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Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Sport and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 35813

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the Editor-in-Chief of Section "Sport and Health", I am pleased to announce the Special Issue “Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness”. This issue will be a collection of papers related to sport, performance, and physical fitness to provide a venue for networking and communication between IJERPH and scholars in the field of Sport and Health.

Authors are invited to submit letters, original research papers, case studies, meta-analyses, reviews, and viewpoints focusing on sport, performance and physical fitness based on findings observed in laboratory or field evaluation. All papers will be published with fully open access after peer review. In order to attract excellent scholars and promote our Section “Sport and Health”, we will offer discounts and encourage submission of high-quality papers to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Cristina Cortis
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • performance
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • training and competition
  • acute and chronic effects of training
  • high-level
  • conditioning
  • planning
  • testing
  • methodology
  • coaching
  • laboratory and field evaluation
  • recovery
  • overtraining
  • youth sport
  • talent development

Published Papers (18 papers)

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12 pages, 813 KiB  
Article
The Use of the Static Posturography to Assess Balance Performance in a Parkinson’s Disease Population
by Sergio Sebastia-Amat, Juan Tortosa-Martínez and Basilio Pueo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(2), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20020981 - 05 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1459
Abstract
The literature has shown contradictory results so far about the use of posturography, especially static posturography, to evaluate balance performance in Parkinson’s disease (PD) populations. This study aimed to investigate the use of static posturography as a valid method to evaluate balance in [...] Read more.
The literature has shown contradictory results so far about the use of posturography, especially static posturography, to evaluate balance performance in Parkinson’s disease (PD) populations. This study aimed to investigate the use of static posturography as a valid method to evaluate balance in a PD population. Fifty-two participants diagnosed with PD (Hoehn & Yahr stage: 1–3) were included in this cross-sectional study. All participants completed the following assessments: Hoehn and Yahr scale, Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, Tinetti Scale, Berg Balance Scale, Activities-specific Balance Confidence scale, Timed Up and Go test, and Functional Reach Test. Sway parameters were analyzed with a baropodometric platform, under eyes open (EO) and eyes closed (EC) conditions, in a bipodal stance. Small to large correlations were observed between clinical balance tests and static posturography parameters, although the majority of these parameters correlated moderately. Considering posturographic variables, the highest correlation values were detected for total excursion (TE), mean velocity (MV), mean (X-mean), and root-mean-square (X-RMS) displacements in the medio-lateral directions. It was observed that posturographic parameters worsened as the disease progresses, although differences were only significant between the stages 1 and 3 in the H&Y scale (p < 0.05). Regarding the test condition, the visual deprivation worsened significantly all the static posturography parameters (p < 0.05), except the antero-posterior mean displacement (Y-Mean). Comparing visual conditions, the EC presented slightly higher correlation values with the clinical balance tests. Static posturography could be used as an objective complementary tool to clinical balance tests in order to assess and control balance performance, mainly to detect postural instability problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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11 pages, 693 KiB  
Article
Dietary Intakes of Elite Male Professional Rugby Union Players in Catered and Non-Catered Environments
by Logan Posthumus, Matthew Driller, Katrina Darry, Paul Winwood, Ian Rollo and Nicholas Gill
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(23), 16242; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192316242 - 04 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1655
Abstract
In professional rugby union, it is common for players to switch between catered and non-catered dietary environments throughout a season. However, little is known about the difference in dietary intake between these two settings. Twelve elite male professional rugby union players (28.3 ± [...] Read more.
In professional rugby union, it is common for players to switch between catered and non-catered dietary environments throughout a season. However, little is known about the difference in dietary intake between these two settings. Twelve elite male professional rugby union players (28.3 ± 2.9 y, 188.9 ± 9.5 cm, 104.1 ± 13.3 kg) from the New Zealand Super Rugby Championship completed seven-day photographic food diaries with two-way communication during two seven-day competition weeks in both catered and non-catered environments. While no significant differences were observed in relative carbohydrate intake, mean seven-day absolute energy intakes (5210 ± 674 vs. 4341 ± 654 kcal·day−1), relative protein (2.8 ± 0.3 vs. 2.3 ± 0.3 g·kgBM·day−1) and relative fat (2.1 ± 0.3 vs. 1.5 ± 0.3 g·kgBM·day−1) intakes were significantly higher in the catered compared to the non-catered environment (respectively) among forwards (n = 6). Backs (n = 6) presented non-significantly higher energy and macronutrient intakes within a catered compared to a non-catered environment. More similar dietary intakes were observed among backs regardless of the catering environment. Forwards may require more support and/or attention when transitioning between catered and non-catered environments to ensure that recommended dietary intakes are being achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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12 pages, 755 KiB  
Article
Differences in Weekly Training Load, Well-Being, and Hormonal Responses between European- and National-Level Professional Male Basketball Players during the Pre-Season Phase
by Daniele Conte and Paulius Kamarauskas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 15310; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215310 - 19 Nov 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1311
Abstract
This study aimed to compare the weekly fluctuation in training load (sRPE-load), well-being (perceived fatigue, stress, mood, sleep, and muscle soreness), and hormonal responses [testosterone (T) and cortisol (C)] during the pre-season phase in European- and national-level professional male basketball players. Twenty-one professional [...] Read more.
This study aimed to compare the weekly fluctuation in training load (sRPE-load), well-being (perceived fatigue, stress, mood, sleep, and muscle soreness), and hormonal responses [testosterone (T) and cortisol (C)] during the pre-season phase in European- and national-level professional male basketball players. Twenty-one professional male basketball players belonging to European-level (n = 11, age: 25.5 ± 3.6 yr; stature: 199.2 ± 7.1 cm; body mass: 94.1 ± 8.5 kg) and national-level (n = 10, age: 23.5 ± 4.7 yr; stature: 198.0 ± 5.6 cm; body mass: 94.0 ± 8.8 kg) teams were monitored during a 5-week pre-season phase. The European-level team showed higher sRPE-load in week 5 compared to week 3 (within-team difference, p = 0.049; ES = −1.44 [−2.38, −0.5], large) and week 1 (p = 0.018; ES = 1.62 [0.64, 2.61], large), week 4 (p = 0.005; ES = 1.79 [0.78, 2.81], large) and week 5 (p = 0.001; ES = 1.96 [0.92, 3.01], large) of the national-level team. The national-level team documented the lowest sRPE-load in week 5, which was statistically different compared to week 2 (p = 0.022; ES = 1.59 [0.61, 2.58], large) and week 4 (p = 0.001; ES = 1.94 [0.9, 2.98], large) of the European-level team. Moreover, higher stress (p < 0.001; ES = 1.94 [0.93, 2.95], large) and better mood (p = 0.003; ES = 1.79 [0.8, 2.78], large) were found in week 1 compared to week 5 within the European-level team. Additionally, higher values of salivary C were found in week 1 for the European-level team compared to week 2 (p = 0.020; ES = 1.6 [0.61, 2.58], large) and week 4 (p = 0.018; ES = 1.66 [0.64, 2.67], large) of the national-level team. Our results can provide reference values for basketball practitioners regarding the fluctuations of weekly load, well-being, and hormones across the pre-season period in professional male teams competing at European and national levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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17 pages, 865 KiB  
Article
Effects of a Resistance Training Protocol on Physical Performance, Body Composition, Bone Metabolism, and Systemic Homeostasis in Patients Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease: A Pilot Study
by Alessandra Amato, Sara Baldassano, Sonya Vasto, Giuseppe Schirò, Chiara Davì, Patrik Drid, Felipe Augusto Dos Santos Mendes, Rosalia Caldarella, Marco D’Amelio and Patrizia Proia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(20), 13022; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013022 - 11 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2202
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor impairments and it is correlated with loss of bone mineral density. This study aimed to analyze the effects of resistance training on bone metabolism, systemic homeostasis, body composition, and physical performance in people [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor impairments and it is correlated with loss of bone mineral density. This study aimed to analyze the effects of resistance training on bone metabolism, systemic homeostasis, body composition, and physical performance in people with PD. Thirteen subjects (age 64.83 ± 5.70) with PD diagnosis were recruited. Participants performed neuromuscular tests, body composition assessment, and blood sample analysis at baseline, and after an 11 weeks-training period. Each training session lasted 90 min, three times a week. The participants had significant improvements in the timed up and go (p < 0.01), sit to stand (p < 0.01), dominant peg-board (p < 0.05), dominant foot-reaction time (p < 0.01), and functional reach tests (p < 0.05). They showed better pressure foot distributions in the left forefoot (p < 0.05) and hindfoot (p < 0.05) and increased cervical right lateral bending angle (p < 0.05). The protocol affects bone metabolism markers osteocalcin (p < 0.05), calcium (p < 0.01), PTH (p < 0.01), the C-terminal telopeptide (CTX) (p < 0.01), and vitamin D (p < 0.05). Eleven weeks of resistance training improved manual dexterity, static and dynamic balance, reaction time, cervical ROM, and reduced bone loss in people with PD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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12 pages, 1188 KiB  
Article
Effect of Face Masks on Physiological and Perceptual Responses during 30 Minutes of Self-Paced Exercise in Older Community Dwelling Adults
by Grace Vogt, Kimberley Radtke, Andrew Jagim, Dominique Peckumn, Teresa Lee, Richard Mikat and Carl Foster
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12877; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912877 - 08 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1672
Abstract
This study examined the effects of different types of masks (no mask, surgical mask (SM), and N95-mask) on physiological and perceptual responses during 30-min of self-paced cycle ergometer exercise. This study was a prospective randomly assigned experimental design. Outcomes included workload (Watts), oxygen [...] Read more.
This study examined the effects of different types of masks (no mask, surgical mask (SM), and N95-mask) on physiological and perceptual responses during 30-min of self-paced cycle ergometer exercise. This study was a prospective randomly assigned experimental design. Outcomes included workload (Watts), oxygen saturation (SpO2), end-tidal carbon dioxide (PetCO2), heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and rating of perceived dyspnea (RPD). Volunteers (54–83 years (n = 19)) completed two familiarization sessions and three testing sessions on an air braked cycle ergometer. No significant difference was found for condition x time for any of the dependent variables. RPE, RPD, and PetCO2 were significantly higher with an N95-mask vs. no mask (NM) ((p = 0.012), (p = 0.002), (p < 0.001)). HR was significantly higher with the SM compared to the NM condition (p = 0.027) (NM 107.18 ± 9.96) (SM 112.34 ± 10.28), but no significant difference was found when comparing the SM to the N95 condition or when comparing the N95condition to the NM condition. Watts increased across time in each condition (p = 0.003). Initially RR increased during the first 3 min of exercise (p < 0.001) with an overall gradual increase noted across time regardless of mask condition (p < 0.001). SpO2 significantly decreased across time but remained within normal limits (>95%). No significant difference was found in Watts, RR, or SpO2 regardless of mask condition. Overall, the N95mask was associated with increased RPE, RPD, and PetCO2 levels. This suggests trapping of CO2 inside the mask leading to increased RPE and RPD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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8 pages, 787 KiB  
Article
Performance Increases in Pair Skating and Ice Dance at International Championships and Olympic Games
by Thomas Rauer, Hans-Christoph Pape, Zoé Stehlin, Sandro Heining, Matthias Knobe, Tim Pohlemann and Bergita Ganse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11806; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811806 - 19 Sep 2022
Viewed by 1515
Abstract
In pair skating and ice dance, performance seems to have increased at international competitions, which is potentially associated with changes in athlete age. We hypothesized increasing age, numbers of total points and more complex jumps of the best elite couples at international championships [...] Read more.
In pair skating and ice dance, performance seems to have increased at international competitions, which is potentially associated with changes in athlete age. We hypothesized increasing age, numbers of total points and more complex jumps of the best elite couples at international championships in recent years. Corresponding data were assessed via the results databases of the European and World Championships, as well as the Winter Olympics since 2005. Linear regression statistics were conducted, and significance was assessed via one-way ANOVAs. There were no significant changes in age. Increases in total points were found in both disciplines (World and European Championships both p < 0.001 for both disciplines, Olympics pair skating p = 0.003, ice dance n/a). Significant increases were found in the number of double and triple twist jumps at the European Championships (Double p = 0.046, triple p = 0.041), but not at the World Championships or the Olympics. At the World Championships, single solo jumps decreased (p = 0.031) in favor of triple jumps, which increased (p = 0.020), without a similar effect at the European Championships or Olympics. In conclusion, increases in total points and more complex jumps were observed at international championships without associated changes in age. Attention should be given to possible changes in the incidence of acute and overuse injuries following this development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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10 pages, 949 KiB  
Article
Concurrent and Predictive Validity of an Exercise-Specific Scale for the Perception of Velocity in the Back Squat
by Ruggero Romagnoli, Sergio Civitella, Carlo Minganti and Maria Francesca Piacentini
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(18), 11440; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811440 - 11 Sep 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1871
Abstract
Background: the aim of the study was to develop and validate a specific perception velocity scale for the Back Squat exercise to discriminate the velocity of each repetition during a set. Methods: 31 resistance trained participants completed 3 evaluation sessions, consisting of 3 [...] Read more.
Background: the aim of the study was to develop and validate a specific perception velocity scale for the Back Squat exercise to discriminate the velocity of each repetition during a set. Methods: 31 resistance trained participants completed 3 evaluation sessions, consisting of 3 blinded loads (light, medium, heavy). For each repetition, barbell mean velocity (Vr) was measured with a linear position transducer while perceived velocity (Vp) was reported using the Squat Perception of Velocity (PV) Scale. Results: Pearson correlation coefficients (r) showed very high values for each intensity in the 3 different days (range r = 0.73–0.83) and practically perfect correlation for all loads (range r = 0.97–0.98). The simple linear regression analysis between Vp and Vr revealed values ranging from R2 = 0.53 to R2 = 0.69 in the 3 intensities and values ranging from R2 = 0.95 to R2 = 0.97 considering all loads. The reliability (ICC2.1, SEM) of Vp was tested for light (0.85, 0.03), medium (0.90, 0.03) and heavy loads (0.86, 0.03) and for all loads (0.99, 0.11). The delta score (ds = Vp − Vr) showed higher accuracy of the PV at heavy loads. Conclusions: these results show that the PV Squat Scale is a valid and reliable tool that can be used to accurately quantify exercise intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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24 pages, 2756 KiB  
Article
Physical, Psychological, and Body Composition Differences between Active and Sedentary Adolescents According to the “Fat but Fit” Paradigm
by Adrián Mateo-Orcajada, Raquel Vaquero-Cristóbal, Francisco Esparza-Ros and Lucía Abenza-Cano
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710797 - 30 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1828
Abstract
The practice of physical activity during adolescence is essential for the proper development of the population. In recent decades, the relevance of physical activity has been increasing, due to the development of the “fat but fit” paradigm. This paradigm shows that adolescents with [...] Read more.
The practice of physical activity during adolescence is essential for the proper development of the population. In recent decades, the relevance of physical activity has been increasing, due to the development of the “fat but fit” paradigm. This paradigm shows that adolescents with a high level of physical fitness are healthier than adolescents with poorer physical fitness, regardless of their weight, giving importance to sports practice over other aspects. However, few previous studies have analyzed the differences in physical and body composition between active and sedentary adolescents in this paradigm. For this reason, the objectives of the present study were to establish the differences in body composition, physical performance, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet between active and sedentary adolescents; and to analyze the differences between active and sedentary adolescents according to the “fat but fit” paradigm. The sample consisted of 791 adolescent whose body composition, level of physical activity, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, and physical fitness were measured. It was found significant between active and sedentary adolescents in most of the anthropometric, AMD, and physical fitness variables, with a significant effect of the covariates gender, age, BMI, and biological maturation on the model. The binary logistic regression analysis performed shows that anthropometric variables, AMD, and VO2 max can be considered as primary outcomes to distinguish between active and sedentary groups of adolescents. Furthermore, the results showed that the active adolescents, regardless of their weight status, had lower fat mass and greater muscle mass, as well as a higher performance in the physical fitness tests, and greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet than the sedentary adolescents. To conclude, the practice of physical activity is a determinant for the improvement of body composition, physical performance, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet of the adolescent population, regardless of their gender, age, weight, or maturity status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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11 pages, 351 KiB  
Article
Does the Back Plate Position Influence Swimming Start Temporal Characteristics?
by Daria Rudnik, Marek Rejman, Leandro Machado, Ricardo J. Fernandes and João Paulo Vilas-Boas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2722; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052722 - 26 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1679
Abstract
The current study examined the back plate position impact on the block phase movement pattern and total starting performance with a distinction for sex. Thirty-eight swimmers performed starts changing the back plate position (preferred position, one position forward and one position backward), with [...] Read more.
The current study examined the back plate position impact on the block phase movement pattern and total starting performance with a distinction for sex. Thirty-eight swimmers performed starts changing the back plate position (preferred position, one position forward and one position backward), with the data being assessed using a 3D dynamometric central and a video camera. In males, the 15 m start time was 0.1 s shorter for the preferred position compared with the backward position (p < 0.05). Regardless of the back plate positioning, the swimmers spent a similar time on the block. A more forward position of the back plate postponed the rear foot take-off and consequently reduced the front foot stand duration. A back plate position effect was revealed for those variables with a larger effect size in males whereas in females, a change of about two positions was needed to reach a significance level. Probably due to the specification of physical domains, a greater impact on the changes introduced was noted for males. Therefore, whilst searching for the optimal starting position, adjustments to the back plate placement might affect a greater number of males than females. To reinforce the starting optimization during the training process and its monitoring, the effect of personal preference toward the starting block setting was also considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
9 pages, 902 KiB  
Article
Small Relative Age Effect Appears in Professional Female Italian Team Sports
by Paolo Riccardo Brustio, Gennaro Boccia, Paolo De Pasquale, Corrado Lupo and Alexandru Nicolae Ungureanu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010385 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1615
Abstract
The relative age effect (RAE) concerns those (dis)advantages and outcomes resulting from an interaction between the dates of selection and birthdates. Although this phenomenon is well known in a male context, limited data are available in female sports. Thus, the aim of this [...] Read more.
The relative age effect (RAE) concerns those (dis)advantages and outcomes resulting from an interaction between the dates of selection and birthdates. Although this phenomenon is well known in a male context, limited data are available in female sports. Thus, the aim of this study was to quantify the prevalence and magnitude of the RAE in a female Italian context at the professional level in basketball, soccer, and volleyball. A total of 1535 birthdates of elite senior players were analyzed overall and separately between early and late career stages. Chi-square goodness-of-fit tests were applied to investigate the RAE in each sport. An asymmetry in birthdates was observed in all sports (Crammer’s V ranged = 0.10–0.12). Players born close to the beginning of the year were 1.62 and 1.61 times more likely to reach first and second Italian divisions of soccer and volleyball, respectively, than those born in the last part of the year. A small over-representation of female athletes born close to the beginning of the year is evident at the senior professional level in all Italian investigated team sports. In soccer, this trend was more evident in the first stage of a senior career. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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12 pages, 1511 KiB  
Article
Bioelectrical Impedance Vector Analysis of Young Elite Team Handball Players
by Andrea Di Credico, Giulia Gaggi, Anastasios Vamvakis, Sofia Serafini, Barbara Ghinassi, Angela Di Baldassarre and Pascal Izzicupo
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 12972; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182412972 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2527
Abstract
Team handball is a highly dynamic sport where physical demands differ between categories and roles. Thus, physical characteristics are fundamental for the final performance. This study aims to (a) characterize a sample of young male and female elite team handball players with a [...] Read more.
Team handball is a highly dynamic sport where physical demands differ between categories and roles. Thus, physical characteristics are fundamental for the final performance. This study aims to (a) characterize a sample of young male and female elite team handball players with a non-athletic reference population; (b) to generate their 50%, 75%, and 95% percentiles of the bioelectrical variables. The study included 55 young elite team handball players (Males, n = 37, age = 17.0 ± 1.2 yrs, height = 185.8 ± 7.3 cm, weight = 82.0 ± 11.0 kg, body mass index (BMI) = 23.7 ± 2.5; Females, n = 18, age = 17.8 ± 0.9 yrs, height = 171.2 ± 6.4 cm, weight = 67.4 ± 7.2 kg, BMI = 23.0 ± 2.0). Height and bioelectrical variables were assessed in a state of euhydration and standard conditions. Bioelectrical impedance vector analysis (BIVA) was used to characterize the bioelectrical vector (BIA vector) distribution pattern for each group. Compared to the reference values, BIA vector showed statistically significant differences in males U17 (n = 19, T2 = 51.0, p < 0.0001), males U19 (n = 18, T2 = 82.0, p < 0.0001) and females U19 (n = 18, T2 = 85.8, p < 0.0001). Male groups were also bioelectrically different (T2 = 13.7, p = 0.0036). BIVA showed specific bioelectrical characteristics in young male and female elite handball players. This study provides an original data set of bioelectrical impedance reference values of young male and female elite team handball players. Our result might help to interpret individual bioimpedance vectors and define target regions for young handball players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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8 pages, 1298 KiB  
Article
A Machine Learning Approach to Analyze Home Advantage during COVID-19 Pandemic Period with Regards to Margin of Victory and to Different Tournaments in Professional Rugby Union Competitions
by Alexandru Nicolae Ungureanu, Corrado Lupo and Paolo Riccardo Brustio
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12711; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312711 - 02 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1754
Abstract
Home advantage (HA) is the tendency for sporting teams to perform better at their home ground than away from home, it is also influenced by the crowd support, and its existence has been well established in a wide range of team sports including [...] Read more.
Home advantage (HA) is the tendency for sporting teams to perform better at their home ground than away from home, it is also influenced by the crowd support, and its existence has been well established in a wide range of team sports including rugby union. Among all the HA determinants, the positive contribute of the crowd support on the game outcome can be analyzed in the unique pandemic situation of COVID-19. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to analyze the HA of professional high-level rugby club competition from a complex dynamical system perspective before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. HA was analyzed in northern and southern hemisphere rugby tournaments with (2013–2019) and without (2020/21) crowd support by the means of the exhaustive chi-square automatic interaction detection (CHAID) decision trees (DT). HA was mitigated by the crowd absence especially in closed games, although differences between tournaments emerged. Both for northern and southern hemisphere, the effect of playing without the crowd support had a negative impact on the home team advantage. These findings evidenced that in ghost games, where differences in the final score were less than a converted try (7 points), HA has disappeared. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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9 pages, 1392 KiB  
Article
Pacing Profiles of Middle-Distance Running World Records in Men and Women
by Arturo Casado, Fernando González-Mohíno, José María González-Ravé and Daniel Boullosa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12589; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312589 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2465
Abstract
The aims of the current study were to compare the pacing patterns of all-time 800 m, 1500 m and mile running world records (WRs) and to determine whether differences exist between sexes, and if 800 m and 1500 m WRs were broken during [...] Read more.
The aims of the current study were to compare the pacing patterns of all-time 800 m, 1500 m and mile running world records (WRs) and to determine whether differences exist between sexes, and if 800 m and 1500 m WRs were broken during championship or meet races. Overall and lap times for men and women’s 800 m, 1500 m, and mile WRs from World Athletics were collected when available and subsequently compared. A fast initial 200 m segment and a decrease in speed throughout was found during 800 m WRs. Accordingly, the first 200 m and 400 m were faster than the last 200 m and 400 m, respectively (p < 0.001, 0.77 ≤ ES ≤ 1.86). The first 400 m and 409 m for 1500 m and mile WRs, respectively, were faster than the second lap (p < 0.001, 0.74 ≤ ES ≤ 1.46). The third 400 m lap was slower than the last 300 m lap and 400 m lap for 1500 m and mile WRs, respectively (p < 0.001, 0.48 ≤ ES ≤ 1.09). No relevant sex-based differences in pacing strategy were found in any event. However, the first 409 m lap was faster than the last 400 m lap for men but not for women during mile WRs. Women achieved a greater % of WRs than men during championships (80% vs. 45.83% in the 800 m, and 63.63% vs. 31.58% in the 1500 m, respectively). In conclusion, positive, reverse J-shaped and U-shaped pacing profiles were used to break 800 m, men’s mile and 1500 m, and women’s mile WRs, respectively. WRs are more prone to be broken during championships by women than men. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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12 pages, 1043 KiB  
Article
Influence of Congested Match Schedules, Pre-Match Well-Being and Level of Opponents on Match Loads during World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series
by Daniele Conte, Aristide Guerriero, Corrado Lupo, Ademir Felipe Schultz Arruda and Paulius Kamarauskas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(22), 12132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182212132 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1821
Abstract
This study aimed at assessing (1) the effect of congested match schedules on match loads and well-being as well as (2) pre-match well-being and level of opponents on match loads in elite women’s rugby sevens. Eleven players of the Brazilian women’s rugby sevens [...] Read more.
This study aimed at assessing (1) the effect of congested match schedules on match loads and well-being as well as (2) pre-match well-being and level of opponents on match loads in elite women’s rugby sevens. Eleven players of the Brazilian women’s rugby sevens national team were investigated across three 2019-20 HSVC World Rugby Women’s Seven Series tournaments to assess: (1) within-tournament match-to-match changes in various external and internal match load measures; (2) daily changes in players’ well-being collected before the commencement of a tournament (day one) and during or post-tournament (day two to day four); and (3) the effect of pre-match well-being and level of opponents (high vs. low level) on match loads. Results revealed no between-match significant differences (p > 0.05) in most of the investigated match load measures. A congested match schedule negatively affected perceived fatigue (p < 0.001), muscle soreness (p = 0.004) and overall wellness (p < 0.001), with post hoc analyses showing decreased values on day four compared to previous days (small-to-moderate effect sizes). Finally, pre-match well-being and level of opponents did not affect match loads (p > 0.05). These results highlighted the necessity to embrace a multidimensional approach when adopting monitoring systems in elite women’s rugby sevens during tournaments and to consider various contextual factors possibly affecting match loads, besides those investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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Review

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15 pages, 3854 KiB  
Review
Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Plyometric Training on Lower Limb Explosive Strength in Adolescent Athletes
by Lunxin Chen, Zhiyong Zhang, Zijing Huang, Qun Yang, Chong Gao, Hongshen Ji, Jian Sun and Duanying Li
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20031849 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2931
Abstract
Background: Plyometric training is an effective training method to improve explosive strength. However, the ability to perform plyometric training in the adolescent population is still controversial, with insufficient meta-analyses about plyometric training on lower limb explosive strength in adolescent athletes. Objective: To investigate [...] Read more.
Background: Plyometric training is an effective training method to improve explosive strength. However, the ability to perform plyometric training in the adolescent population is still controversial, with insufficient meta-analyses about plyometric training on lower limb explosive strength in adolescent athletes. Objective: To investigate the influence of plyometric training on the explosive strength of lower limbs in adolescent athletes. Methods: We performed a search of six databases (Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest databases, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and Wan-fang database) from the starting year of inclusion in each database to April 4, 2022. The quality of the included literature was assessed using the Cochrane risk assessment tool, and data were analyzed using the Review Manager 5.4 software. Result: Plyometric training had significant effects on the performance of adolescent athletes in countermovement jump (MD = 2.74, 95% CI: 1.62, 3.85, p < 0.01), squat jump (MD = 4.37, 95% CI: 2.85, 5.90, p < 0.01), standing long jump (MD = 6.50, 95% CI: 4.62, 8.38, p < 0.01), 10-m sprint (MD = −0.04, 95% CI: −0.08, −0.00, p = 0.03), and 20-m sprint (MD = −0.12, 95% CI: −0.20, −0.04, p = 0.03); all had positive and statistically significant effects (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Plyometric training can significantly enhance the explosive strength of lower limbs in adolescent athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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27 pages, 805 KiB  
Review
The Role of Facebook® in Promoting a Physically Active Lifestyle: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by Federica Duregon, Valentina Bullo, Andrea Di Blasio, Lucia Cugusi, Martina Pizzichemi, Salvatore Sciusco, Gianluca Viscioni, David Cruz-Diaz, Danilo Sales Bocalini, Alessandro Bortoletto, Francesco Favro, Cristine Lima Alberton, Stefano Gobbo and Marco Bergamin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9794; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169794 - 09 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
Background: it is well known in literature that sedentary lifestyle contributes to worsening people’s health. This issue highlights the need for effective interventions to promote an active lifestyle. Research suggested multilevel intervention strategies to promote adherence to recommended physical activity levels, including the [...] Read more.
Background: it is well known in literature that sedentary lifestyle contributes to worsening people’s health. This issue highlights the need for effective interventions to promote an active lifestyle. Research suggested multilevel intervention strategies to promote adherence to recommended physical activity levels, including the use of social networks that may simplify access to health notions. Being Facebook® the most extensive worldwide social network, this document aimed to analyze the current body of evidence on the role of Facebook® in the promotion of physical activity. Methods: eighteen manuscripts were considered eligible for this systematic review, and it was performed a meta-analysis (PRISMA guidelines) for overall physical activity parameters in eleven out of eighteen studies. Results: significant improvements were detected in the total amount of physical activity. In parallel, an increase in other parameters, such as cardiovascular, body composition, and social support, were found. The aerobic training, with supervised and tailored modalities, showed more considerable improvements. Conclusions: this study showed that Facebook® might be considered a feasible and accessible approach to promoting regular exercise practice and achieving health benefits indicators. Future research on the cross-link between physical activity and social network management could also focus on strength training to verify if a more structured intervention would show an effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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Other

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11 pages, 978 KiB  
Systematic Review
Recreational Skydiving—Really That Dangerous? A Systematic Review
by Christiane Barthel, Sacha Halvachizadeh, Jamison G. Gamble, Hans-Christoph Pape and Thomas Rauer
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(2), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20021254 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2137
Abstract
Skydiving have gained mainstream popularity over the past decades. However, limited data exist on the injury risk or type associated with skydiving. This systematic review evaluated the injuries and fatalities of civilian skydivers. A PRISMA-guided literature search was performed in MEDLINE, Web of [...] Read more.
Skydiving have gained mainstream popularity over the past decades. However, limited data exist on the injury risk or type associated with skydiving. This systematic review evaluated the injuries and fatalities of civilian skydivers. A PRISMA-guided literature search was performed in MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Embase using the following MeSH terms: “skydiving” or “parachute” alone or in combination with “injury” or “trauma” was performed including all studies through June 2022 in both English and German. Additionally, injury reports from the German, American, and British Parachute Associations were reviewed. Of the 277 articles matching the selected search terms, 10 original articles and 34 non-scientific reports from various skydiving associations were included. More than 62 million jumps were evaluated, with an average of 3,200,000 jumps per year, which showed an average injury rate of 0.044% and an average fatality rate of 0.0011%. The most common injuries sustained by recreational skydivers involved the lumbar spine and lower extremities. Injuries were most commonly reported during the landing sequence. With modern equipment and training methods, fatalities occur in less than 1 per 100,000 cases, and serious injuries requiring hospitalization in less than 2 per 10,000 cases. This puts the assessment of skydiving as a high-risk sport into perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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10 pages, 1338 KiB  
Protocol
The Effect of a Combined Exercise Program on Postural Control and Fine Motor Skills in Parkinson’s Disease: Study Design
by Marianna De Maio, Loriana Castellani, Lucia Cugusi, Cristina Cortis and Andrea Fusco
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(22), 15216; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215216 - 18 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1984
Abstract
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive and neurodegenerative disorder defined by physical symptoms such as hand disability and postural instability. To counteract the detrimental effects of PD, physical activity programs showed improvements in overall aspects of physical functioning. Therefore, this protocol will aim [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive and neurodegenerative disorder defined by physical symptoms such as hand disability and postural instability. To counteract the detrimental effects of PD, physical activity programs showed improvements in overall aspects of physical functioning. Therefore, this protocol will aim to evaluate the effect a of postural and fine motor skills training program in older adults with PD. PD individuals, with mild to moderate stage PD, aged between 65 to 80 years, will be voluntary selected from the Nursing Home Residences and Rehabilitation Centers. Subsequently, they will be randomly assigned to intervention group (PD) to receive a combined training program (postural control and fine motor skills exercises) or to the Control group (CON) to receive a stretching program. Before (PRE) and after (POST) a 12-week program both groups will perform wobble board (WB) and grooved pegboard (GPT) tests. Different performances between groups will be expected: (1) no significant differences between PD and CON group for WB and GPT test values before the beginning of the training intervention (PRE); (2) significantly better WB and GPT test values in PD subjects after the training intervention (POST) when compared to the base values (PRE); and (3) no significant differences in WB and GPT test values in CON subjects after the training intervention (POST) when compared to the base values (PRE). The findings of the present study protocol could be used for future studies investigating clinical populations, such as PD, and the effects of different rehabilitative interventions aiming to improve postural control and fine motor skills performances assessed by WB and GPT tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Sport, Performance and Physical Fitness)
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