• Biomechanical measures of short-term maximal cycling on an ergometer: a test-retest study

      Burnie, Louise; Barratt, Paul; Davids, Keith; Worsfold, Paul; Wheat, Jon; Swansea University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, English Institute of Sport, Team INEOS, Manchester, UK
      An understanding of test-retest reliability is important for biomechanists, such as when assessing the longitudinal effect of training or equipment interventions. Our aim was to quantify the test-retest reliability of biomechanical variables measured during short-term maximal cycling. Fourteen track sprint cyclists performed 3 x 4 s seated sprints at 135 rpm on an isokinetic ergometer, repeating the session 7.6 ± 2.5 days later. Joint moments were calculated via inverse dynamics, using pedal forces and limb kinematics. EMG activity was measured for 9 lower limb muscles. Reliability was explored by quantifying systematic and random differences within- and between-session. Within-session reliability was better than between-sessions reliability. The test-retest reliability level was typically moderate to excellent for the biomechanical variables that describe maximal cycling. However, some variables, such as peak knee flexion moment and maximum hip joint power, demonstrated lower reliability, indicating that care needs to be taken when using these variables to evaluate biomechanical changes. Although measurement error (instrumentation error, anatomical marker misplacement, soft tissue artefacts) can explain some of our reliability observations, we speculate that biological variability may also be a contributor to the lower repeatability observed in several variables including ineffective crank force, ankle kinematics and hamstring muscles’ activation patterns.
    • 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.