The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences has a strong and energetic research culture. In the RAE2008, a proportion of the Department’s research was considered to be “world-leading” and other esteem indicator scores designated 70% of staff submitted to the Sports-Related studies Unit of Assessment as being “ internationally excellent” or “world leading”. Its research activity can be divided into two distinct groups – Sociology of Sport and Exercise and Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences – which focus on advancing knowledge through high quality research that is of benefit to numerous recipients as a consequence of its impact on the exercising and sporting populations, society, public policy, culture and quality of life. Staff and postgraduate research is positively developed in an energetic environment which provides the opportunity to disseminate and discuss research through Department research seminars. This facilitates an interdisciplinary approach to a number of research questions which have evolved from identified real life problems.

Recent Submissions

  • The discriminant validity of standardised testing battery and its ability to differentiate anthropometric and physical characteristics between youth, academy and senior professional rugby league players

    Dobbin, Nick; Moss, Samantha; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2019)
    Purpose: To assess a standardised testing battery’s ability to differentiate anthropometric and physical qualities between youth, academy and senior rugby league players, and determine the discriminant validity of the battery. Methods: A total of 729 rugby league players from multiple clubs within England categorised as youth (n = 235), academy (n = 362) and senior (n = 132) players completed a standardised testing battery that included the assessment of anthropometric and physical characteristics during preseason. Data was analysed using magnitude-based inferences and discriminant analysis. Results: Academy players were most likely taller and heavier than youth players (effect size (ES) = 0.64 to 1.21), with possibly to most likely superior CMJ, medicine ball throw and prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance (ES = 0.23 to 1.00). Senior players were likely to most likely taller and heavier (ES = 0.32 to 1.84), with possibly to most likely superior 10 and 20 m sprint times, CMJ, CoD, medicine ball throw and prone Yo-Yo IR1 compared to youth and academy (ES = -0.60 to 2.06). The magnitude of difference appeared to be influenced by playing position. For the most part, the battery possessed discriminant validity with an accuracy of 72.2%. Conclusion: The standardised testing battery differentiates anthropometric and physical qualities of youth, academy and senior players as a group and, in most instances, within positional groups. Furthermore, the battery is able to discriminate between playing standards with good accuracy and might be included in future assessments and rugby league talent identification.
  • ‘Just stretch it out and try to dance’: Young Irish dancers’ views and experiences of pain and injury

    Pentith, Rebecca; McEvilly, Nollaig; University of Chester (Graduate Journal of Sport, Exercise & Physical Education Research, 2018-11-16)
    Dancers frequently experience pain and injury due to the physical demands of performance. Previous research primarily focuses on professional dancers over the age of 18 years, and Irish dance has been largely unexplored, with research from a sociological perspective particularly lacking. To address these gaps, the purpose of this study was to explore the influence of the culture of Irish dance on young female dancers’ views and experiences of pain and injury. Data were generated through semi-structured interviews with eight girls (aged 11-16 years) from an Irish dance academy in the North West of England. We analysed the data by engaging in thematic analysis, and drew on Bourdieu’s concepts (habitus and capital, in particular) to explain our findings. Key themes within the data were: the values of Irish dance; trust and teamwork; and strength and weakness. The findings show that Irish dancers make sacrifices to achieve success, and the culture of Irish dance encourages them to dance through pain and injury in order to appear strong. While dancers recognise the potential consequences of injury and believe it is beneficial to take time away from training to recover, they are often encouraged (and encourage each other) to persevere through pain and injury. The findings suggest that there are some potentially harmful consequences of the Irish dance culture, as pain and injury are normalised. We suggest that coaches (and parents/guardians) should encourage young dancers to engage with self-care, and ensure they are not risking their future health and wellbeing by dancing through pain and injury.
  • Associations between selected training stress measures and fitness changes in male soccer players

    Rabbani, Alireza; Kargarfard, M; Castagna, C; Clemente, F; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2019)
    Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of accumulated Global Positioning System (GPS)-accelerometer-based and heart rate (HR)-based training metrics to changes in high-intensity intermittent running capacity during an in-season phase in professional soccer players. Method: Eleven male professional players (mean ± SD, age: 27.2 ± 4.5 years) performed the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) before and after a five-week in-season training phase, and the final velocity (VIFT) was considered as players’ high-intensity intermittent running capacity. During all sessions, Edwards’ training impulse (Edwards’ TRIMP), Banister’s TRIMP, Z5 TRIMP, training duration, total distance covered, New Body Load (NBL), high-intensity running performance (distance covered above 14.4 km•h-1), and very high-intensity running performance (distance covered above 19.8 km•h-1) were recorded. Results: The players’ VIFT showed a most likely moderate improvement (+4.3%, 90% confidence limits [3.1; 5.5%], effect size ES, 0.70 [0.51; 0.89]). Accumulated NBL, Banister’s TRIMP and Edwards’ TRIMP showed large associations (r = 0.51 to 0.54) with changes in VIFT. Very large relationship was also observed between accumulated Z5 TRIMP (r= 0.72) with changes in VIFT. Large-to-nearly perfect within-individual relationships were observed between NBL and some of the other training metrics (i.e., Edwards’ TRIMP, Banister’s TRIMP, training duration, and total distance) in 10 out of 11 players. Conclusions: HR-based training metrics can be used to monitor high-intensity intermittent running capacity changes in professional soccer players. The dose-response relationship is also largely detected using accelerometer-based metrics (i.e., NBL) to track changes in high-intensity intermittent running capacity of professional soccer players.
  • Passive heat maintenance after an initial warm-up improves high intensity activity during an interchange rugby league match simulation protocol.

    Fairbank, Matthew; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018)
    This study examined using passive heat maintenance to maintain core temperature after a warm-up and its effect on first half running performance in rugby players. Thirteen male rugby players completed this randomized crossover study. Tympanic temperature was taken before a warm-up and then after a further 15 minutes passive recovery either with (PHM) or without (CON) a passive heat maintenance garment. Participants then completed 23 min of the rugby league match simulation protocol (RLMSP-i). Differences in tympanic temperature were unclear between CON and PHM before (35.7 ± 1.3 cf. 36.0 ± 1.1oC; ES = 0.20) and during exercise (34.5 ± 0.1 cf. 35.2 ± 0.1oC; ES = 0.26-0.35). High-intensity running (ES = 0.27) and peak sprint speed were higher (ES = 0.46-0.56) during the PHM compared to the CON trial. Time spent above 20 W.kg-1 also increased in the first quartile of PHM compared to CON trial (ES = 0.18). All other between trial comparisons of performance were unclear. HRmean (ES = 0.38) was higher in PHM compared to CON, while differences in RPEmean (ES = -0.19) were unclear. There are small to large increases in high intensity work performed during a playing bout when rugby players wear a PHM garment after a warm-up. Rugby players should consider PHM during extended periods of time between a warm-up and starting a match.
  • The reproducibility and external validity of a modified rugby league movement simulation protocol for interchange players

    Norris, Jonathan; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (2018)
    Purpose: The study assessed the reliability and external validity of a rugby league movement simulation protocol for interchange players that was adapted to include physical contact between participants Methods: Eighteen rugby players performed two trials of a modified rugby league movement simulation protocol for interchange players (RLMSP-i), seven days apart. The simulation was conduced outdoors on artificial turf with movement speeds controlled using an audio signal. Micro-technology was used to measure locomotive and accelerometer (i.e. PlayerLoadTM) metrics for both bouts (~23 min each) alongside heart rate and RPE. Results: Reported for each bout, total distance (102 ± 3 and 101 ± 3 m.min-1), low-speed distance (77 ± 3 and 79 ± 4 m.min-1), high-speed distance (25 ± 3 and 22 ± 4 m.min-1), PlayerLoadTM (10 ± 1 and 10 ± 1 AU.min-1), PlayerLoadTM slow (3.2 ± 0.6 and 3.2 ± 0.6 AU.min-1), PlayerLoadTM 2D (6.0 ± 0.9 and 5.7 ± 0.8 AU.min-1) and heart rate (86 ± 5 and 84 ± 6 %HR max) were similar to match play. The coefficient of variation (%CV) for locomotive metrics ranged from 1.3 to 14.4%, accelerometer CV% 4.4 to 10.0%, and internal load 4.8 to 13.7%. All variables presented a CV% less than the calculated moderate change during one or both bouts of the simulation except high-speed distance (m.min-1), %HRpeak and RPE (AU). Conclusion: The modified RLMSP-i offers a reliable simulation to investigate influences of training and nutrition interventions on the movement and collision activities of rugby league interchange players.
  • Factors affecting the anthropometric and physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players: a multi-club study.

    Dobbin, Nick; Moss, Samantha; Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2018-12)
    Purpose: To investigate the factors affecting the anthropometric and physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players. Methods: One hundred and ninety-seven elite academy rugby league players (age = 17.3 ± 1.0 years) from five Super League clubs completed measures of anthropometric and physical characteristics during a competitive season. The interaction between, and influence of contextual factors on characteristics was assessed using linear mixed modelling. Results: Associations were observed between several anthropometric and physical characteristics. All physical characteristics improved during preseason and continued to improve until mid-season where thereafter 10 m sprint (η2 = 0.20 cf. 0.25), CMJ (η2 = 0.28 cf. 0.30) and prone Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (Yo-Yo IR) (η2 = 0.22 cf. 0.54) performance declined. Second (η2 = 0.17) and third (η2 = 0.16) years were heavier than first years, whilst third years had slower 10 m sprint times (η2 = 0.22). Large positional variability was observed for body mass, 20 m sprint time, medicine ball throw, countermovement jump, and prone Yo-Yo IR1. Compared to bottom-ranked teams, top demonstrated superior 20 m (η2 = -0.22) and prone Yo-Yo IR1 (η2 = 0.26) performance whilst middle-ranked teams reported higher CMJ height (η2 = 0.26) and prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance (η2 = 0.20), but slower 20 m sprint times (η2 = 0.20). Conclusion: These findings offer practitioners designing training programmes for academy rugby league players insight into the relationships between anthropometric and physical characteristics and how they are influenced by playing year, league ranking, position and season phase.
  • Exercise-induced muscle damage: what is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions?

    Owens, Daniel J; Twist, Craig; Cobley, James; Howatson, Glyn; Close, Graeme; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Northumbria University (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-15)
    Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) is characterised by symptoms that present both immediately and for up to 14 days after the initial exercise bout. The main consequence of EIMD for the athlete is the loss of skeletal muscle function and soreness. As such, numerous nutrients and functional foods have been examined for their potential to ameliorate the effects of EIMD and accelerate recovery, which is the purpose of many nutritional strategies for the athlete. However, the trade-off between recovery and adaptation is rarely considered. For example, many nutritional interventions described in this review target oxidative stress and inflammation, both thought to contribute to EIMD but are also crucial for the recovery and adaptation process. This calls into question whether long term administration of supplements and functional foods used to target EIMD is indeed best practice. This rapidly growing area of sports nutrition will benefit from careful consideration of the potential hormetic effect of long term use of nutritional aids that ameliorate muscle damage. This review provides a concise overview of what EIMD is, its causes and consequences and critically evaluates potential nutritional strategies to ameliorate EIMD. We present a pragmatic practical summary that can be adopted by practitioners and direct future research, with the purpose of pushing the field to better consider the fine balance between recovery and adaptation and the potential that nutritional interventions have in modulating this balance.
  • When transport policy becomes health policy: A documentary analysis of active travel policy in England

    Bloyce, Daniel; White, Chris; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018)
    There has been a succession of policy documents related to active travel published by the British government since the implementation of a National Cycle Network (NCN) in 1995. However, as the latest National Travel Survey (NTS) reveals, the number of journeys made by bike in the UK has remained steadfastly around only 2% (Department for Transport [DfT], 2018a). By using documentary analysis of the available official policy documents and statements, the aim of this paper is to make sense of the policies that have been published concerning active travel (AT) in England. This is done from a figurational sociological perspective. Three key themes emerge from the analysis: (1) the rhetorical, advisory level of the vast majority of the policies; (2) the reliance on a wide network of local authorities to implement AT policy; and (3) the focus placed on individuals to change their behaviour. Furthermore, the analysis reveals that despite a large number of policy publications from a range of government departments claiming to promote AT, little has actually changed in this time period in terms of a national agenda. Despite the successive policies, it seems there is little appetite on behalf of recent governments to make widespread infrastructural changes, where instead the focus has largely been on persuading the individual to seek more active modes of travel, increasingly for their own, individual ‘health’ gains.
  • The concurrent validity of a rugby-specific Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (Level 1) for assessing match-related running performance

    Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Moss, Samantha L.; Hunwicks, Richard; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Rugby Football League, Leeds (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018-06-01)
    This study investigated the concurrent validity of a rugby-specific high-intensity intermittent running test (HIIR) against the internal, external and perceptual responses to simulated match-play. Thirty-six rugby league players (age 18.5 ± 1.8 years; stature 181.4 ± 7.6 cm; body mass 83.5 ± 9.8 kg) completed the prone Yo-Yo IR1, of which sixteen also completed the Yo-Yo IR1, and 2 x ~20 min bouts of a simulated match-play (RLMSP-i). Most likely reductions in relative total, low-speed and high-speed distance, mean speed and time above 20 W·kg-1 (HMP) were observed between bouts of the RLMSP-i. Likewise, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and percentage of peak heart rate (%HRpeak) were very likely and likely higher during the second bout. Pearson’s correlations revealed a large relationship for the change in relative distance (r = 0.57-0.61) between bouts with both Yo-Yo IR1 tests. The prone Yo-Yo IR1 was more strongly related to the RLMSP-i for change in repeated sprint speed (r = 0.78 cf. 0.56), mean speed (r = 0.64 cf. 0.36), HMP (r = 0.48 cf. 0.25), fatigue index (r = 0.71 cf. 0.63), %HRpeak (r = -0.56 cf. -0.35), RPEbout1 (r = -0.44 cf. -0.14), and RPEbout2 (r = -0.68 cf. -0.41) than the Yo-Yo IR1, but not for blood lactate concentration (r = -0.20 to -0.28 cf. -0.35 to -0.49). The relationships between prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance and measure of load during the RLMSP-i suggests it possesses concurrent validity and is more strongly associated with measures of training or match load than the Yo-Yo IR1 using rugby league players.
  • The influence of music genre on explosive power, repetitions to failure and mood responses during resistance exercise

    Moss, Samantha L.; Enright, Kevin; Cushman, Simon; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University (Elsevier, 2018-05-04)
    Objectives: To investigate the influence of different music genres on the psychological, psychophysical and psychophysiological responses during power-based and strength-based resistance exercises. Design: Repeated-measures counterbalanced design. Method: Sixteen resistance-trained participants completed an explosive power test in the squat and bench exercises at 30% 1RM across no music, electronic dance music, metal and self-selected conditions. Peak and mean values were recorded for power and velocity. A progressive loading protocol assessed the impact of condition on repetitions to failure at 60, 70 and 80% 1RM in the squat and bench exercises. For all tests, recording of heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were completed after every set, blood lactate after protocol completion, and mood states before and after. Results: Using magnitude-based inferences, music either had no effect or a small detrimental effect on power and velocity, depending on the exercise. Repetitions to failure increased by a small to moderate amount for all music conditions compared to no music at low but not high intensities. Self-selected music provided additional small benefits in repetitions than other music conditions. Rating of perceived exertion was similar between self-selected, metal and no music conditions, whereas electronic dance music revealed higher responses. Vigour increased after all music conditions but remained unchanged in no music. Conclusions: Explosive power exercises either remain unchanged or are disadvantaged when completed to music. Various music genres could improve repetition to failure training at low to moderate intensities, although individuals might expect greatest improvements using self-selected music, without concomitant increases in perceived effort.
  • An examination of a modified Yo-Yo test to measure intermittent running performance in rugby players

    Dobbin, Nick; Moss, Samantha; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-06-17)
    This study examined how starting each shuttle in the prone position altered the internal, external and perceptual responses to the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Using a randomized crossover design, 17 male rugby players completed the Yo-Yo IR1 and prone Yo-Yo IR1 on two separate occasions. External loads (via microtechnology), V ̇O2, heart rate (HR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured at 160, 280 and 440 m (sub-maximal) and when the test was terminated (peak). The pre-to-post change in blood lactate concentration (∆[La]b) was determined for both tests. All data were analysed using effect sizes and magnitude-based inferences. Between-trial differences (ES  90%CL) indicated total distance was most likely lower (-1.87  0.19), whereas other measures of peak external load were likely to very likely higher during the prone Yo-Yo IR1 (0.62-1.80). Sub-maximal RPE was likely to most likely higher (0.40-0.96) and peak RPE very likely higher (0.63  0.41) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. The change in [La]b was likely higher after the prone Yo-Yo IRl. Mean HR was possibly lower at 440 m (-0.25  0.29) as was peak HR (-0.26  0.25) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. "V" ̇E, "V" ̇O2 and "V" ̇CO2 were likely to very likely higher at 280 and 440 m (ES = 0.36-1.22), while peak values were possibly to likely higher (ES = 0.23-0.37) in the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Adopting a prone position during the Yo-Yo IR1 increases the internal, perceptual and external responses, placing greater emphasis on metabolically demanding actions typical of rugby.
  • The influence of preseason training phase and training load on body composition and its relationship with physical qualities in professional junior rugby league players

    Dobbin, Nick; Gardner, Adrian; Daniels, Matthew; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-08)
    This study investigated changes in body composition in relation to training load determined using RPE and duration (sRPE), and its relationship with physical qualities over a preseason period. Sixteen professional academy players (age = 17.2 ± 0.7 years; stature = 179.9 ± 4.9 cm; body mass = 88.5 ± 10.1 kg) participated in the study. Body composition was assessed before and after each training phase and physical qualities assessed at the start and end of preseason. Across the whole preseason period, skinfold thickness, body fat percentage and fat mass were most likely lower (ES = -0.73 to -1.00), and fat free mass and lean mass were likely to most likely higher (ES = 0.31 to 0.40). Results indicated that the magnitude of change appeared phase-dependent (ES = -0.05 to -0.85) and demonstrated large individual variability. Changes in physical qualities ranged from unclear to most likely (ES = -0.50 to 0.64). Small to moderate correlations were observed between changes in body composition, and TL with changes in physical qualities. This study suggests training phase and TL can influence a player’s body composition; that large inter-participant variability exists; and that body composition and TL are related to the change in physical qualities.
  • Metabolic demands of elite rugby competition after 36 hours of a high (6 g·kg-1) or low (3 g·kg-1) carbohydrate diet: implications for dietary recommendations.

    Bradley, Warren J.; Morehen, James C.; Haigh, Julian; Clarke, Jon; Donovan, Timothy F.; Twist, Craig; Cotton, Caroline; Shepherd, Sam; Cocks, Matthew; Sharma, Asheesh; Impey, Samuel G.; MacLaren, Don P. M.; Morton, James P.; Close, Graeme L.; Liverpool John Moores University; Widnes Vikings Rugby; Glyndwr University; University of Chester; Aintree University Hospital; Royal Liverpool Hospital; University of Liverpool (Elsevier, 2016-04-22)
    Objectives: Although the physical demands of Rugby League (RL) match-play are well-known, the fuel sources supporting energy-production are poorly understood. We therefore assessed muscle glycogen utilisation and plasma metabolite responses to RL match-play after a relatively high (HCHO) or relatively low CHO (LCHO) diet. Design: Sixteen (mean ± SD age; 18 ± 1 years, body-mass; 88 ± 12 kg, height 180 ± 8 cm) professional players completed a RL match after 36-h consuming a non-isocaloric high carbohydrate (n = 8; 6 g kg day−1) or low carbohydrate (n = 8; 3 g kg day−1) diet. Methods: Muscle biopsies and blood samples were obtained pre- and post-match, alongside external and internal loads quantified using Global Positioning System technology and heart rate, respectively. Data were analysed using effects sizes ±90% CI and magnitude-based inferences. Results: Differences in pre-match muscle glycogen between high and low carbohydrate conditions (449 ± 51 and 444 ± 81 mmol kg−1 d.w.) were unclear. High (243 ± 43 mmol kg−1 d.w.) and low carbohydrate groups (298 ± 130 mmol kg−1 d.w.) were most and very likely reduced post-match, respectively. For both groups, differences in pre-match NEFA and glycerol were unclear, with a most likely increase in NEFA and glycerol post-match. NEFA was likely lower in the high compared with low carbohydrate group post-match (0.95 ± 0.39 mmol l−1 and 1.45 ± 0.51 mmol l−1, respectively), whereas differences between the 2 groups for glycerol were unclear (98.1 ± 33.6 mmol l−1 and 123.1 ± 39.6 mmol l−1) in the high and low carbohydrate groups, respectively. Conclusions: Professional RL players can utilise ∼40% of their muscle glycogen during a competitive match regardless of their carbohydrate consumption in the preceding 36-h.
  • Playing exposure does not affect movement characteristics or physiological responses of elite youth footballers during an intensified period of competition.

    Gibson, Neil; McCunn, Robert; MacNay, Sophie; Mullen, Thomas; Twist, Craig; Heriot-Watt University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-08)
    This study investigated the effect of playing time on physiological and perceptual responses to six, 60 min matches played over five days. Thirty youth football players (age = 14.1 ± 0.4 years; body mass = 57.4 ± 12.9 kg; stature 169.3 ± 7.7 cm) were grouped into low (<250 min; LPG, n = 18) and high (≥250 min; HPG, n = 12) match exposure groups and monitored daily for lower body power and perceived wellness. GPS technology was used to assess match running demands in total distance (m•min-1), low (<13 km•h-1) and high (≥13 km•h-1) speed running categories. Hypothesis based testing and effect sizes (ES) were used to analyse data. The HPG performed moderately more total distance (103.7 ± 10.4 cf. 90.2 ± 19.7 m•min-1, P = 0.03; ES=0.74 ± 0.63) and high speed running (26.7 ± 6.6 cf. 20.3 ± 6.5 m•min-1, P = 0.01; ES=0.87 ± 0.6) than the LPG across all six matches. Differences of a small magnitude were observed between groups for lower body power (P = 0.08; ES =0.59 ± 0.8) and perceived wellness (P = 0.09; ES=0.42 ± 0.4) which were both higher in the HPG. Youth football players appear well equipped to deal with intensified period of competition, such as those experienced in tournaments, irrespective of match exposure.
  • Movement characteristics, physiological and perceptual responses of elite standard youth football players to different high intensity running drills

    Gibson, Neil; Henning, Greig; Twist, Craig; Heriot-Watt University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-04-06)
    Purpose: To examine responses to high intensity running drills in youth football players. Methods: Seventeen players completed the YoYo Intermittent Recovery test level one (YYIR1) and a 15 m maximal sprint to quantify target running speeds. Players performed three conditions on separate occasions comprising: 12 x 15 s high intensity runs at 100% of the final YYIRT1 speed, 12 x ~4 s repeated sprints with ~26 s recovery, and combination running using both modalities. Heart rate was monitored continuously with PlayerLoadTM and movement characteristics using microtechnology. Ratings of perceived exertion and blood lactate responses were measured 2 min after the final repetition. The ratio of Flight:contraction time was calculated from a countermovement jump before and at 2 min and 14 hours after each condition. Data analysis used magnitude based inferences and effect sizes statistics. Results: Peak speed (1.1%; ES 0.23 ± 0.44) and mean speed over the initial 4s (6.3%; ES 0.45 ± 0.46) were possibly faster during combination compared to high intensity running with unclear differences when compared to repeated sprinting. This was despite most likely (21.6%; ES 7.65 ± 1.02) differences in prescribed speeds between conditions. There were likely reductions in F:C at 14 hours ratio after high intensity (-5.6%; ES –0.44 ± 0.32) and combination running (-6.8%; ES -0.53 ± 0.47). Changes in the repeated sprinting condition were unclear. Conclusions: Actual movement characteristics of high intensity running drills may not reflect those used to prescribe them whilst reductions in F:C ratio are still evident 14 hours after their completion.
  • The effects of variable resistance using chains on bench throw performance in trained rugby players

    Godwin, Mark S.; Fernandes, John F. T.; Twist, Craig; University College Birmingham; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2018-04-01)
    This study sought to determine the effects of variable resistance using chain resistance on bench throw performance. Eight male rugby union players (19.4 ± 2.3 y, 88.8 ± 6.0 kg, 1RM 105.6 ± 17.0 kg) were recruited from a national league team. In a randomised cross-over design participant’s performed three bench throws at 45% one repetition maximum (1RM) at a constant load (No Chains) or a variable load (30% 1RM constant load, 15% 1RM variable load; Chains) with seven days between conditions. For each repetition the peak and mean velocity, peak power, peak acceleration and time to peak velocity were recorded. Differences in peak and mean power were very likely trivial and unclear between the Chains and No Chains conditions, respectively. Possibly greater peak and likely greater mean bar velocity were accompanied by likely to most likely greater bar velocity between 50-400 ms from initiation of bench press in the Chains compared to the No Chains condition. Accordingly, bar acceleration was very likely greater in the Chains compared to the No Chains condition. In conclusion, these results show that the inclusion of chain resistance can acutely enhance several variables in the bench press throw and gives support to this type of training.
  • Beetroot supplementation improves the physiological responses to incline walking

    Waldron, Mark; Waldron, Luke; Lawlor, Craig; Gray, Adrian; Highton, Jamie M.; St Mary's University; University of New England; Medical Education Centre Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Chester (Springer, 2018-03-15)
    Purpose: We investigated the effects of an acute 24-h nitrate-rich beetroot juice supplement (BR) on the energy cost, exercise efficiency and blood pressure responses to intermittent walking at different gradients. Methods: In a double-blind, cross-over design, eight participants were provided with a total of 350 ml of nitrate-rich (~20.5 mmol nitrate) BR or placebo (PLA) across 24-h before completing intermittent walking at 3 km/h on treadmill at gradients of 1%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%. Results: Resting mean arterial pressure (MAP) was ~4.1% lower after BR (93 vs. 89 mmHg; P = 0.001), as well as during exercise (102 vs. 99 mmHg; P = 0.011) and recovery (97 vs. 94 mmHg; P = 0.001). Exercising (1227 vs. 1129 ml/min P < 0.001) and end-stage (1404 vs. 1249 ml/min; P = 0.002) oxygen uptake (𝑉O2) was lower in BR compared to PLA, which was accompanied by an average reduction in phase II 𝑉 ̇O2 amplitude (1067 vs. 940 ml/min; P = 0.025). Similarly, recovery 𝑉O2 (509 vs. 458 ml/min; P = 0.001) was lower in BR. Whole-blood potassium concentration increased from pre-post exercise in PLA (4.1 ± 0.3 vs. 4.5 ± 0.3 mmol/L; P = 0.013) but not BR (4.1 ± 0.31 vs. 4.3 ± 0.2 mmol/L; P = 0.188). Conclusions: Energy cost of exercise, recovery of 𝑉O2, MAP and blood markers were ameliorated after BR. Previously reported mechanisms explain these findings, which are more noticeable during less efficient walking at steep gradients (15-20%). These findings have practical implications for hill-walkers.
  • The Reliability and Validity of A Submaximal Warm-Up Test for Monitoring Training Status in Professional Soccer Players.

    Rabbani, Alizera; Kargarfard, Mehdi; Twist, Craig; University of Isfahan; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2017-11-27)
    Two studies were conducted to assess the reliability and validity of a submaximal warm-up test (SWT) in professional soccer players. For the reliability study, 12 male players performed SWT over three trials, with one week between trials. For the validity study, 14 players of the same team performed SWT and 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30-15IFT) 7 days apart. Week-to-week reliability in selected heart rate (HR) responses [exercise HR (HRex), HR recovery (HRR) expressed as the number of beats recovered within 1 min (HRR60s) and expressed as the mean HR during 1 min (HRpost1)], were determined using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and typical error of measurement expressed as coefficient of variation (CV). The relationships between HR measures derived from SWT and the maximal speed reached at the 30-15IFT (VIFT) were used to assess validity. The range for ICC and CV values were 0.83 to 0.95 and 1.4 to 7.0% in all HR measures, respectively, with the HRex as the most reliable HR measure of SWT. Inverse large (r = -0.50, 90% confidence limits, CL (-0.78; -0.06)) and very large (r = -0.76, CL, -0.90; -0.45) relationships were observed between HRex and HRpost1 with VIFT in relative (expressed as the % of maximal HR) measures, respectively. SWT is a reliable and valid submaximal test to monitor high-intensity intermittent running fitness in professional soccer players. In addition, the test’s short duration (5-min) and simplicity mean that it can be used regularly to assess training status in high-level soccer players.
  • Validity of an isometric mid-thigh pull dynamometer in male youth athletes

    Till, Kevin; Morris, R.; Stokes, K.; Trewartha, G.; Twist, Craig; Dobbin, Nick; Hunwicks, Richard; Jones, Ben (2017-11-16)
    The purpose of the present study was to investigate the validity of an isometric mid-thigh pull dynamometer against a criterion measure (i.e., 1,000 Hz force platform) for assessing muscle strength in male youth athletes. Twenty-two male adolescent (age 15.3 ± 0.5 years) rugby league players performed four isometric mid-thigh pull efforts (i.e., two on the dynamometer and two on the force platform) separated by 5 minutes rest in a randomised and counterbalanced order. Mean bias, typical error of estimate (TEE) and Pearson correlation coefficient for peak force (PF) and peak force minus body weight (PFBW) from the force platform were validated against peak force from the dynamometer (DynoPF). When compared to PF and PFBW, mean bias (with 90% Confidence limits) for DynoPF was very large (-32.4 [-34.2 to -30.6] %) and moderate (-10.0 [-12.8 to -7.2] %), respectively. The TEE was moderate for both PF (8.1 [6.3 to 11.2] %) and PFBW (8.9 [7.0 to 12.4]). Correlations between DynoPF and PF (r 0.90 [0.79 to 0.95]) and PFBW (r 0.90 [0.80 to 0.95] were nearly perfect. The isometric mid-thigh pull assessed using a dynamometer underestimated PF and PFBW obtained using a criterion force platform. However, strong correlations between the dynamometer and force platform suggest that a dynamometer provides an appropriate alternative to assess isometric mid-thigh pull strength when a force platform is not available. Therefore, practitioners can use an isometric mid-thigh pull dynamometer to assess strength in the field with youth athletes but should be aware that it underestimates peak force.
  • Misperception: No evidence to dismiss RPE as regulator of moderate-intensity exercise

    Eston, Roger; Coquart, J.; Lamb, Kevin L.; Parfitt, Gaynor; University of South Australia; Universite´ de Rouen; University of Chester (American College of Sports Medicine, 2015-12-01)
    Dear Editor-in-Chief, Shaykevich et al. (7) demonstrate the efficacy of auditory feedback anchored at 75% of age-predicted HRmax to regulate intensity (claimed as ‘‘moderate’’) during several 20-min bouts of cycling. Their technical approach is novel, but 76% HRmax is the upper limit of moderate intensity, so given the large error in age-predicted HRmax, it is unlikely that their exercise bandwidth was ‘‘moderate’’ for all participants. This is not our major concern, but it reveals one among other inaccuracies: the most serious include training, interpretation, and inferences relating to the RPE.

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