Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 August 2021) | Viewed by 45662

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Disabled people compete at high levels in several sport disciplines and physical activity for this population has become a high interest area of study in biomechanics. However, the traditional research approach in biomechanics needs to be adapted to cope with the unique requirements of disabled people. In order to help them with their functional disabilities, researchers need to re-think their methods of investigations. Paralympic athletes compete in both individual and team sports, locomotive and non-locomotive disciplines, short-lasting high-intensity and long-lasting low-intensity efforts, etc. Sport is acknowledged as being of immense value to sedentary disabled people as well. As is already the case with able-bodied people, sports science is in part required to support performance improvement. This applies to both training and racing among other sport disciplines.

The following are examples of some of the potential topics in sports biomechanics for disabled people: How much mechanical and metabolic work/power is needed in different sports; how do mechanical and metabolic work/power relate to each other; how is motor control successfully managed in different sports; how can sports equipment be adapted to users; and which are the most effective testing and training protocols.

The aim of this Special Issue is to advance knowledge regarding biomechanics for disabled people practicing sport or simply exercising for fitness or entertainment purposes, in terms of testing and training assessment.

Prof. Luca Paolo Ardigo
Guest Editor

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 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

  • physical activity
  • metabolic expenditure
  • motor control
  • sport technology
  • testing
  • training
  • disabled

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 185 KiB  
Editorial
Special Issue “Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People”
by Luca Paolo Ardigò, Ibrahim Ouergui, Johnny Padulo, Hadi Nobari and Damiano Formenti
Sports 2021, 9(12), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9120161 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 3068
Abstract
Disabled people compete at high levels in several sport disciplines and physical activity for this population has become a high interest area of study in biomechanics [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)

Research

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12 pages, 1023 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Training with Elastic Bands on Strength and Fatigue Indicators in Paralympic Powerlifting
by Felipe J. Aidar, Filipe Manuel Clemente, Luiz Fernandes de Lima, Dihogo Gama de Matos, Alexandre Reis Pires Ferreira, Anderson Carlos Marçal, Osvaldo Costa Moreira, Alexandre Bulhões-Correia, Paulo Francisco de Almeida-Neto, Alfonso López Díaz-de-Durana, Eduardo Borba Neves, Breno Guilherme Araújo Tinoco Cabral, Victor Machado Reis, Nuno Domingos Garrido, Pantelis Theo Nikolaidis and Beat Knechtle
Sports 2021, 9(10), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9100142 - 12 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3852
Abstract
Background: Variable resistance training has recently become a component of strength and conditioning programs. Objective: This randomized counterbalanced cross-over study aimed to investigate the use of elastic bands (EB) and the traditional method (TRAD) and force indicators in a training session. Methods: 12 [...] Read more.
Background: Variable resistance training has recently become a component of strength and conditioning programs. Objective: This randomized counterbalanced cross-over study aimed to investigate the use of elastic bands (EB) and the traditional method (TRAD) and force indicators in a training session. Methods: 12 Paralympic athletes (age: 28.60 ± 7.60 years) participated in this three-week study. In the first week, the participants were familiarized with EB and TRAD and were tested for maximal repetition (1-RM). The research occurred in weeks 2 and 3, which included the pre-post training, during which the following measures were extracted: maximum isometric force (MIF), the peak torque (PT), rate of force development (RFD), fatigue index (FI), and time to MIF (Time). The athletes performed two tests, EB and TRAD, separated by a one-week interval. Results: Significant differences were found between the pre- and post-test for 1RM (p = 0.018, η2p = 0.412), MIF (p = 0.011, η2p = 0.415), PT (p = 0.012, η2p = 0.413), and RFD (p = 0.0002, η2p = 0.761). With the use of EB, there was a difference in RFD between TRAD before and EB after (p = 0.016, η2p = 0.761). There were significant differences in the before and after for FI between TRAD and EB (p < 0.001) and for Time (p < 0.001), indicating that training with the use of elastic bands promotes overload, characterized by increased fatigue and decreased strength. Conclusions: Training with EB did not decrease 1RM, PT, MIF or RFD, however, there was an increase in fatigue and time to reach MIF when compared to the method with fixed resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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10 pages, 1496 KiB  
Article
Transversus Abdominis Thickness at Rest and Exercise in Individuals with Poststroke Hemiparesis
by Anna Kelli, Eleftherios Kellis, Nikiforos Galanis, Konstantinos Dafkou, Chrysostomos Sahinis and Athanasios Ellinoudis
Sports 2020, 8(6), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8060086 - 12 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2623
Abstract
The activity of the transverse abdominal (TrA) muscle affects the stabilization of the trunk. It is known that after a stroke, people experience problems in performing daily activities. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are differences in the transversus [...] Read more.
The activity of the transverse abdominal (TrA) muscle affects the stabilization of the trunk. It is known that after a stroke, people experience problems in performing daily activities. The purpose of this study was to examine whether there are differences in the transversus abdominal thickness between the two sides of the body in individuals with hemiparesis and controls. Eight patients with hemiparesis and nine controls matched for age and body mass index were examined by musculoskeletal ultrasound in four conditions: a) At rest, b) abdominal hollowing maneuver from the supine position, c) bridge, and d) abdominal hollowing maneuver from the bridge position. In each of the above conditions, the symmetry index was calculated as the absolute value of the difference in thickness between the two sides. Analysis of variance showed a lower TrA thickness at rest and exercise in patients compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Further, patients showed a lower contraction thickness ratio during exercise compared to controls (p < 0.05). The absolute symmetry of the TrA thickness was 12.59 ± 6.43% to 19.31 ± 10.43% in patients and it was significantly greater than the control group (3.01 ± 2.47% to 4.47 ± 2.87%). According to the above results, it seems that transverse abdominal activation exercises are particularly useful for improving the stability of patients with hemiparesis, as long as they are located and adapted to the deficit of each patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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9 pages, 8116 KiB  
Article
Bioenergetics and Biomechanics of Handcycling at Submaximal Speeds in Athletes with a Spinal Cord Injury
by Gabriela Fischer, Pedro Figueiredo and Luca Paolo Ardigò
Sports 2020, 8(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports8020016 - 29 Jan 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3754
Abstract
Background: This study aimed at comparing bioenergetics and biomechanical parameters between athletes with tetraplegia and paraplegia riding race handbikes at submaximal speeds in ecological conditions. Methods: Five athletes with tetraplegia (C6-T1, 43 ± 6 yrs, 63 ± 14 kg) and 12 athletes with [...] Read more.
Background: This study aimed at comparing bioenergetics and biomechanical parameters between athletes with tetraplegia and paraplegia riding race handbikes at submaximal speeds in ecological conditions. Methods: Five athletes with tetraplegia (C6-T1, 43 ± 6 yrs, 63 ± 14 kg) and 12 athletes with paraplegia (T4-S5, 44 ± 7 yrs, 72 ± 12 kg) rode their handbikes at submaximal speeds under metabolic measurements. A deceleration method (coasting down) was applied to calculate the rolling resistance and frontal picture of each participant was taken to calculate air resistance. The net overall Mechanical Efficiency (Eff) was calculated by dividing external mechanical work to the corresponding Metabolic Power. Results: Athletes with tetraplegia reached a lower aerobic speed (4.7 ± 0.6 m s−1 vs. 7.1 ± 0.9 m s−1, P = 0.001) and Mechanical Power (54 ± 15 W vs. 111 ± 25 W, P = 0.001) compared with athletes with paraplegia. The metabolic cost was around 1 J kg−1 m−1 for both groups. The Eff values (17 ± 2% vs. 19 ± 3%, P = 0.262) suggested that the handbike is an efficient assisted locomotion device. Conclusion: Handbikers with tetraplegia showed lower aerobic performances but a similar metabolic cost compared with handbikers with paraplegia at submaximal speeds in ecological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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11 pages, 1437 KiB  
Article
Kinematic and Kinetic Analyses of the Vertical Jump with and without Header as Performed by Para-Footballers with Cerebral Palsy
by Raúl Reina, José L.L. Elvira, Manuel Valverde, Alba Roldán and Javier Yanci
Sports 2019, 7(9), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7090209 - 12 Sep 2019
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5893
Abstract
Vertical jump is a relevant variable in the classification of football for individuals with cerebral palsy. In this regard, the literature is limited. There are no studies assessing vertical jumping ability through kinematic methods and in more specific football game situations, such as [...] Read more.
Vertical jump is a relevant variable in the classification of football for individuals with cerebral palsy. In this regard, the literature is limited. There are no studies assessing vertical jumping ability through kinematic methods and in more specific football game situations, such as jumps with a header. The goals of the present study were to assess how the modification of jumping conditions (without and with a header) might affect the kinematic and kinetic parameters of counter movement jumping, and whether the functional profiles of the players constrain their ability to jump vertically, both with and without a header. Thirteen male football players with cerebral palsy (27.7 ± 5.7 years old) and different functional profiles participated in this study. All the players performed ten counter movement jumps with arms swing, five headed a ball and five did not. The kinematic parameters were recorded with a 3D motion analysis system, and the kinetic parameters using a force platform. Significantly smaller angles of the hips (dg = 0.75–0.79; p < 0.01) and knees (dg = 1.04–1.15; p < 0.05), as well as greater ankle extension (dg = −0.71; p < 0.05), were observed during the eccentric phase of the jumps with a header. There were also asymmetries between legs in ankle extension during jumps with a header (dg = −1.06; p < 0.05), which could be an adjustment element for the precision of the jumps (i.e., header action). It should be mentioned that the jumping pattern could be partially affected by the functional profile of football players with cerebral palsy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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12 pages, 518 KiB  
Article
Effect of a Home-based Exercise Program on Shoulder Pain and Range of Motion in Elite Wheelchair Basketball Players: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial
by Saleky García-Gómez, Javier Pérez-Tejero, Marco Hoozemans and Rubén Barakat
Sports 2019, 7(8), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7080180 - 24 Jul 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5901
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of a 10 week shoulder home based exercise program (SHEP) on shoulder pain (SP) and range of motion (ROM) in a group of elite wheelchair basketball (WB) players. A convenience sample of [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of a 10 week shoulder home based exercise program (SHEP) on shoulder pain (SP) and range of motion (ROM) in a group of elite wheelchair basketball (WB) players. A convenience sample of elite WB players (n = 36, 15 males and 21 females), mean age of 26 years (SD 7.6, range 15–45)) were assigned to either an exercise or a control group, according to the use of the wheelchair during daily activities. The shoulder pain index for wheelchair basketball players (SPI-WB), functional tests and ROM were measured at baseline and after a 10 week intervention. In the analysis of the SPI-WB scores, for the exercise and control groups separately, there were no significant reductions of SPI-WB scores after intervention. Related to the analysis between groups after 10 weeks of intervention, there were no significant differences in changes between the exercise and control groups (Z = 0.840, p > 0.05, r = 0.743). In this regard, there was a significant change after the intervention for shoulder extension ROM (Z = 2.81, p ≤ 0.05, r = 0.249). Shoulder Pain did not increase along the 10 weeks of the SHEP development in WB players who reported SP before the intervention program. However, in those players who started the intervention without SP, as no increase in SP was observed and players were free of injury. An exercise program could be a tool to maintain shoulder health and prevent injuries in elite WB players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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7 pages, 507 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Different Field Test Performance Measures in Elite Goalball Players
by Gabriel Goulart-Siqueira, Stefano Benítez-Flores, Alexandre R. P. Ferreira, Alessandro M. Zagatto, Carl Foster and Daniel Boullosa
Sports 2019, 7(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7010006 - 28 Dec 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 4935
Abstract
Goalball is a Paralympic sport involving people with visual impairment. Little is known about the physical fitness of elite players of this sport, as previous studies only evaluated body composition and aerobic capacity. Thus, the aim of this study was to describe the [...] Read more.
Goalball is a Paralympic sport involving people with visual impairment. Little is known about the physical fitness of elite players of this sport, as previous studies only evaluated body composition and aerobic capacity. Thus, the aim of this study was to describe the performance of elite goalball players in different physical tests and to look for relationships between them. Eleven elite Brazilian goalball players, seven males and four females, were evaluated for body composition, maximal handgrip isometric force (MHGF), countermovement jump (CMJ), throwing velocity (TV) and the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1). Players produced 41.54 ± 8.41 kgf in MHGF, 34.81 ± 7.2 cm in CMJ, 14.21 ± 1.89 m∙s−1 in TV, and 505 ± 313 m in Yo-Yo IR1, with an estimated maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) of 40.64 ± 2.63 mL∙kg−1∙min−1. Most performance tests exhibited moderate to high correlations among them, while the percentage of body fat correlated with both the CMJ and Yo-Yo IR1 results. The current study reveals that CMJ could be a valuable monitoring tool as it was correlated with all other performance tests. The highest correlation observed was with TV (r = 0.754; p < 0.05), which is a key capacity in goalball. Moreover, high levels of body fat could be detrimental to anaerobic performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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Review

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16 pages, 398 KiB  
Review
Prescription and Effects of Strength Training in Individuals with Intellectual Disability—A Systematic Review
by Miguel Jacinto, Rafael Oliveira, João P. Brito, Alexandre D. Martins, Rui Matos and José Pedro Ferreira
Sports 2021, 9(9), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9090125 - 04 Sep 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 5116
Abstract
The practice of physical exercise (PE), especially strength training (ST), has health benefits in the healthy population; however, the literature is scarce in the recommendations related to the population with intellectual disability (ID). This study represents the first analysis on the topic and [...] Read more.
The practice of physical exercise (PE), especially strength training (ST), has health benefits in the healthy population; however, the literature is scarce in the recommendations related to the population with intellectual disability (ID). This study represents the first analysis on the topic and aims to examine the structure and efficacy of ST experimental intervention programs in individuals with ID. This systematic review was carried out between January and April 2021, using the PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and SPORTDiscus databases, according to the PRISMA guidelines. From a total of 166 studies, eight were included in the present systematic review. The studies included a total of 280 individuals (18.23 ± 2.86 years old). The main features of the exercise programs are: 12 weeks average duration, three weekly sessions of 45–60 min, six to seven exercises targeting the main muscle groups, two to three sets, 6–12 repetitions, and avoiding free weights for safety reasons. The main results showed increments in strength, balance and fat-free mass and decrements in fat mass and waist circumference. It is a useful guideline for PE technicians to prescribe and adjust correctly in order to not only promote physical fitness, but improve the quality of life of individuals with ID. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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15 pages, 644 KiB  
Review
How Can Biomechanics Improve Physical Preparation and Performance in Paralympic Athletes? A Narrative Review
by Jared R. Fletcher, Tessa Gallinger and Francois Prince
Sports 2021, 9(7), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports9070089 - 24 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 8462
Abstract
Recent research in Paralympic biomechanics has offered opportunities for coaches, athletes, and sports practitioners to optimize training and performance, and recent systematic reviews have served to summarize the state of the evidence connecting biomechanics to Paralympic performance. This narrative review serves to provide [...] Read more.
Recent research in Paralympic biomechanics has offered opportunities for coaches, athletes, and sports practitioners to optimize training and performance, and recent systematic reviews have served to summarize the state of the evidence connecting biomechanics to Paralympic performance. This narrative review serves to provide a comprehensive and critical evaluation of the evidence related to biomechanics and Paralympic performance published since 2016. The main themes within this review focus on sport-specific body posture: the standing, sitting, and horizontal positions of current summer Paralympic sports. For standing sports, sprint and jump mechanics were assessed in athletes with cerebral palsy and in lower-limb amputee athletes using running-specific prostheses. Our findings suggest that running and jumping-specific prostheses should be ‘tuned’ to each athlete depending on specific event demands to optimize performance. Standing sports were also inclusive to athletes with visual impairments. Sitting sports comprise of athletes performing on a bike, in a wheelchair (WC), or in a boat. WC configuration is deemed an important consideration for injury prevention, mobility, and performance. Other sitting sports like hand-cycling, rowing, and canoeing/kayaking should focus on specific sitting positions (e.g., arm-crank position, grip, or seat configuration) and ways to reduce aero/hydrodynamic drag. Para-swimming practitioners should consider athlete-specific impairments, including asymmetrical anthropometrics, on the swim-start and free-swim velocities, with special considerations for drag factors. Taken together, we provide practitioners working in Paralympic sport with specific considerations on disability and event-specific training modalities and equipment configurations to optimize performance from a biomechanical perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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