• The effects of exercise-induced muscle damage on endurance performance

      Twist, Craig; Lamb, Kevin L.; Nicholas, Ceri; Burt, Dean G. (University of Chester, 2013)
      It is well documented that engaging in resistance exercise can lead to further improvements in endurance performance. Whilst, not fully understood, it is speculated that increased motor unit recruitment, improved muscle coordination and enhanced utilisation of stored elastic energy after resistance-based exercise improves exercise economy. Nevertheless, while prolonged exposure to resistance training improves endurance performance in the long-term, a consequence of such training when unaccustomed is the appearance of exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Exercise-induced muscle damage is well known to affect athletic performance requiring muscular strength and power; however, its effects on markers of endurance exercise are unclear. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to investigate the effects of EIMD on endurance performance, with an emphasis on the physiological (oxygen uptake; , minute ventilation; ), metabolic (blood lactate; [La]), perceptual (rating of perceived exertion; RPE) and kinematic (stride length; SL, stride frequency; SF) responses during sub-maximal endurance exercise.
    • A kinematic analysis of the role of the upper-extremities during vertical jumping

      Worsfold, Paul R.; Twist, Craig; Lamb, Kevin L.; Connell, Robert (University of Chester, 2013)
      Over the last two decades, plyometric training has been extensively adopted by athletes, coaches and sport scientists with a primary aim to improve vertical jump height. The focus of these plyometric programmes has been to train the lower-extremity musculature in order to enhance jump performance. However, the lower-extremities are not the only contributing factor to vertical jump performance, as the use of an arm-swing during vertical jumping has also been shown to contribute to achieving maximum vertical jump height, yet training programmes for improving the arm-swing during the vertical jump are limited. Therefore, the primary aim of this thesis was to examine the full arm-swing mechanics during vertical jumping, and to then develop and assess the suitability of an upper-extremity plyometric programme for increasing both arm-swing kinematics and jump height. Firstly, a descriptive study was conducted to assess if an arm-swing countermovement was utilised during the vertical jump, which was deemed the prerequisite for using plyometric training to improve the arm-swing. Then an experimental study was conducted comparing vertical jumps performed with and without an arm-swing countermovement. The results showed that jumps performed with an arm-swing countermovement significantly increased mean peak shoulder angular velocity (ω) (+67.5 deg·s-1) and mean jump height (+ 6.2 cm) when compared to jumps performed using no arm-swing countermovement. During the final chapter of this thesis, a group of elite basketball players volunteered to participate in upper-extremity plyometric training aimed at increasing vertical jump height by training only the upper-extremities. Vertical jump height and full body kinematics were analysed using a 3 dimensional (3D) motion capture system, and key kinematic jump variables and various arm-swing performance measurements were collated both before and after a 4 week upper-extremity plyometric intervention. The use of upper-extremity plyometric training significantly increased the mean jump height (+ 7.2 cm), mean peak shoulder ω (+ 167.1 deg·s-1), mean peak frontal shoulder ω (+ 121 deg·s-1) and mean active range of motion at the shoulder joint (+ 5.3°), when compared to a control group. Furthermore, the use of a large active range of motion armswing during the arm-swing countermovement was shown to be the preferred arm-swing condition for increasing arm-swing kinematics. The increase in arm-swing kinematics and jump height after the 4 week upper-extremity plyometric programme was attributed to the participants’ improved ability to use the stretch-shortening cycle, elastic energy transfer system and stretch reflex system. Therefore, the use of upper-extremity plyometric exercises as part of a training regime for improving vertical jump performance should be advocated.
    • The prediction of maximal oxygen uptake from a perceptually-regulated exercise test (PRET)

      Lamb, Kevin L.; Buckley, John P.; Cotterrell, David; Morris, Mike (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012-12)
      The Borg 6–20 rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale is a common measure reported during exercise testing and training, and is usually taken as a response measurement to provide a subjective assessment of exercise intensity. A lesser used application of the scale is for regulating exercise intensity, referred to as its ‘production mode’. Recent research on this topic initiated by Eston et al. (2005) has led to a novel application of this procedure as a means of predicting an individual’s maximal oxygen uptake ( O2max) via a perceptually-regulated exercise test (PRET). The PRET could play a significant role in guiding exercise prescription and monitoring cardiorespiratory fitness levels in situations where the normal heart rate response is affected. The aim of this thesis is to develop further and test the integrity of the PRET technique. Firstly, a review of the evidence on the validity and reliability of the Borg RPE scale when used to regulate exercise intensity in healthy and unhealthy adults is presented, as to-date, no scholarly publication has synthesised the body of knowledge on this specific application of the scale. Subsequently, four studies were completed to investigate the effects of different methodological variations on the predictive capabilities of the PRET, including an examination (for the first time) of its utility among heart failure patients (Study 4). Study 1 re-visited the validity and reliability of the PRET technique utilising a modified protocol of differing durations (2 and 4 min bouts), with revised instructions and placing the graded exercise test (GXT) as the final trial during cycle ergometry. Superior results were observed to those reported in previous investigations (Eston et al., 2008; Faulkner et al. 2007; Eston et al., 2006) during the 3 min trial, further reinforcing the validity and reliability of this technique. Accordingly, Study 2 was the first to investigate the reliability and validity of a treadmill PRET protocol with a ceiling intensity of RPE 15, rather than RPE 17, and observed that a safer modified PRET (with practice) provides acceptably valid and reliable predictions of O2max in healthy adults. In addition, Study 3 extended the research thus far by investigating the PRET protocol during cycle exercise, once again with a ceiling intensity of RPE 15, and demonstrated that (with practice) a cycle-based PRET can yield reliable and valid predictions of O2max that compare favourably to previous investigations. Finally, given that the research employing a PRET has unanimously alluded to its likely value in clinical populations among whom heart rate as a physiological response to exercise is affected (e.g. via medication) and precluded as a means predicting O2max, Study 4 investigated the utility of a PRET in a beta-blocked population of heart failure patients. In the event, it was observed that a PRET (up to RPE 15) was too strenuous and needs to be capped at an intensity of RPE 13 in this population. In addition a continuous protocol seemed unsuitable due to its length and it was recommended that a discontinuous PRET protocol be investigated. Future research needs to investigate the utilisation of the PRET (i) in different exercise modes; (ii) determine the optimum number of practice trials required; (iii) whether a discontinuous or continuous protocol is more appropariate; (iv) whether the extrapolation should be made to RPE 19 or 20 and; (v) whether the PRET can be employed succesfully in other clinical populations.
    • A sociological analysis of an area-based health initiative: a vehicle for social change?

      Thurston, Miranda; Powell, Katie (University of Chester, 2012-11)
      This thesis explores the implementation of an area-based health improvement initiative in the north west of England called Target Wellbeing. In the decades before Target Wellbeing was commissioned in 2007, health inequalities between people living in different areas of the UK had been widening. ABIs were identified by the Labour Government as a key tool for improving the health and wellbeing of residents in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and addressing inequalities in health. ABIs such as this have been well evaluated but there remains no firm evidence about the ability of such initiatives to improve health or to reduce health inequalities. In addition to the problems associated with evaluation, the processes through which ABIs might be used to influence change are not well understood and the value of using area-based services to improve health has been taken for granted. There is little understanding about the processes through which service provider partnerships might develop and limited knowledge about the processes through which residents might develop relations with providers. The key aim of this research was to examine the social processes through which ABIs develop over time. Using a case study approach, the research examined one Target Wellbeing programme as a social figuration of interdependent people. Ethnographic methods, including documentary analysis, non-participant observation and interviews, were used to explore the processes and networks that mediated the planned public health development. The study also drew on relevant quantitative data to describe changes over time. Ideas from figurational sociology were used as sensitising concepts in the development of a substantive theory about the processes through which ABIs develop. The study developed theoretical insight into processes of joint working that helps to explain why, in the context in which services are commissioned and performance managed, provider co-ordination is unlikely to be implemented as planned. It also provided a more sociologically adequate account of the ways in which relations between residents and providers were influenced by the history of relations in the town. Changes to residents’ relations with other residents and providers in the town influenced a greater sense of control over their circumstances. These findings demonstrate that, in relation to public health policy and practice, ABIs might more usefully be conceptualised as a series of interrelated processes that might be used to establish the preconditions for influencing change among residents. However, the study showed that interventions targeted at a small part of much wider networks of interconnected people are unlikely to influence sustained changes for residents in deprived areas.
    • Multiple-sprint sport exercise and carbohydrate-protein ingestion in humans

      Nicholas, Ceri; Twist, Craig; Lamb, Kevin L.; Highton, Jamie M. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2012-03)
      The aim of the present thesis was to examine the potential for acute carbohydrate-protein (CHO-P) ingestion to enhance performance and recovery from exercise designed to simulate the demands of multiple-sprint sports (MSSs). Chapter 3 of the thesis explored the inter- and intra-day reliability and concurrent validity of non-motorised treadmill ergometry (NMT) for the assessment of short-distance sprint performance [i.e. 10-30 m). There were no significant mean differences between NMT variables recorded on the same day or between days. Ratio limits of agreement indicated that the best agreement was in 20 [1.02 */-=- 1.09) and 30 m [1.02 */* 1.07) sprint times, peak [1.00 */T 1.06) and mean (0.99 */+ 1.07) running speed and step length (0.99 */-=- 1.09) and frequency (1.01 */+ 1.06). The poorest agreement was observed for time to peak running speed (1.10 */* 1.47). Significant differences were observed between NMT and over-ground sprint times across all distances, with times being lower (faster) by approximately 25-30% over-ground. The correlations between NMT and over-ground variables were generally modest (r5 = 0.44 - 0.67), and optimal for time to cover 30 m on Day 2 (rs = 0.8). Chapter 4 sought to examine the efficacy of CHO-P ingestion during 4 h of recovery from the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST) when compared to CHO matched for energy (ISOEN) or CHO (ISOCHO) in a typical CHO beverage. There were significant increases over time in muscle soreness, and reductions in extensor and flexor peak torque (by approximately 9%, 9% and 8%, and 13 %, 13% and 11% at 60 deg-s-1) and jump performance (10%, 7% and 5%) with the ingestion of CHO-P, ISOEN and ISOCHO, respectively. Beverage type x time interactions were not significant for any of these variables, indicating that changes in each variable were similar for all groups. Decrements in sprint performance assessed on the NMT were typically small and not different between beverage types (<4%), although sprint times over 20 and 30 m remained elevated for 48 h post-exercise. Accordingly, Chapter 4 provided no clear evidence for a benefit of ingesting CHO-P in the hours after exercise to enhance recovery of muscle function and selected performance variables following MSS activity. Chapters 5 and 6 of the thesis aimed to examine the effect of CHO-P ingestion during simulated MSS exercise. In Chapter 5, it was observed that sprint times, HR and gut fullness increased over the course of the LIST, with no influence of consuming each of the different beverages. In contrast, there was a main effect of time (P < 0.001), and drink (P = 0.042) observed for RPE, which was lower (P < 0.001) during the LIST in the CHO-P condition (16.9 ± 1.4) than in either the ISOCHO (17.8 ± 1.1) or ISOEN (17.7 ± 1.3). However, time to exhaustion was not different (P = 0.29) between CHO-P (468.3 ± 268.5 s), ISOCHO (443.4 ± 286.3 s) and ISOEN (446.2 ± 282.08 s), although these times did equate to a non-significant mean improvement of 4% in the CHO-P trial. Chapter 6 demonstrated that during a modified version of the LIST with two self-regulated blocks of exercise intensity, participants had a higher average speed (8.1 ± 0.3 cf. 7.9 ± 0.5 knvlr1) during the final (self-regulated) 15 min block of the LIST in the CHO-P condition compared to CHO. Whilst the mechanisms for such an improvement are not certain, the attenuated rise in RPE observed in Chapter 5, and increased blood urea concentration observed in Chapter 6, with CHO-P ingestion may suggest altered central fatigue and/or increased protein oxidation enhances performance during MSSs.
    • Education and welfare in professional football academies and centres of excellence: A sociological study

      Bloyce, Daniel; Lamb, Kevin L.; Platts, Chris (University of Chester, 2012-01)
      A career as a professional footballer has long been regarded as a highly sought after occupation for many young males within the UK and, against this backdrop, since the 1970s increasing attention has come to be placed on the way young players are identified and developed within professional clubs. Particular concern has been expressed over the number of players who, having been developed by professional clubs, fail to secure a professional contract, and the ways in which clubs should help young players safeguard their futures through alternative career training. There, have, however, been very few studies that have analyzed the education and welfare provisions that are offered within professional football Academies and Centres of Excellence, and fewer still that have done this from a sociological perspective. By drawing upon the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias, concepts derived from symbolic interactionism, and existing work in the sociology of youth, the objective of this study is to examine the realities of young players' day-to-day working-lives, the experiences they have of the educational programmes they follow, and the welfare-related matters that arise within present-day Academies and CoE. Using data generated by self-completion questionnaires and focus groups with 303 players in 21 Academies and CoE in England and Wales, the findings of the study suggest that players continue to be socialized into a largely anti-academic culture that has traditionally underpinned the world of professional football, and in which the demonstration of a 'good attitude' and commitment to the more central members of players' interdependencies (especially coaches and managers) dominated all other concerns. Indeed, it was also clear that the deep-seated values players held in relation to the professional game as part of their individual and group habituses were shaped by the figurations into which they were born and had been developed during the more impressionable phases of childhood and youth. Players' welfare needs were significantly compromised by the strong degree of suspicion and obvious degree of mistrust that characterized their relationship with club management, which emanated from players' fears that confidential matters would always 'get back' to others inside the club. This was exacerbated, in almost all cases, by players' observations that they were treated as if they were 'bottom of the club' and whose welfare needs were not generally well understood by those working within Academies and CoE.
    • The development of a novel rugby league match simulation protocol

      Twist, Craig; Nicholas, Ceri; Lamb, Kevin L.; Sykes, Dave (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)University of Chester, 2011-12)
      The effectiveness of recovery interventions following prolonged multiple sprint team sports matches has rarely been studied despite the potential for exercise-induced muscle damage to adversely affect training in the days following games. The lack of research related to this topic is probably owing to the wide variability that exists in the movement demands of players between matches and the impact that this has on the subsequent rate and magnitude of recovery which makes it difficult to detect meaningful differences when conducting research with small sample sizes. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis was to develop a rugby league-specific match simulation protocol that replicates the movement demands, physiological responses and subsequent recovery from matches in order to study the effectiveness of recovery interventions. Hence, two time-motion analysis studies were conducted using a semi-automated image recognition system to inform the development of the rugby league match simulation protocol (RLMSP). Whilst mean total distance covered over the duration of the match was 8,503 m, ball in play and stoppage work-to-rest ratios were 1:6.9 and 1:87.4, respectively, for all players. Furthermore, a significant decline in high and very high intensity running locomotive rates were observed between the initial and final 20 min periods of the match. Thus a RLMSP was devised to replicate the overall movement demands, intra-match fatigue and recovery from a senior elite rugby league match. Not only was there a low level of variability in the movement demands during the RLMSP over consecutive trials, but with the exception of creatine kinase, the rate and magnitude of recovery following the RLMSP was similar to that that has been published following competitive matches. Therefore, the RLMSP devised in this thesis may be a more appropriate research tool for assessing the effectiveness of recovery interventions following match related exercise than following actual match play.
    • The development and effectiveness of perceptual training programme for coaches and judges in gymnastics

      Lafferty, Moira E.; Page, Jennifer L. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2009-03)
      This thesis investigated the development and effectiveness of a perceptual training programmes for coaches and judges in gymnastics. Study one examined the variability of visual search for coaches and judges when viewing handspring vaults. The study found that there were no significant differences between the mean number of fixations, fixation duration and number of areas fixated across two time-points four weeks apart. In addtion, the natural range of variation of the number of fixations, fixation duration and number of area fixated was found to be 9/7%, 5.7% and 14.2% (expressed as coefficient of variation). Study two examined differences between expert and novice gymnastics coaches' and judges' visual search. Analysis of gaze behaviour showed that experts make significantly more fixations of significantly longer duration to significantly fewer areas than novies. There was no significant difference between the outcome juddgements made by the expert and novice coaches and judges. These findings suggest that visual search may be a contributing factor to expert performance in judgement formation. Study three explored the visual search pattern and knowledge used by expert coaches and judges when making decisions. Data were gathered through the used of eye-tracking and semi-structered interviews. Analyses established that experts tend to fixate on the torso and shoulders of gymnasts throughout the vault, and that there are three to four specific areas which are explored during each phase of a vault. Study four examined the effectiveness of a perceptual training programme for a perceptual traning and control group. Fixation number, fixation duration, number of areas fixated and outcome judgement were recorded at baseline, immediently after the programme and four weeks after it had been withdrawn. 2 (control vs. perceputal training) x 3 (intervention phase) ANOVA's with repeated measures showed that the perceptual training group produced significantly less error at the retention stage for number of fixations (F (2,6) = 12.57, p = 0.01, effect size n2 = .81), at the post-test for fixation duration (F (2,6) = 7.49, p = 0.02, effect size n2 = .71). However post-hoc analyses could not detect the difference for number of areas fixated. In study five, four participants that took part in the experiental condition watched a perceptual training DVD twice a week for six weeks. The case study data showed that the expert and novices who watched the perceptual training DVD made changes to their visual search variables and judgements and therefore became more analogous to the experts from study three to baseline to the post-test. However, only the novices retained the beneficial effects of the intervention. To conclude, this programme of research examinaed the development and effectiveness of a perceptual training programee for coaches' and judges' in gymnastics. This thesis suggests that a perceptual training programme based on the visual search and declarative knowledge of expert coaches and judges is effective at altering visual search and enhancing decision making for noveice coaches and judges. This research programme therefore promotes the use of perceptual training programmes for novice coaches and judges in sport.
    • Young people, sport and leisure: A sociological study of youth lifestyles

      Green, Ken; Lamb, Kevin L.; Thurston, Miranda; Smith, Andy (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)University of Chester, 2006-05)
      In Britain, as elsewhere, over the past two or three decades there has been growing concern over the extent to which sport and physical activity are becoming increasingly rare features of contemporary youth lifestyles. One corollary of this growing concern with youth lifestyles has been the widespread acceptance of a number of common sense assumptions about the nature of young people's sporting and leisure lives. Notwithstanding these concerns, Coalter (2004: 79) has noted recently that, at present, much of the existing research on young people, sport and leisure has consistently failed to explain adequately or provide 'any clear understanding of sport's (and physical activity's) place in participants' lifestyles'. The central objective of this sociological study, therefore, was to enhance our understanding of the place of sport and physical activity in the lives of a sample of 15-16-year-olds, and of the relationships between various aspects of their lives. More specifically, the thesis reports upon data generated by questionnaires completed by 1,010 15-16-year-olds who attended six secondary schools in the north-west of England and one secondary school in the north-east of Wales, as well as focus groups conducted with a sub-sample of 153 of these young people. The findings revealed that for many 15-16-year-olds, participation in sport and particularly 'lifestyle activities', was an integral aspect of both their school and leisure lives. In school physical education (PE) and extra-curricular PE, young people's participation - which was significantly related to sex and school attended - was largely dominated by competitive team-based sports that are typically gendered and stereotypical. The data also indicated that although there were no significant school- or age-related differences in participation in leisure-sport and physical activity overall, more males than females participated in sport and physical activity in their leisure time. Males were also the more frequent weekly participants and spent more time doing so than females. In addition, the data revealed that the leisure-sport and physical activity repertoires of 15-16-year-olds were characterized by involvement in more informally organized sports and highly-individualized recreational 'lifestyle activities', as well as a small number of team sports that were played competitively. It was also clear that participation in leisure-sport and physical activity was part of young people's quest for generating sociability and excitement in the company of friends and because it enabled them to do what they wanted, when they wanted and with whom they wanted. For many young people, however, and particularly the more frequent participants, playing sport and doing physical activity was just one component in their generally busy and wide-ranging leisure lives, which did not prevent them from engaging simultaneously in more sedentary activities (such as prolonged TV viewing and playing computer games) and commercially-oriented leisure activities, as well as consuming legal and illegal drugs. In this regard, it is argued that it is only possible to understand adequately where sport and physical activity fit into the multi-dimensional lives of 15-16-year-olds by examining those lives 'in the round', and by locating young people within the various networks of relationships to which they have belonged in the past, and which they continue to form in the present.
    • An investigation of the test-retest reliability of an ultrasound densitometer

      Lamb, Kevin L.; Owen, David G. (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 18/10/1998)
      Army recruits undertake a rapidly increasing amount of exercise in their initial basic training period. Injuries due physical training forces many recruits out of the Army and costs the Ministry of Defence millions of pounds. Stress fractures are one of the most commonly diagnosed injuries amongst Army recruits. Low bone mineral density has been identified as a risk factor for stress fractures. A technique which can measure bone mineral density is Ultrasound Densitometry (US). This study will address a gap in the research by assessing the inter-observer and intra-observer reliability of the two US measurements, broadband ultrasound attenuation (BUA) and the velocity of sound (VOS). Ninety eight white male recruits, median aged 18 (I.Q. range 1yr) were measured at the calcanea of the non-dominant foot. A repeated measures design was used, BUA and VOS were measured in 55 subjects by both researcher 'A1 and 'B' for inter-observer (inter-BUA & inter-VOS), and 43 subjects were measured for BUA and VOS twice by researcher 'A' for the intra-observer analysis (intra-BUA & intra-VOS). The results from this study found that a coefficient of variation (CV) analysis was not appropriate for assessing measurement error, this was due to the homoscedasity of the data. An alternative method the '95% limits of agreement' found that only VOS was reliable. The '95% limits of agreement1 results (bias ±1.96 x s) were 0.74 ±22.77 m/s for intra-VOS and 4.85 ±23.44 m/s for inter-VOS, the variance in scores were judged to be acceptable, f-test confirmed this with a non-significant difference between measurements (t=0.83, p=0.477; t=0.42, p=0.677, respectively). The '95% limits of agreement1 results for BUA were -0.22±11.56 dB/MHz (inter-BUA) and -1.39 ±11.11 dB/MHz (intra-BUA). These results represent an unacceptable variability in the range of scores obtained. This is highlighted when expressed as a proportion of the mean measurement: inter-BUA ±11.41% and intra-BUA ± 11.91%. However, the West's for inter- and intra-BUA indicate no significant difference (t = -0.07, p = 0.091; t = 1.60, p = 0.116). This insignificance may be the result of the inappropriateness of a statistical method that reliance on a comparison of means. The CV results for BUA indicate that both inter- and intra-BUA are reliable (4.08% & 4.38%, respectively), even though as already stated that the BUA measurements are not deemed reliable when analysed by the '95% limits of agreement'. The results of this study suggest that VOS measurements are reliable and that BUA measurements are non-reliable. As both BUA and VOS would have been used to assess those at risk of suffering stress fractures it was essential that both were found to be reliable. Thus US's appropriateness in individual diagnosis is questioned. This study has also highlighted how the use of an inappropriate statistical method, in this case the CV, can effect the interpretation of data and cause false claims over e.g. reliability.