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  • Author: Lucas A. Pereira x
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Adequacy of the Ultra-Short-Term HRV to Assess Adaptive Processes in Youth Female Basketball Players

Abstract

Heart rate variability has been widely used to monitor athletes’ cardiac autonomic control changes induced by training and competition, and recently shorter recording times have been sought to improve its practicality. The aim of this study was to test the agreement between the (ultra-short-term) natural log of the root-mean-square difference of successive normal RR intervals (lnRMSSD - measured in only 1 min post-1 min stabilization) and the criterion lnRMSSD (measured in the last 5 min out of 10 min of recording) in young female basketball players. Furthermore, the correlation between training induced delta change in the ultra-short-term lnRMSSD and the criterion lnRMSSD was calculated. Seventeen players were assessed at rest pre- and post-eight weeks of training. Trivial effect sizes (-0.03 in the pre- and 0.10 in the post- treatment) were found in the comparison between the ultra-short-term lnRMSSD (3.29 ± 0.45 and 3.49 ± 0.35 ms, in the pre- and post-, respectively) and the criterion lnRMSSD (3.30 ± 0.40 and 3.45 ± 0.41 ms, in the pre- and post-, respectively) (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.95 and 0.93). In both cases, the response to training was significant, with Pearson’s correlation of 0.82 between the delta changes of the ultra-short-term lnRMSSD and the criterion lnRMSSD. In conclusion, the lnRMSSD can be calculated within only 2 min of data acquisition (the 1st min discarded) in young female basketball players, with the ultra-short-term measure presenting similar sensitivity to training effects as the standard criterion measure.

Open access
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
Differences in Speed and Power Capacities Between Female National College Team and National Olympic Team Handball Athletes

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare and examine differences in several neuromuscular assessments between female national Olympic team (Rio-2016) and national college team handball players (2015-Gwangju Summer Universiade). Twenty-eight elite female handball players of the national Brazilian Olympic (n = 12) and college (n = 16) teams participated in this study. The Olympic and college athletes performed the following speed-power tests assessing mean propulsive power (MPP) in loaded jump squat (JS) and bench press (BP) exercises, unloaded squat and countermovement jumps (SJ and CMJ), sprint performance over 5-, 10-, and 20-m, and change of direction ability in a standard Zig-zag test and a T-Test. The differences between Olympic and college team performances in all variables were analyzed using the magnitude-based inference. The Olympic group presented likely higher performances in the SJ, CMJ, and MPP JS and very likely higher performances in the MPP BP and T-Test than the college group. The differences in the linear sprint velocity in 5-, 10-, and 20-m tests as well as in the Zig-zag test were all rated as unclear. These findings may have substantial implications for the development of effective strength-power training and testing strategies in elite handball. In addition, coaches and researchers can use these data to create efficient talent identification programs for youth handball players.

Open access
Mechanical Differences between Barbell and Body Optimum Power Loads in the Jump Squat Exercise

Abstract

This study compared the values of bar-peak force (PFBar) and power (PPBar), body-peak force (PFBody) and power (PPBody) and bar-mean propulsive power (MPPBar) in different jump-squat (JS) conditions: unloaded condition (UC); bar-loaded condition (BLC) and optimum bar-MPP condition (OBC). Twenty-five soccer players performed the JS using a bar with negligible mass (UC), using the Smith-machine bar (BLC) and using the load capable of maximizing the bar-MPP (OBC). The PFBody was significantly higher in the UC (2847.9 ± 489.1 N) than in the OBC (2655.4 ± 444.3 N). The UC presented greater PPBody (3775.9 ± 631.5 W) than the BLC (3359.7 ± 664.3 W) and OBC (3357.8 ± 625.3 W). The OBC presented higher values of PFBar, PPBar and MPPBar (676.2 ± 109.4 W) than the BLC (MPPBar = 425.8 ± 53.7 W) (all p < 0.05). In the OBC (compared to the UC), the body peak-power presented a reduction of ≈ 11%, while generating bar-power output from ≈ 59 to 73% higher than the BLC. While the fact that the body-peak power is maximized in the UC denotes a mechanical phenomenon, the bar-optimum load represents an intensity at which both components of the power equation (force and velocity) are optimized. This has important implications for sports training.

Open access
Influence of Strength and Power Capacity on Change of Direction Speed and Deficit in Elite Team-Sport Athletes

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of maximum strength and power levels on change of direction (COD) ability and deficit in elite soccer and rugby players. Seventy-eight elite athletes (soccer, n = 46; rugby, n = 32) performed the following assessments: squat and countermovement jumps (SJ and CMJ), 1 repetition-maximum in the half-squat exercise (HS 1RM), peak power (PP) in the jump-squat exercise, and 20-m linear sprint and Zigzag COD tests. Utilizing the median split analysis, athletes were divided into two groups according to their HS 1RM and PP JS (e.g., higher and lower HS 1RM and higher and lower PP JS). The magnitude-based inference method was used to analyze the differences between groups in the physical performance tests. Athletes in the high strength and power groups outperformed their weaker and less powerful counterparts in all speed and power measurements (i.e., 5-, 10-, and 20-m sprint velocity, Zigzag COD speed, and CMJ and SJ height). In contrast, stronger and more powerful athletes displayed greater COD deficits. The present data indicate that players with superior strength-power capacity tend to be less efficient at changing direction, relative to maximum sprinting speed, despite being faster in linear trajectories. From these results, it appears that current strength and power training practices in team-sports are potentially not the “most appropriate” to increase the aptitude of a given athlete to efficiently utilize his/her neuromuscular abilities during COD maneuvers. Nevertheless, it remains unknown whether more multifaceted training programs are effective in decreasing COD deficits.

Open access
Post-Activation Potentiation: Is there an Optimal Training Volume and Intensity to Induce Improvements in Vertical Jump Ability in Highly-Trained Subjects?

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the acute effects of performing half squats (HSs) with different loading intensities (1, 3, and 5 repetitions maximum [RM], and 60% 1RM) and a different number of sets (1, 2, and 3) on the countermovement jump (CMJ) performance of 18 highly-trained male subjects. Participants were submitted to four experimental conditions (1RM, 3RM, 5RM, and 60% 1RM) in randomized order. The CMJ was assessed before and after each set. Differences in CMJ performance between the distinct experimental conditions and individual responses in CMJ performance induced by the different protocols were analyzed via the magnitude-based inference method. Overall, significant improvements were detected in individual CMJ heights after each activation protocol. It can be concluded that the use of 1 to 3 sets of HSs performed at moderate-to-high loads may be an effective strategy to improve jump performance in highly-trained subjects. Nevertheless, despite the high efficiency of the protocols tested here, coaches and researchers are strongly encouraged to perform individualized assessments within the proposed range of loads and sets, to find optimal and tailored post-activation potentiation protocols.

Open access
Post‐Activation Potentiation: Is there an Optimal Training Volume and Intensity to Induce Improvements in Vertical Jump Ability in Highly‐Trained Subjects?

Abstract

The aim of this study was to compare the acute effects of performing half squats (HSs) with different loading intensities (1, 3, and 5 repetitions maximum [RM], and 60% 1RM) and a different number of sets (1, 2, and 3) on the countermovement jump (CMJ) performance of 18 highly‐trained male subjects. Participants were submitted to four experimental conditions (1RM, 3RM, 5RM, and 60% 1RM) in randomized order. The CMJ was assessed before and after each set. Differences in CMJ performance between the distinct experimental conditions and individual responses in CMJ performance induced by the different protocols were analyzed via the magnitude‐based inference method. Overall, significant improvements were detected in individual CMJ heights after each activation protocol. It can be concluded that the use of 1 to 3 sets of HSs performed at moderate‐to‐high loads may be an effective strategy to improve jump performance in highly‐trained subjects. Nonetheless, despite the high efficiency of the protocols tested here, coaches and researchers are strongly encouraged to perform individualized assessments within the proposed range of loads and sets, to find optimal and tailored post‐activation potentiation protocols.

Open access
Performance Changes of Elite Paralympic Judo Athletes During a Paralympic Games Cycle: A Case Study with the Brazilian National Team

Abstract

The aim of this study was to describe the variations in power performance of elite Paralympic judo athletes across three consecutive training cycles of preparation for the ParaPan American Games, the World Championship and the Paralympic Games. Eleven Paralympic judokas from the Brazilian National team participated in this study. They were repeatedly assessed using squat and countermovement jumps, mean propulsive power (MPP) in the jump-squat (JS), the bench press and prone bench pull at several moments of the preparation. Training supervision based on the optimum power zone (range of loads where power production is maximized) was provided in the final cycle, prior to the Paralympic Games. Magnitude-based inference was used to compare the repeated measurements of power performance. Lower and upper limb muscle power gradually increased throughout the cycles; however, the best results in all exercises were observed prior to the Paralympic Games, during which the team won four silver medals. As an illustration, prior to participation in the Paralympic Games the MPP in the JS was likely to very likely higher than prior to the World Championship (effect size [ES] = 0.77) and ParaPan American Games (ES = 0.53), and in January and March 2016 (ES = 0.98 and 0.92, respectively; months preceding the Paralympic Games). Power performance assessments can provide information about the evolution of Paralympic judokas, and training at the optimum power zone seems to constitute an effective method to improve lower and upper limb power in these athletes.

Open access
Effects of Plyometric Training and Beta-Alanine Supplementation on Maximal-Intensity Exercise and Endurance in Female Soccer Players

Abstract

Plyometric training and beta-alanine supplementation are common among soccer players, although its combined use had never been tested. Therefore, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to compare the effects of a plyometric training program, with or without beta-alanine supplementation, on maximal-intensity and endurance performance in female soccer players during an in-season training period. Athletes (23.7 ± 2.4 years) were assigned to either a plyometric training group receiving a placebo (PLACEBO, n = 8), a plyometric training group receiving beta-alanine supplementation (BA, n = 8), or a control group receiving placebo without following a plyometric training program (CONTROL, n = 9). Athletes were evaluated for single and repeated jumps and sprints, endurance, and change-of-direction speed performance before and after the intervention. Both plyometric training groups improved in explosive jumping (ES = 0.27 to 1.0), sprinting (ES = 0.31 to 0.78), repeated sprinting (ES = 0.39 to 0.91), 60 s repeated jumping (ES = 0.32 to 0.45), endurance (ES = 0.35 to 0.37), and change-of-direction speed performance (ES = 0.36 to 0.58), whereas no significant changes were observed for the CONTROL group. Nevertheless, compared to the CONTROL group, only the BA group showed greater improvements in endurance, repeated sprinting and repeated jumping performances. It was concluded that beta-alanine supplementation during plyometric training may add further adaptive changes related to endurance, repeated sprinting and jumping ability.

Open access