• 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 of Functional Movement Screening (FMS) and in-season changes in physical function and performance among elite rugby league players

      Waldron, Mark; Gray, Adrian; Worsfold, Paul R.; Twist, Craig; University of New England, Australia ; University of New England, Australia ; University of Chester ; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2014-03-26)
      Functional Movement Screening (FMS) comprises seven tests that assess fundamental movement characteristics of athletes. However, the reliability of the FMS protocol and its sensitivity to changes in physical performance has not been appropriately investigated. Accordingly, this study aimed to assess the real-time reliability of the FMS protocol and to establish changes in both FMS and tests of physical performance throughout a season. The reliability of the FMS components (12 in total) were assessed via a non-parametric statistical approach, based on two trials, separated by one week. Score on the FMS, strength (3 RM full squat, 1 RM bench press), running speed (10 & 40 m) and jump height of 12 elite male under-19 rugby league players was monitored at pre-, mid- and late-season periods. There was no bias found between trials for the FMS, with the majority of components reaching 100% ‘perfect agreement’. There were no effects of season stage on any of the FMS components; however, an improvement in every performance test was apparent between the pre- and both mid- and late-season periods. Our findings demonstrate that the FMS can be reliably administered to elite rugby league players but question its sensitivity to systematic changes in athletic performance.