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Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

Volume 60 (2017): Issue 1 (December 2017)

Journal Details
Format
Journal
eISSN
1899-7562
First Published
13 Jan 2009
Publication timeframe
5 times per year
Languages
English

Search

28 Articles

Letter to the Editor

Section I – Kinesiology

Open Access

Butterfly Sprint Swimming Technique, Analysis of Somatic and Spatial-Temporal Coordination Variables

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 51 - 62

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate somatic properties and force production of leg extensor muscles measured in the countermovement jump test (CMJ), as well as to analyse kinematic variables of sprint surface butterfly swimming. Thirty-four male competitive swimmers were recruited with an average age of 19.3 ± 1.83 years. Their average body height (BH) was 183.7 ± 5.93 cm, body fat content 10.8 ± 2.64% and body mass (BM) 78.3 ± 5.0 kg. Length measurements of particular body segments were taken and a counter movement jump (CMJ) as well as an all-out 50 m butterfly speed test were completed. The underwater movements of the swimmers’ bodies were recorded with a digital camera providing side-shots. We registered a significant relationship between body mass (r = 0.46), lean body mass (r = 0.48) and sprint surface butterfly swimming (VSBF). The anaerobic power measured in the CMJ test, total body length (TBL) as well as upper and lower extremity length indices did not influence swimming speed significantly. The temporal entry-kick index (the time ratio between the first kick and arm entry) significantly influenced VSBF (r = -0.45). Similarly, medium power of the coefficient was indicated between a) stroke rate kinematics (SR), b) duration of the first leg kick (LP1), c) air phase duration of arm recovery (Fly-arm), and VSBF (r = 0.40; r = 0.40 and r = 0.41, respectively). The entry-kick temporal index showed that, in the butterfly cycle, an appropriately early executed initial kick when compared to arm entry was associated with a longer arm propulsion phase, which in turn was associated with minimizing resistive gliding phases and enabled relatively longer and less resistive air arm recovery (higher value of the fly-arm index). The higher value of SR kinematic was another important element of the best butterfly results in this study.

Key words

  • competitive swimmers
  • kinematic analysis
Open Access

Functional vs. Traditional Analysis in Biomechanical Gait Data: An Alternative Statistical Approach

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 39 - 49

Abstract

Abstract

In human motion studies, discrete points such as peak or average kinematic values are commonly selected to test hypotheses. The purpose of this study was to describe a functional data analysis and describe the advantages of using functional data analyses when compared with a traditional analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach. Nineteen healthy participants (age: 22 ± 2 yrs, body height: 1.7 ± 0.1 m, body mass: 73 ± 16 kg) walked under two different conditions: control and pain+effusion. Pain+effusion was induced by injection of sterile saline into the joint capsule and hypertonic saline into the infrapatellar fat pad. Sagittal-plane ankle, knee, and hip joint kinematics were recorded and compared following injections using 2×2 mixed model ANOVAs and FANOVAs. The results of ANOVAs detected a condition × time interaction for the peak ankle (F1,18 = 8.56, p = 0.01) and hip joint angle (F1,18 = 5.77, p = 0.03), but did not for the knee joint angle (F1,18 = 0.36, p = 0.56). The functional data analysis, however, found several differences at initial contact (ankle and knee joint), in the mid-stance (each joint) and at toe off (ankle). Although a traditional ANOVA is often appropriate for discrete or summary data, in biomechanical applications, the functional data analysis could be a beneficial alternative. When using the functional data analysis approach, a researcher can (1) evaluate the entire data as a function, and (2) detect the location and magnitude of differences within the evaluated function.

Key words

  • functional data analysis
  • statistics
  • joint kinematics
Open Access

Analysis of the Hamstring Muscle Activation During two Injury Prevention Exercises

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 29 - 37

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to perform an electromyographic and kinetic comparison of two commonly used hamstring eccentric strengthening exercises: Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl. After determining the maximum isometric voluntary contraction of the knee flexors, ten female athletes performed 3 repetitions of both the Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl, while knee angular displacement and electromyografic activity of the biceps femoris and semitendinosus were monitored. No significant differences were found between biceps femoris and semitendinosus activation in both the Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl. However, comparisons between exercises revealed higher activation of both the biceps femoris (74.8 ± 20 vs 50.3 ± 25.7%, p = 0.03 d = 0.53) and semitendinosus (78.3 ± 27.5 vs 44.3 ± 26.6%, p = 0.012, d = 0.63) at the closest knee angles in the Nordic Curl vs Ball Leg Curl, respectively. Hamstring muscles activation during the Nordic Curl increased, remained high (>70%) between 60 to 40° of the knee angle and then decreased to 27% of the maximal isometric voluntary contraction at the end of movement. Overall, the biceps femoris and semitendinosus showed similar patterns of activation. In conclusion, even though the hamstring muscle activation at open knee positions was similar between exercises, the Nordic Curl elicited a higher hamstring activity compared to the Ball Leg Curl.

Key words

  • semitendinosus
  • biceps femoris
  • Nordic Curl
  • Ball leg curl
  • female soccer players
Open Access

Relationships between Mechanical Variables in the Traditional and Close-Grip Bench Press

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 19 - 28

Abstract

Abstract

The study aim was to determine relationships between mechanical variables in the one-repetition maximum (1RM) traditional bench press (TBP) and close-grip bench press (CGBP). Twenty resistance-trained men completed a TBP and CGBP 1RM. The TBP was performed with the preferred grip; the CGBP with a grip width of 95% biacromial distance. A linear position transducer measured: lift distance and duration; work; and peak and mean power, velocity, and force. Paired samples t-tests (p < 0.05) compared the 1RM and mechanical variables for the TBP and CGBP; effect sizes (d) were also calculated. Pearson’s correlations (r; p < 0.05) computed relationships between the TBP and CGBP. 1RM, lift duration, and mean force were greater in the TBP (d = 0.30-3.20). Peak power and velocity was greater for the CGBP (d = 0.50-1.29). The 1RM TBP correlated with CGBP 1RM, power, and force (r = 0.685-0.982). TBP work correlated with CGBP 1RM, lift distance, power, force, and work (r = 0.542-0.931). TBP power correlated with CGBP 1RM, power, force, velocity, and work (r = 0.484-0.704). TBP peak and mean force related to CGBP 1RM, power, and force (r = 0.596-0.980). Due to relationships between the load, work, power, and force for the TBP and CGBP, the CGBP could provide similar strength adaptations to the TBP with long-term use. The velocity profile for the CGBP was different to that of the TBP. The CGBP could be used specifically to improve high-velocity, upper-body pushing movements.

Key words

  • 1RM
  • bar velocity
  • force
  • linear position transducer
  • power
  • upper-body strength
Open Access

Using Bilateral Functional and Anthropometric Tests to Define Symmetry in Cross-Country Skiers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 9 - 18

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the symmetry of anthropometry and muscle function in cross-country skiers and their association to vertical jumping power. Twenty cross-country skiers were recruited (21.7 ± 3.8 yrs, 180.6 ± 7.6 cm, 73.2 ± 7.6 kg). Anthropometric data was obtained using an iDXA scan. VO2max was determined using the diagonal stride technique on a ski treadmill. Bilateral functional tests for the upper and lower body were the handgrip and standing heel-rise tests. Vertical jump height and power were assessed with a counter movement jump. Percent asymmetry was calculated using a symmetry index and four absolute symmetry index levels. At a group level the upper body was more asymmetrical with regard to lean muscle mass (p = 0.022, d = 0.17) and functional strength (p = 0.019, d = 0.51) than the lower body. At an individual level the expected frequencies for absolute symmetry level indexes showed the largest deviation from zero for the heel-rise test (χ2 = 16.97, p = 0.001), while the leg lean mass deviated the least (χ2 = 0.42, p = 0.517). No relationships were observed between absolute symmetry level indexes of the lower body and counter movement jump performance (p > 0.05). As a group the skiers display a more asymmetrical upper body than lower body regarding muscle mass and strength. Interestingly at the individual level, despite symmetrical lean leg muscle mass the heel-rise test showed the largest asymmetry. This finding indicates a mismatch in muscle function for the lower body.

Key words

  • physical fitness
  • body composition
  • hand strength

Section II – Exercise Physiology & Sports Medicine

Open Access

Association Between Match Activity Variables, Measures of Fatigue and Neuromuscular Performance Capacity Following Elite Competitive Soccer Matches

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 93 - 99

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess the relationships between match activity variables, subsequent fatigue and neuromuscular performance capacity in elite soccer players. Subjects (n = 10) were professional soccer players participating in the English Championships. Match activity variables and markers of fatigue status were measured before and following two matches. Creatine kinase (CK) and muscle soreness were measured at baseline, immediately following, as well as 40 and 64 h post-match. Countermovement jump performance and perceived ratings of wellness were measured at baseline, then 40 and 64 h post-match. Relationships were shown between CK and the total number of accelerations and decelerations immediately (r = 0.63; large), 40 h (r = 0.45; moderate) and 64 h post-match (r = 0.35; moderate) (p < 0.05). Relationships between CK and total sprint distance (r = 0.39; moderate) and the number of sprints (r = 0.35; moderate) 40 h post-match (p < 0.05) were observed. Furthermore, relationships were shown between the perceived rating of wellness and number of accelerations 40 (r = 0.52; large) and 64 h (r = 0.40; moderate) post-match, sprint distance 40 h post-match (r = 0.40; moderate) and the total number of sprints 40 h post-match (r = 0.51; large) (p < 0.05). The quantification of match activity variables, particularly the total number of accelerations and decelerations and the number of sprints, provides insights into the fatigue status in elite soccer players 40 and 64 h post-match.

Key words

  • recovery
  • acceleration
  • deceleration
  • creatine kinase
  • exercise
Open Access

Impact of Futsal and Swimming Participation on Bone Health in Young Athletes

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 85 - 91

Abstract

Abstract

Physical activity plays a crucial role in bone mass acquisition during childhood and adolescence, with weightbearing and high-impact sport activities being more beneficial. This study sought to evaluate the impact of different sports activities on bone mineral density and content in male Portuguese athletes. Seventy adolescent boys (aged 12-15 years) including 28 futsal players (FG), 20 swimmers (SG) and 22 non-athletic adolescents used as control subjects (CG), participated in the current study. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and areal bone mineral content (aBMC) were measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Futsal players had significantly higher aBMD (lumbar spine - FG: 0.95 ± 0.18, SG: 0.80 ± 0.13, CG: 0.79 ± 0.13 g/cm2, p = 0.001; pelvis - FG: 1.17 ± 0.21, SG: 0.91 ± 0.12, CG: 0.98 ± 0.10 g/cm2, p < 0.001; lower limbs - FG: 1.21 ± 0.19, SG: 0.97 ± 0.10, CG: 0.99 ± 0.09 g/cm2, p < 0.001) and aBMC (lumbar spine - FG: 51.07 ± 16.53, SG: 40.19 ± 12.47, CG: 40.50 ± 10.53 g, p = 0.013; pelvis - FG: 299.5 ± 110.61, SG: 170.02 ± 55.82, CG: 183.11 ± 46.78 g, p < 0.001; lower limbs - FG: 427.21 ± 117.11, SG: 300.13 ± 76.42, CG: 312.26 ± 61.86 g/cm2, p < 0.001) than swimmers and control subjects. Data suggest that futsal, as a weightbearing and high or odd-impact sport, may improve bone mass during childhood and adolescence.

Key words

  • bone mineral density
  • futsal
  • swimming
  • youth
Open Access

Physiological Demands, Morphological Characteristics, Physical Abilities and Injuries of Female Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 77 - 83

Abstract

Abstract

The popularity of female soccer is increasing as well as the number of females playing soccer. Similarly, over the last twenty or so years, research in soccer has increased significantly, but a large disparity exists in the volume of studies involving male and female players. As a consequence of this, female players remain less well understood compared to males. The purpose of the present narrative review was to describe morphological characteristics, physiological demands, physical abilities and injuries in female soccer players. Physiological demands are similar between men’s and women’s soccer, but competitive women’s matches were characterized by nearly 33% less distance covered, although at higher intensity levels (maximum speeds greater than 15 km/h) than typically found in the men’s game. Sub-elite female players also tended to run less at higher intensity levels at the end of both halves in comparison with elite female players. High intensity running is an important factor of success in soccer since many critical moments of the game occur under this condition. The ability to rapidly change direction also determined elite, sub-elite and amateur levels. The implementation of functional training, which focused on soccer-specific drills and plyometric exercises, to improve explosive power, may improve conditioning in female soccer players as well as decrease the risk of injuries which was 3-8 times higher in females compared to males. This review presents an in-depth overview of the most influential factors for determining success in female soccer.

Key words

  • women’s soccer
  • match performance
  • female athletes
Open Access

Seeking Optimal Nutrition for Healthy Body Mass Reduction Among Former Athletes

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 63 - 75

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of 6 week Mediterranean diet or 30% calorie restriction on the fatty acid profile and eicosanoids (hydroxyoctadecadienoi acids and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids) concentration. Furthermore, basic biochemical variables such as insulin, glucose, HOMA-IR, and a lipid profile were estimated. The study enrolled 94 Caucasian former athletes aged 20-42, with body height of 179 ± 16.00 cm and body mass of 89.26 ± 13.25 kg who had not been active for at least 5 years. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three intervention groups: CR group – the 30% calorie restriction (n = 32), MD group - the Mediterranean diet (n = 34), and C group - a control group (n = 28). The pattern of nutrition was analysed before and after the experiment using the 72 h food diaries. In order to evaluate the effect of diet intervention, the following variables were measured: anthropometrics, basic biochemical variables (insulin, fasting glucose, HOMA-IR, lipid profile), fatty acids and their blood derivatives profiles. The CR group showed significantly lower levels of several biochemical variables, i.e., BMI, total cholesterol LDL, TG, total lipids, insulin and HOMA – IR (p < 0.05). Subjects consuming the MD diet significantly decreased their BMI and reduced the level of total lipids (p < 0.05). We did not find any significant changes in the C group. The analysis of the fatty acid profile revealed that the CR group had a significantly decreased EPA level (p < 0.05). The MD group showed a significantly increased level of the DHA (p < 0.05) and improvement in the omega - 3 index (p < 0.05). Subjects following the MD also showed significantly lower concentrations of 15 - hydroxyicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE). We did not observe any significant differences between the CR and C groups. Within short time, calorie restriction helps to improve lipid variables and insulin resistance. The MD diet seems to be more advantageous in the decrease of inflammation, but does not improve basic biochemical variables. We can conclude that calorie restriction can be a good choice for former athletes, although EPA and DHA supplementation is needed.

Key words

  • calorie restriction
  • Mediterranean diet
  • nutrition
  • former athletes

Section III – Sports Training

Open Access

Sprinting, Change of Direction Ability and Horizontal Jump Performance in Youth Runners According to Gender

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 199 - 207

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to assess straight sprinting, change of direction ability and horizontal jump performance in youth runners according to age and gender. Two hundred and fifty-five youth runners (116 boys and 139 girls) participated in this study. The athletes were divided according to their age into five groups: under 8 yr (U8), under 10 yr (U10), under 12 yr (U12), under 14 yr (U14) and under 16 yr (U16). Significant differences (p < 0.01) were found between U8 and U10 in the 5 m sprint (d = 1.22), 505 agility test (505, d = 0.96), modified agility test (MAT, d = 1.43), horizontal countermovement jump (HCMJ, d = 1.06) and arm swing HCMJ (HCMJAS, d = 1.44); between U10 and U12 in the 505 (d = 0.39), MAT (d = 0.74), HCMJ (d = 0.96) and HCMJAS (d = 0.75); and between U12 and U14 in 5 m (d = 0.84), HCMJ (d = 0.88) and HCMJAS (d = 0.79). However, no significant differences (p > 0.05, d = 0.29-1.17) between U14 and U16 were observed in any of the tests. With regard to age and gender, in U8 and U10 groups there were no significant differences (p > 0.05, d = 0.02-0.76) between boys and girls in any test. However, in U12 and U14 groups, significant gender differences (p < 0.05, d = 0.85-1.24) were found in the MAT. Likewise, the boys obtained better results than girls in the horizontal jump tests (p < 0.05, d = 1.01-1.26). After the classification by age, some differences were observed between both genders, depending on the fitness variable evaluated.

Key words

  • field test
  • maturity
  • agility
  • strength
  • acceleration
  • athletes
Open Access

Reliability and Usefulness of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test in Male and Female Professional Futsal Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 191 - 198

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and usefulness of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) in professional male and female futsal players. Thirteen male (24.4 ± 5.6 years; 174.5 ± 10.3 cm; 70.3 ± 9.9 kg) and fourteen female (23.3 ± 4.5 years; 165.8 ± 6.2 cm; 61.7 ± 5.5 kg) professional futsal players performed the 30-15IFT on two occasions, separated by 5 days. Maximal intermittent running velocity (VIFT) and heart rate at exhaustion (HRpeak) data were collected for both tests. Reliability was assessed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), typical error (TE) expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV), and smallest worthwhile change (SWC). VIFT demonstrated very good reliability between sessions, both for male (ICC = 0.92) and female (ICC = 0.96) players. As the TE for VIFT and HRpeak was similar to the calculated SWC for both male and female players, the usefulness of the test was rated as “medium”. A change in performance of at least 2 stages in male players, or a change of more than 1 stage in female players could be interpreted as a meaningful change in aerobic futsal fitness. The results of this study demonstrate that the 30-15IFT is both a reliable and useful test for male and female professional futsal players.

Key words

  • aerobic
  • exercise performance
  • exercise physiology
  • physical fitness
  • training
Open Access

Planning Training Loads for The 400 M Hurdles in Three-Month Mesocycles Using Artificial Neural Networks

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 175 - 189

Abstract

Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to planning training loads in hurdling using artificial neural networks. The neural models performed the task of generating loads for athletes’ training for the 400 meters hurdles. All the models were calculated based on the training data of 21 Polish National Team hurdlers, aged 22.25 ± 1.96, competing between 1989 and 2012. The analysis included 144 training plans that represented different stages in the annual training cycle. The main contribution of this paper is to develop neural models for planning training loads for the entire career of a typical hurdler. In the models, 29 variables were used, where four characterized the runner and 25 described the training process. Two artificial neural networks were used: a multi-layer perceptron and a network with radial basis functions. To assess the quality of the models, the leave-one-out cross-validation method was used in which the Normalized Root Mean Squared Error was calculated. The analysis shows that the method generating the smallest error was the radial basis function network with nine neurons in the hidden layer. Most of the calculated training loads demonstrated a non-linear relationship across the entire competitive period. The resulting model can be used as a tool to assist a coach in planning training loads during a selected training period.

Key words

  • 400 m hurdles
  • training loads
  • artificial neural network
Open Access

The Relative Age Effect on Soccer Players in Formative Stages with Different Sport Expertise Levels

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 167 - 173

Abstract

Abstract

The Relative Age Effect (RAE) in sport has been targeted by many research studies. The objective of this study was to analyze, in amateur clubs, the RAE of soccer players, according to the sport expertise level of the team (e.g., A, B, C and subsequent) that they belong to within the same game category. 1,098 soccer players in formative stages took part in the study, with ages varying between 6 and 18 years old (U8 to U19 categories). All of them were members of 4 Spanish federated clubs. The birth dates were classified into 4 quartiles (Q1 = Jan-Mar; Q2 = Apr-Jun; Q3 = Jul-Sept; Q4 = Oct-Dec)according to the team they belonged to. The results obtained in the chi-squared test and d value (effect size) revealed the existence of RAE in the teams with the highest expertise level, “A” (X2 = 15.342, p = .002, d = 0.4473) and “B” (X2 = 10.905, p = .012, d = 0.3657). However, in the lower level teams, “C and subsequent”, this effect was not observed. Present findings show that players born during the first months of the year tend to be selected to play in teams with a higher sport expertise level of each category, due to their physical maturity. Consequently, this causes differences in terms of the experience they accumulate and the motivation that this creates in these players.

Key words

  • relative age effect
  • sports training
  • soccer
  • talent identification
Open Access

Judging in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Different Levels of Performance

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 159 - 165

Abstract

Abstract

This study aimed to analyse the quality of difficulty judging in rhythmic gymnastics, at different levels of performance. The sample consisted of 1152 difficulty scores concerning 288 individual routines, performed in the World Championships in 2013. The data were analysed using the mean absolute judge deviation from the final difficulty score, a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and intra-class correlations, for consistency and reliability assessment. For validity assessment, mean deviations of judges’ difficulty scores, the Kendall’s coefficient of concordance W and ANOVA eta-squared values were calculated. Overall, the results in terms of consistency (Cronbach’s alpha mostly above 0.90) and reliability (intra-class correlations for single and average measures above 0.70 and 0.90, respectively) were satisfactory, in the first and third parts of the ranking on all apparatus. The medium level gymnasts, those in the second part of the ranking, had inferior reliability indices and highest score dispersion. In this part, the minimum of corrected item-total correlation of individual judges was 0.55, with most values well below, and the matrix for between-judge correlations identified remarkable inferior correlations. These findings suggest that the quality of difficulty judging in rhythmic gymnastics may be compromised at certain levels of performance. In future, special attention should be paid to the judging analysis of the medium level gymnasts, as well as the Code of Points applicability at this level.

Key words

  • rhythmic gymnastics
  • evaluation
  • bias
  • validity
  • reliability
Open Access

Physical Performance and Anthropometric Characteristics of Male South African University Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 153 - 158

Abstract

Abstract

Soccer is the most popular sport worldwide. Despite its global acclaim, scientific studies of soccer have tended to focus on tactics and techniques, thereby neglecting the physical and physiological profile of the players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine physical and anthropometric characteristics of male South African university soccer players. Twenty-seven male soccer players aged 19 to 24 (mean age: 22.1 years; s = 1.5 years) volunteered to participate in the study. The results showed that goalkeepers (77.5 ± 9.7 kg) and defenders (68.2 ± 6.5 kg) were the heaviest compared to players in other playing positions. The goalkeepers also had the highest percentage of body fat (11.3 ± 2.3%), in contrast to midfielders who had the lowest body fat content (9.1 ± 0.9%). With regard to flexibility, defenders (45.1 ± 4.9 cm) and midfielders (45.9 ± 5.4 cm) performed better than goalkeepers (37.1 ± 4.3 cm) and strikers (40.1 ± 3.4 cm). Midfielders (57.2 ± 3.1 ml1·kg−1·min1) and defenders (56.1 ± 5.1 ml1·kg−1·min1) had significantly higher values of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) than goalkeepers (47.9 ± 0.2 ml−1·kg−1·min−1) and strikers (49.8 ± 6.2 ml−1·kg−1·min−1). No significant (p > 0.05) differences were observed for all other variables, with the exception of body height, body mass, and VO2max. It was therefore concluded that sports scientists and coaches should tailor conditioning programmes in soccer according to players’ positions in view of the implications for successful performance.

Key words

  • soccer
  • physical fitness
  • anthropometric characteristics
  • performance
Open Access

The Second to Fourth Digit Ratio in Elite and Non-Elite Greco-Roman Wrestlers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 145 - 151

Abstract

Abstract

A low second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) has been reported to correlate with high performance and athletic potential of an individual in sport. It has been suggested that 2D:4D is a relatively weak predictor of strength and a stronger predictor of efficiency in aerobic exercise. Comparing extreme groups on a continuum of sports performance requiring high power (physical strength) output would be helpful to resolve this issue. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare the 2D:4D ratio of world-class elite Greco-Roman wrestlers (n = 10) taking part in Olympic fitness camps in 2013 with the 2D:4D ratio of non-elite collegiate wrestlers (n = 20), and age-matched sedentary males (n = 40). The 2D:4D ratios of elite wrestlers were lower compared to non-elite athletes (p < 0.01, right hand d = 1.70, left hand d = 1.67) and the control group (p < 0.0001, right hand d = 3.16, left hand d = 2.00). No significant differences were noted among the groups for right - left 2D:4D. We concluded that 2D:4D may discriminate between non-elite and world-class wrestlers. We also suggest that a low 2D:4D ratio could be linked to performance potential in wrestlers. As such, 2D:4D may provide additional information, which is valuable in determining the potential athleticism of an individual, when it is used in conjunction with other measures.

Key words

  • 2D:4D ratio
  • finger length
  • prenatal testosterone
Open Access

Functional and Muscle-Size Effects of Flywheel Resistance Training with Eccentric-Overload in Professional Handball Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 133 - 143

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to analyse the effects of 6 week (15 sessions) flywheel resistance training with eccentric-overload (FRTEO) on different functional and anatomical variables in professional handball players. Twenty-nine athletes were recruited and randomly divided into two groups. The experimental group (EXP, n = 15) carried out 15 sessions of FRTEO in the leg-press exercise, with 4 sets of 7 repetitions at a maximum-concentric effort. The control group (CON, n = 14) performed the same number of training sessions including 4 sets of 7 maximum repetitions (7RM) using a weight-stack leg-press machine. The results which were measured included maximal dynamic strength (1RM), muscle power at different submaximal loads (PO), vertical jump height (CMJ and SJ), 20 m sprint time (20 m), T-test time (T-test), and Vastus-Lateralis muscle (VL) thickness. The results of the EXP group showed a substantially better improvement (p < 0.05-0.001) in PO, CMJ, 20 m, T-test and VL, compared to the CON group. Moreover, athletes from the EXP group showed significant improvements concerning all the variables measured: 1RM (ES = 0.72), PO (ES = 0.42 - 0.83), CMJ (ES = 0.61), SJ (ES = 0.54), 20 m (ES = 1.45), T-test (ES = 1.44), and VL (ES = 0.63 - 1.64). Since handball requires repeated short, explosive effort such as accelerations and decelerations during sprints with changes of direction, these results suggest that FRTEO affects functional and anatomical changes in a way which improves performance in well-trained professional handball players.

Key words

  • muscle power
  • hypertrophy
  • iso-inertial
  • sport performance
Open Access

Effects of Passive and Active Rest on Physiological Responses and Time Motion Characteristics in Different Small Sided Soccer Games

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 123 - 132

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of resting regimes on physiological responses and time motion characteristics between bouts during small sided games (SSGs) in young soccer players. Sixteen players (average age 16.87 ± 0.34 years; body height 176.69 ± 3.21 cm; body mass 62.40 ± 2.59 kg; training experience 3.75 ± 0.44 years) performed four bouts 2-a-side, 3-a-side and 4-a-side games with three minutes active (SSGar: Running at 70% of HRmax) and passive (SSGpr) rest between bouts at two-day intervals. The heart rate (HR) along with total distance covered in different speed zones - walking (W, 0-6.9 km·h-1), low-intensity running (LIR, 7.0-12.9 km·h-1), moderate-intensity running (MIR, 13.0-17.9 km·h-1) and high-intensity running (HIR, >18km·h-1), were monitored during all SSGs, whereas the rating of perceived exertion (RPE, CR-20) and venous blood lactate (La-) were determined at the end of the last bout of each SSG. The results demonstrated that all SSGpr elicited significantly higher physiological responses compared to SSGar in terms of the RPE and La- (p < 0.05). In addition, 2-a-side SSGpr induced significantly lower %HRmax responses and total distance covered than 2-a-side SSGar (p < 0.05). Moreover, the distance covered at HIR was significantly higher in 4-a-side SSGar than 4-side SSGpr. The results of this study indicate that both SSGs with passive and active rest can be used for soccer specific aerobic endurance training. Furthermore, all SSGs with active recovery should be performed in order to increase players and teams’ performance capacity for subsequent bouts.

Key words

  • game based training
  • physiological responses
  • time-motion characteristics
  • work rest ratio
Open Access

Multivariate Profiles of Selected Versus non-Selected Elite Youth Brazilian Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 113 - 121

Abstract

Abstract

This study determined whether a multivariate profile more effectively discriminated selected than non-selected elite youth Brazilian soccer players. This examination was carried out on 66 youth soccer players (selected, n = 28, mean age 16.3 ± 0.1; non-selected, n = 38, mean age 16.7 ± 0.4) using objective instruments. Multivariate profiles were assessed through anthropometric characteristics, biological maturation, tactical-technical skills, and motor performance. The Student’s t-test identified that selected players exhibited significantly higher values for height (t = 2.331, p = 0.02), lean body mass (t = 2.441, p = 0.01), and maturity offset (t = 4.559, p < 0.001), as well as performed better in declarative tactical knowledge (t = 10.484, p < 0.001), shooting (t = 2.188, p = 0.03), dribbling (t = 5.914, p < 0.001), speed – 30 m (t = 8.304, p < 0.001), countermovement jump (t = 2.718, p = 0.008), and peak power tests (t = 2.454, p = 0.01). Forward stepwise discriminant function analysis showed that declarative tactical knowledge, running speed –30 m, maturity offset, dribbling, height, and peak power correctly classified 97% of the selected players. These findings may have implications for a highly efficient selection process with objective measures of youth players in soccer clubs.

Key words

  • sport selection
  • youth athletes
  • performance level
  • tactical analysis
  • skill acquisition
Open Access

High-Intensity Small-Sided Games versus Repeated Sprint Training in Junior Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 101 - 111

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of high-intensity small-sided games training (SSGT) versus repeated-sprint training (RST) on repeated-sprint ability (RSA), soccer specific endurance performance and short passing ability among junior soccer players. The junior soccer players were recruited from of a professional team (age 16.9 ± 1.1 years). The tests included the repeated-shuttle-sprint ability test (RSSAT), Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) and Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT). Nineteen participants were randomly assigned to either the small-sided games training (SSGTG) (n = 10) or repeated-sprint training group (RSTG) (n = 9). Small-sided games or repeated-sprint training were added to the regular training sessions for two days of the regular practice week. The Wilcoxon signed-rank and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to examine differences in groups and training effects. A time x training group effect was found in the improvement of short-passing ability for the smallsided games training group which showed significantly better scores than the repeated-sprint training group (p ≤ 0.05). Both groups showed similar improvements in RSAdecrement (p < 0.05). Only the repeated-sprint training group improved in the Yo-Yo IR1 (p < 0.05). This study clearly shows that high-intensity small-sided games training can be used as an effective training mode to enhance both repeated sprint ability and short-passing ability.

Key words

  • repeated-sprint ability
  • small-sided games
  • soccer specific endurance
  • passing ability
  • repeated-sprint training

Section IV – Behavioural Sciences in Sport - Adaptive Sports

Open Access

The Impact of the Progressive Efficiency Test on a Rowing Ergometer on White Blood Cells Distribution and Clinical Chemistry Changes in Paralympic Rowers During the Preparatory Stage Before the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 – A Case Report

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 255 - 263

Abstract

Abstract

There is a large gap in knowledge regarding research on post-exercise blood changes in disabled athletes. There are relatively few data on adaptive mechanisms to exercise in disabled athletes, including disabled rowers. Two rowers from a Polish adaptive rowing settle TAMix2x that qualified for the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 took part in this study. They performed a progressive test on a rowing ergometer until exhaustion. The cardiorespiratory fitness measures, complete blood count, white blood cells’ distribution and 30 clinical chemistry variables describing laboratory diagnostic profiles and general health were determined. The extreme effort induced changes in all studied metabolites (glucose, creatinine, urea, uric acid, total and direct bilirubin), albumin, total protein levels in both participants. Furthermore, a post-exercise increase in aspartate transaminase activity, yet a 2-fold decrease during the recovery time in both rowers were found. White blood cell count increased 2-fold after the test. The percentages of natural killer cells were higher and total T lymphocytes were lower after the exercise protocol. There were higher percentages of suppressor/cytotoxic and lower percentages of helper/inducer T lymphocyte subsets in both studied rowers. No changes in B lymphocytes distribution were observed. Lack of inflammatory symptoms during the experiment suggests a high level of rowers’ biological adaptation to the physical effort. The different changes in physiological, biochemical and immunological variables are related to the adaptive mechanism to physical exercise allowing for improvement of performance.

Key words

  • adaptive rowing
  • biochemical markers
  • disabled athletes
  • Paralympic Games
Open Access

Comparison of Aerobic Performance Testing Protocols in Elite Male Wheelchair Basketball Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 243 - 254

Abstract

Abstract

In wheelchair sports, aerobic performance is commonly assessed with the use of an arm crank ergometer (ACE), a wheelchair ergometer (WCE) or a wheelchair treadmill (WCT). There are different protocols to identify peak oxygen uptake in wheelchair sports; however, only a few protocols have been applied to evaluate these conditions in wheelchair basketball players. The purpose of this study was to compare physiological responses during maximal exercise testing with the use of ACE and WCT in wheelchair basketball players. Twelve elite male wheelchair basketball players participated in this study. The research was performed during a training camp of the Polish National Wheelchair Basketball Team. The study participants were divided into two functional categories: A (players with class 1.0 - 2.5) and B (players with class 3.0 - 4.5). Two main maximal exercise tests, i.e. wheelchair treadmill stress test (WCT test) and arm crank ergometer stress test (ACE test) were used to evaluate aerobic performance of the players. There were no statistically significant differences in aerobic tests between the players from both groups. The comparison of results achieved in two aerobic tests performed on WCT and ACE did not reveal any significant differences between the analyzed variables (peak heart rate (HRpeak), peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), minute ventilation (VE), anaerobic threshold (AT), lactate concentration (LApeak), and a drop in lactate concentration (%LA)). Strong correlations between results achieved in WCT and ACE tests were found for VO2peak, VE and LApeak. The main conclusion of the study is that both WCT and ACE tests may be useful when determining aerobic capacity of wheelchair basketball players. Moreover, both protocols can be used by athletes regardless of their functional capabilities and types of impairment.

Key words

  • oxygen uptake
  • wheelchair treadmill
  • arm cranking
  • disabled athletes
  • exercise protocol
Open Access

Performance and Kinematic Differences in Putting Between Healthy and Disabled Elite Golfers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 233 - 241

Abstract

Abstract

Golfers with disability are limited in the execution of the full golf swing, but their performance in putting may be comparable because this stroke does not demand significant strength, balance and range of motion. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare putting performance, kinetic and kinematic consistency between golfers with different disabilities and healthy athletes. The participants consisted of three disabled athletes (perinatal cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, below knee lower limb amputee) and three healthy golfers (age 34 ± 4.5 years, body height 178 ± 3.3 cm, body mass 83 ± 6.2 kg). The golfers’ movements were recorded by active 3D markers for kinematic analyses; the subjects performed 10 trials of a 6 m putting task while standing on separate force platforms placed under each lower limb. Putting performance was measured by the distance of the final ball position to the centre of the hole. ANOVA analyses did not show any differences in clubhead speed and total ball distance from the hole. The consistency of those two parameters expressed by the coefficient of variation (CV) was CV = 0.5% or better in both groups for clubhead speed and ranged from CV = 0.40 to 0.61% in healthy and CV = 0.21 to 0.55% in disabled athletes for total error distance. The main effect ANOVA showed differences in weight shift, hip and shoulder kinematics (p < 0.05) between healthy players and all players with disability. All disabled athletes shifted their weight toward the healthy side (towards the healthy lower limb) and alternated the end of the swing. The player with below knee amputation had the lowest range of motion in the shoulder joint during the putting stroke. The players with perinatal cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis had the largest range of motion in the hips. Putting performance of disabled golfers was similar to healthy athletes. During training of disabled players, coaches should pay attention to the specificity of a particular disability when focused on putting performance. However, individual technique should achieve the same consistency as observed in healthy players.

Key words

  • golf
  • lower limb amputee
  • pendulum swing
  • disability
Open Access

Sports Activity Following Cementless Metaphyseal Hip Joint Arthroplasty

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 225 - 232

Abstract

Abstract

An adequate level of physical activity has a substantial effect on both mental and physical human health. Physical activity is largely dependent on the function of the musculoskeletal and articular system. One of the most frequent diseases of this system is degenerative joint disease. Due to the changing and more demanding lifestyles and patients’ willingness to be involved in sports activity, the expectations of hip joint arthroplasty are becoming increasingly high. Alleviating pain ceases to be the only reason for which patients choose surgical interventions, while the expectations often include involvement in various sports. Only few studies contain recommendations concerning the frequency, type and intensity of sports activity which are acceptable after hip joint arthroplasty. The aim of the study was to evaluate function and physical activity of people following cementless short-stem hip joint arthroplasty in the observation of at least five years. The study group comprised 106 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty due to degenerative joint diseases, chosen according to inclusion criteria. Patients underwent routine physical examinations following the Harris Hip Score protocol, responded to the UCLA scale and questionnaires concerning pre-surgical and current physical activity. Our results demonstrated that hip joint arthroplasty in people suffering from degenerative joint diseases has a beneficial effect on their level of functioning and physical activity. Although physical activity and the level of functioning obviously reduced as a person aged, the level of physical activity continued to be very high in both groups, with function of the hip joint evaluated as very good.

Key words

  • physical activity
  • hip
  • musculoskeletal system
  • hip replacement
Open Access

Performance Changes of Elite Paralympic Judo Athletes During a Paralympic Games Cycle: A Case Study with the Brazilian National Team

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 217 - 224

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the variations in power performance of elite Paralympic judo athletes across three consecutive training cycles of preparation for the ParaPan American Games, the World Championship and the Paralympic Games. Eleven Paralympic judokas from the Brazilian National team participated in this study. They were repeatedly assessed using squat and countermovement jumps, mean propulsive power (MPP) in the jump-squat (JS), the bench press and prone bench pull at several moments of the preparation. Training supervision based on the optimum power zone (range of loads where power production is maximized) was provided in the final cycle, prior to the Paralympic Games. Magnitude-based inference was used to compare the repeated measurements of power performance. Lower and upper limb muscle power gradually increased throughout the cycles; however, the best results in all exercises were observed prior to the Paralympic Games, during which the team won four silver medals. As an illustration, prior to participation in the Paralympic Games the MPP in the JS was likely to very likely higher than prior to the World Championship (effect size [ES] = 0.77) and ParaPan American Games (ES = 0.53), and in January and March 2016 (ES = 0.98 and 0.92, respectively; months preceding the Paralympic Games). Power performance assessments can provide information about the evolution of Paralympic judokas, and training at the optimum power zone seems to constitute an effective method to improve lower and upper limb power in these athletes.

Key words

  • martial arts
  • blind athletes
  • Olympic sports
  • strength-power training
  • long-term training
Open Access

Neuromuscular Control During the Bench Press Movement in an Elite Disabled and Able-Bodied Athlete

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 209 - 215

Abstract

Abstract

The disabled population varies significantly in regard to physical fitness, what is conditioned by the damage to the locomotor system. Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the role of competitive sport in enhancing health and the quality of life of individuals with disability. One of the sport disciplines of Paralympics is the flat bench press. The bench press is one of the most popular resistance exercises used for the upper body in healthy individuals. It is used not only by powerlifters, but also by athletes in most strength-speed oriented sport disciplines. The objective of the study was to compare neuromuscular control for various external loads (from 60 to 100% 1RM) during the flat bench press performed by an elite able-bodied athlete and an athlete with lower limb disability. The research project is a case study of two elite bench press athletes with similar sport results: an able-bodied athlete (M.W., age 34 years, body mass 103 kg, body height 1.72 m, 1RM in the flat bench press 200 kg) and a disabled athlete (M.T., age 31 years, body mass 92 kg, body height 1.70 m, 1RM in the flat bench press 190 kg). The activity was recorded for four muscles: pectoralis major (PM), anterior deltoid (AD), as well as for the lateral and long heads of the triceps brachii (TBlat and TBlong). The T-test revealed statistically significant differences between peak activity of all the considered muscles (AD with p = 0.001; PM with p = 0.001; TBlat with p = 0.0021 and TBlong with p = 0.002) between the 2 athletes. The analysis of peak activity differences of M.W and M.T. in relation to the load revealed statistically significant differences for load changes between: 60 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.007), 70 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.016) and 80 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.032). The flat bench press performed without legs resting firmly on the ground leads to the increased engagement of upper body muscles and to their greater activation. Isolated initial positions can be used to generate greater engagement of muscle groups during the bench press exercise and evoke their higher activation.

Key words

  • bench press
  • muscle activity
  • internal structure
  • disabled athletes

Section IV – Book Review

28 Articles

Letter to the Editor

Section I – Kinesiology

Open Access

Butterfly Sprint Swimming Technique, Analysis of Somatic and Spatial-Temporal Coordination Variables

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 51 - 62

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate somatic properties and force production of leg extensor muscles measured in the countermovement jump test (CMJ), as well as to analyse kinematic variables of sprint surface butterfly swimming. Thirty-four male competitive swimmers were recruited with an average age of 19.3 ± 1.83 years. Their average body height (BH) was 183.7 ± 5.93 cm, body fat content 10.8 ± 2.64% and body mass (BM) 78.3 ± 5.0 kg. Length measurements of particular body segments were taken and a counter movement jump (CMJ) as well as an all-out 50 m butterfly speed test were completed. The underwater movements of the swimmers’ bodies were recorded with a digital camera providing side-shots. We registered a significant relationship between body mass (r = 0.46), lean body mass (r = 0.48) and sprint surface butterfly swimming (VSBF). The anaerobic power measured in the CMJ test, total body length (TBL) as well as upper and lower extremity length indices did not influence swimming speed significantly. The temporal entry-kick index (the time ratio between the first kick and arm entry) significantly influenced VSBF (r = -0.45). Similarly, medium power of the coefficient was indicated between a) stroke rate kinematics (SR), b) duration of the first leg kick (LP1), c) air phase duration of arm recovery (Fly-arm), and VSBF (r = 0.40; r = 0.40 and r = 0.41, respectively). The entry-kick temporal index showed that, in the butterfly cycle, an appropriately early executed initial kick when compared to arm entry was associated with a longer arm propulsion phase, which in turn was associated with minimizing resistive gliding phases and enabled relatively longer and less resistive air arm recovery (higher value of the fly-arm index). The higher value of SR kinematic was another important element of the best butterfly results in this study.

Key words

  • competitive swimmers
  • kinematic analysis
Open Access

Functional vs. Traditional Analysis in Biomechanical Gait Data: An Alternative Statistical Approach

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 39 - 49

Abstract

Abstract

In human motion studies, discrete points such as peak or average kinematic values are commonly selected to test hypotheses. The purpose of this study was to describe a functional data analysis and describe the advantages of using functional data analyses when compared with a traditional analysis of variance (ANOVA) approach. Nineteen healthy participants (age: 22 ± 2 yrs, body height: 1.7 ± 0.1 m, body mass: 73 ± 16 kg) walked under two different conditions: control and pain+effusion. Pain+effusion was induced by injection of sterile saline into the joint capsule and hypertonic saline into the infrapatellar fat pad. Sagittal-plane ankle, knee, and hip joint kinematics were recorded and compared following injections using 2×2 mixed model ANOVAs and FANOVAs. The results of ANOVAs detected a condition × time interaction for the peak ankle (F1,18 = 8.56, p = 0.01) and hip joint angle (F1,18 = 5.77, p = 0.03), but did not for the knee joint angle (F1,18 = 0.36, p = 0.56). The functional data analysis, however, found several differences at initial contact (ankle and knee joint), in the mid-stance (each joint) and at toe off (ankle). Although a traditional ANOVA is often appropriate for discrete or summary data, in biomechanical applications, the functional data analysis could be a beneficial alternative. When using the functional data analysis approach, a researcher can (1) evaluate the entire data as a function, and (2) detect the location and magnitude of differences within the evaluated function.

Key words

  • functional data analysis
  • statistics
  • joint kinematics
Open Access

Analysis of the Hamstring Muscle Activation During two Injury Prevention Exercises

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 29 - 37

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to perform an electromyographic and kinetic comparison of two commonly used hamstring eccentric strengthening exercises: Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl. After determining the maximum isometric voluntary contraction of the knee flexors, ten female athletes performed 3 repetitions of both the Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl, while knee angular displacement and electromyografic activity of the biceps femoris and semitendinosus were monitored. No significant differences were found between biceps femoris and semitendinosus activation in both the Nordic Curl and Ball Leg Curl. However, comparisons between exercises revealed higher activation of both the biceps femoris (74.8 ± 20 vs 50.3 ± 25.7%, p = 0.03 d = 0.53) and semitendinosus (78.3 ± 27.5 vs 44.3 ± 26.6%, p = 0.012, d = 0.63) at the closest knee angles in the Nordic Curl vs Ball Leg Curl, respectively. Hamstring muscles activation during the Nordic Curl increased, remained high (>70%) between 60 to 40° of the knee angle and then decreased to 27% of the maximal isometric voluntary contraction at the end of movement. Overall, the biceps femoris and semitendinosus showed similar patterns of activation. In conclusion, even though the hamstring muscle activation at open knee positions was similar between exercises, the Nordic Curl elicited a higher hamstring activity compared to the Ball Leg Curl.

Key words

  • semitendinosus
  • biceps femoris
  • Nordic Curl
  • Ball leg curl
  • female soccer players
Open Access

Relationships between Mechanical Variables in the Traditional and Close-Grip Bench Press

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 19 - 28

Abstract

Abstract

The study aim was to determine relationships between mechanical variables in the one-repetition maximum (1RM) traditional bench press (TBP) and close-grip bench press (CGBP). Twenty resistance-trained men completed a TBP and CGBP 1RM. The TBP was performed with the preferred grip; the CGBP with a grip width of 95% biacromial distance. A linear position transducer measured: lift distance and duration; work; and peak and mean power, velocity, and force. Paired samples t-tests (p < 0.05) compared the 1RM and mechanical variables for the TBP and CGBP; effect sizes (d) were also calculated. Pearson’s correlations (r; p < 0.05) computed relationships between the TBP and CGBP. 1RM, lift duration, and mean force were greater in the TBP (d = 0.30-3.20). Peak power and velocity was greater for the CGBP (d = 0.50-1.29). The 1RM TBP correlated with CGBP 1RM, power, and force (r = 0.685-0.982). TBP work correlated with CGBP 1RM, lift distance, power, force, and work (r = 0.542-0.931). TBP power correlated with CGBP 1RM, power, force, velocity, and work (r = 0.484-0.704). TBP peak and mean force related to CGBP 1RM, power, and force (r = 0.596-0.980). Due to relationships between the load, work, power, and force for the TBP and CGBP, the CGBP could provide similar strength adaptations to the TBP with long-term use. The velocity profile for the CGBP was different to that of the TBP. The CGBP could be used specifically to improve high-velocity, upper-body pushing movements.

Key words

  • 1RM
  • bar velocity
  • force
  • linear position transducer
  • power
  • upper-body strength
Open Access

Using Bilateral Functional and Anthropometric Tests to Define Symmetry in Cross-Country Skiers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 9 - 18

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the symmetry of anthropometry and muscle function in cross-country skiers and their association to vertical jumping power. Twenty cross-country skiers were recruited (21.7 ± 3.8 yrs, 180.6 ± 7.6 cm, 73.2 ± 7.6 kg). Anthropometric data was obtained using an iDXA scan. VO2max was determined using the diagonal stride technique on a ski treadmill. Bilateral functional tests for the upper and lower body were the handgrip and standing heel-rise tests. Vertical jump height and power were assessed with a counter movement jump. Percent asymmetry was calculated using a symmetry index and four absolute symmetry index levels. At a group level the upper body was more asymmetrical with regard to lean muscle mass (p = 0.022, d = 0.17) and functional strength (p = 0.019, d = 0.51) than the lower body. At an individual level the expected frequencies for absolute symmetry level indexes showed the largest deviation from zero for the heel-rise test (χ2 = 16.97, p = 0.001), while the leg lean mass deviated the least (χ2 = 0.42, p = 0.517). No relationships were observed between absolute symmetry level indexes of the lower body and counter movement jump performance (p > 0.05). As a group the skiers display a more asymmetrical upper body than lower body regarding muscle mass and strength. Interestingly at the individual level, despite symmetrical lean leg muscle mass the heel-rise test showed the largest asymmetry. This finding indicates a mismatch in muscle function for the lower body.

Key words

  • physical fitness
  • body composition
  • hand strength

Section II – Exercise Physiology & Sports Medicine

Open Access

Association Between Match Activity Variables, Measures of Fatigue and Neuromuscular Performance Capacity Following Elite Competitive Soccer Matches

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 93 - 99

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess the relationships between match activity variables, subsequent fatigue and neuromuscular performance capacity in elite soccer players. Subjects (n = 10) were professional soccer players participating in the English Championships. Match activity variables and markers of fatigue status were measured before and following two matches. Creatine kinase (CK) and muscle soreness were measured at baseline, immediately following, as well as 40 and 64 h post-match. Countermovement jump performance and perceived ratings of wellness were measured at baseline, then 40 and 64 h post-match. Relationships were shown between CK and the total number of accelerations and decelerations immediately (r = 0.63; large), 40 h (r = 0.45; moderate) and 64 h post-match (r = 0.35; moderate) (p < 0.05). Relationships between CK and total sprint distance (r = 0.39; moderate) and the number of sprints (r = 0.35; moderate) 40 h post-match (p < 0.05) were observed. Furthermore, relationships were shown between the perceived rating of wellness and number of accelerations 40 (r = 0.52; large) and 64 h (r = 0.40; moderate) post-match, sprint distance 40 h post-match (r = 0.40; moderate) and the total number of sprints 40 h post-match (r = 0.51; large) (p < 0.05). The quantification of match activity variables, particularly the total number of accelerations and decelerations and the number of sprints, provides insights into the fatigue status in elite soccer players 40 and 64 h post-match.

Key words

  • recovery
  • acceleration
  • deceleration
  • creatine kinase
  • exercise
Open Access

Impact of Futsal and Swimming Participation on Bone Health in Young Athletes

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 85 - 91

Abstract

Abstract

Physical activity plays a crucial role in bone mass acquisition during childhood and adolescence, with weightbearing and high-impact sport activities being more beneficial. This study sought to evaluate the impact of different sports activities on bone mineral density and content in male Portuguese athletes. Seventy adolescent boys (aged 12-15 years) including 28 futsal players (FG), 20 swimmers (SG) and 22 non-athletic adolescents used as control subjects (CG), participated in the current study. Areal bone mineral density (aBMD) and areal bone mineral content (aBMC) were measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Futsal players had significantly higher aBMD (lumbar spine - FG: 0.95 ± 0.18, SG: 0.80 ± 0.13, CG: 0.79 ± 0.13 g/cm2, p = 0.001; pelvis - FG: 1.17 ± 0.21, SG: 0.91 ± 0.12, CG: 0.98 ± 0.10 g/cm2, p < 0.001; lower limbs - FG: 1.21 ± 0.19, SG: 0.97 ± 0.10, CG: 0.99 ± 0.09 g/cm2, p < 0.001) and aBMC (lumbar spine - FG: 51.07 ± 16.53, SG: 40.19 ± 12.47, CG: 40.50 ± 10.53 g, p = 0.013; pelvis - FG: 299.5 ± 110.61, SG: 170.02 ± 55.82, CG: 183.11 ± 46.78 g, p < 0.001; lower limbs - FG: 427.21 ± 117.11, SG: 300.13 ± 76.42, CG: 312.26 ± 61.86 g/cm2, p < 0.001) than swimmers and control subjects. Data suggest that futsal, as a weightbearing and high or odd-impact sport, may improve bone mass during childhood and adolescence.

Key words

  • bone mineral density
  • futsal
  • swimming
  • youth
Open Access

Physiological Demands, Morphological Characteristics, Physical Abilities and Injuries of Female Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 77 - 83

Abstract

Abstract

The popularity of female soccer is increasing as well as the number of females playing soccer. Similarly, over the last twenty or so years, research in soccer has increased significantly, but a large disparity exists in the volume of studies involving male and female players. As a consequence of this, female players remain less well understood compared to males. The purpose of the present narrative review was to describe morphological characteristics, physiological demands, physical abilities and injuries in female soccer players. Physiological demands are similar between men’s and women’s soccer, but competitive women’s matches were characterized by nearly 33% less distance covered, although at higher intensity levels (maximum speeds greater than 15 km/h) than typically found in the men’s game. Sub-elite female players also tended to run less at higher intensity levels at the end of both halves in comparison with elite female players. High intensity running is an important factor of success in soccer since many critical moments of the game occur under this condition. The ability to rapidly change direction also determined elite, sub-elite and amateur levels. The implementation of functional training, which focused on soccer-specific drills and plyometric exercises, to improve explosive power, may improve conditioning in female soccer players as well as decrease the risk of injuries which was 3-8 times higher in females compared to males. This review presents an in-depth overview of the most influential factors for determining success in female soccer.

Key words

  • women’s soccer
  • match performance
  • female athletes
Open Access

Seeking Optimal Nutrition for Healthy Body Mass Reduction Among Former Athletes

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 63 - 75

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate the efficacy of 6 week Mediterranean diet or 30% calorie restriction on the fatty acid profile and eicosanoids (hydroxyoctadecadienoi acids and hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids) concentration. Furthermore, basic biochemical variables such as insulin, glucose, HOMA-IR, and a lipid profile were estimated. The study enrolled 94 Caucasian former athletes aged 20-42, with body height of 179 ± 16.00 cm and body mass of 89.26 ± 13.25 kg who had not been active for at least 5 years. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of the three intervention groups: CR group – the 30% calorie restriction (n = 32), MD group - the Mediterranean diet (n = 34), and C group - a control group (n = 28). The pattern of nutrition was analysed before and after the experiment using the 72 h food diaries. In order to evaluate the effect of diet intervention, the following variables were measured: anthropometrics, basic biochemical variables (insulin, fasting glucose, HOMA-IR, lipid profile), fatty acids and their blood derivatives profiles. The CR group showed significantly lower levels of several biochemical variables, i.e., BMI, total cholesterol LDL, TG, total lipids, insulin and HOMA – IR (p < 0.05). Subjects consuming the MD diet significantly decreased their BMI and reduced the level of total lipids (p < 0.05). We did not find any significant changes in the C group. The analysis of the fatty acid profile revealed that the CR group had a significantly decreased EPA level (p < 0.05). The MD group showed a significantly increased level of the DHA (p < 0.05) and improvement in the omega - 3 index (p < 0.05). Subjects following the MD also showed significantly lower concentrations of 15 - hydroxyicosatetraenoic acid (15-HETE). We did not observe any significant differences between the CR and C groups. Within short time, calorie restriction helps to improve lipid variables and insulin resistance. The MD diet seems to be more advantageous in the decrease of inflammation, but does not improve basic biochemical variables. We can conclude that calorie restriction can be a good choice for former athletes, although EPA and DHA supplementation is needed.

Key words

  • calorie restriction
  • Mediterranean diet
  • nutrition
  • former athletes

Section III – Sports Training

Open Access

Sprinting, Change of Direction Ability and Horizontal Jump Performance in Youth Runners According to Gender

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 199 - 207

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to assess straight sprinting, change of direction ability and horizontal jump performance in youth runners according to age and gender. Two hundred and fifty-five youth runners (116 boys and 139 girls) participated in this study. The athletes were divided according to their age into five groups: under 8 yr (U8), under 10 yr (U10), under 12 yr (U12), under 14 yr (U14) and under 16 yr (U16). Significant differences (p < 0.01) were found between U8 and U10 in the 5 m sprint (d = 1.22), 505 agility test (505, d = 0.96), modified agility test (MAT, d = 1.43), horizontal countermovement jump (HCMJ, d = 1.06) and arm swing HCMJ (HCMJAS, d = 1.44); between U10 and U12 in the 505 (d = 0.39), MAT (d = 0.74), HCMJ (d = 0.96) and HCMJAS (d = 0.75); and between U12 and U14 in 5 m (d = 0.84), HCMJ (d = 0.88) and HCMJAS (d = 0.79). However, no significant differences (p > 0.05, d = 0.29-1.17) between U14 and U16 were observed in any of the tests. With regard to age and gender, in U8 and U10 groups there were no significant differences (p > 0.05, d = 0.02-0.76) between boys and girls in any test. However, in U12 and U14 groups, significant gender differences (p < 0.05, d = 0.85-1.24) were found in the MAT. Likewise, the boys obtained better results than girls in the horizontal jump tests (p < 0.05, d = 1.01-1.26). After the classification by age, some differences were observed between both genders, depending on the fitness variable evaluated.

Key words

  • field test
  • maturity
  • agility
  • strength
  • acceleration
  • athletes
Open Access

Reliability and Usefulness of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test in Male and Female Professional Futsal Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 191 - 198

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and usefulness of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) in professional male and female futsal players. Thirteen male (24.4 ± 5.6 years; 174.5 ± 10.3 cm; 70.3 ± 9.9 kg) and fourteen female (23.3 ± 4.5 years; 165.8 ± 6.2 cm; 61.7 ± 5.5 kg) professional futsal players performed the 30-15IFT on two occasions, separated by 5 days. Maximal intermittent running velocity (VIFT) and heart rate at exhaustion (HRpeak) data were collected for both tests. Reliability was assessed by the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), typical error (TE) expressed as a coefficient of variation (CV), and smallest worthwhile change (SWC). VIFT demonstrated very good reliability between sessions, both for male (ICC = 0.92) and female (ICC = 0.96) players. As the TE for VIFT and HRpeak was similar to the calculated SWC for both male and female players, the usefulness of the test was rated as “medium”. A change in performance of at least 2 stages in male players, or a change of more than 1 stage in female players could be interpreted as a meaningful change in aerobic futsal fitness. The results of this study demonstrate that the 30-15IFT is both a reliable and useful test for male and female professional futsal players.

Key words

  • aerobic
  • exercise performance
  • exercise physiology
  • physical fitness
  • training
Open Access

Planning Training Loads for The 400 M Hurdles in Three-Month Mesocycles Using Artificial Neural Networks

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 175 - 189

Abstract

Abstract

This paper presents a novel approach to planning training loads in hurdling using artificial neural networks. The neural models performed the task of generating loads for athletes’ training for the 400 meters hurdles. All the models were calculated based on the training data of 21 Polish National Team hurdlers, aged 22.25 ± 1.96, competing between 1989 and 2012. The analysis included 144 training plans that represented different stages in the annual training cycle. The main contribution of this paper is to develop neural models for planning training loads for the entire career of a typical hurdler. In the models, 29 variables were used, where four characterized the runner and 25 described the training process. Two artificial neural networks were used: a multi-layer perceptron and a network with radial basis functions. To assess the quality of the models, the leave-one-out cross-validation method was used in which the Normalized Root Mean Squared Error was calculated. The analysis shows that the method generating the smallest error was the radial basis function network with nine neurons in the hidden layer. Most of the calculated training loads demonstrated a non-linear relationship across the entire competitive period. The resulting model can be used as a tool to assist a coach in planning training loads during a selected training period.

Key words

  • 400 m hurdles
  • training loads
  • artificial neural network
Open Access

The Relative Age Effect on Soccer Players in Formative Stages with Different Sport Expertise Levels

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 167 - 173

Abstract

Abstract

The Relative Age Effect (RAE) in sport has been targeted by many research studies. The objective of this study was to analyze, in amateur clubs, the RAE of soccer players, according to the sport expertise level of the team (e.g., A, B, C and subsequent) that they belong to within the same game category. 1,098 soccer players in formative stages took part in the study, with ages varying between 6 and 18 years old (U8 to U19 categories). All of them were members of 4 Spanish federated clubs. The birth dates were classified into 4 quartiles (Q1 = Jan-Mar; Q2 = Apr-Jun; Q3 = Jul-Sept; Q4 = Oct-Dec)according to the team they belonged to. The results obtained in the chi-squared test and d value (effect size) revealed the existence of RAE in the teams with the highest expertise level, “A” (X2 = 15.342, p = .002, d = 0.4473) and “B” (X2 = 10.905, p = .012, d = 0.3657). However, in the lower level teams, “C and subsequent”, this effect was not observed. Present findings show that players born during the first months of the year tend to be selected to play in teams with a higher sport expertise level of each category, due to their physical maturity. Consequently, this causes differences in terms of the experience they accumulate and the motivation that this creates in these players.

Key words

  • relative age effect
  • sports training
  • soccer
  • talent identification
Open Access

Judging in Rhythmic Gymnastics at Different Levels of Performance

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 159 - 165

Abstract

Abstract

This study aimed to analyse the quality of difficulty judging in rhythmic gymnastics, at different levels of performance. The sample consisted of 1152 difficulty scores concerning 288 individual routines, performed in the World Championships in 2013. The data were analysed using the mean absolute judge deviation from the final difficulty score, a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient and intra-class correlations, for consistency and reliability assessment. For validity assessment, mean deviations of judges’ difficulty scores, the Kendall’s coefficient of concordance W and ANOVA eta-squared values were calculated. Overall, the results in terms of consistency (Cronbach’s alpha mostly above 0.90) and reliability (intra-class correlations for single and average measures above 0.70 and 0.90, respectively) were satisfactory, in the first and third parts of the ranking on all apparatus. The medium level gymnasts, those in the second part of the ranking, had inferior reliability indices and highest score dispersion. In this part, the minimum of corrected item-total correlation of individual judges was 0.55, with most values well below, and the matrix for between-judge correlations identified remarkable inferior correlations. These findings suggest that the quality of difficulty judging in rhythmic gymnastics may be compromised at certain levels of performance. In future, special attention should be paid to the judging analysis of the medium level gymnasts, as well as the Code of Points applicability at this level.

Key words

  • rhythmic gymnastics
  • evaluation
  • bias
  • validity
  • reliability
Open Access

Physical Performance and Anthropometric Characteristics of Male South African University Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 153 - 158

Abstract

Abstract

Soccer is the most popular sport worldwide. Despite its global acclaim, scientific studies of soccer have tended to focus on tactics and techniques, thereby neglecting the physical and physiological profile of the players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine physical and anthropometric characteristics of male South African university soccer players. Twenty-seven male soccer players aged 19 to 24 (mean age: 22.1 years; s = 1.5 years) volunteered to participate in the study. The results showed that goalkeepers (77.5 ± 9.7 kg) and defenders (68.2 ± 6.5 kg) were the heaviest compared to players in other playing positions. The goalkeepers also had the highest percentage of body fat (11.3 ± 2.3%), in contrast to midfielders who had the lowest body fat content (9.1 ± 0.9%). With regard to flexibility, defenders (45.1 ± 4.9 cm) and midfielders (45.9 ± 5.4 cm) performed better than goalkeepers (37.1 ± 4.3 cm) and strikers (40.1 ± 3.4 cm). Midfielders (57.2 ± 3.1 ml1·kg−1·min1) and defenders (56.1 ± 5.1 ml1·kg−1·min1) had significantly higher values of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) than goalkeepers (47.9 ± 0.2 ml−1·kg−1·min−1) and strikers (49.8 ± 6.2 ml−1·kg−1·min−1). No significant (p > 0.05) differences were observed for all other variables, with the exception of body height, body mass, and VO2max. It was therefore concluded that sports scientists and coaches should tailor conditioning programmes in soccer according to players’ positions in view of the implications for successful performance.

Key words

  • soccer
  • physical fitness
  • anthropometric characteristics
  • performance
Open Access

The Second to Fourth Digit Ratio in Elite and Non-Elite Greco-Roman Wrestlers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 145 - 151

Abstract

Abstract

A low second-to-fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) has been reported to correlate with high performance and athletic potential of an individual in sport. It has been suggested that 2D:4D is a relatively weak predictor of strength and a stronger predictor of efficiency in aerobic exercise. Comparing extreme groups on a continuum of sports performance requiring high power (physical strength) output would be helpful to resolve this issue. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to compare the 2D:4D ratio of world-class elite Greco-Roman wrestlers (n = 10) taking part in Olympic fitness camps in 2013 with the 2D:4D ratio of non-elite collegiate wrestlers (n = 20), and age-matched sedentary males (n = 40). The 2D:4D ratios of elite wrestlers were lower compared to non-elite athletes (p < 0.01, right hand d = 1.70, left hand d = 1.67) and the control group (p < 0.0001, right hand d = 3.16, left hand d = 2.00). No significant differences were noted among the groups for right - left 2D:4D. We concluded that 2D:4D may discriminate between non-elite and world-class wrestlers. We also suggest that a low 2D:4D ratio could be linked to performance potential in wrestlers. As such, 2D:4D may provide additional information, which is valuable in determining the potential athleticism of an individual, when it is used in conjunction with other measures.

Key words

  • 2D:4D ratio
  • finger length
  • prenatal testosterone
Open Access

Functional and Muscle-Size Effects of Flywheel Resistance Training with Eccentric-Overload in Professional Handball Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 133 - 143

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of the study was to analyse the effects of 6 week (15 sessions) flywheel resistance training with eccentric-overload (FRTEO) on different functional and anatomical variables in professional handball players. Twenty-nine athletes were recruited and randomly divided into two groups. The experimental group (EXP, n = 15) carried out 15 sessions of FRTEO in the leg-press exercise, with 4 sets of 7 repetitions at a maximum-concentric effort. The control group (CON, n = 14) performed the same number of training sessions including 4 sets of 7 maximum repetitions (7RM) using a weight-stack leg-press machine. The results which were measured included maximal dynamic strength (1RM), muscle power at different submaximal loads (PO), vertical jump height (CMJ and SJ), 20 m sprint time (20 m), T-test time (T-test), and Vastus-Lateralis muscle (VL) thickness. The results of the EXP group showed a substantially better improvement (p < 0.05-0.001) in PO, CMJ, 20 m, T-test and VL, compared to the CON group. Moreover, athletes from the EXP group showed significant improvements concerning all the variables measured: 1RM (ES = 0.72), PO (ES = 0.42 - 0.83), CMJ (ES = 0.61), SJ (ES = 0.54), 20 m (ES = 1.45), T-test (ES = 1.44), and VL (ES = 0.63 - 1.64). Since handball requires repeated short, explosive effort such as accelerations and decelerations during sprints with changes of direction, these results suggest that FRTEO affects functional and anatomical changes in a way which improves performance in well-trained professional handball players.

Key words

  • muscle power
  • hypertrophy
  • iso-inertial
  • sport performance
Open Access

Effects of Passive and Active Rest on Physiological Responses and Time Motion Characteristics in Different Small Sided Soccer Games

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 123 - 132

Abstract

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of resting regimes on physiological responses and time motion characteristics between bouts during small sided games (SSGs) in young soccer players. Sixteen players (average age 16.87 ± 0.34 years; body height 176.69 ± 3.21 cm; body mass 62.40 ± 2.59 kg; training experience 3.75 ± 0.44 years) performed four bouts 2-a-side, 3-a-side and 4-a-side games with three minutes active (SSGar: Running at 70% of HRmax) and passive (SSGpr) rest between bouts at two-day intervals. The heart rate (HR) along with total distance covered in different speed zones - walking (W, 0-6.9 km·h-1), low-intensity running (LIR, 7.0-12.9 km·h-1), moderate-intensity running (MIR, 13.0-17.9 km·h-1) and high-intensity running (HIR, >18km·h-1), were monitored during all SSGs, whereas the rating of perceived exertion (RPE, CR-20) and venous blood lactate (La-) were determined at the end of the last bout of each SSG. The results demonstrated that all SSGpr elicited significantly higher physiological responses compared to SSGar in terms of the RPE and La- (p < 0.05). In addition, 2-a-side SSGpr induced significantly lower %HRmax responses and total distance covered than 2-a-side SSGar (p < 0.05). Moreover, the distance covered at HIR was significantly higher in 4-a-side SSGar than 4-side SSGpr. The results of this study indicate that both SSGs with passive and active rest can be used for soccer specific aerobic endurance training. Furthermore, all SSGs with active recovery should be performed in order to increase players and teams’ performance capacity for subsequent bouts.

Key words

  • game based training
  • physiological responses
  • time-motion characteristics
  • work rest ratio
Open Access

Multivariate Profiles of Selected Versus non-Selected Elite Youth Brazilian Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 113 - 121

Abstract

Abstract

This study determined whether a multivariate profile more effectively discriminated selected than non-selected elite youth Brazilian soccer players. This examination was carried out on 66 youth soccer players (selected, n = 28, mean age 16.3 ± 0.1; non-selected, n = 38, mean age 16.7 ± 0.4) using objective instruments. Multivariate profiles were assessed through anthropometric characteristics, biological maturation, tactical-technical skills, and motor performance. The Student’s t-test identified that selected players exhibited significantly higher values for height (t = 2.331, p = 0.02), lean body mass (t = 2.441, p = 0.01), and maturity offset (t = 4.559, p < 0.001), as well as performed better in declarative tactical knowledge (t = 10.484, p < 0.001), shooting (t = 2.188, p = 0.03), dribbling (t = 5.914, p < 0.001), speed – 30 m (t = 8.304, p < 0.001), countermovement jump (t = 2.718, p = 0.008), and peak power tests (t = 2.454, p = 0.01). Forward stepwise discriminant function analysis showed that declarative tactical knowledge, running speed –30 m, maturity offset, dribbling, height, and peak power correctly classified 97% of the selected players. These findings may have implications for a highly efficient selection process with objective measures of youth players in soccer clubs.

Key words

  • sport selection
  • youth athletes
  • performance level
  • tactical analysis
  • skill acquisition
Open Access

High-Intensity Small-Sided Games versus Repeated Sprint Training in Junior Soccer Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 101 - 111

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of high-intensity small-sided games training (SSGT) versus repeated-sprint training (RST) on repeated-sprint ability (RSA), soccer specific endurance performance and short passing ability among junior soccer players. The junior soccer players were recruited from of a professional team (age 16.9 ± 1.1 years). The tests included the repeated-shuttle-sprint ability test (RSSAT), Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) and Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT). Nineteen participants were randomly assigned to either the small-sided games training (SSGTG) (n = 10) or repeated-sprint training group (RSTG) (n = 9). Small-sided games or repeated-sprint training were added to the regular training sessions for two days of the regular practice week. The Wilcoxon signed-rank and Mann-Whitney U tests were used to examine differences in groups and training effects. A time x training group effect was found in the improvement of short-passing ability for the smallsided games training group which showed significantly better scores than the repeated-sprint training group (p ≤ 0.05). Both groups showed similar improvements in RSAdecrement (p < 0.05). Only the repeated-sprint training group improved in the Yo-Yo IR1 (p < 0.05). This study clearly shows that high-intensity small-sided games training can be used as an effective training mode to enhance both repeated sprint ability and short-passing ability.

Key words

  • repeated-sprint ability
  • small-sided games
  • soccer specific endurance
  • passing ability
  • repeated-sprint training

Section IV – Behavioural Sciences in Sport - Adaptive Sports

Open Access

The Impact of the Progressive Efficiency Test on a Rowing Ergometer on White Blood Cells Distribution and Clinical Chemistry Changes in Paralympic Rowers During the Preparatory Stage Before the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 – A Case Report

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 255 - 263

Abstract

Abstract

There is a large gap in knowledge regarding research on post-exercise blood changes in disabled athletes. There are relatively few data on adaptive mechanisms to exercise in disabled athletes, including disabled rowers. Two rowers from a Polish adaptive rowing settle TAMix2x that qualified for the Paralympic Games in Rio, 2016 took part in this study. They performed a progressive test on a rowing ergometer until exhaustion. The cardiorespiratory fitness measures, complete blood count, white blood cells’ distribution and 30 clinical chemistry variables describing laboratory diagnostic profiles and general health were determined. The extreme effort induced changes in all studied metabolites (glucose, creatinine, urea, uric acid, total and direct bilirubin), albumin, total protein levels in both participants. Furthermore, a post-exercise increase in aspartate transaminase activity, yet a 2-fold decrease during the recovery time in both rowers were found. White blood cell count increased 2-fold after the test. The percentages of natural killer cells were higher and total T lymphocytes were lower after the exercise protocol. There were higher percentages of suppressor/cytotoxic and lower percentages of helper/inducer T lymphocyte subsets in both studied rowers. No changes in B lymphocytes distribution were observed. Lack of inflammatory symptoms during the experiment suggests a high level of rowers’ biological adaptation to the physical effort. The different changes in physiological, biochemical and immunological variables are related to the adaptive mechanism to physical exercise allowing for improvement of performance.

Key words

  • adaptive rowing
  • biochemical markers
  • disabled athletes
  • Paralympic Games
Open Access

Comparison of Aerobic Performance Testing Protocols in Elite Male Wheelchair Basketball Players

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 243 - 254

Abstract

Abstract

In wheelchair sports, aerobic performance is commonly assessed with the use of an arm crank ergometer (ACE), a wheelchair ergometer (WCE) or a wheelchair treadmill (WCT). There are different protocols to identify peak oxygen uptake in wheelchair sports; however, only a few protocols have been applied to evaluate these conditions in wheelchair basketball players. The purpose of this study was to compare physiological responses during maximal exercise testing with the use of ACE and WCT in wheelchair basketball players. Twelve elite male wheelchair basketball players participated in this study. The research was performed during a training camp of the Polish National Wheelchair Basketball Team. The study participants were divided into two functional categories: A (players with class 1.0 - 2.5) and B (players with class 3.0 - 4.5). Two main maximal exercise tests, i.e. wheelchair treadmill stress test (WCT test) and arm crank ergometer stress test (ACE test) were used to evaluate aerobic performance of the players. There were no statistically significant differences in aerobic tests between the players from both groups. The comparison of results achieved in two aerobic tests performed on WCT and ACE did not reveal any significant differences between the analyzed variables (peak heart rate (HRpeak), peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), minute ventilation (VE), anaerobic threshold (AT), lactate concentration (LApeak), and a drop in lactate concentration (%LA)). Strong correlations between results achieved in WCT and ACE tests were found for VO2peak, VE and LApeak. The main conclusion of the study is that both WCT and ACE tests may be useful when determining aerobic capacity of wheelchair basketball players. Moreover, both protocols can be used by athletes regardless of their functional capabilities and types of impairment.

Key words

  • oxygen uptake
  • wheelchair treadmill
  • arm cranking
  • disabled athletes
  • exercise protocol
Open Access

Performance and Kinematic Differences in Putting Between Healthy and Disabled Elite Golfers

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 233 - 241

Abstract

Abstract

Golfers with disability are limited in the execution of the full golf swing, but their performance in putting may be comparable because this stroke does not demand significant strength, balance and range of motion. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare putting performance, kinetic and kinematic consistency between golfers with different disabilities and healthy athletes. The participants consisted of three disabled athletes (perinatal cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, below knee lower limb amputee) and three healthy golfers (age 34 ± 4.5 years, body height 178 ± 3.3 cm, body mass 83 ± 6.2 kg). The golfers’ movements were recorded by active 3D markers for kinematic analyses; the subjects performed 10 trials of a 6 m putting task while standing on separate force platforms placed under each lower limb. Putting performance was measured by the distance of the final ball position to the centre of the hole. ANOVA analyses did not show any differences in clubhead speed and total ball distance from the hole. The consistency of those two parameters expressed by the coefficient of variation (CV) was CV = 0.5% or better in both groups for clubhead speed and ranged from CV = 0.40 to 0.61% in healthy and CV = 0.21 to 0.55% in disabled athletes for total error distance. The main effect ANOVA showed differences in weight shift, hip and shoulder kinematics (p < 0.05) between healthy players and all players with disability. All disabled athletes shifted their weight toward the healthy side (towards the healthy lower limb) and alternated the end of the swing. The player with below knee amputation had the lowest range of motion in the shoulder joint during the putting stroke. The players with perinatal cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis had the largest range of motion in the hips. Putting performance of disabled golfers was similar to healthy athletes. During training of disabled players, coaches should pay attention to the specificity of a particular disability when focused on putting performance. However, individual technique should achieve the same consistency as observed in healthy players.

Key words

  • golf
  • lower limb amputee
  • pendulum swing
  • disability
Open Access

Sports Activity Following Cementless Metaphyseal Hip Joint Arthroplasty

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 225 - 232

Abstract

Abstract

An adequate level of physical activity has a substantial effect on both mental and physical human health. Physical activity is largely dependent on the function of the musculoskeletal and articular system. One of the most frequent diseases of this system is degenerative joint disease. Due to the changing and more demanding lifestyles and patients’ willingness to be involved in sports activity, the expectations of hip joint arthroplasty are becoming increasingly high. Alleviating pain ceases to be the only reason for which patients choose surgical interventions, while the expectations often include involvement in various sports. Only few studies contain recommendations concerning the frequency, type and intensity of sports activity which are acceptable after hip joint arthroplasty. The aim of the study was to evaluate function and physical activity of people following cementless short-stem hip joint arthroplasty in the observation of at least five years. The study group comprised 106 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty due to degenerative joint diseases, chosen according to inclusion criteria. Patients underwent routine physical examinations following the Harris Hip Score protocol, responded to the UCLA scale and questionnaires concerning pre-surgical and current physical activity. Our results demonstrated that hip joint arthroplasty in people suffering from degenerative joint diseases has a beneficial effect on their level of functioning and physical activity. Although physical activity and the level of functioning obviously reduced as a person aged, the level of physical activity continued to be very high in both groups, with function of the hip joint evaluated as very good.

Key words

  • physical activity
  • hip
  • musculoskeletal system
  • hip replacement
Open Access

Performance Changes of Elite Paralympic Judo Athletes During a Paralympic Games Cycle: A Case Study with the Brazilian National Team

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 217 - 224

Abstract

Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the variations in power performance of elite Paralympic judo athletes across three consecutive training cycles of preparation for the ParaPan American Games, the World Championship and the Paralympic Games. Eleven Paralympic judokas from the Brazilian National team participated in this study. They were repeatedly assessed using squat and countermovement jumps, mean propulsive power (MPP) in the jump-squat (JS), the bench press and prone bench pull at several moments of the preparation. Training supervision based on the optimum power zone (range of loads where power production is maximized) was provided in the final cycle, prior to the Paralympic Games. Magnitude-based inference was used to compare the repeated measurements of power performance. Lower and upper limb muscle power gradually increased throughout the cycles; however, the best results in all exercises were observed prior to the Paralympic Games, during which the team won four silver medals. As an illustration, prior to participation in the Paralympic Games the MPP in the JS was likely to very likely higher than prior to the World Championship (effect size [ES] = 0.77) and ParaPan American Games (ES = 0.53), and in January and March 2016 (ES = 0.98 and 0.92, respectively; months preceding the Paralympic Games). Power performance assessments can provide information about the evolution of Paralympic judokas, and training at the optimum power zone seems to constitute an effective method to improve lower and upper limb power in these athletes.

Key words

  • martial arts
  • blind athletes
  • Olympic sports
  • strength-power training
  • long-term training
Open Access

Neuromuscular Control During the Bench Press Movement in an Elite Disabled and Able-Bodied Athlete

Published Online: 28 Dec 2017
Page range: 209 - 215

Abstract

Abstract

The disabled population varies significantly in regard to physical fitness, what is conditioned by the damage to the locomotor system. Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the role of competitive sport in enhancing health and the quality of life of individuals with disability. One of the sport disciplines of Paralympics is the flat bench press. The bench press is one of the most popular resistance exercises used for the upper body in healthy individuals. It is used not only by powerlifters, but also by athletes in most strength-speed oriented sport disciplines. The objective of the study was to compare neuromuscular control for various external loads (from 60 to 100% 1RM) during the flat bench press performed by an elite able-bodied athlete and an athlete with lower limb disability. The research project is a case study of two elite bench press athletes with similar sport results: an able-bodied athlete (M.W., age 34 years, body mass 103 kg, body height 1.72 m, 1RM in the flat bench press 200 kg) and a disabled athlete (M.T., age 31 years, body mass 92 kg, body height 1.70 m, 1RM in the flat bench press 190 kg). The activity was recorded for four muscles: pectoralis major (PM), anterior deltoid (AD), as well as for the lateral and long heads of the triceps brachii (TBlat and TBlong). The T-test revealed statistically significant differences between peak activity of all the considered muscles (AD with p = 0.001; PM with p = 0.001; TBlat with p = 0.0021 and TBlong with p = 0.002) between the 2 athletes. The analysis of peak activity differences of M.W and M.T. in relation to the load revealed statistically significant differences for load changes between: 60 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.007), 70 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.016) and 80 to 100% 1RM (p = 0.032). The flat bench press performed without legs resting firmly on the ground leads to the increased engagement of upper body muscles and to their greater activation. Isolated initial positions can be used to generate greater engagement of muscle groups during the bench press exercise and evoke their higher activation.

Key words

  • bench press
  • muscle activity
  • internal structure
  • disabled athletes

Section IV – Book Review

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