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Volume 33 (2012): Edizione 2012 (June 2012)

Volume 32 (2012): Edizione 2012 (May 2012)
Aquatic Sports and Activities

Volume 31 (2012): Edizione 2012 (March 2012)

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Volume 29A (2011): Edizione Special-Edizione (September 2011)
Presentation of the 1st International Symposium on Strength & Conditioning (ISSC 2011)

Volume 29 (2011): Edizione 2011 (September 2011)

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Volume 21 (2009): Edizione 2009 (June 2009)

Volume 20 (2008): Edizione 2008 (December 2008)

Volume 19 (2008): Edizione 2008 (June 2008)

Dettagli della rivista
Formato
Rivista
eISSN
1899-7562
Pubblicato per la prima volta
13 Jan 2009
Periodo di pubblicazione
5 volte all'anno
Lingue
Inglese

Cerca

Volume 52 (2016): Edizione 1 (September 2016)

Dettagli della rivista
Formato
Rivista
eISSN
1899-7562
Pubblicato per la prima volta
13 Jan 2009
Periodo di pubblicazione
5 volte all'anno
Lingue
Inglese

Cerca

16 Articoli

Dementi

Accesso libero

Bridging motor control and biomechanics

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 5 - 6

Astratto

Research article

Accesso libero

Effect of drop jump technique on the reactive strength index

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 157 - 164

Astratto

Abstract

The basic drill of plyometric training aimed at improving lower limb power and jump height is a drop jump. This exercise can be performed using different techniques, which substantially affects jump variables. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the values of the reactive strength index (RSI) for countermovement drop jumps (CDJs) and bounce drop jumps (BDJs). The study was carried out in a group of 8 male youth basketball players. The tests were conducted using the AMTI BP600900 force plate to measure ground reaction forces and the Noraxon MyoMotion system to record kinematic data. Each player performed two CDJs and two BDJs from the height of 15, 30, 45 and 60 cm. The RSI was calculated as a ratio of jump height and contact time. Moreover, the RSI was determined for the amortization and take-off phases separately. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between RSI values for CDJs and BDJs were recorded for jumps from 30, 45 and 60 cm. Differences in RSI values for jumps from 15 cm were not significant. Furthermore, CDJ height values were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the values recorded for BDJs. Times of contact, amortization and take-off during BDJs were significantly shorter (p < 0.05) than the respective values obtained for CDJs. Therefore, the use of the RSI to monitor plyometric training should be based on the drop jump technique that is commonly performed by basketball players.

Key words

  • countermovement drop jump
  • bounce drop jump
  • contact time
  • plyometrics
  • RSI
Accesso libero

Accelerometer profile of motion of the pelvic girdle in breaststroke swimming

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 147 - 156

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of the study was to develop a method for measurement and analysis of kinematics of the pelvic girdle movement in breaststroke swimming to support training of technical skills. The measurements were performed in five elite breaststroke swimmers. A recording device for triaxial accelerations and triaxial rotational angular velocity was mounted on the dorsal part of the pelvic girdle of the athlete. The task of the athlete was to swim one length of the 50 m swimming pool with the intensity similar to competition. From the consecutive cycles of swimming motion, we developed individual mean graphical and numerical profiles of the kinematics of the pelvic girdle movement within the average cycle. Mean basic values of the characteristics were compared with the values documented in the literature obtained by means of the video analysis or using the method of measurement of the velocity of the unwound rope. The comparison revealed that the results in the group studied were very similar to the results obtained using other methods and were typical of elite athletes. Analysis of the motion profiles for the pelvic girdle in breaststroke swimmers indicated that the results obtained reflected individual technique of performing individual phases of swimming cycles. The proposed measurement method, presentation and analysis of the profile of the pelvic girdle motion in breaststroke swimming represents a good tool for fast and effective biomechanical evaluation of motion technique components.

Parole chiave

  • swimming
  • acceleration
  • velocity
  • technique of motion measurement
  • propulsion
Accesso libero

Transfer of mechanical energy during the shot put

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 139 - 146

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyse transfer of mechanical energy between body segments during the glide shot put. A group of eight elite throwers from the Polish National Team was analysed in the study. Motion analysis of each throw was recorded using an optoelectronic Vicon system composed of nine infrared camcorders and Kistler force plates. The power and energy were computed for the phase of final acceleration of the glide shot put. The data were normalized with respect to time using the algorithm of the fifth order spline and their values were interpolated with respect to the percentage of total time, assuming that the time of the final weight acceleration movement was different for each putter. Statistically significant transfer was found in the study group between the following segments: Right Knee – Right Hip (p = 0.0035), Left Hip - Torso (p = 0.0201), Torso – Right Shoulder (p = 0.0122) and Right Elbow – Right Wrist (p = 0.0001). Furthermore, the results of cluster analysis showed that the kinetic chain used during the final shot acceleration movement had two different models. Differences between the groups were revealed mainly in the energy generated by the hips and trunk.

Key words

  • track and field
  • inverse dynamics
  • mechanical power
  • kinematic chain
Accesso libero

The effect of different decline angles on the biomechanics of double limb squats and the implications to clinical and training practice

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 125 - 138

Astratto

Abstract

Bilateral decline squatting has been well documented as a rehabilitation exercise, however, little information exists on the optimum angle of decline. The aim of this study was to determine the ankle and knee angle, moments, the patellofemoral joint load, patellar tendon load and associated muscle activity while performing a double limb squat at different decline angles and the implications to rehabilitation. Eighteen healthy subjects performed double limb squats at 6 angles of declination: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 degrees. The range of motion of the knee and ankle joints, external moments, the patellofemoral/patellar tendon load and integrated EMG of gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, rectus femoris and biceps femoris were evaluated. As the decline angle increased up to 20 degrees, the range of motion possible at the ankle and knee increased. The joint moments showed a decrease at the ankle up to 15 degrees and an increase at the knee up to 25 degrees, indicating a progressive reduction in loading around the ankle with a corresponding increase of the load in the patellar tendon and patellofemoral joint. These trends were supported by a decrease in tibialis anterior activity and an increase in the rectus femoris activity up to 15 degrees declination. However, gastrocnemius and biceps femoris activity increased as the decline angle increased above 15 degrees. The action of gastrocnemius and biceps femoris stabilises the knee against an anterior displacement of the femur on the tibia. These findings would suggest that there is little benefit in using a decline angle greater than 15-20 degrees unless the purpose is to offer an additional stability challenge to the knee joint.

Key words

  • rehabilitation
  • biomechanics
  • electromyography
  • knee
  • ankle
Accesso libero

A systematic review of the main factors that determine agility in sport using structural equation modeling

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 115 - 123

Astratto

Abstract

While tests of basic motor abilities such as speed, maximum strength or endurance are well recognized, testing of complex motor functions such as agility remains unresolved in current literature. Therefore, the aim of this review was to evaluate which main factor or factor structures quantitatively determine agility. In methodological detail, this review focused on research that explained or described the relationships between latent variables in a factorial model of agility using approaches such as principal component analysis, factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Four research studies met the defined inclusion criteria. No quantitative empirical research was found that tried to verify the quality of the whole suggested model of the main factors determining agility through the use of a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach or a confirmatory factor analysis. From the whole structure of agility, only change of direction speed (CODS) and some of its subtests were appropriately analyzed. The combination of common CODS tests is reliable and useful to estimate performance in sub-elite athletes; however, for elite athletes, CODS tests must be specific to the needs of a particular sport discipline. Sprinting and jumping tests are stronger factors for CODS than explosive strength and maximum strength tests. The authors suggest the need to verify the agility factorial model by a second generation data analysis technique such as SEM.

Key words

  • change of direction
  • testing
  • sports training
  • motor abilities
Accesso libero

The muscle-mechanical compromise framework: Implications for the scaling of gait and posture

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 107 - 114

Astratto

Abstract

Many aspects of animal and human gait and posture cannot be predicted from purely mechanical work minimization or entirely based on optimizing muscle efficiency. Here, the Muscle-Mechanical Compromise Framework is introduced as a conceptual paradigm for considering the interactions and compromises between these two objectives. Current assumptions in implementing the Framework are presented. Implications of the compromise are discussed and related to the scaling of running mechanics and animal posture.

Accesso libero

Optimizing post activation potentiation for explosive activities in competitive sports

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 95 - 106

Astratto

Abstract

Post activation potentiation (PAP) has shown improved performance during movements requiring large muscular power output following contractions under near maximal load conditions. PAP can be described as an acute enhancement of performance or an enhancement of factors determining an explosive sports activity following a preload stimulus. In practice, PAP has been achieved by complex training, which involves a combination of a heavy loaded exercise followed by a biomechanically similar explosive activity, best if specific for a particular sport discipline. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of PAP on performance in explosive motor activities specific for basketball, luge and athletics throws. The novel approach to the experiments included individualized recovery time (IRT) between the conditioning exercise and the explosive activity. Additionally, the research groups were homogenous and included only competitive athletes of similar age and training experience. Thirty one well trained athletes from 3 different sport disciplines participated in the study. All athletes performed a heavy loaded conditioning activity (80-130%1RM) followed by a biomechanically similar explosive exercise, during which power (W) or the rate of power development (W/s/kg) was evaluated. The results of our experiment confirmed the effectiveness of PAP with well-trained athlets during explosive motor activities such as jumping, throwing and pushing. Additionally, our research showed that eccentric supramaximal intensities (130% 1RM) can be effective in eliciting PAP in strength trained athletes. Our experiments also showed that the IRT should be individualized because athletes differ in the strength level, training experience and muscle fiber structure. In the three experiments conducted with basketball players, track and field athletes and luge athletes, the optimal IRT equaled 6 min. This justifies the need to individualize the volume and intensity of the CA, and especially the IRT, between the CA and the explosive activity.

Parole chiave

  • power
  • athletes
  • complex training
  • conditioning exercise
Accesso libero

Control strategy of maximum vertical jumps: The preferred countermovement depth may not be fully optimized for jump height

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 85 - 94

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to explore the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps regarding the preferred countermovement depth preceding the concentric jump phase. Elite basketball players and physically active non-athletes were tested on the jumps performed with and without an arm swing, while the countermovement depth was varied within the interval of almost 30 cm around its preferred value. The results consistently revealed 5.1-11.2 cm smaller countermovement depth than the optimum one, but the same difference was more prominent in non-athletes. In addition, although the same differences revealed a marked effect on the recorded force and power output, they reduced jump height for only 0.1-1.2 cm. Therefore, the studied control strategy may not be based solely on the countermovement depth that maximizes jump height. In addition, the comparison of the two groups does not support the concept of a dual-task strategy based on the trade-off between maximizing jump height and minimizing the jumping quickness that should be more prominent in the athletes that routinely need to jump quickly. Further research could explore whether the observed phenomenon is based on other optimization principles, such as the minimization of effort and energy expenditure. Nevertheless, future routine testing procedures should take into account that the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps is not fully based on maximizing the jump height, while the countermovement depth markedly confound the relationship between the jump height and the assessed force and power output of leg muscles.

Parole chiave

  • dual-task
  • trade-of
  • optimum
  • quickness
  • force
  • power
Accesso libero

Directional measures of postural sway as predictors of balance instability and accidental falls

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 75 - 83

Astratto

Abstract

Despite the obvious advantages and popularity of static posturography, universal standards for posturographic tests have not been developed thus far. Most of the center-of-foot pressure (COP) indices are strongly dependent on an individual experimental design, and are susceptible to distortions, which makes results of their analysis incomparable. In this research, we present a novel approach to the analysis of the COP trajectory based on the directional features of postural sway. Our novel output measures: the sway directional indices (DI) and sway vector (SV) were applied to assess the postural stability in the group of young able-bodied subjects. Towards this aim, the COP trajectories were recorded in 100 students standing still for 60 s, with eyes open (EO) and then, with eyes closed (EC). Each record was subdivided then into 20, 30 and 60 s samples. Interclass correlation coefficients were calculated from the samples. The controlled variables (visual conditions) uniquely affected the output measures, but only in case of proper signal pretreatment (low-pass filtering). In filtering below 6 Hz, the DI and SV provided a unique set of descriptors for postural control. Both sway measures were highly independent of the trial length and the sampling frequency, and were unaffected by the sampling noise. Directional indices of COP filtered at 6 Hz showed high to very high reliability, with ICC range of 0.7-0.9. Results of a single 60 s trial are sufficient to reach acceptable reliability for both DI and SV. In conclusion, the directional sway measures may be recommended as the primary standard in static posturography.

Parole chiave

  • postural stability
  • sway trajectory
  • directional measures
Accesso libero

Reduced plantar sole sensitivity facilitates early adaptation to a visual rotation pointing task when standing upright

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 65 - 74

Astratto

Abstract

Humans are capable of pointing to a target with accuracy. However, when vision is distorted through a visual rotation or mirror-reversed vision, the performance is initially degraded and thereafter improves with practice. There are suggestions this gradual improvement results from a sensorimotor recalibration involving initial gating of the somatosensory information from the pointing hand. In the present experiment, we examined if this process interfered with balance control by asking participants to point to targets with a visual rotation from a standing posture. This duality in processing sensory information (i.e., gating sensory signals from the hand while processing those arising from the control of balance) could generate initial interference leading to a degraded pointing performance. We hypothesized that if this is the case, the attenuation of plantar sole somatosensory information through cooling could reduce the sensorimotor interference, and facilitate the early adaptation (i.e. improvement in the pointing task). Results supported this hypothesis. These observations suggest that processing sensory information for balance control interferes with the sensorimotor recalibration process imposed by a pointing task when vision is rotated.

Parole chiave

  • visuomotor adaptation
  • sensorimotor conflict
  • proprioception
  • Linearization
  • sensorimotor recalibration
Accesso libero

Eye movement abnormalities in essential tremor

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 53 - 64

Astratto

Abstract

Essential tremor (ET) is the most prevalent movement disorder, characterized mainly by an action tremor of the arms. Only a few studies published as yet have assessed oculomotor abnormalities in ET and their results are unequivocal. The aim of this study was to assess the oculomotor abnormalities in ET patients compared with the control group and to find the relationship between oculomotor abnormalities and clinical features of ET patients. We studied 50 ET patients and 42 matched by age and gender healthy controls. Saccadometer Advanced (Ober Consulting, Poland) was used to investigate reflexive, pace-induced and cued saccades and conventional electrooculography for evaluation of smooth pursuit and fixation. The severity of the tremor was assessed by the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor. Significant differences between ET patients and controls were found for the incidence of reflexive saccades dysmetria and deficit of smooth pursuit. Reflexive saccades dysmetria was more frequent in patients in the second and third phase of ET compared to the first phase. The reflexive saccades latency increase was correlated with severity of the tremor. In conclusion, oculomotor abnormalities were significantly more common in ET patients than in healthy subjects. The most common oculomotor disturbances in ET were reflexive saccades dysmetria and slowing of smooth pursuit. The frequency of reflexive saccades dysmetria increased with progression of ET. The reflexive saccades latency increase was related to the severity of tremor.

Parole chiave

  • saccades
  • smooth pursuit
  • electrooculography
Accesso libero

Engaging cognitive circuits to promote motor recovery in degenerative disorders. exercise as a learning modality

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 35 - 51

Astratto

Abstract

Exercise and physical activity are fundamental components of a lifestyle essential in maintaining a healthy brain. This is primarily due to the fact that the adult brain maintains a high degree of plasticity and activity is essential for homeostasis throughout life. Plasticity is not lost even in the context of a neurodegenerative disorder, but could be maladaptive thus promoting disease onset and progression. A major breakthrough in treating brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease is to drive neuroplasticity in a direction to improve motor and cognitive dysfunction. The purpose of this short review is to present the evidence from our laboratories that supports neuroplasticity as a potential therapeutic target in treating brain disorders. We consider that the enhancement of motor recovery in both animal models of dopamine depletion and in patients with Parkinson’s disease is optimized when cognitive circuits are engaged; in other words, the brain is engaged in a learning modality. Therefore, we propose that to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease, physical therapy must employ both skill-based exercise (to drive specific circuits) and aerobic exercise (to drive the expression of molecules required to strengthen synaptic connections) components to select those neuronal circuits, such as the corticostriatal pathway, necessary to restore proper motor and cognitive behaviors. In the wide spectrum of different forms of exercise, learning as the fundamental modality likely links interventions used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease and may be necessary to drive beneficial neuroplasticity resulting in symptomatic improvement and possible disease modification.

Parole chiave

  • physical activity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • cognition
  • dopamine
  • neuroplasticity
Accesso libero

Spatial control of reflexes, posture and movement in normal conditions and after neurological lesions

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 21 - 34

Astratto

Abstract

Control of reflexes is usually associated with central modulation of their sensitivity (gain) or phase-dependent inhibition and facilitation of their influences on motoneurons (reflex gating). Accumulated empirical findings show that the gain modulation and reflex gating are secondary, emergent properties of central control of spatial thresholds at which reflexes become functional. In this way, the system pre-determines, in a feedforward and task-specific way, where, in a spatial domain or a frame of reference, muscles are allowed to work without directly prescribing EMG activity and forces. This control strategy is illustrated by considering reflex adaptation to repeated muscle stretches in healthy subjects, a process associated with implicit learning and generalization. It has also been shown that spasticity, rigidity, weakness and other neurological motor deficits may have a common source – limitations in the range of spatial threshold control elicited by neural lesions.

Parole chiave

  • motor control
  • rehabilitation
  • stretch reflex
  • spasticity
  • learning
Accesso libero

Biomechanics as a window into the neural control of movement

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 7 - 20

Astratto

Abstract

Biomechanics and motor control are discussed as parts of a more general science, physics of living systems. Major problems of biomechanics deal with exact definition of variables and their experimental measurement. In motor control, major problems are associated with formulating currently unknown laws of nature specific for movements by biological objects. Mechanics-based hypotheses in motor control, such as those originating from notions of a generalized motor program and internal models, are non-physical. The famous problem of motor redundancy is wrongly formulated; it has to be replaced by the principle of abundance, which does not pose computational problems for the central nervous system. Biomechanical methods play a central role in motor control studies. This is illustrated with studies with the reconstruction of hypothetical control variables and those exploring motor synergies within the framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis. Biomechanics and motor control have to merge into physics of living systems, and the earlier this process starts the better.

Review article

Accesso libero

The effects of specific drills on the flip turns of freestyle swimmers based on a kinesiology analysis

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 165 - 173

Astratto

Abstract

This research aimed to define the key factors in freestyle flip turns via a kinesiology analysis to diagnose swimmers. Hence, specially designed drills were created to improve swimmers’ flip-turn skills and assess the effects of training. Nine Chinese national modern pentathlon athletes ranging in age from 20 to 26 years with an average of 10 years of training experience were tested and trained in this study. The Kistler Performance Analysis System for Swimming was used for the pre- and post-test analyses. A kinesiology analysis of the data from the pre-test was used for the diagnosis and specific drills were adopted for 10 weeks, 3 times per week before the post-test. The comparison of the pre- and post-test performances was used to assess the effects of training. After 10 weeks of specific drill training for flip turns, participants’ turning skills significantly improved. Speed in approaching, somersaulting, pushing-off and gliding all increased. The angles of the knees and hips as well as the force applied improved, which contributed to swimmers’ increased speed. Since the skills needed for a flip turn are complex and not easily diagnosed via observation alone, this kinesiology analysis will make diagnosis objective and easy.

Key words

  • flip turn
  • freestyle
  • kinesiology
  • drills
  • effect
16 Articoli

Dementi

Accesso libero

Bridging motor control and biomechanics

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 5 - 6

Astratto

Research article

Accesso libero

Effect of drop jump technique on the reactive strength index

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 157 - 164

Astratto

Abstract

The basic drill of plyometric training aimed at improving lower limb power and jump height is a drop jump. This exercise can be performed using different techniques, which substantially affects jump variables. Therefore, the aim of this study was to compare the values of the reactive strength index (RSI) for countermovement drop jumps (CDJs) and bounce drop jumps (BDJs). The study was carried out in a group of 8 male youth basketball players. The tests were conducted using the AMTI BP600900 force plate to measure ground reaction forces and the Noraxon MyoMotion system to record kinematic data. Each player performed two CDJs and two BDJs from the height of 15, 30, 45 and 60 cm. The RSI was calculated as a ratio of jump height and contact time. Moreover, the RSI was determined for the amortization and take-off phases separately. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between RSI values for CDJs and BDJs were recorded for jumps from 30, 45 and 60 cm. Differences in RSI values for jumps from 15 cm were not significant. Furthermore, CDJ height values were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the values recorded for BDJs. Times of contact, amortization and take-off during BDJs were significantly shorter (p < 0.05) than the respective values obtained for CDJs. Therefore, the use of the RSI to monitor plyometric training should be based on the drop jump technique that is commonly performed by basketball players.

Key words

  • countermovement drop jump
  • bounce drop jump
  • contact time
  • plyometrics
  • RSI
Accesso libero

Accelerometer profile of motion of the pelvic girdle in breaststroke swimming

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 147 - 156

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of the study was to develop a method for measurement and analysis of kinematics of the pelvic girdle movement in breaststroke swimming to support training of technical skills. The measurements were performed in five elite breaststroke swimmers. A recording device for triaxial accelerations and triaxial rotational angular velocity was mounted on the dorsal part of the pelvic girdle of the athlete. The task of the athlete was to swim one length of the 50 m swimming pool with the intensity similar to competition. From the consecutive cycles of swimming motion, we developed individual mean graphical and numerical profiles of the kinematics of the pelvic girdle movement within the average cycle. Mean basic values of the characteristics were compared with the values documented in the literature obtained by means of the video analysis or using the method of measurement of the velocity of the unwound rope. The comparison revealed that the results in the group studied were very similar to the results obtained using other methods and were typical of elite athletes. Analysis of the motion profiles for the pelvic girdle in breaststroke swimmers indicated that the results obtained reflected individual technique of performing individual phases of swimming cycles. The proposed measurement method, presentation and analysis of the profile of the pelvic girdle motion in breaststroke swimming represents a good tool for fast and effective biomechanical evaluation of motion technique components.

Parole chiave

  • swimming
  • acceleration
  • velocity
  • technique of motion measurement
  • propulsion
Accesso libero

Transfer of mechanical energy during the shot put

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 139 - 146

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyse transfer of mechanical energy between body segments during the glide shot put. A group of eight elite throwers from the Polish National Team was analysed in the study. Motion analysis of each throw was recorded using an optoelectronic Vicon system composed of nine infrared camcorders and Kistler force plates. The power and energy were computed for the phase of final acceleration of the glide shot put. The data were normalized with respect to time using the algorithm of the fifth order spline and their values were interpolated with respect to the percentage of total time, assuming that the time of the final weight acceleration movement was different for each putter. Statistically significant transfer was found in the study group between the following segments: Right Knee – Right Hip (p = 0.0035), Left Hip - Torso (p = 0.0201), Torso – Right Shoulder (p = 0.0122) and Right Elbow – Right Wrist (p = 0.0001). Furthermore, the results of cluster analysis showed that the kinetic chain used during the final shot acceleration movement had two different models. Differences between the groups were revealed mainly in the energy generated by the hips and trunk.

Key words

  • track and field
  • inverse dynamics
  • mechanical power
  • kinematic chain
Accesso libero

The effect of different decline angles on the biomechanics of double limb squats and the implications to clinical and training practice

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 125 - 138

Astratto

Abstract

Bilateral decline squatting has been well documented as a rehabilitation exercise, however, little information exists on the optimum angle of decline. The aim of this study was to determine the ankle and knee angle, moments, the patellofemoral joint load, patellar tendon load and associated muscle activity while performing a double limb squat at different decline angles and the implications to rehabilitation. Eighteen healthy subjects performed double limb squats at 6 angles of declination: 0, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 degrees. The range of motion of the knee and ankle joints, external moments, the patellofemoral/patellar tendon load and integrated EMG of gastrocnemius, tibialis anterior, rectus femoris and biceps femoris were evaluated. As the decline angle increased up to 20 degrees, the range of motion possible at the ankle and knee increased. The joint moments showed a decrease at the ankle up to 15 degrees and an increase at the knee up to 25 degrees, indicating a progressive reduction in loading around the ankle with a corresponding increase of the load in the patellar tendon and patellofemoral joint. These trends were supported by a decrease in tibialis anterior activity and an increase in the rectus femoris activity up to 15 degrees declination. However, gastrocnemius and biceps femoris activity increased as the decline angle increased above 15 degrees. The action of gastrocnemius and biceps femoris stabilises the knee against an anterior displacement of the femur on the tibia. These findings would suggest that there is little benefit in using a decline angle greater than 15-20 degrees unless the purpose is to offer an additional stability challenge to the knee joint.

Key words

  • rehabilitation
  • biomechanics
  • electromyography
  • knee
  • ankle
Accesso libero

A systematic review of the main factors that determine agility in sport using structural equation modeling

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 115 - 123

Astratto

Abstract

While tests of basic motor abilities such as speed, maximum strength or endurance are well recognized, testing of complex motor functions such as agility remains unresolved in current literature. Therefore, the aim of this review was to evaluate which main factor or factor structures quantitatively determine agility. In methodological detail, this review focused on research that explained or described the relationships between latent variables in a factorial model of agility using approaches such as principal component analysis, factor analysis and structural equation modeling. Four research studies met the defined inclusion criteria. No quantitative empirical research was found that tried to verify the quality of the whole suggested model of the main factors determining agility through the use of a structural equation modeling (SEM) approach or a confirmatory factor analysis. From the whole structure of agility, only change of direction speed (CODS) and some of its subtests were appropriately analyzed. The combination of common CODS tests is reliable and useful to estimate performance in sub-elite athletes; however, for elite athletes, CODS tests must be specific to the needs of a particular sport discipline. Sprinting and jumping tests are stronger factors for CODS than explosive strength and maximum strength tests. The authors suggest the need to verify the agility factorial model by a second generation data analysis technique such as SEM.

Key words

  • change of direction
  • testing
  • sports training
  • motor abilities
Accesso libero

The muscle-mechanical compromise framework: Implications for the scaling of gait and posture

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 107 - 114

Astratto

Abstract

Many aspects of animal and human gait and posture cannot be predicted from purely mechanical work minimization or entirely based on optimizing muscle efficiency. Here, the Muscle-Mechanical Compromise Framework is introduced as a conceptual paradigm for considering the interactions and compromises between these two objectives. Current assumptions in implementing the Framework are presented. Implications of the compromise are discussed and related to the scaling of running mechanics and animal posture.

Accesso libero

Optimizing post activation potentiation for explosive activities in competitive sports

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 95 - 106

Astratto

Abstract

Post activation potentiation (PAP) has shown improved performance during movements requiring large muscular power output following contractions under near maximal load conditions. PAP can be described as an acute enhancement of performance or an enhancement of factors determining an explosive sports activity following a preload stimulus. In practice, PAP has been achieved by complex training, which involves a combination of a heavy loaded exercise followed by a biomechanically similar explosive activity, best if specific for a particular sport discipline. The main objective of this study was to investigate the effects of PAP on performance in explosive motor activities specific for basketball, luge and athletics throws. The novel approach to the experiments included individualized recovery time (IRT) between the conditioning exercise and the explosive activity. Additionally, the research groups were homogenous and included only competitive athletes of similar age and training experience. Thirty one well trained athletes from 3 different sport disciplines participated in the study. All athletes performed a heavy loaded conditioning activity (80-130%1RM) followed by a biomechanically similar explosive exercise, during which power (W) or the rate of power development (W/s/kg) was evaluated. The results of our experiment confirmed the effectiveness of PAP with well-trained athlets during explosive motor activities such as jumping, throwing and pushing. Additionally, our research showed that eccentric supramaximal intensities (130% 1RM) can be effective in eliciting PAP in strength trained athletes. Our experiments also showed that the IRT should be individualized because athletes differ in the strength level, training experience and muscle fiber structure. In the three experiments conducted with basketball players, track and field athletes and luge athletes, the optimal IRT equaled 6 min. This justifies the need to individualize the volume and intensity of the CA, and especially the IRT, between the CA and the explosive activity.

Parole chiave

  • power
  • athletes
  • complex training
  • conditioning exercise
Accesso libero

Control strategy of maximum vertical jumps: The preferred countermovement depth may not be fully optimized for jump height

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 85 - 94

Astratto

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to explore the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps regarding the preferred countermovement depth preceding the concentric jump phase. Elite basketball players and physically active non-athletes were tested on the jumps performed with and without an arm swing, while the countermovement depth was varied within the interval of almost 30 cm around its preferred value. The results consistently revealed 5.1-11.2 cm smaller countermovement depth than the optimum one, but the same difference was more prominent in non-athletes. In addition, although the same differences revealed a marked effect on the recorded force and power output, they reduced jump height for only 0.1-1.2 cm. Therefore, the studied control strategy may not be based solely on the countermovement depth that maximizes jump height. In addition, the comparison of the two groups does not support the concept of a dual-task strategy based on the trade-off between maximizing jump height and minimizing the jumping quickness that should be more prominent in the athletes that routinely need to jump quickly. Further research could explore whether the observed phenomenon is based on other optimization principles, such as the minimization of effort and energy expenditure. Nevertheless, future routine testing procedures should take into account that the control strategy of maximum countermovement jumps is not fully based on maximizing the jump height, while the countermovement depth markedly confound the relationship between the jump height and the assessed force and power output of leg muscles.

Parole chiave

  • dual-task
  • trade-of
  • optimum
  • quickness
  • force
  • power
Accesso libero

Directional measures of postural sway as predictors of balance instability and accidental falls

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 75 - 83

Astratto

Abstract

Despite the obvious advantages and popularity of static posturography, universal standards for posturographic tests have not been developed thus far. Most of the center-of-foot pressure (COP) indices are strongly dependent on an individual experimental design, and are susceptible to distortions, which makes results of their analysis incomparable. In this research, we present a novel approach to the analysis of the COP trajectory based on the directional features of postural sway. Our novel output measures: the sway directional indices (DI) and sway vector (SV) were applied to assess the postural stability in the group of young able-bodied subjects. Towards this aim, the COP trajectories were recorded in 100 students standing still for 60 s, with eyes open (EO) and then, with eyes closed (EC). Each record was subdivided then into 20, 30 and 60 s samples. Interclass correlation coefficients were calculated from the samples. The controlled variables (visual conditions) uniquely affected the output measures, but only in case of proper signal pretreatment (low-pass filtering). In filtering below 6 Hz, the DI and SV provided a unique set of descriptors for postural control. Both sway measures were highly independent of the trial length and the sampling frequency, and were unaffected by the sampling noise. Directional indices of COP filtered at 6 Hz showed high to very high reliability, with ICC range of 0.7-0.9. Results of a single 60 s trial are sufficient to reach acceptable reliability for both DI and SV. In conclusion, the directional sway measures may be recommended as the primary standard in static posturography.

Parole chiave

  • postural stability
  • sway trajectory
  • directional measures
Accesso libero

Reduced plantar sole sensitivity facilitates early adaptation to a visual rotation pointing task when standing upright

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 65 - 74

Astratto

Abstract

Humans are capable of pointing to a target with accuracy. However, when vision is distorted through a visual rotation or mirror-reversed vision, the performance is initially degraded and thereafter improves with practice. There are suggestions this gradual improvement results from a sensorimotor recalibration involving initial gating of the somatosensory information from the pointing hand. In the present experiment, we examined if this process interfered with balance control by asking participants to point to targets with a visual rotation from a standing posture. This duality in processing sensory information (i.e., gating sensory signals from the hand while processing those arising from the control of balance) could generate initial interference leading to a degraded pointing performance. We hypothesized that if this is the case, the attenuation of plantar sole somatosensory information through cooling could reduce the sensorimotor interference, and facilitate the early adaptation (i.e. improvement in the pointing task). Results supported this hypothesis. These observations suggest that processing sensory information for balance control interferes with the sensorimotor recalibration process imposed by a pointing task when vision is rotated.

Parole chiave

  • visuomotor adaptation
  • sensorimotor conflict
  • proprioception
  • Linearization
  • sensorimotor recalibration
Accesso libero

Eye movement abnormalities in essential tremor

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 53 - 64

Astratto

Abstract

Essential tremor (ET) is the most prevalent movement disorder, characterized mainly by an action tremor of the arms. Only a few studies published as yet have assessed oculomotor abnormalities in ET and their results are unequivocal. The aim of this study was to assess the oculomotor abnormalities in ET patients compared with the control group and to find the relationship between oculomotor abnormalities and clinical features of ET patients. We studied 50 ET patients and 42 matched by age and gender healthy controls. Saccadometer Advanced (Ober Consulting, Poland) was used to investigate reflexive, pace-induced and cued saccades and conventional electrooculography for evaluation of smooth pursuit and fixation. The severity of the tremor was assessed by the Clinical Rating Scale for Tremor. Significant differences between ET patients and controls were found for the incidence of reflexive saccades dysmetria and deficit of smooth pursuit. Reflexive saccades dysmetria was more frequent in patients in the second and third phase of ET compared to the first phase. The reflexive saccades latency increase was correlated with severity of the tremor. In conclusion, oculomotor abnormalities were significantly more common in ET patients than in healthy subjects. The most common oculomotor disturbances in ET were reflexive saccades dysmetria and slowing of smooth pursuit. The frequency of reflexive saccades dysmetria increased with progression of ET. The reflexive saccades latency increase was related to the severity of tremor.

Parole chiave

  • saccades
  • smooth pursuit
  • electrooculography
Accesso libero

Engaging cognitive circuits to promote motor recovery in degenerative disorders. exercise as a learning modality

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 35 - 51

Astratto

Abstract

Exercise and physical activity are fundamental components of a lifestyle essential in maintaining a healthy brain. This is primarily due to the fact that the adult brain maintains a high degree of plasticity and activity is essential for homeostasis throughout life. Plasticity is not lost even in the context of a neurodegenerative disorder, but could be maladaptive thus promoting disease onset and progression. A major breakthrough in treating brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease is to drive neuroplasticity in a direction to improve motor and cognitive dysfunction. The purpose of this short review is to present the evidence from our laboratories that supports neuroplasticity as a potential therapeutic target in treating brain disorders. We consider that the enhancement of motor recovery in both animal models of dopamine depletion and in patients with Parkinson’s disease is optimized when cognitive circuits are engaged; in other words, the brain is engaged in a learning modality. Therefore, we propose that to be effective in treating Parkinson’s disease, physical therapy must employ both skill-based exercise (to drive specific circuits) and aerobic exercise (to drive the expression of molecules required to strengthen synaptic connections) components to select those neuronal circuits, such as the corticostriatal pathway, necessary to restore proper motor and cognitive behaviors. In the wide spectrum of different forms of exercise, learning as the fundamental modality likely links interventions used to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease and may be necessary to drive beneficial neuroplasticity resulting in symptomatic improvement and possible disease modification.

Parole chiave

  • physical activity
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • cognition
  • dopamine
  • neuroplasticity
Accesso libero

Spatial control of reflexes, posture and movement in normal conditions and after neurological lesions

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 21 - 34

Astratto

Abstract

Control of reflexes is usually associated with central modulation of their sensitivity (gain) or phase-dependent inhibition and facilitation of their influences on motoneurons (reflex gating). Accumulated empirical findings show that the gain modulation and reflex gating are secondary, emergent properties of central control of spatial thresholds at which reflexes become functional. In this way, the system pre-determines, in a feedforward and task-specific way, where, in a spatial domain or a frame of reference, muscles are allowed to work without directly prescribing EMG activity and forces. This control strategy is illustrated by considering reflex adaptation to repeated muscle stretches in healthy subjects, a process associated with implicit learning and generalization. It has also been shown that spasticity, rigidity, weakness and other neurological motor deficits may have a common source – limitations in the range of spatial threshold control elicited by neural lesions.

Parole chiave

  • motor control
  • rehabilitation
  • stretch reflex
  • spasticity
  • learning
Accesso libero

Biomechanics as a window into the neural control of movement

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 7 - 20

Astratto

Abstract

Biomechanics and motor control are discussed as parts of a more general science, physics of living systems. Major problems of biomechanics deal with exact definition of variables and their experimental measurement. In motor control, major problems are associated with formulating currently unknown laws of nature specific for movements by biological objects. Mechanics-based hypotheses in motor control, such as those originating from notions of a generalized motor program and internal models, are non-physical. The famous problem of motor redundancy is wrongly formulated; it has to be replaced by the principle of abundance, which does not pose computational problems for the central nervous system. Biomechanical methods play a central role in motor control studies. This is illustrated with studies with the reconstruction of hypothetical control variables and those exploring motor synergies within the framework of the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis. Biomechanics and motor control have to merge into physics of living systems, and the earlier this process starts the better.

Review article

Accesso libero

The effects of specific drills on the flip turns of freestyle swimmers based on a kinesiology analysis

Pubblicato online: 10 Sep 2016
Pagine: 165 - 173

Astratto

Abstract

This research aimed to define the key factors in freestyle flip turns via a kinesiology analysis to diagnose swimmers. Hence, specially designed drills were created to improve swimmers’ flip-turn skills and assess the effects of training. Nine Chinese national modern pentathlon athletes ranging in age from 20 to 26 years with an average of 10 years of training experience were tested and trained in this study. The Kistler Performance Analysis System for Swimming was used for the pre- and post-test analyses. A kinesiology analysis of the data from the pre-test was used for the diagnosis and specific drills were adopted for 10 weeks, 3 times per week before the post-test. The comparison of the pre- and post-test performances was used to assess the effects of training. After 10 weeks of specific drill training for flip turns, participants’ turning skills significantly improved. Speed in approaching, somersaulting, pushing-off and gliding all increased. The angles of the knees and hips as well as the force applied improved, which contributed to swimmers’ increased speed. Since the skills needed for a flip turn are complex and not easily diagnosed via observation alone, this kinesiology analysis will make diagnosis objective and easy.

Key words

  • flip turn
  • freestyle
  • kinesiology
  • drills
  • effect

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