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Determination and comparison of time under tension required to perform 8, 10 and 12-RM loads in the bench press exercise


Study aim: To determine and compare the time under tension (TUT) required to perform 8, 10 and 12 repetition maximum (RM) loads in the bench press exercise.

Material and methods: Twenty men (24.17 ± 4.69 years) were selected intentionally and properly. We included in the study physically active individuals, with a weekly frequency of physical activity of at least two days for six months, and excluded individuals with injury or pain that could interfere with the correct execution of the exercise and individuals with positive PAR-Q. The 10-RM test consisted in performing ten consecutive repetitions with maximum overload and the highest speed in bench press exercise on the Smith machine. After 48 h, 10-RM sets were performed with the load obtained in the 10-RM load testing. The TUT in 10-RM was verified through kinematics using the timing technique of the Kinovea software.

Results: The RM loads and TUT obtained during the retest session showed normal distribution between subjects. However, no significant differences were found between the loads 8, 10 and 12-RM within and between subjects (p < 0.05). The verified TUT showed a difference from 8 to 10-RM and from 8 to 12-RM, but no significant difference was found between TUT protocols for 10 and 12-RM (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The study results enable evaluation of TUT in bench press exercise on the Smith machine for the study sample, allowing, for this group, the prediction and control of training intensity through the TUT.

Open access
Is static balance affected by using shoes of different height?


Study aim: to investigate the impact of heels of different height on static balance of teenagers and young women not accustomed to high heels.

Material and methods: The study involved 71 young women aged 21.09 ± 2.91 years. We used a stabilometric platform to take measurements barefoot and with heels: of 4 cm and of 10 cm. Two types of measurements were taken: with eyes open and with eyes closed.

Results: Statistical analysis revealed a significant increase in values of the measured stabilographic parameters with 4 cm and 10 cm heels, in comparison to measurements taken with bare feet. Measurements with eyes closed revealed significantly greater distortions to static balance than measurements with eyes open. A comparison of measurements – both with eyes open and with eyes closed – barefoot, with 4 cm heels and with 10 cm heels revealed statistically significant differences.

Conclusions: High heels in the population of young women significantly worsen static balance. Heel height and the exclusion of visual control are important factors diminishing static balance.

Open access
Determining the level of physical activity estimated by the Canada Fitness Survey questionnaire using criteria of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire


Study aim: The aim of the study was to determine the weekly energy expenditure measuring MET/min/week based on data collected through the Canada Fitness Survey (CFS), according to the classification used in the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), and to verify the adopted method to assess the level of physical activity in students of physical education.

Material and methods: The study involved 116 female students (21.1 ± 1.6) and 276 male students (21.2 ± 1.7), studying Physical Education at Kazimierz Wielki University. Physical activity (PA) of respondents assessed using the Canada Fitness Survey was converted to energy expenditure in MET/min/week using the criteria established in the IPAQ. Body composition was assessed according to bioelectrical impedance.

Results: A significantly smaller fat fraction was observed in the group of students with high physical activity (PA) (p < 0.01). In women, there was a significant relation between FAT% and all analysed characteristics of physical activity: total physical activity (TPA) – 0.274, vigorous intensity (VI) – 0.216, number of days spent on physical activity (DTPA) – 0.199 and number of days spent on vigorous intensity (DVI) – 0.202 (p < 0.05). In men, a significant relation was found between all the analysed tissue components and the adopted variables of PA (FAT% vs. TPA – 0.145, VI – 0.203, DTPA – 0.187; FATkg vs. TPA – 0.123, VI – 0.186, DTPA – 0.178; FATkg vs. DVI – 0.131). BMI significantly correlated with VI (–0.162) and DVI (–0.140), p < 0.05.

Conclusions: Based on data collected using the CFS on the type and frequency of PA during a week, we can determine the level of activity in a measurable way, using the IPAQ classification. There is a significant relationship between thus determined physical activity levels and body composition in both women and men, which proves the accuracy of the adopted method of converting weekly energy expenditure to MET/min/week.

Open access
Lower limb loading during knee up in step aerobics: a pilot study


Study aim: Step aerobics is a form of aerobic power distinguished from other types of aerobic exercise by its use of an elevated platform. The purpose of this study was to examine how the aerobic exercise “knee up” affects kinematic and kinetic parameters and, above all, the length of the muscle contractions.

Material and methods: The study analysed ten female fitness instructors with at least six years of experience. The task consisted in the knee up move performed using a 15 cm step and music with the beat frequency of 148 BPM. Kinematic and kinetic parameters were recorded using the Vicon system synchronized with two Kistler force plates. OpenSim software was used for calculation of the length of involved muscles.

Results: Ranges in angles and torques suggest that the location that is the most prone to injuries and overtraining is the knee joint, followed by the hip and ankle joints. Greater values of the vertical component of ground reaction forces were observed during stepping down, which suggests greater load to the joints. The greatest work in the move analysed in this study was performed by the sartorius muscle and the tensor fasciae latae muscle.

Conclusions: Despite the benefits that have been demonstrated when step classes are structured correctly and adapted to the participants, further research is needed concerning biomechanical load, exercise prescription, and injury prevention.

Open access
Physical fitness and aerobic capacity of Polish military fighter aircraft pilots


Study aim: To determine the level of physical fitness and aerobic capacity of Polish military fighter aircraft pilots.

Material and methods: The study was conducted on a group of 120 Polish military fighter aircraft pilots (men). The average age of subject was 37.13 ± 5.42 years. For further analysis, the pilots were divided into three age groups: under 29, aged 30–39, and 40–49. Age criteria were adopted according to the classification used by the American Heart Association. A physical fitness test (seven skills) was used to determine the level of physical fitness of pilots. The Åstrand-Ryhming test and a MONARK cycling ergometer were used to determine the level of aerobic capacity.

Results: The pilots obtained the following average results during the physical fitness test: push-ups on a bench – 37.7 reps; shuttle run 10 × 10 m – 30.3 s; pull-ups – 9.1 reps; sit-ups – 54 reps; standing long jump – 228.5 cm; zigzag pattern run – 25.8 s; 50 m swimming – 49.2 s. The physical fitness of military pilots decreases with age. The average level of aerobic capacity of military pilots was estimated at 33.73 ± 5.62 VO2max (ml/kg/min).

Conclusions: Polish military fighter aircraft pilots are characterized by a medium level of physical fitness and a medium level of aerobic capacity. The level of aerobic capacity is lower currently than 30 years ago. It is a perturbing and negative phenomenon.

Open access
Effects of hatha yoga exercises on spine flexibility in young adults


Study aim: To assess the effects of yoga exercises on the flexibility of the spine in male and female students aged 19–22 years old.

Material and methods: The study comprised 59 male and female first-year students, aged 19–22 years old (mean 19.6 ± 0.9), studying Sport and Tourism Management at the Jerzy Kukuczka Academy of Physical Education in Katowice. The participants took part in an obligatory yoga class, of 90 minutes duration, once a week over a 13-week period. The ranges of motion of the spine in the sagittal, frontal and transverse planes were measured using the Rippstein Plurimeter-V.

Results: The study indicated a statistically significant increase of the spine flexibility in forward and lateral bending before and after the yoga classes in the entire studied group. In the men, a significant increase of the range of motion in backward bending was also noted. In the women, and in all of the participants (women and men together), a significant increase of the range of motion in the torsion was noted.

Conclusions: Regular yoga exercises could increase the flexibility of the spine and the hamstring muscles. Hatha yoga training may be a good intervention for improving flexibility, but for better results it should be performed more often than once a week.

Open access
Body composition and the level of fitness in 10 to 14-year-old girls in western Hungary: the impact of the new PE curriculum


Study aim: Over the last two decades, the body fat mass has been increasing and the level of physical fitness has been decreasing in school-aged children. Due to the health-related concerns that have arisen regarding school-aged children, the Hungarian government introduced everyday physical education in 2012. Since girls are more disposed to higher body fat and low fitness levels, the aim of our study was to characterise the physique, body composition and aerobic capacity of 10 to 14-year-old girls three years after the introduction of the new curriculum with daily PE lessons.

Material and methods: All of the primary schools that were selected to participate in this study serve as partnership schools in the University of West Hungary’s teacher training programme (N = 8). The sample included only those upper primary school girls (10 to 14 years of age) who participated in the everyday physical education lesson (N = 543). Standard anthropometric techniques and a 20m shuttle run test were selected for the analysis.

Results: An important result of this study was the finding that differences in the body composition features were consistently significant among the age groups. However, there were no differences among the age groups in the results of the 20 m multi-stage fitness test, nor in the girls’ relative aerobic capacity.

Conclusions: It can be presumed that an unfavourable body composition and poor fitness occur primarily in the prepuberty years. Everyday physical education serves as a good opportunity for shaping the girls’ fitness level and body composition, and also for encouraging healthy active living.

Open access
Evaluation of the effectiveness of kinesiotaping in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness of the biceps brachii


biological regeneration in athletes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the application of lymphatic kinesiotaping in reducing delayed onset muscle soreness of biceps brachii.

Material and methods: The study included 34 women, aged 18–27. In the test group of patients (n = 17) a lymphatic KT application was used. All of the women performed the arm strength trial (with IPFT) and arm muscle training (with a repeat of the trial 5 times 60–80% max). Other study tools used were an sEMG, VAS (pain assessment) and the Borg scale (subjective assessment of the intensity of effort). The measurements (arm muscles strength, sEMG, pain intensity, exercise intensity) were repeated at 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours after performing the exercise.

Results: The weakest results for the arm strength test were recorded in the second measurement in the test group, and in the third measurement in the control group. The pain level declared in the first measurement was similar in both groups. In the third measurement (48 hours after the exercise), the level of pain in the test group was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than in the control group.

Discussion: The kinesiotaping method can assist in reducing delayed muscle soreness, which was confirmed by the results of the tests. However, there is no evidence about the impact of specific types of KT applications on the reduction of the DOMS symptoms.

Open access
Reference values for the sprint performance in male football players aged from 9–35 years


Study aim: The aim of the present study was twofold: firstly, to examine the effect of age on a 20 m sprint performance; and secondly, to establish normative data for the 20 m sprint performance by age in football players.

Material and methods: The anthropometric characteristics of 474 football players (aged 16.81 ± 5.35 yrs, range 9.02–35.41 yrs) were examined and their 20 m sprint performance (with 0–10 and 10–20 m splits) was monitored by a photocell system (Brower Timing Systems, Utah, USA).

Results: A one-way analysis of variance revealed significant differences between the yearly age groups with regards to the sprint time (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.584), as well as the 0–10 m (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.361) and 10–20 m split times (p < 0.001, η2 = 0.635). The older groups scored better than the younger groups. The time attained in the 20 m sprint, and the 0–10 m and 10–20 m splits correlated moderately to largely with the athlete’s age (r = –0.53, –0.40 and –0.57, respectively, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In summary, the speed ability of the football players improved with age until 15 years old, where it reached its peak. On the other hand, the other age groups U16 to U35 revealed no major differences in the speed over a 20 m sprint. The reference values presented in this study might help football coaches and fitness trainers in monitoring training and in the selection of players. Moreover, since this is the first study of this kind to compare adult age groups, sport scientists focusing on relevant topics might use it as a reference in future studies.

Open access
Female athletes and health


It is well documented that regular physical activity has a beneficial effect on human health by affecting the metabolic processes that are of fundamental importance in the body’s functions, such as insulin sensitivity and glucose disposal, as well as lipid and lipoprotein turnover. On the other hand, there is a wealth of studies which indicate that strenuous, regular physical activity, such as that performed by high performance athletes, may be detrimental for the athletes’ health especially in women. This review focuses on the factors that contribute to health problems in female athletes, named the female athlete triad, which includes excessive dieting, menstrual dysfunctions (anovulatory menstrual cycles, oligomenorrhea, amenorrhea) and a low bone mineral density (BMD). As a result of these factors, women who participate in sports, especially those focused on leanness, need special attention and education from health professionals, coaches and the athletes themselves to prevent the detrimental effects of an inadequate energy supply against high energy demands.

Open access