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Sports, Volume 12, Issue 3 (March 2024) – 23 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Although the appearance of these injuries has a multifactorial origin, poor management of the neuromuscular load during the microcycle is presented as one of the main reasons that cause this injury. There are multiple exercises that can be carried out before, during and after training, which contribute to increasing this neuromuscular load. In this article, we will learn how the elite European soccer teams incorporate these exercises throughout a regular work week. This will provide the reader with an interesting reference to use in order to manage the load in their work context. View this paper
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10 pages, 830 KiB  
Article
Enhanced Stature in the Elderly: The Immediate Impact of Acute Postural Exercises
by Arnulfo Ramos-Jiménez, Ismael Antonio García-Hernández, Isaac Armando Chávez-Guevara, Rosa Patricia Hernández-Torres, Miguel Murguía-Romero, José Miguel Martínez-Sanz and Marco Antonio Hernández-Lepe
Sports 2024, 12(3), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030085 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 733
Abstract
This study investigates the immediate effects of acute postural exercises on the stature of seniors, focusing on changes in both upright and supine stature measurements. A within-subject design with repeated measures was applied, involving seniors participating in continuous exercises aimed at enhancing core [...] Read more.
This study investigates the immediate effects of acute postural exercises on the stature of seniors, focusing on changes in both upright and supine stature measurements. A within-subject design with repeated measures was applied, involving seniors participating in continuous exercises aimed at enhancing core musculature strength and promoting muscle relaxation. Stature measurements were recorded pre- and post-exercise in both upright and supine positions, alongside assessments of body mass index (BMI) category classifications. The results revealed a post-exercise increase in stature ranging from 0.9 to 6.0 cm and from 0.2 to 7.2 cm in upright and supine positions, respectively, with an average increase of approximately 3.5 cm in both upright and supine positions. Statistically significant and clinically relevant changes were observed (p < 0.05), including a modification of BMI by approximately two units, reclassifying 55% of participants from overweight or obese to normal weight or overweight. Furthermore, the similarity between post-exercise upright stature and pre-exercise supine stature suggested that the supine position might provide a more accurate measure of stature in seniors. Conclusively, acute postural exercises have an immediate positive impact on the stature of seniors, suggesting their potential utility in clinical settings for accurate stature measurement. However, BMI results should be interpreted with caution because they are only related to the acute change in stature and therefore may lead to the misinterpretation of the study findings, so future studies focused on evaluating the chronic effect of postural exercises integration on the health outcomes of older adults are needed to demonstrate their potential utility in clinical settings to improve postural health and general well-being. Full article
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15 pages, 700 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variation and the Effect of the Transition Period on Physical Fitness Parameters in Youth Female Soccer Players
by Koulla Parpa, Borko Katanic and Marcos Michaelides
Sports 2024, 12(3), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030084 - 20 Mar 2024
Viewed by 679
Abstract
This study examined seasonal variation and the effect of the transition period on physical fitness parameters in female youth soccer players. Twenty-four players (13–17 years old) were assessed through field and laboratory testing. They completed laboratory testing three times: (1) at the beginning [...] Read more.
This study examined seasonal variation and the effect of the transition period on physical fitness parameters in female youth soccer players. Twenty-four players (13–17 years old) were assessed through field and laboratory testing. They completed laboratory testing three times: (1) at the beginning of the season (post-preseason), (2) at the end of the regular season (postseason), and (3) following the transition period (preseason). Field testing was conducted post-preseason and postseason. Results indicated that weight and body fat significantly increased from post-preseason to postseason and following the transition period. A paired samples T-test revealed that the players performed significantly better in the vertical jump and 30 m sprint test (all p < 0.01) postseason compared to post-preseason. Also, it was indicated that torque production for the right quadriceps, left quadriceps, and right hamstring (all p < 0.01) was significantly reduced after the transition period by 10%, 11.8%, and 10.5%, respectively. Cardiorespiratory measurements demonstrated that performance on an incremental cardiopulmonary treadmill test, maximal oxygen consumption, velocity at the first ventilatory threshold, velocity at the second ventilatory threshold, and velocity at maximal oxygen consumption (all p < 0.01) were significantly reduced postseason and following the transition period. Based on the results, coaches and trainers should primarily focus on maintaining the aerobic capacity of the players during the season, as it has been indicated to be reduced from the beginning to the end of the competitive period (VO2max reduced by 3.3%). In addition, they should focus on maintaining lower body strength and aerobic capacity during the transition period. Full article
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12 pages, 659 KiB  
Article
Is It Possible to Improve Motor Competence through a Structured Balance Bike Program in Preschool Children Aged 3 to 6 Years?
by Rubén Navarro-Patón, Fabián Canosa-Pasantes, Marcos Mecías-Calvo and Víctor Arufe-Giráldez
Sports 2024, 12(3), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030083 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1875
Abstract
This study aimed (1) to investigate the effect of a brief 9-week bike program on preschool motor competence levels and (2) to know the effects of the intervention program on gender. A total of 98 schoolchildren (3.86 ± 0.91 years) from La Coruña [...] Read more.
This study aimed (1) to investigate the effect of a brief 9-week bike program on preschool motor competence levels and (2) to know the effects of the intervention program on gender. A total of 98 schoolchildren (3.86 ± 0.91 years) from La Coruña (Spain) participated. A pre–post-test quasi-experimental design was used with a control group (CG) made up of 39 students (18 boys) and an experimental group (EG) made up of 59 students (29 boys). Data were gathered using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2). The data demonstrate that the CG and the EG differ significantly from one another before the intervention program in favour of CG in manual dexterity (MD; p < 0.001), balance (Bal; p = 0.003), total test score (TTS; p = 0.001), and total percentile score (TPS; p < 0.001), except in aiming and catching (A&C, p = 0.588). After the application of the 9-week intervention program based on the balance bike, these differences disappear (i.e., MD (p = 0.166), A&C (p = 0.372), Bal (p = 0.219), TTS (p = 0.306), and in TPS (p = 0.259)). The information gathered indicates that implementing intervention programs such as the one applied in this study could have a positive impact on improving motor competence in preschool-aged boys and girls, increasing its level. Full article
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11 pages, 1845 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Effect of Oral Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Supplementation on Anaerobic Exercise in Healthy Resistance-Trained Individuals: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Roberto González-Marenco, Ivonne Azeret Estrada-Sánchez, Martha Medina-Escobedo, Rodolfo Chim-Aké and Roberto Lugo
Sports 2024, 12(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030082 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2126
Abstract
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an energy and signaling molecule. It is synthesized endogenously and can be taken as an oral supplement. This review aimed to identify the effects of oral ATP supplementation on anaerobic exercise in healthy resistance-trained adults. A systematic review and [...] Read more.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an energy and signaling molecule. It is synthesized endogenously and can be taken as an oral supplement. This review aimed to identify the effects of oral ATP supplementation on anaerobic exercise in healthy resistance-trained adults. A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed based on the Preferred Reporting Items of Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) criteria. The inclusion criteria were articles published from 2000 to 2022, with anaerobic variables (maximal strength, maximum repetitions, and maximum anaerobic power) measurable in healthy adults with experience in resistance training, only randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials (RCTs), and with the acute (a single dose 30 min to 24 h before the tests) and/or chronic (>1 day) oral supplementation of ATP. A total of five RCTs with 121 adult men were included. The oral ATP supplementation achieved significantly greater gains in maximal strength compared with the placebo (PL) (MD = 8.13 kg, 95%CI [3.36–12.90], p < 0.001). Still, no differences were observed in the maximum number of repetitions or the maximum anaerobic power. Furthermore, 400 mg of ATP showed improvement in anaerobic exercise regardless of the duration of the supplementation protocol. In conclusion, supplementation with 400 mg of ATP doses can improve maximal muscle strength in resistance-trained men. Full article
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10 pages, 592 KiB  
Article
How Elite Athletes with a Spinal Cord Injury Sweat during Exercise—An Exploratory Study
by Anneke Hertig-Godeschalk and Claudio Perret
Sports 2024, 12(3), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030081 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 722
Abstract
Background: Sweat and thermal responses in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are impaired depending on lesion characteristics. This is particularly problematic for athletes and may ultimately lead to reduced performance. This exploratory study investigated the feasibility of field-usable methods to objectively collect [...] Read more.
Background: Sweat and thermal responses in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are impaired depending on lesion characteristics. This is particularly problematic for athletes and may ultimately lead to reduced performance. This exploratory study investigated the feasibility of field-usable methods to objectively collect data relevant to sweat response in elite athletes with SCI. Differences in sweat response were also evaluated for different athlete characteristics. Methods: Measurements were performed during exercise and included core temperature (Tc), heart rate, urine specific gravity, fluid intake, sweat rate, and sweat electrolyte concentration. Differences for sex, lesion level (tetraplegia versus paraplegia), motor impairment (complete versus incomplete), and sport type (endurance versus team/skill) were evaluated. Results: Fifteen athletes (median (Q1–Q3) age, 30 (28–36) years; three females; 11 with complete lesions) were included. Endurance athletes were measured during indoor performance tests (n = 10), whereas team/skill athletes were measured during training sessions (n = 5). In the mixed exercise intensities, the average Tc was 37.7 (37.3–37.8) °C and the average heart rate was 126 (100–146) bpm. Dehydration, defined as a urine specific gravity > 1.020 ng/mL, was prevalent in six athletes before exercise and in five athletes after exercise. The sweat rate was lower in athletes with tetraplegia (p = 0.02) and in team/skill athletes (p = 0.008). Conclusions: Collecting sweat and thermal response data from athletes with SCI in the field is feasible. Given the suboptimal hydration status of many athletes, raising awareness of the importance of hydration seems valuable. Full article
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10 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Does Playing Tennis with a Low-Compression Ball Effect Psychophysiological Responses and Match Characteristics in Recreational Adult Players?
by Bulent Kilit, Ersan Arslan, Yusuf Soylu and Andrew M. Lane
Sports 2024, 12(3), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030080 - 13 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1133
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the effects of playing tennis using low-compression balls (Lc-Balls) and standard balls (St-Balls) on psychophysiological responses and match characteristics among recreational adult tennis players. Participants (N = 24; age: 20.5 ± 1.3 years) were randomly matched to play [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the effects of playing tennis using low-compression balls (Lc-Balls) and standard balls (St-Balls) on psychophysiological responses and match characteristics among recreational adult tennis players. Participants (N = 24; age: 20.5 ± 1.3 years) were randomly matched to play two singles matches over three sets: one match was played with a Lc-Ball and one match was played with a St-Ball, resulting in twenty-four matches. Heart-rate responses and match characteristics were assessed during each match. Post-match measures included retrospective assessments of perceived exertion, ratings of enjoyment towards physical activity, and ratings of mental effort and mood. Results showed higher psychophysiological responses and more intensive play during the game when playing with the Lc-Ball (p ≤ 0.05, d values ranging from 0.24 to 1.93 [small to very large effect]). Further, playing with a Lc-Ball related to reporting a lower rating of perceived exertion (p = 0.00, d = 0.90 [moderate effect]) and greater physical enjoyment (p = 0.00, d = 1.73 [large effect]). Playing with the St-Ball was associated with higher unpleasant mood responses including depression, tension, anger, and fatigue. In conclusion, the results suggest that using the Lc-Ball may lead to better match performance with higher enjoyment in the tennis match-play in recreational adult tennis players. Full article
12 pages, 630 KiB  
Article
Effects of Warm-Ups with Weighted Vests and Resistance Bands on Physical Fitness and Combat Ability of Kumite Karate Athletes
by Christos Ioannides, Chrysanthi Despotopoulou, Marios Hadjicharalambous and Nikolaos Zaras
Sports 2024, 12(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030079 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 776
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a dynamic warm-up either with weighted vests (WVs) or with resistance bands (RBs) may enhance the physical fitness and combat ability of kumite karate athletes. Nine male athletes (age range from 16 to 30 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a dynamic warm-up either with weighted vests (WVs) or with resistance bands (RBs) may enhance the physical fitness and combat ability of kumite karate athletes. Nine male athletes (age range from 16 to 30 years), participated in this study. Athletes followed three different warm-up programs in a randomized order: (a) with their body mass only (C), (b) with a WV of 10% load of their body mass and (c) with a wearable RB of 10% tension of their body mass. Following the warm-up, athletes performed the following tests: countermovement jump (CMJ), standing long jump (LJ), punch and kick reaction time, bench press throws, T-Half test and the kick frequency test. CMJ remained unaltered following the WV and RB warm-up compared to the C. Standing long jump increased significantly following the RB warm-up compared to the C (2.2 ± 1.7%, p = 0.011). Punch reaction time was significantly shortened following the RB warm-up compared to C (−7.3 ± 5.9%, p = 0.019). No changes were observed for kick reaction time, bench press throws or the T-Half test. The kick decrement index, measured from the kick frequency test, was significantly decreased following the RB warm-up compared to the C (33.1 ± 20.2%, p = 0.011). These results suggest that an RB warm-up may significantly enhance the physical fitness and combat ability in kumite karate athletes. Full article
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11 pages, 1033 KiB  
Article
Changes in Body Composition and Physical Performance after a Six-Week International Tour in Young Chilean Female Tennis Players
by Pablo Luna-Villouta, Luis Valenzuela Contreras, Cristian Martínez Salazar, Jorge Flández Valderrama, Carlos Matus-Castillo, Carol Flores-Rivera, Marcelo Paredes-Arias and Rodrigo Vargas-Vitoria
Sports 2024, 12(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030078 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 819
Abstract
Junior tennis players travel a lot to play tennis tournaments; this causes them to spend a lot of time away from their homes and disrupts their training, which could reduce their performance and increase the risk of injury. The purpose of this study [...] Read more.
Junior tennis players travel a lot to play tennis tournaments; this causes them to spend a lot of time away from their homes and disrupts their training, which could reduce their performance and increase the risk of injury. The purpose of this study was to analyze the changes in physical performance and body composition after a six-week international tour in young Chilean female tennis players. Thirty young female tennis players (15.4 ± 0.6) participated in this study. Body weight, skinfolds, and perimeters were measured. Body fat percentage (BFP) and skeletal muscle mass (SMM) were calculated. For physical performance, 5 m sprint, the 505 with stationary start test (505 test), the pro-agility test, countermovement jump (CMJ), and medicine ball throw (MBT) were evaluated. The results show a significant increase in BFP and decrease in SMM (p < 0.01; d = −0.18 and 0.19, respectively). In terms of physical performance, 5 m sprint, the 505 test (p < 0.01; d = −0.95 and −0.95, respectively), CMJ, MBT, and HJ significantly decreased post-tour (p < 0.05; d = 0.96, 0.89 and 0.47, respectively). We conclude that, after a six-week international tour, there were changes in body composition and a significant decrease in 5 m sprint, the 505 test, CMJ, and MBT. Full article
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15 pages, 921 KiB  
Article
The Risk of Eating Disorders in Adolescent Athletes: How We Might Address This Phenomenon?
by Isabel Cristina Rojas-Padilla, Iago Portela-Pino and María José Martínez-Patiño
Sports 2024, 12(3), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030077 - 08 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1157
Abstract
Eating disorders are psychiatric and behavioral health pathologies of high complexity and different etiology, which can affect age groups, sexes, and ethnicities indistinctly. This study aimed to evaluate the risk of eating disorders and the possible relation with the sports profile of Colombian [...] Read more.
Eating disorders are psychiatric and behavioral health pathologies of high complexity and different etiology, which can affect age groups, sexes, and ethnicities indistinctly. This study aimed to evaluate the risk of eating disorders and the possible relation with the sports profile of Colombian adolescent athletes. This was an exploratory cross-sectional quantitative study that used an online form designed with a sociodemographic questionnaire and the EAT-26 scale to determine the eating disorder risk of the object population. A total of 354 adolescent athletes participated. There were 182 men and 172 women and the mean age was 15.59 (range: 10–19 years, SD = 1.938). The participants presented a significantly low risk of eating disorders (21.2%) with no differences in prevalence between both sexes. The risk of eating disorder was related to the result of the last competition (p = 0.01), the type of sport (p = 0.032), the years of sports practice (p = 0.004), and the number of training hours a day (p = 0.011). It is relevant to recognize that adolescents and athletes are vulnerable populations regarding eating disorders. In conclusion, adolescent athletes should be the object of special attention to prevent eating disorders and their consequences on health and sports performance. Full article
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11 pages, 1986 KiB  
Article
Physiological Responses and Performance during an Integrated High-Intensity Interval Aerobic and Power Training Protocol
by Ilias Iason Psarras and Gregory C. Bogdanis
Sports 2024, 12(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030076 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1151
Abstract
This study compared the acute physiological responses and performance changes during an integrated high-intensity interval aerobic and power protocol. Sixteen moderately trained athletes (age: 20.1 ± 2.2 years, body height: 180.0 ± 6.5 cm, body mass: 75.7 ± 6.4 kg, VO2max: [...] Read more.
This study compared the acute physiological responses and performance changes during an integrated high-intensity interval aerobic and power protocol. Sixteen moderately trained athletes (age: 20.1 ± 2.2 years, body height: 180.0 ± 6.5 cm, body mass: 75.7 ± 6.4 kg, VO2max: 55.8 ± 4.3 mL/kg/min) performed a 2 × 6 min interval training protocol with 2 min passive recovery between sets on two different occasions in random and counterbalanced order. Each 6 min set included repeated periods of 15 s exercise interspersed with 15 s passive rest. On one occasion (RUN), all exercise periods included running at 100% of maximal aerobic speed, while on the other occasion an integrated protocol was used (INT) in which each of the two 6 min sets included 4 × 1.5 min periods of running exercise at 100% of maximal aerobic speed in combination with jumping (i.e., 2 × 15 running with 15 s rest and 1 × 15 s drop jumping with 15 s rest). Time spent above 85% HRmax was two-fold higher in INT compared to RUN (8.5 ± 3.6 vs. 4.3 ± 3.9 min, respectively, p = 0.0014). Interestingly, heart rate increased above 95% HRmax only in INT and almost no time was spent above 95% HRmax in RUN (1.4 ± 1.9 vs. 0.1 ± 0.2 min, respectively, p = 0.008). Blood lactate concentration at the end of the second set of INT was higher than RUN (7.3 ± 3.2 vs. 4.6 ± 2.7 mmol/L, p = 0.002). Countermovement jump was higher in INT after the end of second set by 6.4% (p = 0.04), 6.7% (p = 0.04), 7.8% (p < 0.01) and 7.3% (p < 0.001), at 2, 6 and 8 min after set 2. In conclusion, the comparison between INT and RUN shows that INT not only elicits higher physiological and metabolic responses, but also acutely enhances neuromuscular performance for at least 8 min after the end of exercise. The integrated running/jumping high-intensity interval exercise approach could be a very useful and time efficient method for strength and conditioning coaches, especially in team sports, in which the time available for the improvement of physical parameters is limited. Full article
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16 pages, 4000 KiB  
Article
Move to Flow: The Benefits and Barriers of a Physical Activity Nature-Based Pilot Programme
by Celia Marcen, Antonio José Cardona-Linares, Francisco Pradas and Miguel Ángel Ortega-Zayas
Sports 2024, 12(3), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030075 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 908
Abstract
This study aims to assess the potential benefits and barriers of Move to Flow (MtF), a nature-based physical activity (PA) programme structured in two levels that include movements related to the animal, vegetal, and inert nature. A questionnaire was applied to 133 participants [...] Read more.
This study aims to assess the potential benefits and barriers of Move to Flow (MtF), a nature-based physical activity (PA) programme structured in two levels that include movements related to the animal, vegetal, and inert nature. A questionnaire was applied to 133 participants from Spain, Latvia, and Serbia. The instrument was structured in the following sections: socio-economic variables; sports participation; and health and physical condition perception. In addition, the Exercise Benefits and Barriers Scale (EBBS), which assesses these aspects on the physical, psychological, and social levels, was included. Results showed that men aged 36–50 obtained the highest total and benefit scores, while women and the youngest scored higher in barriers. Data analysis shows associations between weekly engagement in physical activity and intensity (p < 0.001) and the perceived benefits of MtF. In the case of intensity, it is the same with barriers (p < 0.001). Similarly, there is an association between benefits and barriers and perceived health status (p < 0.001) and physical condition (p < 0.001). Furthermore, positive correlations were found in MtF between PA frequency, intensity, and health and physical condition (r = 0.755). In conclusion, this study has demonstrated MtF’s value as a cost-effective tool that empowers people to take an active role in improving their overall health and well-being. Full article
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17 pages, 2255 KiB  
Review
Impact Force and Velocities for Kicking Strikes in Combat Sports: A Literature Review
by Daniel Corcoran, Mike Climstein, John Whitting and Luke Del Vecchio
Sports 2024, 12(3), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030074 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1507
Abstract
Kicking strikes are fundamental in combat sports such as Taekwondo, karate, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts. This review aimed to explore the measurement methods, kinematics such as velocities, kinetics such as impact force, determinants, and injury potential of kicking strikes in [...] Read more.
Kicking strikes are fundamental in combat sports such as Taekwondo, karate, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts. This review aimed to explore the measurement methods, kinematics such as velocities, kinetics such as impact force, determinants, and injury potential of kicking strikes in combat sports. Searches of Academic Search Premier, The Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, CINAHL Plus, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, Scopus, and Web of Science databases were conducted for studies that measured kicking velocity and impact force. A total of 88 studies were included in the review. Studies most frequently involved only male participants (49%) aged between 18 and 30 years of age (68%). Studies measuring velocity predominantly implemented camera-based motion capture systems (96%), whereas studies measuring impact force displayed considerable heterogeneity in their measurement methods. Five primary strikes were identified for which foot velocities ranged from 5.2 to 18.3 m/s and mean impact force ranged from 122.6 to 9015 N. Among the techniques analysed, the roundhouse kick exhibited the highest kicking velocity at 18.3 m/s, whilst the side kick produced the highest impact force at 9015 N. Diverse investigation methodologies contributed to a wide value range for kicking velocities and impact forces being reported, making direct comparisons difficult. Kicking strikes can be categorised into throw-style or push-style kicks, which modulate impact through different mechanisms. Kicking velocity and impact force are determined by several factors, including technical proficiency, lower body strength and flexibility, effective mass, and target factors. The impact force generated by kicking strikes is sufficient to cause injury, including fracture. Protective equipment can partially attenuate these forces, although more research is required in this area. Athletes and coaches are advised to carefully consider the properties and potential limitations of measurement devices used to assess impact force. Full article
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18 pages, 1405 KiB  
Article
Weekly Programming of Hamstring-Related Training Contents in European Professional Soccer
by Pedro Gómez-Piqueras, Antonio Martínez-Serrano, Tomás T. Freitas, Antonio Gómez Díaz, Irineu Loturco, Enric Giménez, Joao Brito, David García-López, Hernan Giuria, Paulino Granero-Gil, Shaun Huygaerts, Francesc Cos, Julio Calleja-González, Emmanuel Vallance, Eduardo Sáez de Villarreal and Pedro E. Alcaraz
Sports 2024, 12(3), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030073 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2035
Abstract
Hamstring injuries in soccer continue to be a challenge for professionals who work with soccer players daily. Although its origin is multifactorial, the proper management of neuromuscular fatigue during the training microcycle is a very important factor to consider. There are no clear [...] Read more.
Hamstring injuries in soccer continue to be a challenge for professionals who work with soccer players daily. Although its origin is multifactorial, the proper management of neuromuscular fatigue during the training microcycle is a very important factor to consider. There are no clear guidelines regarding the weekly distribution of certain exercises that demand the hamstrings. The main objective of this study was to describe the usual training practices of professional European soccer teams. An international observational survey design was applied to some of the strength and conditioning coaches of professional soccer teams. The survey included different neuromuscular demanding exercises for the hamstrings. For each exercise, the strength and conditioning coaches had to respond in relation to their frequency of use and timepoint depending on the day of the weekly microcycle. Although there is no strong consensus in this regard, there does seem to be a trend when applying certain exercises, especially on the days matchday-4 and matchday-3. Full article
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29 pages, 6932 KiB  
Article
Metabolomic and Proteomic Profiling of Athletes Performing Physical Activity under Hypoxic Conditions
by Kristina A. Malsagova, Arthur T. Kopylov, Alexander A. Stepanov, Liudmila I. Kulikova, Alexander A. Izotov, Ksenia A. Yurku, Evgenii I. Balakin, Vasiliy I. Pustovoyt and Anna L. Kaysheva
Sports 2024, 12(3), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030072 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Proteomic and metabolomic research enables quantitation of the molecular profile of athletes. Multiomic profiling was conducted using plasma samples collected from 18 male athletes performing aerobic activity (running) at high altitude. Metabolomic profiling detected changes in the levels of 4-hydroxyproline, methionine, oxaloacetate, and [...] Read more.
Proteomic and metabolomic research enables quantitation of the molecular profile of athletes. Multiomic profiling was conducted using plasma samples collected from 18 male athletes performing aerobic activity (running) at high altitude. Metabolomic profiling detected changes in the levels of 4-hydroxyproline, methionine, oxaloacetate, and tyrosine during the recovery period. Furthermore, proteomic profiling revealed changes in expression of proteins contributing to the function of the immune system, muscle damage, metabolic fitness and performance, as well as hemostasis. Further research should focus on developing metabolic models to monitor training intensity and athlete adaptation. Full article
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9 pages, 1090 KiB  
Article
Applicability of the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool in Elite Volleyball Athletes: A Cross-Sectional Observational Study
by Flavia Figlioli, Giacomo Belmonte, Valerio Giustino, Alberto Canzone, Elena Ferrantello, Marco Gervasi, Eneko Fernández-Peña, Giuseppe Battaglia, Antonino Bianco and Antonino Patti
Sports 2024, 12(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030071 - 05 Mar 2024
Viewed by 926
Abstract
Background: The ease of administration of the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT) could represent a methodology for periodically evaluating athletes, preventing ankle instability injuries. This study aimed to achieve three objectives: (a) to evaluate the applicability of the CAIT scale in volleyball; (b) [...] Read more.
Background: The ease of administration of the Cumberland Ankle Instability Tool (CAIT) could represent a methodology for periodically evaluating athletes, preventing ankle instability injuries. This study aimed to achieve three objectives: (a) to evaluate the applicability of the CAIT scale in volleyball; (b) to explore whether ankle instability presents a greater risk in lower-level volleyball categories and whether elite athletes demonstrate an ability to mitigate this risk; and (c) to identify potential predictors of ankle instability. Methods: Eighty female volleyball players participated in this cross-sectional observational study. The CAIT was administered to evaluate the athletes belonging to some teams in Series A, B, and C. Results: The Spearman’s ranks correlation coefficient showed significant correlations between CAIT items. Additionally, the Cronbach’s α showed a high internal consistency. Our results showed a significant difference between athletes who reported pain and those who did not (p < 0.001). The multiple linear regression model analysis showed that pain was a predictor of ankle instability (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the CAIT can be used to evaluate ankle stability in volleyball players. This scale could represent a valuable tool for implementing specific intervention programs to prevent ankle injuries in athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sport Injuries, Rehabilitation and New Technologies)
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23 pages, 366 KiB  
Review
Improving Mental Skills in Precision Sports by Using Neurofeedback Training: A Narrative Review
by Stefano Corrado, Beatrice Tosti, Stefania Mancone, Tommaso Di Libero, Angelo Rodio, Alexandro Andrade and Pierluigi Diotaiuti
Sports 2024, 12(3), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030070 - 29 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1582
Abstract
Primary objectives of neurofeedback training (NFT) are to improve concentration, stress and anxiety management, and performance optimisation. This narrative review examines the role of NFT as a tool to improve mental and cognitive skills of target shooting and archery athletes. Current research discusses [...] Read more.
Primary objectives of neurofeedback training (NFT) are to improve concentration, stress and anxiety management, and performance optimisation. This narrative review examines the role of NFT as a tool to improve mental and cognitive skills of target shooting and archery athletes. Current research discusses how neurofeedback training can act on brain waves by influencing specific EEG frequency bands in order to improve cognitive flexibility. This contribution reports studies that have applied neurofeedback protocols in precision disciplines such as archery and shooting. The results of the studies considered showed that neurofeedback can lead to faster reaction times, more sustained attention, and better emotion management, contributing significantly to athletes’ performance. Furthermore, it is emphasised that neurofeedback could be combined with other techniques such as motor imagination to maximise effectiveness in precision sports training. This review emphasises the importance of future studies that focus on the integration of neurofeedback with biofeedback in neuromodulation protocols. Current perspectives and limitations of research in this area are also indicated. Neuromodulation by means of neurofeedback represents a promising strategy to improve the overall mental and cognitive abilities of target shooting and archery athletes with an interesting potential for high-level performance. Future research should focus on integrated approaches and customised protocols to optimise the use of neurofeedback in a precision sports context. Full article
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15 pages, 2419 KiB  
Article
ISAK-Based Anthropometric Standards for Elite Male and Female Soccer Players
by Cristian Petri, Francesco Campa, Francis Holway, Luca Pengue and Luis Suarez Arrones
Sports 2024, 12(3), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030069 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2219
Abstract
This study aimed to provide reference values for anthropometric characteristics of elite male and female soccer players, considering a group of individuals from the general population as controls. The anthropometric profiles of 357 elite soccer players [184 males (age 24.3 ± 4.3 y) [...] Read more.
This study aimed to provide reference values for anthropometric characteristics of elite male and female soccer players, considering a group of individuals from the general population as controls. The anthropometric profiles of 357 elite soccer players [184 males (age 24.3 ± 4.3 y) and 173 females (age 25.2 ± 5.1 y)] participating in the first Italian league (Serie A) and 363 subjects from the general population [188 males (age 24.2 ± 4.8 y) and 175 females (age 25.0 ± 5.1 y)] were measured according to the guidelines of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK). Reference percentiles for stature, body mass, circumferences, eight skinfolds (biceps, triceps, subscapular, suprailiac, supraspinal, abdominal, front thigh, and calf), breadths, and somatotype were calculated and stratified by player position and sex. No difference (p > 0.05) was found in age between the two groups. Soccer players showed lower values for the sum of the eight ISAK skinfolds than individuals from the general population of the same sex. This suggests lower adipose tissue, as indicated by a lower endomorphic component. The somatotype was endomorphic mesomorph and mesomorphic endomorph for the male and female individuals from the general population, respectively. The male soccer players were ectomorphic mesomorphs, while the females were balanced mesomorphs, defining a sport-specific morphology. This study provides sex- and role-specific anthropometric standards for elite soccer players. Raw anthropometric reference values may be useful for evaluating body composition without using any predictive equations or assumptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomechanics and Sports Performances)
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18 pages, 2061 KiB  
Article
Acute Hemodynamic, Metabolic, and Hormonal Responses to a Boxing Exergame with and without Blood Flow Restriction in Non-Athlete Young Individuals
by Zohreh Karimi, Zeynabalsadat Mousavi, Michael Nordvall, Alexei Wong, Reza Bagheri and Frederic Dutheil
Sports 2024, 12(3), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030068 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 953
Abstract
Background: This study aimed to compare acute hemodynamic, metabolic (glucose and blood lactate concentrations), hormonal (growth hormone and normetanephrine), heart rate variability (HRV), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses before and after bouts of a boxing exergame with and without blood flow [...] Read more.
Background: This study aimed to compare acute hemodynamic, metabolic (glucose and blood lactate concentrations), hormonal (growth hormone and normetanephrine), heart rate variability (HRV), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) responses before and after bouts of a boxing exergame with and without blood flow restriction (BFR) in non-athlete young individuals. Methods: Fourteen participants (age: 30 ± 10 y; BMI: 21 ± 3 kg.m−2) participated in two sessions of a 20 min boxing exergame. During week one, the participants were randomly divided into two groups and played against one another under normal (n = 7) and BFR (n = 7) conditions. Over the next exercise session, participants were then reallocated to the opposite condition (normal vs. BFR) for data collection. Hemodynamic, metabolic, HRV, and hormonal parameters were measured before and immediately after the exercise protocols. Results: Playing exergame led to a significant increase in hemodynamic variables (except for diastolic blood pressure) regardless of BFR condition with no between-group differences. Regarding HRV, significant reductions in total power (TP) and low-frequency (LF) waves were identified in the non-BFR group (p < 0.0001) compared with the BFR group. Conversely, a significant increase in very LF (VLF) waves was noted for the BFR group (p = 0.050), compared with the non-BFR group. Significant increases were observed in serum concentrations of growth hormone, normetanephrine, and blood lactate concentration from pre- to post-exercise under both conditions (p ≤ 0.05), with no significant differences between the groups. Moreover, no statistically significant changes were observed in glucose levels. RPE responses were significantly greater (p ≤ 0.05) in the BFR group compared with the non-BFR group throughout the exercise session. Conclusions: We observed similar hemodynamic, hormonal, and metabolic responses after an acute boxing exergame session in young individuals, whether conducted with or without BFR. However, notable differences were observed in certain HRV markers and RPE. Specifically, the inclusion of BFR resulted in an elevation of VLF and a heightened perceived exertion. These findings suggest that BFR may alter cardiac autonomic and perceptual responses during exergaming. Further research is warranted to understand the long-term implications and potential benefits of incorporating BFR into exergaming routines. Full article
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13 pages, 1012 KiB  
Article
Improvements in Jump Height, Speed, and Quality of Life through an 8-Week Strength Program in Male Adolescents Soccer Players
by Sara Díaz-Hidalgo, Antonio Ranchal-Sanchez and Jose Manuel Jurado-Castro
Sports 2024, 12(3), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030067 - 23 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1006
Abstract
This study aimed to assess the enhancement of physical fitness and quality of life through an 8-week strength training program in male adolescent soccer players aged between 12 and 13 years. A lower body muscle group intervention was performed, with 17 players in [...] Read more.
This study aimed to assess the enhancement of physical fitness and quality of life through an 8-week strength training program in male adolescent soccer players aged between 12 and 13 years. A lower body muscle group intervention was performed, with 17 players in the experimental group (EG) and 15 players in the control group (CG). The EG carried out soccer training complemented by specific strength work. Pre- and post- intervention assessments included body composition, jump height, speed with change of direction, maximum speed in 20 m, movement velocity in back-squat, perceived fatigue effort, academic performance, and quality of life. A general linear repeated measures model analysis was used considering each variable, the interaction between groups (EG, CG) and time (basal, 8-week), to analyze the differences between and within groups. The results showed a reduction in fat in the upper limbs and trunk, improvements in jump height, maximum speed of 20 m, and changes of direction, and increased quality of life (p < 0.05) in the EG. It was concluded that a strength program could improve some components of physical performance in male adolescent soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Physical Fitness Profile in Soccer Players)
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13 pages, 1477 KiB  
Article
Does Grappling Combat Sports Experience Influence Exercise Tolerance of Handgrip Muscles in the Severe-Intensity Domain?
by Rubens Correa Junior, Renan Vieira Barreto, Anderson Souza Oliveira and Camila Coelho Greco
Sports 2024, 12(3), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030066 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1122
Abstract
Successful performance in grappling combat sports (GCS) can be influenced by the fighter’s capacity to sustain high-intensity contractions of the handgrip muscles during combat. This study investigated the influence of GCS experience on the critical torque (CT), impulse above CT (W′), tolerance, and [...] Read more.
Successful performance in grappling combat sports (GCS) can be influenced by the fighter’s capacity to sustain high-intensity contractions of the handgrip muscles during combat. This study investigated the influence of GCS experience on the critical torque (CT), impulse above CT (W′), tolerance, and neuromuscular fatigue development during severe-intensity handgrip exercise by comparing fighters and untrained individuals. Eleven GCS fighters and twelve untrained individuals participated in three experimental sessions for handgrip muscles: (1) familiarization with the experimental procedures and strength assessment; (2) an all-out test to determine CT and W′; and (3) intermittent exercise performed in the severe-intensity domain (CT + 15%) until task failure. No significant differences were found in CT and neuromuscular fatigue between groups (p > 0.05). However, GCS fighters showed greater W′ (GCS fighters 2238.8 ± 581.2 N·m·s vs. untrained 1670.4 ± 680.6 N·m·s, p < 0.05) and exercise tolerance (GCS fighters 8.38 ± 2.93 min vs. untrained 5.36 ± 1.42 min, p < 0.05) than untrained individuals. These results suggest that long-term GCS sports training can promote increased tolerance to severe-intensity handgrip exercise and improved W′ without changes in CT or the magnitude of neuromuscular fatigue. Full article
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12 pages, 1024 KiB  
Article
Body Part Pain Affects Subjective and Objective Handball Performance in Japanese Male National Athletes—Results of Short-Term Practical Monitoring of Athletes’ Conditions
by Issei Ogasawara, Daichi Shindo, Kazuki Fujiwara, Haruka Suzuki, Yuki Ueno, Hiroyuki Kato, Michihiro Takada, Yusuke Adachi, Manabu Todoroki, Susumu Iwasaki, Nobukazu Okimoto and Ken Nakata
Sports 2024, 12(3), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030065 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1175
Abstract
This short-term survey examined the effect of body part pain on subjective and objective handball performance in Japanese male national handball athletes. Fourteen athletes participated in this study. Assessments of pain in 10 body parts and subjective performance (concentration and satisfaction with [...] Read more.
This short-term survey examined the effect of body part pain on subjective and objective handball performance in Japanese male national handball athletes. Fourteen athletes participated in this study. Assessments of pain in 10 body parts and subjective performance (concentration and satisfaction with body movement) were performed using a visual analog scale from 0 to 10 over four consecutive training days. Monitoring of heart rate and body acceleration during training was also performed to quantify the objective performance. Path analysis and linear mixed modeling were employed to assess the relationship between body pain scores and subjective/objective handball performance. Over the four days of the study period, the body part in which most athletes reported pain was the dominant shoulder (6 of 14 athletes), followed by the dominant knee, the dominant elbow, the dominant ankle joint, and the non-dominant ankle joint (3 of 14 athletes). The path analysis revealed that pain in the dominant elbow negatively correlated with concentration (standardized path coefficient = −0.644, p = 0.00), which was associated with satisfaction with body movement (standardized path coefficient = 0.704, p = 0.00). No significant effect of body pain on objective performance (heart rate and body acceleration) was found among the athletes in this study. The results suggested that the elite athletes were practicing with pain. Even if pain does not physically affect athletes’ objective performance, pain in the upper extremities, associated with the primary handball movement of throwing, may reduce the quality of practice by lowering athletes’ subjective performance. Full article
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14 pages, 2274 KiB  
Article
Peer Verbal Encouragement Is More Effective than Coach Encouragement in Enhancing CrossFit-Specific 1-RM Strength, Functional Endurance, and Psychophysiological Assessment Performance
by Amir Romdhani, Faten Sahli, Omar Trabelsi, Mahmoud Rebhi, Hatem Ghouili, Hajer Sahli, Atef Salem, Khaled Trabelsi, Haitham Jahrami, Achraf Ammar and Makram Zghibi
Sports 2024, 12(3), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030064 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1323
Abstract
This study compares the effects of coach verbal encouragement (CVE) and peer verbal encouragement (PVE) on CrossFit-specific one-repetition maximum (1-RM) strength, functional endurance, and psychophysiological assessments. A total of 36 sports science students (18 males, 18 females; mean age: 21.3 ± 0.5 years) [...] Read more.
This study compares the effects of coach verbal encouragement (CVE) and peer verbal encouragement (PVE) on CrossFit-specific one-repetition maximum (1-RM) strength, functional endurance, and psychophysiological assessments. A total of 36 sports science students (18 males, 18 females; mean age: 21.3 ± 0.5 years) participated in a randomized, counterbalanced crossover study in which 1-RM strength and endurance assessment sessions were undertaken under PVE, CVE, and no verbal encouragement (NVE) on separate days. Here, 1-RM strength was assessed through squat, deadlift, and bench press exercises, while endurance was evaluated using 8 min time trials (8MTT). Following the physical assessments, psychophysiological evaluations were conducted using the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and the Feeling Scale (FS). The findings revealed that, after PVE, all the 1-RM strength test, 8MTT, RPE, and FS values exhibited significant increases compared to those of CVE (p [<0.001–<0.01], r = −0.84 [large]) and NVE (p [<0.001–<0.05], r [−0.43–0.52] [small]). Exceptions were noted in 1-RM-deadlift (p > 0.05, r = −0.43 [small]) and 1-RM-bench-press (p > 0.05, r = −0.43 [small]), where CVE demonstrated higher scores (1-RM-squat, 8MTT, RPE, and FS) (p [<0.001–<0.05], r = −0.64 [large]) in comparison to NVE. In conclusion, the study established that PVE is more impactful than CVE in enhancing CrossFit-specific 1-RM strength, functional endurance, and psychophysiological assessment performance. These findings suggest that coaches/teachers should consider involving their athletes in the reinforcement process for evaluated peers. This collaborative approach may not only optimize performance outcomes but also foster a supportive and motivational training environment. Full article
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17 pages, 2803 KiB  
Article
Basketball Fatigue Impact on Kinematic Parameters and 3-Point Shooting Accuracy: Insights across Players’ Positions and Cardiorespiratory Fitness Associations of High-Level Players
by Dimitrios I. Bourdas, Antonios K. Travlos, Athanasios Souglis, Dimitrios C. Gofas, Dimitrios Stavropoulos and Panteleimon Bakirtzoglou
Sports 2024, 12(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports12030063 - 20 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1257
Abstract
This study investigated the impact of basketball-induced fatigue on 3-point jump shooting accuracy, the ball’s entry angle (EA) into the hoop, shot release time (RT), their relationship with player positions in high-level basketball, and the correlation between cardiorespiratory fitness markers and potential shooting [...] Read more.
This study investigated the impact of basketball-induced fatigue on 3-point jump shooting accuracy, the ball’s entry angle (EA) into the hoop, shot release time (RT), their relationship with player positions in high-level basketball, and the correlation between cardiorespiratory fitness markers and potential shooting performance changes. Guards (n = 13), forwards (n = 13), and centers (n = 12) underwent physiological assessments. Sequentially, they performed 15 jump shots (PRE), a basketball exercise simulation (BEST) involving 24 × 30 s circuit activities, and a repeated shooting test (POST). The study design was double-blind. The results revealed significant differences (p ≤ 0.05) in RT, EA, and successful shots (SSs) between PRE and POST in each group. The percentage changes from PRE to POST conditions across guards, forwards, and centers were for RT: 25.34% [95%CI: 1.7–48.98], 19.73% [95%CI: −1.9–41.36], 14.95% [95%CI: −5.23–35.13]; for EA: −3.89% [95%CI: −14.82–7.04], −3.13% [95%CI: −12.9–6.64], −3.47% [95%CI: −14.19–7.25]; and for SS: −14.42% [95%CI: −36.5–7.66], −16.76% [95%CI: −40.81–7.29], −19.44% [95%CI: −46.7–7.82], respectively. Post-test differences (p ≤ 0.05) highlighted greater fatigue impact on RT, EA, and SS from guards to centers. Additionally, significant correlations (p ≤ 0.05) were found between the ventilatory threshold, mean HR during BEST, and changes in RT, EA, and SS. This study highlights the substantial impact of basketball-induced fatigue on 3-point shooting parameters across player positions and the interplay with cardiorespiratory factors post-fatigue. Tailored training, considering heart rate, is crucial to optimizing shooting performance. Full article
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