• Anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of top-elite, elite and non-elite youth female team handball players

      Moss, Samantha L.; McWhannell, Nicola; Michalsik, Lars B.; Twist, Craig (2015-02-16)
      In order to maximise the potential for success, developing nations need to produce superior systems to identify and develop talent, which requires comprehensive and up-to-date values on elite players. This study examined the anthropometric and physical characteristics of youth female team handball players (16.07 ± 1.30 y) in non-elite (n= 47), elite (n= 37) and top-elite players (n= 29). Anthropometric profiling included sum of eight skinfolds, body mass, stature, girths, breadths and somatotype. Performance tests included 20 m sprint, counter movement jump, throwing velocity, repeated shuttle sprint and jump ability test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Youth top-elite players had greater body mass, lean mass, stature, limb girths and breadths than elite and non-elite players, while only stature and flexed arm were higher in elite compared to non-elite players (all P < 0.05). Sum of skinfolds and waist-to-hip ratio were similar between groups (P > 0.05). Top-elite performed better in most performance tests compared to both elite and non-elite players (P < 0.05), although maximal and repeated10 m sprints were similar between standard (P > 0.05). Elite outperformed non-elite players in throwing velocity only. Findings reveal that non-elite players compare unfavourably to top-elite international European players in many anthropometric and performance characteristics, and differ in few characteristics compared to elite European club team players. This study is useful for emerging team handball nations in improving talent identification processes.
    • 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 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, Nicholas; Moss, Samantha L.; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2019-01-31)
      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.
    • Factors affecting the anthropometric and physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players: a multi-club study.

      Dobbin, Nicholas; Moss, Samantha L.; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Human Kinetics, 2019-01-24)
      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.
    • The influence of different work and rest distributions on performance and fatigue during simulated team handball match play

      Moss, Samantha L.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2015-05-05)
      This study investigated the effect of different interchange strategies on performance and pacing strategy during a simulated team-sports protocol. Eight youth male team handball players completed two conditions (LONG; work: 3 x 13:00 min, rest: 8:00 min, SHORT; work: 5 x 7:48 min, rest: 3:45 min). Participants were tested for 20 m sprint, counter-movement jump, throwing performance and heart rate during conditions. Postcondition measures included repeated shuttle-sprint and jump ability, session rating of perceived exertion, blood lactate and glucose. Faster sprint (3.87 ± 0.27 s cf. 3.97 ± 0.24 s, ES = 0.39, P= 0.03) and throwing performance (70.02 ± 7.40 km*h-1 cf. 69.04 ± 5.57 km*h-1, P> 0.05, ES = -0.15) occurred in SHORT compared to LONG by a 'likely small' difference. Higher summated heart rate (157 ± 21 cf. 150 ± 15 AU) occurred in SHORT compared to LONG by a 'likely small' difference (ES = 0.37, P> 0.05). SHORT resulted in lower session rating of perceived exertion (224 ± 45 AU cf. 282 ± 35 AU, ES = 1.45, P= 0.001) and higher blood glucose (6.06 ± 0.69 mmol*l-1 cf. 4.98 ± 1.10 mmol*l-1, ES = -1.17, P= 0.03) by a 'most likely moderate' difference compared to LONG. Repeated shuttle-sprint was better preserved after SHORT, with 'moderately lower' 10 m and 25 m times (P< 0.05). Interchange strategies using SHORT rather than LONG work and rest periods result in lower physiological load, leading to improved fatigue resistance and better preservation of high-intensity movements during matches.
    • 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.
    • A Narrative Review on Female Physique Athletes: The Physiological and Psychological Implications of Weight Management Practices

      Alwan, Nura; Moss, Samantha L.; Elliott-Sale, Kisrty; Davies, Ian; Kevin, Enright; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester; Nottingham Trent University (Human Kinetics, 2019-06-13)
      Physique competitions are events in which aesthetic appearance and posing ability are valued above physical performance. Female physique athletes are required to possess high lean body mass and extremely low fat mass in competition. As such, extended periods of reduced energy intake and intensive training regimens are utilised with acute weight loss practices at the end of the pre-competition phase. This represents an increased risk for chronic low energy availability and associated symptoms of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, compromising both psychological and physiological health. Available literature suggests that a large proportion of female physique athletes report menstrual irregularities (e.g., amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea), which are unlikely to normalise immediately post-competition. Furthermore, the tendency to reduce intakes of numerous essential micronutrients is prominent among those using restrictive eating patterns. Following competition reduced resting metabolic rate, and hyperphagia, are also a concern for these female athletes, which can result in frequent weight cycling, distorted body image and disordered eating/eating disorders. Overall, female physique athletes are an understudied population and the need for more robust studies to detect low energy availability and associated health effects is warranted. This narrative review aims to define the natural female physique athlete, explore some of the physiological and psychological implications of weight management practices experienced by female physique athletes and propose future research directions.
    • On the Role of Lyrics in the Music-Exercise Performance Relationship

      Sanchez, Xavier; Moss, Samantha L.; Twist, Craig; Karageorghis, Costas I.; University of Groningen; University of Chester; Brunel University (Elsevier, 2013-10-27)
      Objectives. To examine the role of the musical constituent of lyrics with reference to a range of psychological, psychophysical, and physiological variables during submaximal cycling ergometry. Design. Two-factor (Condition x Time) within-subject counterbalanced design. Method. Twenty five participants performed three 6-min cycling trials at a power output corresponding to 75% of their maximum heart rate under conditions of music with lyrics, same music without lyrics, and a no-music control. Cycling cadence, heart rate, and perceived exertion were recorded at 2-min intervals during each trial. Positive and negative affect was assessed before and after each trial. Results. A significant (p = .006) Condition x Time interaction emerged for cadence wherein participants cycled at a higher rate at the end of the task under music with lyrics. Main effects were found for perceived exertion and heart rate, both of which increased from min 2 through to min 6, and for affect: positive affect increased and negative affect decreased from pre- to post-trials. Conclusions. Participants pedalled faster in both music conditions while perceived exertion and heart rate did not differ across conditions. The inclusion of lyrics influenced cycling performance only at min 6 and had no bearing on the remaining dependent variables throughout the duration of the task. The impact of lyrical content in the music-exercise performance relationship warrants further attention in order that we might better understand its role.
    • Pacing during a cross-country mountain bike mass-participation event according to race performance, experience, age and sex.

      Moss, Samantha L.; Francis, Ben; Calogiuri, Giovanna; Highton, Jamie M. (2018-12-15)
      This study describes pacing strategies adopted in an 86-km mass-participation cross-country marathon mountain bike race (the 'Birkebeinerrittet'). Absolute (km·h ) and relative speed (% average race speed) and speed coefficient of variation (%CV) in five race sections (15.1, 31.4, 52.3, 74.4 and 100% of total distance) were calculated for 8182 participants. Data were grouped and analysed according to race performance, age, sex and race experience. The highest average speed was observed in males (21.8 ± 3.7 km/h), 16-24 yr olds (23.0 ± 4.8 km/h) and those that had previously completed >4 Birkebeinerrittet races (22.5 ± 3.4 km/h). Independent of these factors, the fastest performers exhibited faster speeds across all race sections, whilst their relative speed was higher in early and late climbing sections (Cohen's d = 0.45-1.15) and slower in the final descending race section (d = 0.64-0.98). Similar trends were observed in the quicker age, sex and race experience groups, who tended to have a higher average speed in earlier race sections and a lower average speed during the final race section compared to slower groups. In all comparisons, faster groups also had a lower %CV for speed than slower groups (fastest %CV = 24.02%, slowest %CV = 32.03%), indicating a lower variation in speed across the race. Pacing in a cross-country mountain bike marathon is related to performance, age, sex and race experience. Better performance appears to be associated with higher relative speed during climbing sections, resulting in a more consistent overall race speed.