Now showing items 1-20 of 231

    • Assessment of energy availability and associated risk factors in professional female soccer players

      Moss, Samantha; Randell, Rebecca; Burgess, Darren; Ridley, Stephanie; Ó Cairealláin, Cairbre; Allison, Richard; Rollo, Ian; University of Chester; Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Arsenal Football Club, Tipperary GAA, Melbourne Football Club
      This study aimed to assess energy availability (EA), alongside possible risk factors of reduced or low EA of professional female soccer players during a competitive season. Thirteen players (age: 23.7 ± 3.4 y, stature: 1.69 ± 0.08 m, body mass: 63.7 ± 7.0 kg) engaged in a 5-day (two rest days, one light training, heavy training and match day) monitoring period. Energy intake (EI) and expenditure during exercise (EEE) were measured. EA was calculated and categorised as optimal, reduced or low (≥45, 31-44, ≤30 kcal·kg FFM-1·day-1, respectively). Relationships between EA and bone mineral density, resting metabolic rate (RMR), plasma micronutrient status, biochemical markers and survey data were assessed. EA was optimal for 15%, reduced for 62% and low for 23% of players. Higher EA was observed on rest days compared to others (P<0.05). EA was higher for the light compared to the heavy training day (P<0.001). EEE differed significantly between days (P<0.05). EI (2124 ± 444 kcal), carbohydrate (3.31 ± 0.64 g·kg·day-1) and protein (1.83 ± 0.41 g·kg·day-1) intake remained similar (P>0.05). Survey data revealed 23% scored ≥ 8 on the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire and met criteria for low RMR (ratio <0.90). Relationships between EA and risk factors were inconclusive. Most players displayed reduced EA and did not alter EI or carbohydrate intake to training or match demands. Although cases of low EA were identified, further work is needed to investigate possible long-term effects and risk factors of low and reduced EA separately to inform player recommendations.
    • Influence of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands on the subjective task load associated with professional rugby league match-play

      Mullen, Thomas; Twist, Craig; Daniels, Matthew; Dobbin, Nick; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester
      Purpose: The aim of the study was to identify the association between several contextual match factors, technical performance and external movement demands on the subjective task load of elite rugby league players. Methods: Individual subjective task load, quantified using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index (NASA-TLX), was collected from 29 professional rugby league players from one club competing in the European Super League throughout the 2017 season. The sample consisted of 26 matches, culminating in 441 individual data points. Linear mixed-modelling was adopted to analyze the data for relationships and revealed that various combinations of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands were associated with subjective task load. Results: Greater number of tackles (effect size correlation ± 90% CI; η2= 0.18 ±0.11), errors (η2= 0.15 ±0.08) decelerations (η2= 0.12 ±0.08), increased sprint distance (η2= 0.13 ±0.08), losing matches (η2= 0.36 ±0.08) and increased perception of effort (η2= 0.27 ±0.08) led to most likely – very likely increases in subjective total task load. The independent variables included in the final model for subjective mental demand (match outcome, time played and number of accelerations) were unclear, excluding a likely small correlation with the number of technical errors (η2= 0.10 ±0.08). Conclusions: These data provide a greater understanding of the subjective task load and their association with several contextual factors, technical performance and external movement demands during rugby league competition. Practitioners could use this detailed quantification of internal loads to inform the prescription of recovery sessions and current training practices.
    • From public issues to personal troubles: individualising social inequalities in health within local public health partnerships

      Mead, Rebecca; Thurston, Miranda; Bloyce, Daniel; University of Lancaster; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2020-05-20)
      This paper explores public health policy implementation through partnership working at the local level by examining how local actors from public health and the wider workforce, make sense of and work on social inequalities in health. An ethnographic case study was used to examine policy implementation in one local strategic partnership in north-west England during a period of significant resource constraint. Semi-structured interviews were the primary method of data generation. Sensitising concepts from figurational sociology were used to develop a theoretical account of how local policy implementation directed at narrowing social inequalities in health tended to give rise to relatively fragmented and short-term services, projects and practices, which focused on lifestyle factors and behaviour change. Theorising partnership work as figurations goes some way to explaining the apparent paradox among participants who expressed a relatively detached appreciation of wider social influences, alongside emotional involvement in their work. This process of individualisation explains how local professionals tended to conceptualise health inequality and the social determinants of health as personal troubles. Individualisation meant that the social reality of working in partnerships on difficult issues was simplified. Thus, any scope for working on the social determinants of health tended to be overlooked. The extent to which this was intentional or a matter of struggling to see opportunities, or a mixture of the two, was difficult to discern. Although the policy landscape has changed, the findings give some insight into understanding how local collaborative processes reproduce local public health work underpinned by lifestyle choices.
    • Age-related degeneration of the lumbar paravertebral muscles: Systematic review and three-level meta-regression

      Dallaway, Alexander; Kite, Chris; Griffin, Corbyn; Duncan, Michael; Tallis, J; Renshaw, D; Hattersley, John; Coventry University, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, Aston University, University of Chester
      Background Morphological changes of the lumbar spine muscles are not well characterised with ageing. To further the understanding of age-related degeneration of the lumbar spine musculature, normative morphological changes that occur within the paravertebral muscles must first be established. Methods A systematic review and meta-regressions were conducted adhering to PRISMA guidelines. Searches for published and unpublished data were completed in June 2019. Results Searches returned 4781 articles. 34 articles were included in the quantitative analysis. Three-level meta-analyses showed age-related atrophy (r = −0.26; 95% CI: −0.33, −0.17) and fat infiltration (r = 0.39; 95% CI: 0.28, 0.50) in the lumbar paravertebral muscles. Degenerative changes were muscle-specific and men (r = −0.32; 95% CI: −0.61, 0.01) exhibited significantly greater muscle atrophy than women (r = −0.24; 95% CI: −0.47, 0.03). Imaging modality, specifically ultrasound, also influenced age-related muscle atrophy. Measurements taken across all lumbar levels revealed the greatest fat infiltration with ageing (r = 0.58, 95% CI: 0.35, 0.74). Moderators explained a large proportion of between-study variance in true effects for muscle atrophy (72.6%) and fat infiltration (79.8%) models. Conclusions Lumbar paravertebral muscles undergo age-related degeneration in healthy adults with muscle, lumbar level and sex-specific responses. Future studies should use high-resolution imaging modalities to quantify muscle atrophy and fat infiltration.
    • A comparison of self-reported and device measured sedentary behaviour in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

      Prince, Stephanie; Cardilli, Luca; Reed, Jennifer; Saunders, Travis; Kite, Chris; Douillette, Kevin; Fournier, Karine; Buckley, John; University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Public Health Agency of Canada, Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University of Chester, University of Ottawa, University of Prince Edward Island, Aston University
      Background Sedentary behaviour (SB) is a risk factor for chronic disease and premature mortality. While many individual studies have examined the reliability and validity of various self-report measures for assessing SB, it is not clear, in general, how self-reported SB (e.g., questionnaires, logs, ecological momentary assessments (EMAs)) compares to device measures (e.g., accelerometers, inclinometers). Objective The primary objective of this systematic review was to compare self-report versus device measures of SB in adults. Methods Six bibliographic databases were searched to identify all studies which included a comparable self-report and device measure of SB in adults. Risk of bias within and across studies was assessed. Results were synthesized using meta-analyses. Results The review included 185 unique studies. A total of 123 studies comprising 173 comparisons and data from 55,199 participants were used to examine general criterion validity. The average mean difference was -105.19 minutes/day (95% CI: -127.21, -83.17); self-report underestimated sedentary time by ~1.74 hours/day compared to device measures. Self-reported time spent sedentary at work was ~40 minutes higher than when assessed by devices. Single item measures performed more poorly than multi-item questionnaires, EMAs and logs/diaries. On average, when compared to inclinometers, multi-item questionnaires, EMAs and logs/diaries were not significantly different, but had substantial amount of variability (up to 6 hours/day within individual studies) with approximately half over-reporting and half under-reporting. A total of 54 studies provided an assessment of reliability of a self-report measure, on average the reliability was good (ICC = 0.66). Conclusions Evidence from this review suggests that single-item self-report measures generally underestimate sedentary time when compared to device measures. For accuracy, multi-item questionnaires, EMAs and logs/diaries with a shorter recall period should be encouraged above single item questions and longer recall periods if sedentary time is a primary outcome of study. Users should also be aware of the high degree of variability between and within tools. Studies should exert caution when comparing associations between different self-report and device measures with health outcomes.
    • Stochastic ordering 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; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2019-07-31)
      The study assesses the test–retest reliability of movement and physiological measures during a simulated rugby match that employed activities performed in a stochastic order. Twenty male rugby players (21.4 ± 2.1 y) completed two trials of a 2 × 23 min rugby movement simulation protocol during which the order of events was performed in a stochastic order, 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.
    • Effects of a four-week touch rugby and self-paced interval running intervention on health markers in active young men.

      Dobbin, Nick; Bloyce, Daniel; Hughes, Stephen; Twist, Craig (Springer, 2020-03-29)
      Background: Modified team sport activity has been proposed as effective exercise modality for promoting markers of health that are comparable or greater than continuous forms of activity. However, research using modified team sports is currently limited to sedentary populations using 2-3 sessions across a minimum of 8 weeks. Aim: To investigate the effects of a four-week touch rugby and self-paced interval running intervention on a range of health markers in active men. Methods: Sixteen participants (age 26.4 ± 6.4 years) were matched for age, demographic and physical activity before completing a single touch rugby (n = 8) or running (n = 8) session per week for four weeks. Measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure, resting heart rate (RHR), body composition and biochemical status were recorded pre- and post-intervention. Results: ANCOVA analysis revealed between-group differences for impedance (P = 0.027), fat mass (P = 0.008), percentage body fat (P = 0.008) and fat free mass (P = 0.002), with greater changes after touch rugby. Systolic blood pressure decreased for both groups with greater reductions observed after touch rugby (P = 0.002). No between-group difference was observed for RHR, interleukin-6 or C-reactive protein (P > 0.05). Contrasting internal, external and perceptual loads were observed. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that a single session of touch rugby over a 4-week period elicited greater improvements in body composition and SBP that self-paced running, with both equally beneficial for improving RHR, diastolic blood pressure and improved inflammatory status in active young men.
    • The physiological and perceptual effects of stochastic simulated rugby league match play

      Mullen, Thomas; Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester
      Purpose: To examine responses to a simulated rugby league protocol designed to include more stochastic commands, and therefore require greater vigilance, than traditional team sport simulation protocols. Methods: Eleven male university rugby players completed two trials (randomised and control) of a rugby league movement simulation protocol, separated by 7-10 days. The control trial (CON) consisted of 48 repeated ~115 s cycles of activity. The stochastic simulation (STOCH) was matched for the number and types of activity performed every 5.45 min in CON, but included no repeated cycles of activity. Movement using GPS, heart rate, RPE and Stroop test performance were assessed throughout. MVC peak torque, voluntary activation (%) and global task load were assessed after exercise. Results: The mean mental demand of STOCH was higher than CON (Effect size (ES) = 0.56; ±0.69). Mean sprint speed was higher in STOCH (22.5 ± 1.4 vs. 21.6 ± 1.6 km∙h-1; ES = 0.50; ±0.55), which was accompanied by a higher RPE (14.3 ± 1.0 vs. 13.0 ± 1.4; ES = 0.87; ±0.67) and a greater number of errors in the Stroop Test (10.3 ± 2.5 vs. 9.3 ± 1.4 errors; ES = 0.65; ±0.83). MVC peak torque (CON = -48.4 ± 31.6 N∙m, STOCH = -39.6 ± 36.6 N∙m) and voluntary activation (CON = -8.3 ± 4.8%, STOCH = -6.0 ± 4.1%) was similarly reduced in both trials. Conclusions: Providing more stochastic commands, which requires greater vigilance, might alter performance and associated physiological, perceptual and cognitive responses to team sport simulations.
    • Delivering a sports participation legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: evidence from sport development workers in Birmingham and their experiences of a double-bind

      Lovett, Emily; Bloyce, Daniel; Smith, Andy; Edge Hill University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2020-03-11)
      Legacy promises from London 2012 meant that those working in sport in local, non-host areas in Britain were expected to facilitate more sporting opportunities for local citizens. Legacy preparations occurred in the context of many other constraints that stemmed from Government budget cuts and provision of leisure-time sport and other leisure activities. This paper presents new evidence on a significantly under-researched area of leisure studies, namely: the experiences of those delivering leisure-sport opportunities in a non-host city and how they responded to national legacy promises. Using Elias’s concept of the double-bind, we explain the ‘crisis situation’ in which some local sports workers were enmeshed and how their acceptance of ‘fantasy-laden beliefs’ of expected demonstration effects from mega-events exacerbated their ‘crisis’ (Elias, 2007). We also draw upon participants’ post-Games reflections to consider how future host nations may wish to leverage greater leisure-sporting legacies from a mega-event.
    • The utilisation of the Rugby League Athlete Profiling battery for assessing the anthropometric and physical characteristics of rugby league players

      Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; Moss, Sam; Dobbin, Nicholas (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01-18)
      The research described in this thesis used a standardised battery of tests called the ‘Rugby League Athlete Profiling (RLAP)’ battery for assessing the anthropometric and physical characteristics of UK-based rugby league players. The overall purpose of this research was to determine the utility of the RLAP battery, which involved establishing the use of RLAP across numerous professional clubs over a three-year period, determining the measurement properties of the tests included and investigating the factors associated with a change in the characteristics. An early version of the RLAP battery existed [called SPARQ] and was provided by the Rugby Football League with scope to alter this as part of this programme of research. Before determining if an alteration to the battery was required, it was essential to understand the tests that are currently used in rugby league for assessing the anthropometric and physical characteristics of players. As such, the systematic review initially sought to determine the volume of performance tests used in rugby league along with their measurement properties. Based on the results, it was evident that a shorter sprint distance (< 20 m) ought to be included in the battery. It was also clear that only one field-based method for measuring muscle strength was available, though had received minimal research. Furthermore, the review highlighted that no rugbyspecific intermittent running test had previously been used and that RLAP was the first battery to include such a test. Therefore, based on these results, the battery was rebranded to RLAP, which included a stature, body mass, a 10 m and 20 m sprint test, a rugby-specific intermittent test, a change of direction test, measures of lower- and whole-body power. With the RLAP battery confirmed, it was then used and the reliability (Chapter 4) and discriminant validity (Chapter 5) of its elements determined. Results indicated that the RLAP battery is reliable and does not require habituation. Furthermore, the calculation of the required change, which includes the worthwhile change and random error of each test, provides researchers and practitioners with a single value that can be used as an analytical goal to evaluate a true change in characteristics with confidence. All components of the RLAP battery (except 10 m sprint time) possessed adequate discriminant validity between youth, academy and senior rugby league players, suggesting this battery can accurately distinguish between playing standards. As noted in above, the review highlighted a rugby-specific intermittent test has yet to be established in the literature before its inclusion in the RLAP battery. Whilst it appeared to be suitable and, based on Chapters 3 and 4, is reliable and possesses discriminant validity, the test itself had received no previous attention. Given the novelty of this test, it was unknown if this test was better associated with the responses to rugby league match performance and what the physiological responses were to this test. As such, Chapter 5 sought to determine the concurrent validity of this test and compare it against the traditional Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1). The results indicated the association between prone Yo-Yo IR1 distance and the external, internal and perceptual responses to simulated match-play was improved when compared to the Yo-Yo IR1. Chapter 6 demonstrated that starting each 40 m shuttle in a prone position increases the internal, external and perceptual loads whilst reducing the total distance achieved. The degree of shared covariance between the prone Yo-Yo IR1 and Yo-Yo IR1 suggest the rugby-specific test provided insight into additional characteristics associated with rugby league performance. In studies that have reported on the anthropometric and physical characteristics, few have considered the multiple factors that might influence these with no studies conducted in rugby league. Chapter 7 sought to determine the complex interaction between anthropometric and physical characteristics that requires careful consideration by those involved in developing youth and academy athletes. The results also revealed a number of contextual factors such as season phase, league ranking, playing age and playing position that can influenced the change in characteristics over the course of a competitive season. The findings of this study highlight how some characteristics are impaired towards the end of the season, thus providing a rationale for considering in-season training loads and the application of short training interventions to off-set these negative changes. Based on negative changes in some anthropometric and physical characteristics towards the end of the year, Chapter 8 reported on the efficacy of two in-season sprint interval interventions for enhancing the physical characteristics of rugby league players. Furthermore, the study provided insight into the sensitivity of the RLAP battery for detecting changes in the characteristics of rugby league players. The results highlighted that two weeks of rugby-specific and running-based sprint interval training appeared affective for promoting the physical characteristics of rugby league players with minimal deleterious effects on wellness and neuromuscular function. Using the reliability statistics from Chapter 1, the mean change for prone Yo-Yo IR1 in the rugbyspecific group met the required change whilst changes approached this value for the running-based group despite contrasting loads. In all, this study demonstrated that sprint interval training that includes sport-specific actions is a suitable and effective training modality that can be used in-season. In addition, the result demonstrated how the prone Yo-Yo IR1 was sensitive to change across the intervention period whilst others were not sensitive to sprint interval training due to the lack of specificity. This thesis provides a thorough evaluation of the RLAP battery that can be used by researcher and practitioners to assess the anthropometric and physical characteristics of rugby league players. The battery is reliable and possess discriminant validity, while the prone Yo-Yo IR1 has concurrent validity and is sensitive to change during a lowvolume in-season training intervention. Overall, this thesis provides justification for the tests included and comprehensively examines the utility of this battery for assessing the anthropometric and physical characteristics of rugby league players. Practically, this battery of tests can be used by researcher and applied practitioners in rugby league with an understanding of the reliability, validity and sensitivity of the tests along with some factors that might influence the characteristics of players across a season.
    • Maximal punching performance in amateur boxing: An examination of biomechanical and physical performance-related characteristics

      Lamb, Kevin; Thomson, Edd; Smith, Grace; Stanley, Edward, R (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2020-01)
      Punches in boxing are intricate actions requiring the coordinated and synergistic recruitment of leg, trunk and arm musculature. Maximal punches can have a marked impact on the outcomes of boxing contests. Currently, there is an absence of research appraising the biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities associated with boxing punches, and as such, there are no practical guidelines pertaining to resistance training and its impact upon these important characteristics. In this respect, coaches and boxers are reliant consequently upon non-scientific approaches to training and contest preparation. Thus, the purpose of this thesis was to quantify the biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities associated with maximal punching techniques common to amateur boxing, and investigate the extent to which resistance training enhances such features. Study 1 quantified the three-dimensional kinetics and kinematics of maximal punches common to boxing competition to identify the differences between punch types (straights, hooks, and uppercuts), whilst Study 2 investigated the movement variability of these measures across punch types. These studies revealed significant differences for the majority of kinetic and kinematic variables between punch types. High within-subject, between-subject, and biological variability were recorded for the same variables across punch types, independent of the amount of boxing experience. These findings confirm that kinetic and kinematic characteristics vary from punch to punch, with boxers appearing to manipulate kinematic variables in order to achieve a consistent intensity and end-product. Study 3 quantified the relationships between physical performance-related traits and kinetic and kinematic qualities of maximal punches, and revealed moderate-to-large associations with muscular strength and power. From this, Study 4 appraised the extent to which strength and contrast resistance training enhanced maximal punch biomechanics and physical performance-related qualities. The findings highlighted that contrast training was superior among male amateur boxers over a six-week intervention, though strength training alone also brought about improvements. This current research has advanced our understanding of maximal punching and the influence of resistance training on a variety of its determinants. Nonetheless, future research is required to identify if the same findings can be generalised to higher standards of boxing and whether alternative strength and conditioning strategies are equally, or more effective.
    • Development of anthropometric characteristics in professional Rugby League players: Is there too much emphasis on the pre-season period?

      Morehen, James; Clarke, Jon; Batsford, Jake; Highton, Jamie; Erskine, Robert; Morton, James; Close, Graeme
      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 small changes only occurring over the three-year study period (72.3–75.9kg; ES = 0.22). Senior players showed trivial 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 trivial during the pre-season and therefore teams may need to individualise training for players striving to gain muscle mass by reducing other training loads.
    • 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 (Human Kinetics, 2020-05-01)
      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 (Springer, 2017-10-20)
      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.
    • 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.
    • The interaction between the physical and mental loads associated with actual and simulated rugby league performance

      Highton, Jamie; Twist, Craig; Mullen, Thomas (University of Chester, 2019-09)
      The aim of the current thesis was to develop knowledge of the ‘loads’ associated with rugby league match-play, with a particular focus on the effects of altered mental loads before and during exercise indicative of a rugby league match. Chapter 3 examined the test-retest reliability of movement, physiological and perceptual measures during and after a novel rugby match simulation, where movement commands were more random than those typical of match simulations. The most reliable measure of external load during bouts of the simulation was relative distance (typical error [TE] and coefficient of variation [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 during bout 1 (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 conclusion of this chapter was that randomisation of the movements during simulated activity to better reflect intermittent team sports has no detrimental effect on its reliability. Studies can therefore confidently examine alterations in several perceptual, neuromuscular, physiological and movement load measures related to rugby activity using stochastic movements. Chapter 4 examined the responses to a simulated rugby league protocol that was designed to include more random commands, and therefore require greater vigilance, than traditional team sport simulation protocols. The randomised simulation (RDM) was matched for the number and types of activity performed every 5.45 min in a control trial (CON), but included no repeated cycles of activity. The RDM trial was more mentally demanding than CON (Effect size (ES) = 0.56; ±0.57). Self-paced mean sprint performance increased in RDM (22.5 ± 1.4 vs. 21.6 ± 1.6 km∙h-1; ES = 0.50; ±0.45), which was accompanied by a higher RPE (14.3 ± 1.0 vs. 13.0 ± 1.4; ES = 0.87; ±0.54) and a greater number of errors in the Stroop Test (10.3 ± 2.5 vs. 9.3 ± 1.4 errors; ES = 0.65; ±0.67). MVC peak torque (CON = -48.4 ± 31.6 N.m, RDM = -39.6 ± 36.6 N.m) and voluntary activation (CON = -8.3 ± 4.8%, RDM = -6.0 ± 4.1%) was similarly reduced in both trials. Providing more random commands, requiring greater vigilance, can therefore alter performance and associated physiological, perceptual and cognitive responses to team sport simulations. Chapter 5 describes the subjective task load of elite rugby league match play using the NASA-TLX and examines their association with several contextual match factors, technical ii performance and external movement demands. Linear mixed modelling revealed that various combinations of contextual factors, technical performance and movement demands were associated with subjective task load (NASA-TLX). Greater number of tackles (η2 = 0.18), errors (η2 = 0.15) decelerations (η2 = 0.12), increased sprint distance (η2 = 0.13), losing matches (η2 = 0.36) and increased perception of effort (η2 = 0.27) lead to most likely – very likely increases in subjective total workload. These data provide a greater understanding of the internal load and their association with several contextual factors, technical performance and external movement demands during rugby league competition. The purpose of the final empirical chapter (Chapter 6) was to describe the effects of mental fatigue on simulated rugby league performance and to determine the effects of caffeine supplementation on simulated rugby league performance in the presence of mental fatigue. Completing a mentally demanding task increases participants’ subjective rating of mental fatigue (pre = 29 ± 25 AU; post = 55 ± 20 AU) immediately before completing a simulation protocol. Impairments in sprint speed (ES = -0.18; ±0.19), sprint to contact speed (ES = -0.20; ±0.27), high-intensity running (ES = -0.30; ±0.24), high metabolic power > 20 W·kg-1 (ES =-0.50; ±0.51) and time to complete a passing accuracy task (ES = 0.54; ±0.63) were observed after mental fatigue. Caffeine supplementation (5 mg.kg-1) attenuated several adverse effects of mental fatigue before exercise replicating the demands of rugby league match play, with increased sprint speed (ES = 0.40; ±0.18), high-intensity running (ES = 0.50; ±0.53), high metabolic power > 20 W·kg-1 (ES = 0.33; ±0.38) and decreased time to complete a passing accuracy test (ES =-0.70; ±0.45). Mental fatigue affected internal loads, external loads and skill performance during simulated rugby league match play that appear to be centrally regulated by a decreased motivation and increased perception of effort. However, a single dose of caffeine taken 60 min before performance can attenuate several of these negative effects. In summary, the current thesis highlights several interactions between the physical and mental loads associated with actual and simulated rugby league performance.
    • 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 (Taylor and Francis, 2019-10-17)
      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.