• The effects of in-season, low-volume sprint interval training with and without sport-specific actions on the physical characteristics of elite academy rugby league players

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Moss, Samantha; Twist, Craig
      Purpose: To determine the utility of a running and rugby-specific, in-season sprint interval interventions in professional rugby league players. Methods: Thirty-one professional academy rugby players were assigned to a rugby-specific (SITr/s, n = 16) or running (SITr, n = 15) sprint interval training group. Measures of speed, power, change of direction (CoD) ability, prone Yo-Yo IR1 performance and heart rate recovery (HRR) were taken before and after the 2-week intervention as were sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Internal, external and perceptual responses were collected during SITr/s/SITr, with wellbeing and neuromuscular function assessed before each session. Results: Despite contrasting (possible to most likely) internal, external and perceptual responses to the SIT interventions, possible to most likely within-group improvements in physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1 were observed after both interventions. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s intervention (trivial to moderate) for changes in 10 m sprint time, CMJ, change of direction and medicine ball throw as well as sub-maximal (280-440 m) high metabolic power, PlayerLoad™ and acceleratory distance during the prone Yo-Yo IR1. Overall changes in wellbeing or neuromuscular function were unclear. Conclusion: Two-weeks of SITr/s and SITr was effective for improving physical characteristics, HRR and sub-maximal responses to the prone Yo-Yo IR1, with no clear change in wellbeing and neuromuscular function. Between-group analysis favoured the SITr/s group, suggesting that the inclusion of sport- specific actions should be considered for in-season conditioning of rugby league players.
    • Glutamine supplementation reduces markers of intestinal permeability during running in the heat in a dose-dependent manner

      Pugh, Jamie; Sage, Stephen; Hutson, Mark; Doran, Dominic; Fleming, Simon; Highton, Jamie M.; Morton, James; Close, Graeme
      Purpose To examine the dose–response effects of acute glutamine supplementation on markers of gastrointestinal (GI) permeability, damage and, secondary, subjective symptoms of GI discomfort in response to running in the heat. Methods Ten recreationally active males completed a total of four exercise trials; a placebo trial and three glutamine trials at 0.25, 0.5 and 0.9 g kg−1 of fat-free mass (FFM) consumed 2 h before exercise. Each exercise trial consisted of a 60-min treadmill run at 70% of ̇VO2max in an environmental chamber set at 30 °C. GI permeability was measured using ratio of lactulose to rhamnose (L:R) in serum. Plasma glutamine and intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) concentrations were determined pre and post exercise. Subjective GI symptoms were assessed 45 min and 24 h post-exercise. Results Relative to placebo, L:R was likely lower following 0.25 g kg−1 (mean difference: − 0.023; ± 0.021) and 0.5 g kg−1 (− 0.019; ± 0.019) and very likely following 0.9 g kg− 1 (− 0.034; ± 0.024). GI symptoms were typically low and there was no effect of supplementation. Discussion Acute oral glutamine consumption attenuates GI permeability relative to placebo even at lower doses of 0.25 g kg−1, although larger doses may be more effective. It remains unclear if this will lead to reductions in GI symptoms. Athletes competing in the heat may, therefore, benefit from acute glutamine supplementation prior to exercise in order to maintain gastrointestinal integrity.
    • Development of anthropometric characteristics in professional Rugby League players: Is there too much emphasis on the pre-season period?

      Morehen, James C; orcid: 0000-0001-5320-0557; Clarke, Jon; Batsford, Jake; Highton, Jamie M.; Erskine, Robert M; orcid: 0000-0002-5705-0207; Morton, James P; orcid: 0000-0003-2776-2542; Close, Graeme L; orcid: 0000-0002-7210-9553 (2019-12-04)
      Rugby League is a team sport requiring players to experience large impact collisions, thus requiring high amounts of muscle mass. Many players (academy and senior) strive to increase muscle mass during the pre-season, however, quantification of changes during this period have not been thoroughly investigated. We therefore assessed changes in body-composition using Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) in eleven academy players over three successive pre-seasons and ninety-three senior players from four different European Super League clubs prior to, and at the end of, a pre-season training period. There was no meaningful change in lean mass of the academy players during any of the pre-season periods (year 1 = 72.3 ± 7.1-73.2 ± 7.2kg; ES 0.05, year 2 = 74.4 ± 6.9-75.5 ± 6.9kg; ES 0.07, year 3 = 75.9 ± 6.7-76.8 ± 6.6kg; ES 0.06) with changes only occurring over the three-year study period (72.3-75.9kg; ES = 0.22). Senior players showed changes in all characteristics during the pre-season period (total mass = 95.1-95.0kg; ES -0.01, lean mass = 74.6-75.1kg; ES 0.07, fat mass = 13.6-12.9kg; ES -0.17, body fat percentage = 14.8-14.1%; ES -0.19). These data suggest that academy players need time to develop towards profiles congruent with senior players. Moreover, once players reach senior level, body-composition changes are during the pre-season and therefore teams may need to individualise training for players striving to gain muscle mass by reducing other training loads.
    • Sex-related changes in physical performance, wellbeing and neuromuscular function of elite Touch players during a four-day international tournament.

      Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie M.; Thorpe, M.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University
      Purpose: To examine the within- and between-sex physical performance, wellbeing and neuromuscular function responses across a four-day international touch rugby (Touch) tournament. Methods: Twenty females and twenty-one males completed measures of wellbeing (fatigue, soreness, sleep, mood, stress) and neuromuscular function (countermovement jump (CMJ) height, peak power output (PPO) and peak force (PF)) during a 4-day tournament with internal, external and perceptual loads recorded for all matches. Results: Relative and absolute total, low- (females) and high-intensity distance was lower on day 3 (males and females) (ES = -0.37 to -0.71) compared to day 1. Mean heart rate was possibly to most likely reduced during the tournament (except day 2 males) (ES = -0.36 to -0.74), whilst RPE-TL was consistently higher in females (ES = 0.02 to 0.83). The change in mean fatigue, soreness and overall wellbeing were unclear to most likely lower (ES = -0.33 to -1.90) across the tournament for both sexes, with greater perceived fatigue and soreness in females on days 3-4 (ES = 0.39 to 0.78). Jump height and PPO were possibly to most likely lower across days 2-4 (ES = -0.30 to -0.84), with greater reductions in females (ES = 0.21 to 0.66). Wellbeing, CMJ height, and PF were associated with changes in external, internal and perceptual measures of load across the tournament (2 = -0.37 to 0.39). Conclusions: Elite Touch players experience reductions in wellbeing, neuromuscular function and running performance across a 4-day tournament, with notable differences in fatigue and running between males and females, suggesting sex-specific monitoring and intervention strategies are necessary.
    • “The helping, the fixtures, the kits, the gear, the gum shields, the food, the snacks, the waiting, the rain, the car rides…”: Social Class, Parenting and Children’s Organised Leisure

      Wheeler, Sharon; Green, Ken; Edge Hill University; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2018-05-11)
      Class-related parenting cultures and ideologies have been of considerable interest to academics over the last two decades. Much of the research thus far has focused on exploring Annette Lareau’s conceptualisations of ‘natural growth’ and ‘concerted cultivation’ and the implications for outcomes in relation to education. The focus of the present article is organised activities, which are a central but as yet relatively under-researched feature of middle-class parenting. The findings are based upon 73 semi-structured interviews with parents and children from 48 middle-class families living in and around a small city in northern England. The article reveals that initiating and facilitating children’s organised activities is considered a central aspect of ‘good’ parenting in middle-class social networks. It is shown how this is a consequence of several developments within society over the past three decades or so, including the rising levels of maternal employment, the growing competitiveness of the labour market and the increasing concerns related to children’s health and safety. It is argued that these developments have heightened middle-class parents’ predisposition to not only be involved with and invest in their children’s leisure biographies, but to do so in a more deliberate, rigorous and rational manner.
    • To Infinity and Beyond: The Use of GPS Devices within the Football Codes

      Malone, James; Barrett, Stephen; Barnes, Chris; Twist, Craig; Drust, Barry; Liverpool Hope University; Hull City FC; CB Sports Performance; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University
      The quantification of external load through global positioning systems (GPS) is now commonplace across the different football codes. Despite this acceptance amongst sports science practitioners, confusion still remains around which are the most appropriate metrics to use when monitoring their athletes. In addition, the translation of the message between the data gathered and the athletes and coaches can often be lost. The aim of this commentary is to provide discussion and recommendations when using GPS for athlete monitoring.
    • Norwegian youngsters’ perceptions of physical education: Exploring the implications for mental health

      Røset, Linda; Green, Ken; Thurston, Miranda; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-06-24)
      Improving young people’s mental health has become a priority for policy-makers in Norway as elsewhere. Although the evidence is limited, physical activity has been identified as having a role in mental health promotion with school physical education (PE) typically being presented as a suitable setting. Few studies, however, have explored young people’s perceptions and experiences of PE and the possible consequences for their mental health – the departure point for this paper. We approach this issue sociologically by focusing on the processes through which PE is enacted. Qualitative data were generated by 31 focus groups involving 148 youngsters from the 10th grade (15–16-year-olds) in eight secondary schools in Norway. The overarching theme to emerge was that PE was valued by the students for what it was not as much as what it was. The appeal of PE often lay in being different and a break from ‘normal’ school lessons and, at the same time, an opportunity for informal social interaction and strengthening social bonds. Enjoyment of PE – even among those with limited sporting competence – was understood as giving rise to cathartic benefits and an antidote to their increasingly academic, routinized and performance-oriented school lives. However, processes relating to the organization, delivery and assessment of lessons meant that these benefits were sometimes compromised for some young people. We conclude that as far as the mental health of young people is concerned, the best justificatory defence for PE becomes physical recreation as a solution to (academic) schooling rather than PE as education.
    • Analysis of physical demands during youth soccer match-play: Considerations of sampling method and epoch length

      Doncaster, Greg; Page, Richard; White, Paul; Svenson, Robert; Twist, Craig; Edge HIll University; Stoke City FC; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-11-27)
      The purpose of this study was to examine the physical match profiles of professional soccer players using 3 and 5 min fixed and rolling averages as well as fixed 1 min averages, with considerations to training prescription. Twenty-nine, professional U23 soccer outfield players competed across 17 competitive matches during the 2017/18 season, equating to a total of 130 separate physical match profiles. Match activities were recorded using global positioning system (GPS) devices with integrated micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS), recording total distance (TD), high-speed running (HSR) and metabolic power (MP). For each individual match profile and variable, 1, 3 and 5 min peak, post-peak, and average values were calculated using fixed-time epochs (FIXED) and rolling averages (ROLL). Linear mixed models were employed to examine the differences in the dependent variables as a function of the method of measurement. Results revealed significantly higher peak values, for relative TD, relative HSR and relative MP when employing the ROLL sampling method, in comparison to the FIXED method, for both 3 min and 5 min epoch lengths. Analysis of epoch length revealed significantly higher peak values, across all positions, for relative TD, relative HSR and MP for 1 min epochs, in comparison to 3 min and 5 min epochs. The data offers a novel insight into the appropriate identification of physical demands during youth soccer match-play. Researchers and practitioners should consider the sampling method and epoch length when assessing the physical demands of competitive match-play, as well as when designing and prescribing sport-specific conditioning drills.
    • Perceptions and measurement of playtime physical activity in English primary school children: The influence of socioeconomic status

      McWhannell, Nicola; Triggs, Carmel; Moss, Samantha (Sage, 2017-11-27)
      Children in areas of low socioeconomic status might face barriers to physical activity during school playtime in comparison to their high socioeconomic status counterparts. However, limited research within the area currently prevents evidence-based interventions from being targeted appropriately. This exploratory study aimed to assess and compare playtime physical activity levels and perceptions of physical activity in primary school children from two schools of different socioeconomic status. Fifty-three children wore an accelerometer during playtime for three school days while 33 children participated in single-sex focus groups to elicit their experiences of physical activity during playtime. Results revealed that children from the low socioeconomic status school spent more time in sedentary activities (P = 0.001) and spent less time in moderate and moderate to vigorous physical activity (P = 0.001) than children from the high socioeconomic status school. Despite some between-school similarities in their perceptions of physical activity, differences resonated in their reasons for taking part in physical activity, perceptions of the play environment and ideas to improve physical activity. These findings contribute to current research and provide in-depth information from active users of the play environment that could be useful to inform new interventions for schools of varying socioeconomic status.
    • Randomisation of simulated rugby match activity produces reliable movements and associated measures of subjective task load, cognitive and neuromuscular function

      Mullen, Thomas; Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie M.; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019)
      The study assesses the test-retest reliability of movement and physiological measures during a simulated rugby match that employed activities performed in a random order. Twenty male rugby players (21.4 ± 2.1 y) completed two trials of a 2 x 23 min rugby movement simulation protocol during which the order of events was randomised, with 7-10 days between trials. Movement characteristics, heart rate (HR), RPE, maximum voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA%) of the quadriceps, Stroop test and subjective task load rating (NASA-TLX) were measured. The most reliable measures of external load was relative distance (typical error [TE] and CV% = 1.5-1.6 m.min-1 and 1.4-1.5%, respectively), with all other movement characteristics possessing a CV% <5%. The most reliable measure of internal load, neuromuscular function and perceptual measures were for %HRmax (TE and CV% = 1.4-1.7% and 1-4-2.1%, respectively), MVC before (TE and CV% = 10.8-14.8 N·m and 3.8-4.6%, respectively), and average RPE (TE and CV% = 0.5-0.8 AU and 3.6-5.5%, respectively). The Stroop test, NASA-TLX and blood lactate produced the least reliable measures (CV% >5%). Future studies can confidently examine changes in several perceptual, neuromuscular, physiological and movement measures related to rugby activity using stochastic movements.
    • Exercise-induced muscle damage and recovery in young and middle-aged males with different resistance training experience

      Fernandes, John; Lamb, Kevin L.; Twist, Craig (MDPI, 2019-05-29)
      This study compared the time course of recovery after a squatting exercise in trained young (YG; n = 9; age 22.3 ± 1.7 years) and trained (MT; n = 9; 39.9 ± 6.2 years) and untrained (MU; n = 9; age 44.4 ± 6.3 years) middle-aged males. Before and at 24 and 72 h after 10 × 10 squats at 60% one-repetition maximum (1RM), participants provided measurements of perceived muscle soreness (VAS), creatine kinase (CK), maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), and resting doublet force of the knee extensors and squatting peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM. When compared to the YG males, the MT experienced likely and very likely moderate decrements in MVC, resting doublet force, and peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM accompanied by unclear differences in VAS, CK, and VA after the squatting exercise. MU males, compared to MT, experienced greater alterations in peak power at 20% and 80% 1RM and VAS. Alterations in CK, MVC, VA, and resting doublet force were unclear at all time-points between the middle-aged groups. Middle-aged males experienced greater symptoms of muscle damage and an impaired recovery profile than young resistance trained males. Moreover, regardless of resistance training experience, middle-aged males are subject to similar symptoms after muscle-damaging lower-body exercise.
    • 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.
    • The World Anti-Doping Agency at 20: progress and challenges

      Houlihan, Barrie; Vidar Hanstad, Dag; Loland, Sigmund; Waddington, Ivan (Informa UK Limited, 2019-06-06)
    • Pre-season training responses and their associations with training load in elite rugby league players

      Daniels, Matthew; Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; St Helens RFC; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-05-07)
      Strength, power and endurance characteristics and their association with training load during a 7-week preseason training phase was assessed in elite rugby league players. Twenty-two players (age 23.3 ± 4.4 years) performed bench throw, one repetition maximum (1RM) bench press, squat jumps, three repetition maximum (3RM) squats, prone pull ups and prone Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) before and after the 7-week preseason period. Training was classified into Gym, Field and Wrestle, with training load of each monitored using session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) multiplied by training duration (sRPE-TL). There were most likely improvements in 3RM back squat, prone pull-ups and Yo-Yo IR1 and likely improvements in bench press, bench throw and squat jump after the 7-week training programme (ES = 0.3 to 1.2). Accumulated sRPE-TL for Gym, Field and Wrestle sessions was 9176 ± 1187, 10906 ± 2162, and 1072 ± 315 AU, respectively. Relationships between mean weekly sRPE-TL and changes in physical qualities was trivial to large (r = -0.67 to 0.34). This study suggests sRPE-TL is unsuitable to detect dose-response relationships between training load and the changes in physical qualities of elite rugby league players during the pre-season period.
    • Influence of Playing Standard on Upper- and Lower-Body Strength, Power, and Velocity Characteristics of Elite Rugby League Players

      Fernandes, John; Daniels, Matthew; Myler, Liam; Twist, Craig (MDPI, 2019-04-17)
      Background: To compare load–velocity and load–power relationships among first grade (n = 26, age 22.9 ± 4.3 years), academy (n = 23, age 17.1 ± 1.0 years), and scholarship (n = 16, age 15.4 ± 0.5 years) Super League rugby league players. Methods: Participants completed assessments of maximal upper- and lower-body strength (1RM) and peak velocity and power at 20, 40, 60, and 80 kg during bench press and squat exercises, in a randomised order. Results: Bench press and squat 1RM were highest for first grade players compared with other standards (effect size (ES) = −0.43 to −3.18). Peak velocities during bench and squat were greater in the higher playing standards (ES = −0.39 to −3.72 range), except for the squat at 20 and 40 kg. Peak power was higher in the better playing standards for all loads and exercises. For all three groups, velocity was correlated to optimal bench press power (r = 0.514 to 0.766), but only 1RM was related to optimal power (r = 0.635) in the scholarship players. Only squat 1RM in the academy was related to optimal squat power (r = 0.505). Conclusions: Peak velocity and power are key physical qualities to be developed that enable progression from junior elite rugby league to first grade level. Resistance training should emphasise both maximal strength and velocity components, in order to optimise upper- and lower-body power in professional rugby league players.
    • From Surveillance to Intervention: Overview and Baseline Findings for the Active City of Liverpool Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project

      McWhannell, Nicola; Foweather, Lawrence; Graves, Lee; Henaghan, Jayne; Ridgers, Nicola D.; Stratton, Gareth; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University, Laude Lady Elizabeth Junior School, Deakin University, Swansea University (MDPI, 2018-03-23)
      This paper outlines the implementation of a programme of work that started with the development of a population-level children’s health, fitness and lifestyle study in 1996 (SportsLinx) leading to selected interventions one of which is described in detail: the Active City of Liverpool, Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project. The A-CLASS Project aimed to quantify the effectiveness of structured and unstructured physical activity (PA) programmes on children’s PA, fitness, body composition, bone health, cardiac and vascular structures, fundamental movement skills, physical self-perception and self-esteem. The study was a four-arm parallel-group school-based cluster randomised controlled trial (clinical trials no. NCT02963805), and compared different exposure groups: a high intensity PA (HIPA) group, a fundamental movement skill (FMS) group, a PA signposting (PASS) group and a control group, in a two-schools-per-condition design. Baseline findings indicate that children’s fundamental movement skill competence levels are low-to-moderate, yet these skills are inversely associated with percentage body fat. Outcomes of this project will make an important contribution to the design and implementation of children’s PA promotion initiatives.
    • Exercise, or exercise and diet for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis

      Kite, Chris; Lahart, Ian; Afzal, Islam; Broom, David; Randeva, Harpal; Kyrou, Ioannis; Brown, James (2019-02-12)
      Background: Typically, management of PCOS focuses on lifestyle changes (exercise and diet), aiming to alleviate symptoms, and lower the associated risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our objective was to analyse evidence on the effectiveness of exercise in the management of PCOS, when compared to (i) usual care, (ii) diet alone, and (iii) exercise combined with diet, and also exercise combined with diet, compared to (i) control or usual care and (ii) diet alone. Methods: Relevant databases were searched (June 2017) with no time limit for trial inclusion. Eligible trials employed a randomised or quasi-randomised design to measure the chronic effects of exercise, or exercise and diet in women with PCOS. Results: Searches returned 2390 articles; of those, 27 papers from 18 trials were included. Results are presented as mean difference (MD) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Compared with control, exercise had a statistical effect on change from baseline fasting insulin (MD − 2.44 μIU/mL, 95% CIs − 4.24 to − 0.64; very low-quality evidence), HOMA-IR (− 0.57, − 0.99 to − 0.14; very low-quality evidence), total cholesterol (− 5.88 mg/dL, − 9.92 to − 1.83; low-quality evidence), LDL cholesterol (− 7.39 mg/dL, − 9.83 to − 4.95; low-quality evidence), and triglycerides (− 4.78 mg/dL, − 7.52 to − 2.05; low-quality evidence). Exercise also improved VO2 max (3.84 ml/kg/min, 2.87 to 4.81), waist circumference (− 2.62 cm, − 4.13 to − 1.11), and body fat percentage (− 1.39%, − 2.61 to − 0.18) when compared with usual care. No effect was found for change value systolic/ diastolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, HDL cholesterol (all low-quality evidence), or waist-to-hip ratio. Many favourable change score findings were supported by post-intervention value analyses: fasting insulin (− 2.11 μIU/mL, − 3.49 to − 0.73), total cholesterol (− 6.66 mg/dL, − 11.14 to − 2.17), LDL cholesterol (− 6.91 mg/dL, − 12.02 to − 1.80), and VO2 max (5.01 ml/kg/min, 3.48 to 6.54). Statistically lower BMI (− 1.02 kg/m2, − 1.81 to − 0.23) and resting heart rate (− 3.26 beats/min − 4.93 to − 1.59) were also revealed in post-intervention analysis. Subgroup analyses revealed the greatest improvements in overweight/obese participants, and more outcomes improved when interventions were supervised, aerobic in nature, or of a shorter duration. Based on limited data, we found no differences for any outcome between the effects of exercise and diet combined, and diet alone. It was not possible to compare exercise vs diet or exercise and diet combined vs diet. Conclusion: Statistically beneficial effects of exercise were found for a range of metabolic, anthropometric, and cardiorespiratory fitness-related outcomes. However, caution should be adopted when interpreting these findings since many outcomes present modest effects and wide CIs, and statistical effects in many analyses are sensitive to the addition/removal of individual trials. Future work should focus on rigorously designed, well-reported trials that make comparisons involving both exercise and diet. Systematic review registration: This systematic review was prospectively registered on the Prospero International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (CRD42017062576)
    • Coaches’ philosophies on the transfer of strength training to elite sports performance

      Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Stone, Joseph; Worsfold, Paul R.; Wheat, Jon; Sheffield Hallam University; English Institute of Sport; University of Chester (Sage, 2017-12-07)
      The objective of the study was to explore coaches’ philosophies regarding strength training (repetitive muscle actions against high loads) and the transfer of strength training to sports performance. Thirteen world class coaches and athletes from track cycling, BMX, sprint kayaking, rowing and athletics sprinting were interviewed using an open-ended, semi-structured approach. Participants were asked about their coaching philosophies, design of athlete training programmes, strength training and its transfer to sports performance. A thematic analysis was conducted. Data trustworthiness was enhanced by methods of member checking and analyst triangulation. Coaches believed that task-specific strength is essential for sports performance. They reported that non-specific strength training (“traditional” gym-based strength exercises that are not specific to a sport movement) is important for increasing athletes’ muscle size and strength. This is typically used in conjunction with resisted sport movement training (for example, increased resistance running, pedalling or rowing), believed to achieve an effective transfer of enhanced muscle strength to sports performance. Coaches described the transfer process as complex, with factors associated with fatigue and coordination having particular significance. The importance that coaches place on coordination is supported by a theoretical model that demonstrates increases in muscle strength from strength training may need to be accompanied with a change in inter-muscular coordination to improve sport performance. The idea that each athlete needs to adapt intermuscular coordination in response to a change in his/her unique set of “organism constraints” (e.g. muscle strength) is well described by the theory of ecological dynamics and Newell’s model of constraints.
    • Internal loads, but not external loads and fatigue, are similar in young and middle-aged resistance trained males during high volume squatting exercise.

      Fernandes, John; Lamb, Kevin L.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester (MDPI Basel, 2018-08-22)
      Little is known about the internal and external loads experienced during resistance exercise, or the subsequent fatigue-related response, across different age groups. This study compared the internal (heart rate, OMNI ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), session RPE) and external loads (peak velocity and power and volume load) during high volume squatting exercise (10 10 at 60% one-repetition maximum (1RM)) and the fatigue-related response (maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), resting doublet force, peak power, and blood lactate) in young (n = 9; age 22.3 1.7 years) and middle-aged (n = 9; age 39.9 6.2 years) resistance-trained males. All internal load variables and peak velocity illustrated unclear differences between groups during exercise. Peak power and volume load were likely higher in the young group compared to their middle-aged counterparts. The unclear differences in MVC, VA and blood lactate between groups after exercise were accompanied by very likely greater decrements in resting doublet force and peak power at 20 and 80% 1RM in the middle-aged group compared to the young group. These data indicate that internal load is not different between young and middle-aged resistance-trained males, though certain external load measures and the fatigue response are.
    • An analysis of the three-dimensional kinetics and kinematics of maximal effort punches among amateur boxers.

      Stanley, Edward; Thomson, Edward; Smith, Grace; Lamb, Kevin L.; University of Chester (Routledge, 2018-09-27)
      The purpose of this study was to quantify the 3D kinetics and kinematics of six punch types among amateur boxers. Fifteen males (age: 24.9 ± 4.2 years; stature: 1.78 ± 0.1 m; body mass: 75.3 ± 13.4 kg; boxing experience: 6.3 ± 2.8 years) performed maximal effort punches against a suspended punch bag during which upper body kinematics were assessed via a 3D motion capture system, and ground reaction forces (GRF) of the lead and rear legs via two force plates. For all variables except elbowjoint angular velocity, analysis revealed significant (P < 0.05) differences between straight, hook and uppercut punches. The lead hook exhibited the greatest peak fist velocity (11.95 ± 1.84 m/s), the jab the shortest delivery time (405 ± 0.15 ms), the rear uppercut the greatest shoulder-joint angular velocity (1069.8 ± 104.5°/s), and the lead uppercut the greatest elbow angular velocity (651.0 ± 357.5°/s). Peak resultant GRF differed significantly (P < 0.05) between rear and lead legs for the jab punch only. Whilst these findings provide novel descriptive data for coaches and boxers, future research should examine if physical and physiological capabilities relate to the key biomechanical qualities associated with maximal punching performance.