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Acceleration and Speed Performance of Brazilian Elite Soccer Players of Different Age-Categories

Abstract

This study aimed to compare vertical jump ability (squat-jump [SJ] and countermovement-jump [CMJ]), relative to body mass mean propulsive power in the jump-squat (MPP-REL JS), and the 0-5, 5-10, and 10-20 m acceleration and speed among soccer players from the same professional club, divided into age-categories (U15 [n = 20], U17 [n = 53], U20 [n = 22] and senior [n = 25] players). The tests were performed at the start of the preseason in indoor facilities. The magnitude-based inference approach and the standardized differences (based on effect sizes) were used to compare the age-groups. The SJ, CMJ, and MPP-REL JS increased across the age-groups up to U20, the latter being similar to senior players. Interestingly, the 0-5 m acceleration was likely and possibly higher in U15 players compared to U17 and senior players. Although soccer athletes improve their unloaded and loaded jump abilities across the age-categories (plateauing during adulthood), the same does not hold true for acceleration capacity, from the early phases of players’ development (i.e., U15). Strength and conditioning professionals should seek effective strategies to minimize impairment in maximal acceleration performance of elite soccer players throughout their prospective training programs.

Open access
The Acute Effects of Different Forms of Suspension Push‐Ups on Oxygen Consumption, Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol and Isometric Strength

Abstract

Suspension exercise systems are being used in strength and conditioning facilities, fitness centers, rehabilitation centers and home gyms. Though some evidence exists regarding the impact of training with these systems, more work is needed for a better understanding. The purpose of the present investigation was to examine the acute effects of an exercise session with 2 (hands only) and 4 straps (hands and feet) in the push-up exercise compared to a work-matched bench press exercise session. The participants for this repeated measures, cross-over investigation were 18 healthy college-aged males (age: 24.8 ± 3.5 yrs, body mass: 81.8 ± 7.8 kg, body height: 178.9 ± 4.5 cm). The conditions were 6 sets of 10 repetitions of suspension push-ups using two straps (DUAL) for the hands, fours straps (QUAD) for hands and feet and a traditional bench press exercise matched to the average resistance during the suspension push-up. The participants performed all repetitions at a controlled cadence. Expired gases, and heart rate were monitored continuously during the exercise session. Pre and post exercise saliva samples were collected to quantify changes in testosterone and cortisol. Upper body isometric strength tests ( UBIST) were performed (Post, 1 hr, 24 hr, 48 hr) to evaluate changes in force production during recovery. Data analysis via repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant trend for increased oxygen consumption in the QUAD condition compared to the bench press (p = 0.019). Additionally, both suspension conditions resulted in a reduced respiratory exchange ratio as compared to the bench press (p < 0.05). A significant main effect was noted for time in all conditions regarding isometric strength (p < 0.001), but no differences between conditions were revealed. Testosterone and cortisol responses did not differ between conditions. Based upon these data, it appears that when matched for work, suspension exercise results in equivalent reductions in muscle force, but greater oxygen consumption compared to isotonic exercise.

Open access
Analysis of Scoring Sequences in Matches of the Portuguese Premier League

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine the sequences of the first two goals scored in soccer matches in accordance with a range of different match contexts. Data from 1506 matches played in the Portuguese Premier League during six consecutive competitive seasons (2009-10 to 2014-2015) were analysed using descriptive statistics and the chi-square test in order to verify the association between variables and a Cox regression analysis was used to predict the time the second goal was scored in function of the time of the first goal scored in the match and the scoreline. The results revealed a higher frequency of the second goals being scored in the second half of a match (58%) and in the last 5 min periods of each half. A positive association was found for home teams and score-doubling goals (58%), as well as for away teams and score-equalizing goals (56%). For home and away teams the score-doubling goal of a match was strongly and positively associated with a win outcome for home (93%) and away teams (92%), while the score-equalizing goals were associated with a draw (home and away teams: 44%) and loss outcome (home: 33% and away teams: 32%). Finally, the Cox model showed that if the first goal was scored in the second half of the match, the probability of the second goal being scored was three times higher compared to the first half.

Open access
Biomechanical Comparisons of One-Legged and Two-Legged Running Vertical Jumps

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the differences in biomechanical characteristics between one- and two-legged running vertical jumps (1-LRVJ and 2-LRVJ). Ten male college volleyball players voluntarily participated in this study. Two running vertical jumps used in volleyball were randomly performed. Three trials for each type of the running vertical jump were recorded for each participant. Data were collected using six infra-red Qualisys motion-capture cameras at a 180-Hz sampling rate and two AMTI force platforms at an 1800-Hz sampling rate. Jump height in the 2-LRVJ was significantly higher than that in the 1-LRVJ (p < 0.05). In the take-off phase, knee and hip extension impulses for the 1-LRVJ were significantly greater than those for the 2-LRVJ (p < 0.05). These results suggest that the 1-LRVJ produced greater leg stiffness than the 2-LRVJ did. We found that the 1-LRVJ caused greater lower-extremity stiffness and impulse compared to the 2-LRVJ, which is beneficial in the stretch-shortening cycle, and thus the more focus on practicing 1-LRVJs is recommended for coaches and athletes.

Open access
Changes in Muscle Stiffness of the Trapezius Muscle after Application of Ischemic Compression into Myofascial Trigger Points in Professional Basketball Players

Abstract

The study aimed to assess the effects of compression trigger point therapy on the stiffness of the trapezius muscle in professional basketball players (Part A), and the reliability of the MyotonPRO device in clinical evaluation of athletes (Part B). Twelve professional basketball players participated in Part A of the study (mean age: 19.8 ± 2.4 years, body height 197 ± 8.2 cm, body mass: 91.8 ± 11.8 kg), with unilateral neck or shoulder pain at the dominant side. Part B tested twelve right-handed male athletes (mean ± SD; age: 20.4 ± 1.2 years; body height: 178.6 ± 7.7 cm; body mass: 73.2 ± 12.6 kg). Stiffness measurements were obtained directly before and after a single session trigger point compression therapy. Measurements were performed bilaterally over 5 points covering the trapezius muscle. The effects were evaluated using a full-factorial repeated measure ANOVA and the Bonferroni post-hoc test for equal variance. A p-value < .05 was considered significant. The RM ANOVA revealed a significant decrease in muscle stiffness for the upper trapezius muscle. Specifically, muscle stiffness decreased from 243.7 ± 30.5 to 215.0 ± 48.5 N/m (11.8%), (p = .008) (Part A). The test-retest relative reliability of trapezius muscle stiffness was found to be high (ICC from 0.821 to 0.913 for measurement points). The average SEM was 23.59 N/m and the MDC 65.34 N/m, respectively (Part B). The present study showed that a single session of compression trigger point therapy can be used to significantly decrease the stiffness of the upper trapezius among professional basketball players.

Open access
Comparative Study of Kinematics and Muscle Activity Between Elite and Amateur Table Tennis Players During Topspin Loop Against Backspin Movements

Abstract

This study investigated differences of lower limb kinematics and muscle activity during table tennis topspin loop against backspin movements between elite players (EPs) and amateur players (APs). Ten EPs and ten APs performed crosscourt backhand loop movements against the backspin ball with maximal power. Vicon motion analysis and a MEGA ME6000 system was used to capture kinematics and surface EMG data. The motion was divided into two phases, including the backswing and swing. The joints’ flexion and extension angle tendency between EPs and APs differed significantly. The coefficient of multiple correlation (CMC) values for EPs were all beyond 0.9, indicating high similarity of joint angles change. APs presented moderate similarity with CMC values from 0.5 to 0.75. Compared to APs, EPs presented larger ankle eversion, knee and hip flexion at the beginning moment of the backswing. In the sEMG test, EPs presented smaller standardized AEMG (average electromyography) of the lower limb muscles in the rectus femoris and tibia anterior on both sides. Additionally, the maximum activation of each muscle for EPs was smaller and MPF (mean power frequency) of the lower limb was greater during the whole movement. The present study revealed that EPs could complete this technical motion more economically than APs, meanwhile, EPs were more efficient in muscle usage and showed better balance ability.

Open access
Differences in Physical Performance According to the Competitive Level in Futsal Players

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to describe performance in acceleration capacity, change of direction ability, vertical jump, horizontal jump, repeated sprint ability, and endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1) in futsal players, and analyze the differences according to competitive categories or levels. The total sample (n = 40) was divided into three groups depending on the category in which the participants competed: Second Division B (n = 15), Third Division (n = 12) and juniors (n = 13). All the tests were performed with participants’ regular competition shoes and on the usual playing surface, in an indoor pavilion with a floating wood floor. The results of the study did not show significant differences in acceleration capacity (5 and 15 m) or change of direction ability among the different categories. In contrast, significant differences were found among the categories with regard to horizontal jump and vertical jump capacity (p < 0.05); but not in all the variables analyzed. Performance in repeat sprint ability varied significantly among the different categories in 30 m (p < 0.01) but not in 5 m (p > 0.05). The distance covered in the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 by the Second Division B and the Third Division groups was greater than that covered by the junior group. In the light of these results repeated sprint ability and aerobic endurance could be two discriminating qualities of the competitive level among different futsal categories.

Open access
Do Strike Patterns or Shoe Conditions Have a Predominant Influence on Foot Loading?

Abstract

This study aimed to explore the effects of strike patterns and shoe conditions on foot loading during running. Twelve male runners were required to run under shoe (SR) and barefoot conditions (BR) with forefoot (FFS) and rearfoot strike patterns (RFS). Kistler force plates and the Medilogic insole plantar pressure system were used to collect kinetic data. SR with RFS significantly reduced the maximum loading rate, whereas SR with FFS significantly increased the maximum push-off force compared to BR. Plantar pressure variables were more influenced by the strike patterns (15 out of 18 variables) than shoe conditions (7 out of 18 variables). The peak pressure of midfoot and heel regions was significantly increased in RFS, but appeared in a later time compared to FFS. The influence of strike patterns on running, particularly on plantar pressure characteristics, was more significant than that of shoe conditions. Heel-toe running caused a significant impact force on the heel, whereas wearing cushioned shoes significantly reduced the maximum loading rate. FFS running can prevent the impact caused by RFS. However, peak plantar pressure was centered at the forefoot for a long period, thereby inducing a potential risk of injury in the metatarsus/phalanx.

Open access
Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on Selected Parameters of Blood Prooxidant‐Antioxidant Balance in Elite Athletes: A Double‐Blind Randomized Placebo‐Controlled Study

Abstract

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted, in order to evaluate if Lactobacillus helveticus Lafti® L10 (Lallemand Health Solutions, Montreal, Canada) supplementation during three months could influence oxidative markers in the population of elite athletes: triathletes, cyclists and endurance athletes. Twenty-two elite athletes were randomized to either placebo (n = 12) or probiotic (n = 10) groups. The probiotic group received 2x1010 colony forming units of Lafti® L10. Before and after the supplementation serum samples were collected. Markers of oxidative stress and anti-oxidative defense: superoxide dismutase (SOD), paraoxonase (PON), advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant status, total oxidant status, pro-oxidant-antioxidant balance, oxidative stress index, bilirubin, uric acid and albumin were determined in serum. Parameters of lipid status, as well as susceptibility to copper-induced oxidation of LDL particles in vitro were also determined. There was a significant interaction effect for MDA (p = 0.039), with a decrease in MDA in the probiotic group only (p = 0.049). There was a significant interaction effect for AOPP (p = 0.037), with a significant decrease in the probiotic group (p = 0.045). Interaction effect for SOD was approaching to formal significance (p = 0.108) and the post-hoc test showed a significant decrease in the probiotic group (p = 0.041) only. A significant correlation between AOPP and SOD (p = 0.012, r = -0.40) was found in the probiotic group at the end of the study. PON1 activity was decreased in both the probiotic (p = 0.032) and placebo group (p = 0.035). No significant changes in the remainder of the evaluated parameters were noted. In conclusion, probiotic strain Lafti® L10 exerts certain antioxidant potential, but further research is needed.

Open access
The Effects of Two Different Resisted Swim Training Load Protocols on Swimming Strength and Performance

Abstract

This study used a power rack device to evaluate the effects of 2 different approaches to resisted swim training loads on swimming strength and performance. Sixteen male, youth national-level swimmers (mean age, 16.22 ± 2.63 years; body height, 169 ± 10.20 cm; body mass, 61.33 ± 9.90 kg) completed a 6-week specific strength-training program, and were then randomly assigned to one of the two groups: a standard training group (GS, n = 8) and a flat pyramid-loading pattern group (GP, n = 8). Strength and power tests along with specific swimming tests (50-m crawl and 50-m competition-style time trials) were conducted at baseline (pre-test), before the third week (mid-test), and after 6 weeks of intervention (post-test). Isokinetic swim bench tests were conducted to obtain measurements of force production and power, and 1RM tests with the power rack system were conducted to measure the maximum drag load (MDL) and specific swimming power. Following 6 weeks of intervention, the mean MDL increased (p < 0.05) by 13.94%. Scores for the 50-m competition style and 50-m crawl time trials improved by 0.32% and 0.78%, respectively, in the GP; however, those changes were not statistically significant. The GS significantly increased their time in the 50-m competition style by 2.59%, and their isokinetic force production decreased by 14.47% (p < 0.05). The 6-week strength-training program performed with the power rack device in a pyramidal organization was more effective than a standard linear load organization in terms of producing improvements in the MDL; however, it did not produce significant improvements in performance. The use of a strength-training program with a pyramidal organization can be recommended for specific strength-training in young swimmers during a preparatory period. However, in our study, that program did not produce significant changes in 50-m crawl and main competition style performance.

Open access