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Open access

Michal Wilk, Michal Krzysztofik, Mariola Gepfert, Stanislaw Poprzecki, Artur Gołaś and Adam Maszczyk

Abstract

Blood flow restriction (BFR) combined with resistance training (RT-BFR) shows significant benefits in terms of muscle strength and hypertrophy. Such effects have been observed in clinical populations, in groups of physically active people, and among competitive athletes. These effects are comparable or, in some cases, even more efficient compared to conventional resistance training (CRT). RT-BFR stimulates muscle hypertrophy and improves muscle strength even at low external loads. Since no extensive scientific research has been done in relation to groups of athletes, the aim of the present study was to identify technical, physiological and methodological aspects related to the use of RT-BFR in competitive athletes from various sport disciplines. RT-BFR in groups of athletes has an effect not only on the improvement of muscle strength or muscle hypertrophy, but also on specific motor abilities related to a particular sport discipline. The literature review reveals that most experts do not recommend the use RT-BFR as the only training method, but rather as a complementary method to CRT. It is likely that optimal muscle adaptive changes can be induced by a combination of CRT and RT-BFR. Some research has confirmed benefits of using CRT followed by RT-BFR during a training session. The use of BFR in training also requires adequate progression or modifications in the duration of occlusion in a training session, the ratio of exercises performed with BFR to conventional exercises, the value of pressure or the cuff width.

Open access

Alexandre Moreira, Marcelo Saldanha Aoki, Ademir Felipe Schultz de Arruda, Daniel Gomes da Silva Machado, Hassan Mohamed Elsangedy and Alexandre Hideki Okano

Abstract

Salivary cortisol increases in response to stressors, including physical exertion and psychological stress associated with sports competition. In addition, stress may induce change in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). However, there are still no data available to compare the salivary BDNF level in sedentary male individuals and elite team-sport male athletes, regularly involved in activities that require elevated attention and concentration. This information could contribute to the advance of understanding of the effect of regular exercise on the salivary level of BDNF, the pre-to-post change in salivary BDNF during exercise, and the association between salivary cortisol and salivary BDNF responses to physical exercise. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the concentration of salivary cortisol and BDNF, before and after exercise, in sedentary individuals and elite male basketball players. The sedentary group (23.0 ± 4.2 yrs) performed a high-intensity exercise protocol and the basketball players (18.6 ± 0.5 yrs) participated in three official basketball matches. Saliva samples were tested for cortisol and BDNF using ELISA. A significant increase in salivary cortisol from pre- to post-match was observed only for the basketball players (p < 0.05). Basketball players also presented a higher salivary BDNF concentration for both resting (pre) and post-physical exercise (p < 0.05); however, no change in pre- to post-exercise salivary BDNF was observed for either group (p > 0.05). Elevated BDNF in athletes may be associated to their repeated exposure to stressful competition situations. The current findings also suggest that different mechanisms might be involved in salivary cortisol and BDNF responses during physical exercise.

Open access

Cristina López de Subijana and Jorge Lorenzo

Abstract

The aims of this study were: i) to analyze whether relative age effect occurs in the athletes of the junior national teams and professional athletes in Spain in general and in soccer and basketball, and ii) to compare the long-term success of the players selected for the junior national team between these sports. The samples for this study were Spanish professional soccer (n = 461) and basketball (n = 250) players in the 2013-2014 premier league and players from the junior Spanish soccer (i.e., n = 273; U-17: n = 107; U-19: n = 166) and basketball (i.e., n = 240; U-18: n = 120, U-16: n = 120) teams that classified to play in the European Championships (from 2004 to 2013). Junior players (42.3%) were more frequently born in the 1st quarter of the year than the professional players (30.7%) (χ2(3) = 30.07; p = .001; Vc = .157). This was found in both basketball (χ2(3) = 12.2.; p = .007; Vc = .158) and soccer (χ2(3) = 20.13; p < .001; Vc = .166). Long-term success is more frequent in soccer, where 59.9% of the juniors selected for the national team played later in the premier league, while in basketball that percentage was 39.6% (χ2(1) = 14.64; p < .001; Vc = .201). On the other hand, 79.4% and 39.8% of the professional soccer and basketball players had been previously selected for junior national teams (χ2(1) = 60.2; p < .001; Vc = .386), respectively. The talent selection process should be reviewed as players born in the second half of the year have fewer opportunities to stand out.

Open access

Takehiro Iwatsuki, Judy L. Van Raalte, Britton W. Brewer, Albert Petitpas and Masanori Takahashi

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine relations among reinvestment, self-regulation, and perception of choking under pressure in skilled tennis players. Participants were 160 collegiate players from the NCAA Division I in the U.S. and the 1st League in Japan. Participants completed questionnaires assessing reinvestment (conscious motor processing and movement self-consciousness), self-regulation, and perception of choking under pressure. Results of correlation analysis indicated self-regulatory factors were positively related to reinvestment conscious motor processing, but not with reinvestment movement self-consciousness. Self-efficacy and movement self-consciousness of reinvestment were found to predict one’s perception of choking under pressure. Results of simultaneous entry multiple regression revealed that tennis players who had low self-efficacy and were concerned about making a good impression with their movements were more likely to perceive that they choked during tennis matches. Additionally, Japanese players reported less self-regulation skills and a higher perception of choking under pressure than American players, suggesting the need for additional research on cross-cultural differences. Overall, these results suggest that self-efficacy may protect athletes from choking, but movement self-consciousness may lead athletes to choke during tennis games.

Open access

Dariusz Jastrzębski, Aleksandra Żebrowska, Sebastian Rutkowski, Anna Rutkowska, Joanna Warzecha, Bettina Ziaja, Aleksandra Pałka, Barbara Czyżewska, Damian Czyżewski and Dariusz Ziora

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of exercises on a stabilometric platform on the physical fitness and mobility of patients with lung cancer after thoracic surgery. The Experimental Group included 22, and the Control Group consisted of 21 patients. All included patients were enrolled after thoracic surgery due to lung cancer. The Experimental and Control Groups were enrolled in a 3-week in-hospital pulmonary rehabilitation program. The Experimental Group additionally performed daily 20-min training sessions on a stabilometric platform. Agility and flexibility were assessed with the Fullerton test before and after rehabilitation in both groups, and quality of life was assessed with the SF-36 questionnaire. Exercise performance stated as a distance in a 6 min walking test (6MWT) significantly improved in both groups with a medium effect size. The results of the Fullerton test indicated improvements in flexibility in both groups after the completion of the program without a significant difference between the groups and with a small effect size. In the Experimental Group, the best results were observed in the Arm curl (p = 0.0001), Chair stand (p = 0.04), Up and go (p = 0.001) and Chair sit and reach (p = 0.0001) tasks. No deterioration in the quality of life was observed in the Experimental or the Control Group after the completion of the program. Between-group analyses revealed significant differences in the Role-Physical (RP) (p = 0.020) and Mental-Health (MH) (p = 0.025) domains of the SF-36. The rehabilitation program with a stabilometric platform improved agility and flexibility of patients after thoracic surgery without an effect size or significant differences between the Experimental and Control Groups.

Open access

Marco Gervasi, Anna Rita Calavalle, Stefano Amatori, Eugenio Grassi, Piero Benelli, Piero Sestili and Davide Sisti

Abstract

To determine the relationship between fatigue and post-activation potentiation, we examined the effects of sub-maximal continuous running on neuromuscular function tests, as well as on the squat jump and counter movement jump in endurance athletes. The height of the squat jump and counter movement jump and the estimate of the fast twitch fiber recruiting capabilities were assessed in seven male middle distance runners before and after 40 min of continuous running at an intensity corresponding to the individual lactate threshold. The same test was then repeated after three weeks of specific aerobic training. Since the three variables were strongly correlated, only the estimate of the fast twitch fiber was considered for the results. The subjects showed a significant improvement in the fast twitch fiber recruitment percentage after the 40 min run. Our data show that submaximal physical exercise determined a change in fast twitch muscle fiber recruitment patterns observed when subjects performed vertical jumps; however, this recruitment capacity was proportional to the subjects’ individual fast twitch muscle fiber profiles measured before the 40 min run. The results of the jump tests did not change significantly after the three-week training period. These results suggest that pre-fatigue methods, through sub-maximal exercises, could be used to take advantage of explosive capacity in middle-distance runners.

Open access

Małgorzata Michalczyk, Adam Zajac, Kazimierz Mikolajec, Grzegorz Zydek and Józef Langfort

Abstract

Recently, low carbohydrate diets have become very popular due to their numerous health benefits. Unfortunately, little is known about their chronic effects on the blood lipid profile and other cardiovascular disease risk factors in athletic populations. We compared the results of a four week, well-planned low carbohydrate diet (LCD) followed by seven days of carbohydrate loading (Carbo-L) on fasting lipids - triacylglycerol’s (TAG), LDL-C, HDL-C, total cholesterol (TCh), glucose, insulin and HOMA-IR levels in 11 competitive basketball players. During the experiment, we also measured body mass (BM) and body composition changes: body fat (BF), % of body fat (PBF), and fat free mass (FFM). Both diet procedures significantly changed the fasting serum concentration of TAG (p < 0.05) and body fat content (kg and %) (p < 0.05), without negative changes in FFM. The Carbo-L procedure increased (p < 0.05) fasting glucose levels significantly. A LCD may be suggested for athletes who want to reduce body mass and fat content without compromising muscle mass. Several weeks on a LCD does not change the lipoprotein - LDL-C and HDL-C level significantly, while a seven-day Carb-L procedure may increase body fat content and fasting glucose concentration. Such dietary procedures are recommended for team sport athletes to reduce fat mass, lipid profile disorders and insulin resistance.

Open access

Milena Marczak, Michał Ginszt, Piotr Gawda, Marcin Berger and Piotr Majcher

Abstract

Sport climbing, included in the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, is increasingly gaining in popularity as a method of physical and mental health enhancement. Studies show a positive relationship between climbing and improvement of neurocognitive functioning. The aim of this study was to determine the differences in neurocognitive indicators: time of testing, memory, and location between climbers and non-climbers. The sample comprised 30 sport climbers (15 males, 15 females; aged 25 ± 4 years) practicing climbing regularly for five years, and 30 non-climbing age- and sex-matched controls. The Tactual Performance Test (Halstead-Reitan Test Battery) was used to measure neurocognitive functions (tactile-spatial functions, motion coordination, kinesthetic abilities, learning, memory). Significant differences were found between sport climbers and controls in reference to time, memory, and location (p < 0.05). Climbers reached higher memory as well as location ratios and lower time ratios in comparison to controls. Different strategies used to complete the task between the two groups were observed. The neurocognitive functioning of sport climbers manifests itself in faster recognition and differentiation of tactile input and better spatial perception, tactile perception, and movement memory.

Open access

Scott A. Graupensperger and Marie S. Tisak

Abstract

Task cohesion (i.e., perceptions of team unity towards a task goal and positive feelings towards one’s own involvement) is associated with myriad psychosocial benefits for youth athletes. Accordingly, sport researchers and youth sport stakeholders are interested in ways of fostering task cohesion. Recent work has found evidence that prosocial and antisocial behaviors among teammates are associated with athletes’ perceptions of task cohesion; however, this research has been limited to moral behavior that takes place during gameplay. Despite youth sport experiences extending well beyond practices and games, we know very little about how moral behavior between teammates, in settings outside gameplay, relates to perceptions of task cohesion. To address this knowledge gap, the current study investigated whether prosocial and antisocial behaviors in the locker room setting were associated with perceptions of task cohesion in a sample of 238 youth male ice hockey players (Mage = 10.75). Using hierarchical regression analyses, our results revealed that (a) perceptions of peer prosocial behavior was positively associated with task cohesion, (b) perceptions of peer antisocial behavior was negatively associated with task cohesion, and (c) self-reported perceptions of participants’ own moral behavior was not significantly associated with task cohesion. Given the association with perceptions of task cohesion, these findings underline the value in promoting prosocial behavior and reducing antisocial behavior in sport settings outside gameplay and hold multiple theoretical and practical implications. Notably, moral behavior that takes place outside gameplay settings may be related to perceptions of task cohesion that primarily relates to goals and interactions during gameplay.

Open access

Romualdas Malinauskas and Vilija Malinauskiene

Abstract

This study aimed to examine the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and psychological wellbeing in a three-month follow-up study of male athletes. In addition, we examined the mediating role of perceived social support and perceived stress on the relationship between EI and psychological wellbeing. The sample included 398 male athletes who completed measures of emotional intelligence (Schutte Self-Report Inventory), psychological wellbeing (Ryff Psychological Wellbeing Scale; SSRI), perceived social support (Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support), and perceived stress (Perceived Stress Scale–10). Results from structural equation modelling procedures identified that perceived social support and perceived stress partially mediated the association between EI and psychological wellbeing. The sequential mediation effects of perceived social support–perceived stress on the relations between EI and wellbeing were confirmed. Finally, limitations and recommendations for future research were considered