The process of philosophical questioning has the power to form not only our way of thinking, but also the way we live. Both my sporting and academic career have made me think about the importance of asking good questions and undergoing the process of answering them. I decided to create a profession of philosophical consultation in sport which works with athletes and coaches of various ages. Consultants and athletes (clients) engage in a dialogue about important and interesting questions/topics in client’s life. This dialogical process is called philosophical consultation. It focuses on critical evaluation and development of client’s thinking, self-cognition, and attitudes/worldviews. Philosophical consultation helps athletes and coaches to look for their identity and achieve better self-awareness. It can be argued that consultation offers what Patočka calls the “care of the soul” (epimeleia peri tês psychês) or what Foucault calls the “care of the self” (epimeleia heautou), which are based on Socrates’ kind of philosophizing. It helps to achieve ancient ideals of kalokagathia and gnôthi seauton. The potential of using philosophy in sport hasn’t been fully discovered. Philosophical consultation is presented as a process of self-cognition and inner development. It has the potential to influence the care for well-being of athletes and coaches.
I aim to explore the practical role of philosophy in sport. I will present possible connections between philosophy and sport and the historical predecessors of the concept of philosophical consultancy in sport. As well, we will discuss what philosophical consultancy is, how philosophical consultant works, and finally what are the challenges in bringing philosophical consultation into sport. Methods that are used in this interdisciplinary article are critical textual analysis, description, and interpretation of data.
Achievement motivation is a distinguishing disposition in elite and non-elite athletes. Implicit theories and competence perception influence the types of achievement goals and constitute separate achievement motivation dispositions. The context of sport promotes various achievement goals and implicit theories about athletic competence. For this reason, scientific research should focus on the intrapersonal profiles of achievement motivation dispositions (achievement goals, implicit theories, and competence perception) instead of specifying only one of them. This study explores differences between elite and non-elite athletes in terms of intrapersonal profiles of achievement motivation dispositions. 54 elite and 50 non-elite track and field athletes took part in the study. The results suggest that athletes tend to perceive their competence accurately. Cluster analysis of the studied dispositions was conducted. The clusters present sets of achievement dispositions that vary in intensity. Moreover, the results present trends of the differences between elite and non-elite athletes in two of the three clusters obtained in the study.
Andrzej Mastalerz, Paulina Szyszka, Weronika Grantham and Jerzy Sadowski
The aim of this study was to identify biomechanical factors affecting successful and unsuccessful snatch attempts in elite female weightlifters during the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships. Fourteen female competitors took part in this study. Their successful and unsuccessful snatch lifts with the same load were recorded with 2 camcorders (50 Hz), and selected points were digitized manually on to the body and the barbell using the Ariel Performance Analysis System. The kinetic and kinematic barbell movement as well as the athlete’s body movement variables during the liftoff phase were examined. The results of this study show statistical differences (p ≤ 0.05) between successful and unsuccessful attempts in relation to the angle values in the knee and hip joints in preparation for the aerial phase position. Similarly, the center of gravity velocity was significantly higher in successful attempts during the catch phase. Thus, coaches should pay particular attention to the accuracy of the execution in preparation for the aerial phase position and to the velocity of the center of gravity of the competitors during the catch phase.
Jozo Grgic, Filip Sabol, Sandro Venier, Jason Tallis, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Juan Del Coso and Pavle Mikulic
In this paper, we review the effects of caffeine on muscle strength and provide suggestions for caffeine supplementation in powerlifting competitions. The currently available studies indicate that caffeine ingestion may enhance strength in two powerlifting competition events, the squat and the bench press. For the deadlift, the same might be expected even though studies directly using this event are lacking. Optimal doses of caffeine are likely in the range from 2 to 6 mg·kg−1, and are highly individual. When using caffeine-containing capsules, 60 minutes pre-exercise seems to be a good timing of caffeine consumption. For other sources such as caffeinated chewing gum, a shorter period (5 to 10 min) from consumption to the start of the exercise seems to be effective. For shorter duration powerlifting competitions (e.g., 2 hours), one pre-competition dose of caffeine could be sufficient for acute performance-enhancing effects that might be maintained across all three events. For longer duration competitions (with longer rest periods between one repetition maximum attempts), there might be a benefit to repeated dosing with caffeine; for example, ingesting smaller doses of caffeine before each attempt or event. During training, powerlifters may consider ingesting caffeine only before the training sessions with the highest intensity. This approach might eliminate the attenuation of caffeine’s effects associated with chronic caffeine ingestion and would help in maximizing performance benefits from acute caffeine ingestion at the competition. Nonetheless, withdrawal from caffeine (e.g., no caffeine intake seven days before competition) does not seem necessary and may have some indirect negative effects.
Sandro Bartolomei, Valentina Totti, Federico Nigro, Simone Ciacci, Gabriele Semprini, Rocco Di Michele, Matteo Cortesi and Jay R. Hoffman
The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological responses of a single bout of an eccentric accentuated bench press protocol (120% of 1RM in the eccentric phase/80% in the concentric phase; [120/80]) versus a regular high-intensity exercise protocol (80%/80%; [80/80]) in resistance-trained men. Eleven men (age = 25.6 ± 3.9 y; body mass = 84.6 ± 11.2 kg; body height = 176.4 ± 3.9 cm) with 6.3 ± 3.4 y of resistance training experience performed each protocol in counterbalanced, randomized order. Isometric, isokinetic and ballistic tests were performed at the bench press (IBPF, ISOK and BTP, respectively) at baseline (BL), 15-min (15P), 24-h (24P), and 48-h (48P) post-exercise for each testing session. In addition, muscle thickness of the pectoralis major (PecMT) was measured at the same timepoints via ultrasound. Significantly greater reductions in BTP (p < 0.001), peak force during both ISOK (p = 0.005) and IBPF (p = 0.006) at 15P were detected in 120/80 compared to 80/80. BTP was still significantly (p = 0.009) impaired at 48P following the 120/80 protocol, while no differences were noted following 80/80. PecMt was significantly elevated following both 120/80 and 80/80 (p < 0.05) at 15P, but significant differences between the trials were present at 15P and 24P (p = 0.005 and p = 0.008, respectively). Results indicated that heavy eccentric loading during the bench press exercise caused greater performance deficits than a bout of traditionally loaded high intensity resistance exercise. Power performance appears to be more influenced by the 120/80 protocol than isometric peak force. Eccentrically loaded exercise sessions should be separated by at least 48 hours to obtain a complete recovery of the initial muscle morphology and performance.
The flexible barbell is purported to improve training gains compared with an Olympic steel barbell (SB) during the back squat exercise with Division I collegiate American football programs. The two bars loaded at 30% 1-repetition maximum were compared with ten trained Division I American football players (n = 10; age = 19.5 years; body mass = 89.4 kg; body height = 182.0 cm) completing 10 repetitions of the back squat exercise. Analysis included integrated-peak values of electromyography of the rectus femoris, biceps femoris, rectus abdominis, erector spinae, external oblique, vastus lateralis, ground reaction forces, and joint kinematics and kinetics of the hip, knee, and ankle. The flexible bar elicited significant increases in peak joint kinetics (Hip Moment: 229 ± 54 Nm vs. 209 ± 52 Nm; Hip Power: 494 ± 151 W vs. 382 ± 134 W; Knee Power: 305 ± 108 W vs. 241 ± 63 W), peak vertical ground reaction forces (1195 ± 209 N vs. 1120 ± 203 N), and muscle activity (Vastus Lateralis: 75.7 vs. 66.5%, Rectus Abdominis: 190 vs. 115%, Rectus Femoris: 69.8 vs. 59.9%, External Oblique: 115 vs. 69.0%). Greater vertical ground reaction forces, hip moment, hip power, knee power, and muscle activity of the vastus lateralis, rectus abdominis, rectus femoris, and external oblique suggest the FB provides biomechanical and physiological mechanisms for training gains over the SB for 30% of 1-repetition maximum loads.
Timothy J. Suchomel, Shana M. McKeever, Olusegun Sijuwade, Logan Carpenter, John J. McMahon, Irineu Loturco and Paul Comfort
The purpose of this study was to compare the power production characteristics of the jump squat (JS), hexagonal barbell jump (HEXJ), and jump shrug (JShrug) across a spectrum of relative loads. Fifteen resistance-trained men completed three testing sessions where they performed repetitions of either the JS, HEXJ, or JShrug at body mass (BM) or with 20, 40, 60, 80, or 100% of their BM. Relative peak power (PPRel), relative force at PP (FPP), and velocity at PP (VPP) were compared between exercises and loads. In addition, power-time curves at each load were compared between exercises. Load-averaged HEXJ and JShrug PPRel were statistically greater than the JS (both p < 0.01), while no difference existed between the HEXJ and the JShrug (p = 1.000). Load-averaged JShrug FPP was statistically greater than both the JS and the HEXJ (both p < 0.001), while no statistical difference existed between the JS and the HEXJ (p = 0.111). Load-averaged JS and HEXJ VPP were statistically greater than the JShrug (both p < 0.01). In addition, HEXJ VPP was statistically greater than the JS (p = 0.009). PPRel was maximized at 40, 40, and 20% BM for the JS, HEXJ, and JShrug, respectively. The JShrug possessed statistically different power-time characteristics compared to both the JS and the HEXJ during the countermovement and propulsion phases. The HEXJ and the JShrug appear to be superior exercises for PPRel compared to the JS. The HEXJ may be considered a more velocity-dominant exercise, while the JShrug may be a more force-dominant one.
Intensive resistance exercise can result in exercise-induced-muscle-damage, which commonly leads to reductions in acute muscle function. Post-exercise ingestion of carbohydrate-protein mixtures intends to attenuate these effects. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of whey protein hydrolysate and milk-based formulated drinks on recovery of muscle function following resistance exercise. Thirty resistance-trained males were randomly assigned to either whey hydrolysate and dextrose drink (WH), milk-based drink (MB) or flavored-dextrose (CHO), and performed baseline assessments of perceived-muscle-soreness, the countermovement jump, the seated-medicine-ball throw and isokinetic assessment of the knee extensors and flexors maximal strength. Subsequently, participants performed resistance exercise consisting of various multi-joint barbell exercises. Following resistance exercise participants then consumed either WH (533 Kcal, 32.6 g Protein, 98.3 g Carbohydrate, 1.1 g Fat), MB (532 Kcal, 32.8 g Protein, 98.4 g Carbohydrate, 0.6 g Fat) or CHO (531 Kcal, 0 g Protein, 132.7 g Carbohydrate, 0 g Fat). All assessments were repeated 24 and 48 h post-resistance exercise. Muscle soreness was markedly increased at 24 h and 48 h in all groups (p < 0.001). However, for dynamic power measures (countermovement jump, seated-medicine-ball throw), CHO experienced a decrease for the countermovement jump only at 48 h, whereas WH and MB experienced significant decreases across the countermovement jump and the seated-medicine-ball throw (p < 0.05). All groups experienced significant decreases in isokinetic-extension torque at both 24 h and 48 h; however, flexion torque was decreased for CHO only at these time points (p < 0.05). Consumption of WH or MB did not enhance recovery of dynamic power-producing ability or soreness compared to CHO. Based on within-group effects WH and MB ingestion had seemingly marginal to small positive effects on recovery of isokinetic strength, however, there were no between-group differences for these variables.
The aim of this study was to compare skeletal muscle response to elbow flexors eccentric exercise in athletes and non-athletes. A set of eccentric (ECC) exercises was performed in a group of 12 athletes and 12 non-athlete controls. Maximal isometric force, electromyographic (EMG) activity of the biceps brachii and the resting elbow angle were assessed before, immediately, 48 hours, 5 and 10 days after high-intensity ECC exercises. During the set of the ECC exercises each participant performed 25 eccentric contractions of elbow flexors. Each contraction consisted of lowering a dumbbell from the flexed (elbow joint angle: to the extended elbow (elbow joint angle: position. The weight of the dumbbell was set at 80% of one-repetition maximum (1RM). The ECC contractions caused a decrease in maximal isometric force in both groups. The variable dropped by 8% in non-athletes and by 24% in athletes. Furthermore, the EMG RMS increased significantly only for non-athletes 10 days after the ECC exercise compared to baseline values. The present study showed different effects of ECC exercise on force and EMG in athletes and non-athletes, indicating a more pronounced force response in athletes and electromyographic response in non-athletes.
Agnieszka Maciejewska-Skrendo, Paweł Cięszczyk, Jakub Chycki, Marek Sawczuk and Wojciech Smółka
Athletic performance is a multifactorial phenotype influenced by environmental factors as well as multiple genetic variants. Different genetic elements have a great influence over components of athletic performance such as endurance, strength, power, flexibility, neuromuscular coordination, psychological traits and other features important in sport. The current literature review revealed that to date more than 69 genetic markers have been associated with power athlete status. For the purpose of the present review we have assigned all genetic markers described with reference to power athletes status to seven main groups: 1) markers associated with skeletal muscle structure and function, 2) markers involved in the inflammatory and repair reactions in skeletal muscle during and after exercise, 3) markers involved in blood pressure control, 4) markers involved in modulation of oxygen uptake, 5) markers that are regulators of energy metabolism and cellular homeostasis, 6) markers encoding factors that control gene expression by rearrangement of chromatin fibers and mRNA stability, and 7) markers modulating cellular signaling pathways. All data presented in the current review provide evidence to support the notion that human physical performance may be influenced by genetic profiles, especially in power sports. The current studies still represent only the first steps towards a better understanding of the genetic factors that influence power-related traits, so further analyses are necessary before implementation of research findings into practice.