working with adolescent female soccer athletes, since both strengthening exercises improved performance in different ways due to the nature of the exercise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Process in Soccer Players)
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Article
Relationship between External Load and Perceptual Responses to Training in Professional Football: Effects of Quantification Method
Sports 2019, 7(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7030068 - 17 Mar 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
We examined the within-player correlation between external training load (ETL) and perceptual responses to training in a professional male football team (n = 13 outfield players) over an eight-week competitive period. ETL was collected using 10-Hz GPS, whereas perceptual responses were accessed [...] Read more.
We examined the within-player correlation between external training load (ETL) and perceptual responses to training in a professional male football team (n = 13 outfield players) over an eight-week competitive period. ETL was collected using 10-Hz GPS, whereas perceptual responses were accessed through rating of perceived exertion (RPE) questionnaires. Moderate-speed running (MSR), high-speed running (HSR) and sprinting were defined using arbitrary (fixed) and individualised speed zones (based on maximal aerobic speed and maximal sprinting speed). When ETL was expressed as actual distance covered within the training session, perceptual responses were moderately correlated to MSR and HSR quantified using the arbitrary method (p < 0.05; r = 0.53 to 0.59). However, the magnitude of correlations tended to increase when the individualised method was used (p < 0.05; r = 0.58 to 0.67). Distance covered by sprinting was moderately correlated to perceptual responses only when the individualised method was used (p < 0.05; 0.55 [0.05; 0.83] and 0.53 [0.02; 0.82]). Perceptual responses were largely correlated to the sum of distance covered within all three speed running zones, irrespective of the quantification method (p < 0.05; r = 0.58 to 0.68). When ETL was expressed as percentage of total distance covered within the training session, no significant correlations were observed (p > 0.05). Perceptual responses to training load seem to be better associated with ETL, when the latter is adjusted to individual fitness capacities. Moreover, reporting ETL as actual values of distance covered within the training session instead of percentual values inform better about players’ perceptual responses to training load. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Process in Soccer Players)
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Article
Time Course of Recovery Following Resistance Exercise with Different Loading Magnitudes and Velocity Loss in the Set
Sports 2019, 7(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7030059 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 13
Abstract
The aim of this study was to compare the time course of recovery following four different resistance exercise protocols in terms of loading magnitude (60% vs. 80% 1RM—one-repetition maximum) and velocity loss in the set (20% vs. 40%). Seventeen males performed four different [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to compare the time course of recovery following four different resistance exercise protocols in terms of loading magnitude (60% vs. 80% 1RM—one-repetition maximum) and velocity loss in the set (20% vs. 40%). Seventeen males performed four different protocols in full squat exercise, which were as follows: (1) 60% 1RM with a velocity loss of 20% (60-20), (2) 60% 1RM with a velocity loss of 40% (60-40), (3) 80% 1RM with a velocity loss of 20% (80-20), and (4) 80% 1RM with a velocity loss of 40% (80-40). Movement velocity against the load that elicited a 1 m·s−1 velocity at baseline measurements (V1-load), countermovement jump (CMJ) height, and sprint time at 20 m (T20) were assessed at Pre, Post, 6 h-Post, 24 h-Post, and 48 h-Post. Impairments in V1-load were significantly higher for 60-40 than other protocols at Post (p < 0.05). The 60-20 and 80-40 protocols exhibited significant performance impairments for V1-load at 6 h-Post and 24 h-Post, respectively (p < 0.05). CMJ height remained decreased for 60-20 and 60-40 until 24 h-Post (p < 0.001–0.05). Regarding T20, the 80-40 protocol resulted in higher performance than 60-40 at 24 h-Post and the 80-20 protocol induced a greater performance than 60-40 protocol at 48 h-Post (p < 0.05). A higher velocity loss during the set (40%) and a lower relative load (60% 1RM) resulted in greater fatigue and slower rate of recovery than lower velocity loss (20%) and higher relative load (80% 1RM). Full article
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Article
Using Unilateral Strength, Power and Reactive Strength Tests to Detect the Magnitude and Direction of Asymmetry: A Test-Retest Design
Sports 2019, 7(3), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7030058 - 04 Mar 2019
Cited by 37
Abstract
The aims of the present study were to determine test-retest reliability for unilateral strength and power tests used to quantify asymmetry and determine the consistency of both the magnitude and direction of asymmetry between test sessions. Twenty-eight recreational trained sport athletes performed unilateral [...] Read more.
The aims of the present study were to determine test-retest reliability for unilateral strength and power tests used to quantify asymmetry and determine the consistency of both the magnitude and direction of asymmetry between test sessions. Twenty-eight recreational trained sport athletes performed unilateral isometric squat, countermovement jump (CMJ) and drop jump (DJ) tests over two test sessions. Inter-limb asymmetry was calculated from both the best trial and as an average of three trials for each test. Test reliability was computed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), coefficient of variation (CV) and standard error of measurement (SEM). In addition, paired samples t-tests were used to determine systematic bias between test sessions and Kappa coefficients to report how consistently asymmetry favoured the same side. Within and between-session reliability ranged from moderate to excellent (ICC range = 0.70–0.96) and CV values ranged from 3.7–13.7% across tests. Significant differences in asymmetry between test sessions were seen for impulse during the isometric squat (p = 0.04; effect size = –0.60) but only when calculating from the best trial. When computing the direction of asymmetry across test sessions, levels of agreement were fair to substantial for the isometric squat (Kappa = 0.29–0.64), substantial for the CMJ (Kappa = 0.64–0.66) and fair to moderate for the DJ (Kappa = 0.36–0.56). These results show that when asymmetry is computed between test sessions, the group mean is generally devoid of systematic bias; however, the direction of asymmetry shows greater variability and is often inter-changeable. Thus, practitioners should consider both the direction and magnitude of asymmetry when monitoring inter-limb differences in healthy athlete populations. Full article
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Article
Physical Fitness Characteristics of High-level Youth Football Players: Influence of Playing Position
Sports 2019, 7(2), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7020046 - 16 Feb 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine whether the speed, agility, aerobic and anaerobic capacities of football players varied by playing positions. Elite youth football players (n = 123, age = 15.7 ± 0.5 years) who played in six different positions, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine whether the speed, agility, aerobic and anaerobic capacities of football players varied by playing positions. Elite youth football players (n = 123, age = 15.7 ± 0.5 years) who played in six different positions, as goalkeepers (GK), full backs (FB), central defenders (CD), wide midfielders (WM), central midfielders (CM), and attackers (AT), were assessed. Multivariate analysis of variances was used to compare the following variables: Linear running sprint for 5 m (S5) and 10 m (S10), flying sprint for 20 m (F20), agility 505 test with turn on the dominant (A505D) and non-dominant leg (A505N), agility K-test, Yo-Yo intermittent recovery (YYIR1) test and repeat sprint ability (RSA) test. The results showed significant influence of playing positions on linear-running sprint performance (F1,123 = 6.19, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.23). Midfielders reached significantly higher performance levels (CM = 2.44 ± 0.08 s, WM = 2.47 ± 0.13 s) in the A505N test compared to GK (2.61 ± 0.23 s). Outfield players had significantly higher performance in both YYIR1 and RSA tests compared to GK (p < 0.01). The results of this study may provide insightful strategies for coaches and clinical practitioners for developing position-specific conditioning programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Process in Soccer Players)
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Article
Rate of Force Development and Muscle Architecture after Fast and Slow Velocity Eccentric Training
Sports 2019, 7(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7020041 - 14 Feb 2019
Cited by 27
Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate the rate of force development (RFD) and muscle architecture early adaptations in response to training with fast- or slow-velocity eccentric squats. Eighteen young novice participants followed six weeks (two sessions/week) of either fast-velocity (Fast) or [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate the rate of force development (RFD) and muscle architecture early adaptations in response to training with fast- or slow-velocity eccentric squats. Eighteen young novice participants followed six weeks (two sessions/week) of either fast-velocity (Fast) or slow-velocity (Slow) squat eccentric-only training. Fast eccentric training consisted of nine sets of nine eccentric-only repetitions at 70% of 1-RM with <1 s duration for each repetition. Slow eccentric training consisted of five sets of six eccentric-only repetitions at 90% of 1-RM with ~4 sec duration for each repetition. Before and after training, squat 1-RM, countermovement jump (CMJ), isometric leg press RFD, and vastus lateralis muscle architecture were evaluated. Squat 1-RM increased by 14.5 ± 7.0% (Fast, p < 0.01) and by 5.4 ± 5.1% (Slow, p < 0.05). RFD and fascicle length increased significantly in the Fast group by 10–19% and 10.0 ± 6.2%, p < 0.01, respectively. Muscle thickness increased only in the Slow group (6.0 ± 6.8%, p < 0.05). Significant correlations were found between the training induced changes in fascicle length and RFD. These results suggest that fast eccentric resistance training may be more appropriate for increases in rapid force production compared to slow eccentric resistance training, and this may be partly due to increases in muscle fascicle length induced by fast eccentric training. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Countermovement Jump Protocol on Reactive Strength Index Modified and Flight Time: Contraction Time in Collegiate Basketball Players
Sports 2019, 7(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7020037 - 12 Feb 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
The purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate differences in Reactive Strength Index Modified (RSIMod) and Flight Time to Contraction Time Ratio (FT:CT) during the countermovement jump (CMJ) performed without the arm swing (CMJNAS) compared to the CMJ with the [...] Read more.
The purpose of the present investigation was to evaluate differences in Reactive Strength Index Modified (RSIMod) and Flight Time to Contraction Time Ratio (FT:CT) during the countermovement jump (CMJ) performed without the arm swing (CMJNAS) compared to the CMJ with the arm swing (CMJAS), while exploring the relationship within each variable between jump protocols. A secondary purpose sought to explore the relationship between RSIMod and FT:CT during both jump protocols. Twenty-two collegiate basketball players performed both three CMJNAS and three CMJAS on a force plate, during two separate testing sessions. RSIMod was calculated by the flight-time (RSIModFT) and impulse-momentum methods (RSIModIMP). CMJ variables were significantly greater during the CMJAS compared to CMJNAS (p < 0.001). There were large to very large correlations within each variable between the CMJAS and CMJNAS. There were significant positive correlations among RSIModFT, RSIModIMP, and FT:CT during both the CMJAS (r ≥ 0.864, p < 0.001) and CMJNAS (r ≥ 0.960, p < 0.001). These findings identify an increase in RSIMod or FT:CT during the CMJAS, that may provide independent information from the CMJNAS. In addition, either RSIMod or FT:CT may be utilized to monitor changes in performance, but simultaneous inclusion may be unnecessary. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Performance in Team Sports)
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Article
The Magical Horizontal Force Muscle? A Preliminary Study Examining the “Force-Vector” Theory
Sports 2019, 7(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7020030 - 22 Jan 2019
Cited by 12
Abstract
The force-vector theory contends that horizontal exercises are more specific to horizontal sports skills. In this context, the focus is on horizontal force production relative to the global coordinate frame. However, according to the principle of dynamic correspondence, the direction of force relative [...] Read more.
The force-vector theory contends that horizontal exercises are more specific to horizontal sports skills. In this context, the focus is on horizontal force production relative to the global coordinate frame. However, according to the principle of dynamic correspondence, the direction of force relative to the athlete is more important, and thus the basis for the force-vector theory is flawed. The purpose of this study was therefore to test the force-vector theory. According to the force-vector theory, hip thrust is a horizontally loaded exercise, and so hip thrust training would be expected to create greater improvements in horizontal jump performance than vertical jump performance. Eleven collegiate female athletes aged 18–24 years completed a 14-week hip thrust training programme. Pre and post testing was used to measure the following: vertical squat jump, vertical countermovement jump, horizontal squat jump, horizontal countermovement jump and hip thrust 3 repetition maximum (3RM). Subjects improved their 3 repetition maximum hip thrust performance by 33.0% (d = 1.399, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.784) and their vertical and horizontal jump performance (improvements ranged from 5.4–7.7%; d = 0.371–0.477, p = 0.004, η2 = 0.585). However, there were no differences in the magnitude of the improvement between horizontal and vertical jumping (p = 0.561, η2 = 0.035). The results of this study are contrary to the predictions of the force-vector theory. Furthermore, this paper concludes with an analysis of the force-vector theory, presenting the mechanical inconsistencies in the theory. Coaches should use the well established principle of dynamic correspondence in order to assess the mechanical similarity of exercises to sports skills. Full article
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Article
Students’ Emotional Experience in Physical Education—A Qualitative Study for New Theoretical Insights
Sports 2019, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010010 - 03 Jan 2019
Cited by 19
Abstract
Physical education (PE) can be the starting point for many students to be physically active throughout their lives. Positive emotional experiences in PE are discussed as beneficial for long-term physical activity, however, triggers of students’ emotions are still unclear. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
Physical education (PE) can be the starting point for many students to be physically active throughout their lives. Positive emotional experiences in PE are discussed as beneficial for long-term physical activity, however, triggers of students’ emotions are still unclear. The purpose of this study is to explore, from a student’s perspective, emotions and their triggers, which occur in PE classes. N = 12 students (male: six, female: six, ø-age: 15.6 ± 1.2 years) have been interviewed using a focused semi-structured interview to identify their emotions in PE and to explore the situations in which they occurred. An inductive approach with elements of the Grounded Theory Method was implemented to analyze the data. Students reported a wide range of positive and negative emotions. Furthermore, four crucial triggers were identified: (I) Attractiveness of the task, (II) social belonging, (III) competence and (IV) autonomy. Parallels to existing theories, especially the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), will be discussed. These results can be used to improve teachers’ knowledge about students’ emotions in PE in order to build a basis for lifelong physical activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emotions in Sports and Exercise)
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Article
Sleep Data, Physical Performance, and Injuries in Preparation for Professional Mixed Martial Arts
Sports 2019, 7(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010001 - 20 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The purpose of this investigation is to present observational data regarding sleep variables in professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes. These sleep performance measures were related to physical performance and injury in MMA athletes. Eight professional athletes were placed into a quasi-controlled, multivariable [...] Read more.
The purpose of this investigation is to present observational data regarding sleep variables in professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes. These sleep performance measures were related to physical performance and injury in MMA athletes. Eight professional athletes were placed into a quasi-controlled, multivariable fight-camp environment for a six-week period in preparation for fight competition. Throughout a six-week fight camp environment, athletes were continuously monitored for sleep performance measures (sleep latency, sleep efficiency, onset, and wake variances) via validated wearable sleep monitoring technology. Athletes were tested seven days prior to competition on measures of physical performance (vertical jump, VO2max, heart rate recovery, prowler sled push, and pull-ups). Multiple correlational analyses were utilized to assess relationships between all sleep and physical performance measures. There were significant (P < 0.05) correlations between sleep latency and VO2max, heart rate recovery, prowler sled push, vertical jump, and missed practice sessions. There were also significant (P < 0.05) correlations between average fall asleep time and heart rate recovery. Lastly, there were significant (P < 0.05) correlations between sleep efficiency, heart rate recovery, and missed practice sessions. MMA athletes who exhibited consistency in sleep demonstrated stronger relationships with performance testing during the fight-camp period. Full article
Article
Comparative Analysis of Load Profile between Small-Sided Games and Official Matches in Youth Soccer Players
Sports 2018, 6(4), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6040173 - 12 Dec 2018
Cited by 38
Abstract
The purposes of the present study are: (a) to characterize the external (eTL) and internal load (iTL) of official matches and small-sided games (SSGs) in relation to their objective, (b) to compare demands between SSG, and (c) to analyze the SSG requirements in [...] Read more.
The purposes of the present study are: (a) to characterize the external (eTL) and internal load (iTL) of official matches and small-sided games (SSGs) in relation to their objective, (b) to compare demands between SSG, and (c) to analyze the SSG requirements in relation to official matches during a one-month competition period. Twenty under-18 national-level soccer players were recorded using WIMUTM inertial devices (RealTrack Systems, Almeria, Spain) during four official matches and 12 training sessions where four SSGs with different objectives were performed: (SSG1) keeping the ball; (SSG2) keeping the ball and progressing; (SSG3) keeping the ball, progressing and ending in mini-goals; and (SSG4) keeping the ball, progressing and ending in an official goal with a goalkeeper. Statistical analysis included Kruskall-Wallis’ H and Mann-Whitney’s U with Cohen’s d effect size. The SSGs presented walking and jogging intensity movements (0.7–7 to 7–14 km/h), with a 5-to-8 %HIA (high intensity activity, >16 km/h), where low intensity accelerations, decelerations and impacts were predominant (1–2.5 m/s2; 5–7 G), and %HRMAX (maximum heart rate percentage) was between 70–90%. Only SSG4 presented similar demands to competition, finding differences between SSGs (p < 0.05; d = 1.40 − 0.36). In conclusion, the objective of the SSGs directly influenced the demands on the players in training sessions. For this reason, it is important to monitor demands for designing specific training sessions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Training Process in Soccer Players)
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Article
Effects of Adding Single Joint Exercises to a Resistance Training Programme in Trained Women
Sports 2018, 6(4), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6040160 - 28 Nov 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Background: The present study’s aim was to compare the changes in muscle performance and anthropometric measures in trained women performing RT programs composed only of MJ exercises or programmes that involve the addition of SJ exercises. Methods: Seventeen trained women were randomised to [...] Read more.
Background: The present study’s aim was to compare the changes in muscle performance and anthropometric measures in trained women performing RT programs composed only of MJ exercises or programmes that involve the addition of SJ exercises. Methods: Seventeen trained women were randomised to MJ or MJ+SJ. Both groups performed the same MJ exercises following a nonlinear periodisation model for 8 weeks. The only difference was that the MJ+SJ group also performed SJ exercises. The participants were tested for 10 repetition maximum (10 RM), flexed arm circumference, and both biceps and triceps skinfold. Results: Both groups significantly increased 10 RM load for the bench press (12.6% MJ and 9.2% MJ+SJ), triceps (15.6% MJ and 17.9% MJ+SJ), pull down (9.8% MJ and 8.3% MJ+SJ), biceps (14.0% MJ and 13.0% MJ+SJ), leg press (15.2% MJ and 12.8% MJ+SJ) and knee extension (10.2% MJ and 9.1% MJ+SJ). The decreases in triceps (−5.1% MJ and −5.3% MJ+SJ) and biceps (−6.5% MJ and −5.7% MJ+SJ) skinfolds were also significant as were the increases in arm circumference (1.47% MJ and 1.58% MJ+SJ). In all tests there was nothing significantly different between groups. Conclusions: The use of SJ exercises as a complement to a RT programme containing MJ exercises brings no additional benefit to trained women. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Running Power and Running Economy in Well-Trained Distance Runners
Sports 2018, 6(4), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6040142 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
A novel running wearable called the Stryd Summit footpod fastens to a runner’s shoe and estimates running power. The footpod separates power output into two components, Stryd power and form power. The purpose of this study was to measure the correlations between running [...] Read more.
A novel running wearable called the Stryd Summit footpod fastens to a runner’s shoe and estimates running power. The footpod separates power output into two components, Stryd power and form power. The purpose of this study was to measure the correlations between running economy and power and form power at lactate threshold pace. Seventeen well-trained distance runners, 9 male and 8 female, completed a running protocol. Participants ran two four-minute trials: one with a self-selected cadence, and one with a target cadence lowered by 10%. The mean running economy expressed in terms of oxygen cost at self-selected cadence was 201.6 ± 12.8 mL·kg−1·km−1, and at lowered cadence was 204.5 ± 11.5 mL·kg−1·km−1. Ventilation rate and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were not significantly different between cadence conditions with one-tailed paired t-test analysis (ventilation, p = 0.77, RPE, p = 0.07). Respiratory exchange ratio and caloric unit cost were significantly greater with lower cadence condition (respiratory exchange ratio, p = 0.03, caloric unit cost, p = 0.03). Mean power at self-selected cadence was 4.4 ± 0.5 W·kg−1, and at lowered cadence was 4.4 ± 0.5 W·kg−1. Mean form power at self-selected cadence was 1.1 ± 0.1 W·kg−1, and at lowered cadence was 1.1 ± 0.1 W·kg−1. There were positive, linear correlations between running economy and power (self-selected cadence and lower cadence, r = 0.6; the 90% confidence interval was 0.2 to 0.8); running economy and form power (self-selected cadence and lower cadence r = 0.5; the 90% confidence interval was 0.1 to 0.8). The findings suggest running economy is positively correlated with Stryd’s power and form power measures yet the footpod may not be sufficiently accurate to estimate differences in the running economy of competitive runners. Full article
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Article
Larger Countermovement Increases the Jump Height of Countermovement Jump
Sports 2018, 6(4), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6040131 - 26 Oct 2018
Cited by 17
Abstract
Simulation studies show that jump performance can be improved by increasing the depth of countermovement. The purpose of this study was to determine how modifications to the depth of countermovement lead to changes in jump height and the biomechanical parameters related to center [...] Read more.
Simulation studies show that jump performance can be improved by increasing the depth of countermovement. The purpose of this study was to determine how modifications to the depth of countermovement lead to changes in jump height and the biomechanical parameters related to center of mass displacement and force application. Twenty-nine competitive males participated in this investigation, performing nine countermovement jumps using a self-selected, a deep, and a shallow crouch position. Jump height and relative net vertical impulse were greater when using a deeper crouch position, compared to the self-selected position. Force application variables did not report differences, when the deeper countermovement was compared to the self-selected countermovement; although, the shallower countermovement showed higher values in force application parameters. The deeper countermovement jumps achieved higher velocities of the center of mass than the self-selected jumps, while shallower jumps produced lower velocities than the self-selected jumps. The results of this investigation were consistent with simulation studies, showing that deep countermovements increase net vertical impulse, leading to a higher jump height. In addition, the maximum downward velocity was higher, when the crouch position was deeper. Conversely, force-applied variables did not change when jump performance was increased. Full article
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Article
Relationship of Absolute and Relative Lower-Body Strength to Predictors of Athletic Performance in Collegiate Women Soccer Players
Sports 2018, 6(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6040106 - 29 Sep 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between absolute and relative lower-body strength on predictors of athletic performance among Division II collegiate women’s soccer players. Archived pre-season testing data for seventeen (n = 17) female National Collegiate Athletics Association [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships between absolute and relative lower-body strength on predictors of athletic performance among Division II collegiate women’s soccer players. Archived pre-season testing data for seventeen (n = 17) female National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division II soccer players were analyzed, including: vertical jump, 3RM back squat, 505-agility, modified T-test, 10 m and 30 m sprint, and 20 m multistage fitness test (20 m MSFT). Relative strength was calculated based on the estimated 1RM back squat divided by the athlete’s body mass. Significant correlations were discovered between absolute lower-body strength and 505-agility (Right: r = −0.51, p < 0.05; Left: r = −0.59, p < 0.05), modified T-test (r = −0.55, p < 0.05), 10 m and 30 m (r = −0.59, p < 0.05; r = −0.54, p < 0.05), and sprint performance. Relative lower-body strength showed significant correlations with vertical jump (r = 0.54, p < 0.05), 505-agility (Right: r = −0.58, p < 0.05; Left: r = −0.67, p < 0.01), modified T-test (r = −0.75, p < 0.01), 10 m and 30 m (r = −0.59 p < 0.05; r = −0.67, p < 0.01), and the 20 m MSFT (r = 0.58, p < 0.05). These results indicate that strength and conditioning coaches should emphasize the development of absolute and relative lower-body strength with their players to improve power, agility, and speed performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength Training in Sprint Sports)
Article
Validity, Reliability, and Application of the Session-RPE Method for Quantifying Training Loads during High Intensity Functional Training
Sports 2018, 6(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6030084 - 21 Aug 2018
Cited by 18
Abstract
The session rate of perceived exertion method (sRPE) has often been utilized in sports activities in which quantification of external training loads is challenging. The multi-modal, constantly varied nature of high intensity functional training (HIFT) represents a significant hurdle to calculate external work [...] Read more.
The session rate of perceived exertion method (sRPE) has often been utilized in sports activities in which quantification of external training loads is challenging. The multi-modal, constantly varied nature of high intensity functional training (HIFT) represents a significant hurdle to calculate external work and the sRPE method may provide an elegant solution to this problem. However, no studies have investigated the psychometric properties of sRPE within HIFT interventions. Twenty-five healthy men and women participated in six weeks of HIFT. Rate of perceived exertion and heart rate were assessed within every training session throughout the duration of the intervention. Compared to criterion heart rate-based measures, we observed sRPE method is a valid tool across individual, group, and sex levels. However, poor reliability in participants’ abilities to correctly match rate of perceived exertion with the relative level of physiologic effort (i.e., percentile of maximum heart rate) currently limits the utility of this strategy within HIFT. When applied, the validity and reliability of the sRPE seem to improve over time, and future research should continue to explore the potential of this monitoring strategy within HIFT interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on High Intensity Functional Training)
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Article
Affective and Attentional States When Running in a Virtual Reality Environment
Sports 2018, 6(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports6030071 - 27 Jul 2018
Cited by 14
Abstract
Engaging in physical exercise in a virtual reality (VR) environment has been reported to improve physical effort and affective states. However, these conclusions might be influenced by experimental design factors, such as comparing VR environments against a non-VR environment without actively controlling for [...] Read more.
Engaging in physical exercise in a virtual reality (VR) environment has been reported to improve physical effort and affective states. However, these conclusions might be influenced by experimental design factors, such as comparing VR environments against a non-VR environment without actively controlling for the presence of visual input in non-VR conditions. The present study addressed this issue to examine affective and attentional states in a virtual running task. Participants (n = 40), completed a 21 min run on a treadmill at 70% of Vmax. One group of participants ran in a computer-generated VR environment that included other virtual runners while another group ran while viewing neutral images. Participants in both conditions showed a pattern of reduced positive affect and increased tension during the run with a return to high positive affect after the run. In the VR condition, higher levels of immersive tendencies and attention/absorption in the virtual environment were associated with more positive affect after the run. In addition, participants in the VR condition focused attention more on external task-relevant stimuli and less to internal states than participants in the neutral images condition. However, the neutral images condition produced less negative affect and more enjoyment after the run than the VR condition. The finding suggest that the effects of exercising in a VR environment will depend on individual difference factors (e.g., attention/absorption in the virtual world) but it may not always be better than distracting attention away from exercise-related cues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Virtual Reality 2018)
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Figure 1

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