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1.  A pilot study on the effects of pre‐event manipulation on jump height and running velocity 
British Journal of Sports Medicine  2006;40(11):947-949.
To compare changes in jump height and running velocity with and without pre‐event high‐velocity, low‐amplitude manipulation (HVLA).
A crossover study design with elite healthy athletes was used. After a 15 min warm‐up, the subjects were tested for countermovement jump height (CMJ) and flying 40 m sprint time (SPRINT). A sport chiropractor then evaluated each subject. Subjects were randomised to either HVLA (applied to joints based on examination) or placebo (simulated performance‐enhancement stickers). They then rested for 60 min, performed another 15 min warm‐up, and were retested. The protocol was repeated 48 h later with the alternative intervention. The mean of two sprints and three jumps were analysed, as well as peak performances. The sample size was based on prior results from the effects of stretching.
19 subjects involved in sprint sports were enrolled; two were too sore to participate on day 2, and one could only participate in the jump (all had HVLA on day 1). Of the 17 participants analysed, seven were female, age range was 19–35, and 17 were national or world‐class athletes. The ranges for baseline measures were: SPRINT 4.1–5.5 s; CMJ 47.4–92.7 cm. Overall, the greater than expected variability in this pilot study led to the study being underpowered. Subjects tended to perform better after HVLA for both CMJ and SPRINT (both mean and peak results), but none of the results were statistically significant (p  =  0.30–0.61).
Although the larger than expected variability in the pilot study means that the observed clinically relevant differences were not statistically significant, the direction and magnitude of the changes associated with HVLA suggest that it may be beneficial. That said, the increased soreness after HVLA suggests that it may be detrimental. HVLA warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC2465028  PMID: 16954128
performance enhancement; elite athlete; crossover; manipulation
2.  Effects of Dynamic and Static Stretching Within General and Activity Specific Warm-Up Protocols 
The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of static and dynamic stretching protocols within general and activity specific warm-ups. Nine male and ten female subjects were tested under four warm-up conditions including a 1) general aerobic warm-up with static stretching, 2) general aerobic warm-up with dynamic stretching, 3) general and specific warm-up with static stretching and 4) general and specific warm-up with dynamic stretching. Following all conditions, subjects were tested for movement time (kicking movement of leg over 0.5 m distance), countermovement jump height, sit and reach flexibility and 6 repetitions of 20 metre sprints. Results indicated that when a sport specific warm-up was included, there was an 0.94% improvement (p = 0.0013) in 20 meter sprint time with both the dynamic and static stretch groups. No such difference in sprint performance between dynamic and static stretch groups existed in the absence of the sport specific warm-up. The static stretch condition increased sit and reach range of motion (ROM) by 2.8% more (p = 0.0083) than the dynamic condition. These results would support the use of static stretching within an activity specific warm-up to ensure maximal ROM along with an enhancement in sprint performance.
Key pointsActivity specific warm-up may improve sprint performance.Static stretching was more effective than dynamic stretching for increasing static range of motion.There was no effect of the warm-up protocols on countermovement jump height or movement time.
PMCID: PMC3737866  PMID: 24149201
Flexibility; sports performance; jumps; reaction time
3.  Short Durations of Static Stretching when Combined with Dynamic Stretching do not Impair Repeated Sprints and Agility 
This study aimed to compare the effect of different static stretching durations followed by dynamic stretching on repeated sprint ability (RSA) and change of direction (COD). Twenty-five participants performed the RSA and COD tests in a randomized order. After a 5 min aerobic warm up, participants performed one of the three static stretching protocols of 30 s, 60 s or 90 s total duration (3 stretches x 10 s, 20 s or 30 s). Three dynamic stretching exercises of 30 s duration were then performed (90 s total). Sit-and-reach flexibility tests were conducted before the aerobic warm up, after the combined static and dynamic stretching, and post- RSA/COD test. The duration of static stretching had a positive effect on flexibility with 36.3% and 85.6% greater sit-and-reach scores with the 60 s and 90 s static stretching conditions respectively than with the 30 s condition (p ≤ 0.001). However there were no significant differences in RSA and COD performance between the 3 stretching conditions. The lack of change in RSA and COD might be attributed to a counterbalancing of static and dynamic stretching effects. Furthermore, the short duration (≤ 90 s) static stretching may not have provided sufficient stimulus to elicit performance impairments.
Key pointsThe duration of combined static and dynamic stretching had a positive effect on flexibility with 36.3% and 85.6% greater sit and reach scores with the 60 s and 90 s static stretching conditions respectively than with the 30 s condition (p ≤ 0.001).No significant differences in RSA and COD between the 3 stretching conditions.The lack of change in RSA and COD might be attributed to a counterbalancing of static and dynamic stretching effects.The short duration (≤ 90 s) static stretching may not have provided sufficient stimulus to elicit performance impairments.
PMCID: PMC3761850  PMID: 24149890
Flexibility; agility; running; stretch duration; stretch intensity
4.  The Effect of Immediate Post-Training Active and Passive Recovery Interventions on Anaerobic Performance and Lower Limb Flexibility in Professional Soccer Players 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2012;31:121-129.
The capacity to recover from intense training, competition and matches is considered an important determinant in soccer performance. At present, there is no consensus on the effect of post-training recovery interventions on subsequent training session. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of active (12 min submaximal running and 8 min of static stretching) and passive recovery (20 min sitting on a bench) interventions performed immediately after a training session on anaerobic performances (CMJ, 20 m sprint and Balsom agility test) and lower limb flexibility 24 h after the training. During two experimental sessions, 31 professional soccer players participated in a randomized fully controlled trial design. The first session was designed to evaluate the player’s anaerobic performances and lower limb flexibility (pretest). After baseline measurements, participants performed a standardized soccer training during which heart rate and RPE were recorded to evaluate the training load. At the end of the training unit all players were randomly assigned to the active recovery group and the passive recovery group. A second experimental session was organized to obtain the posttest values. Players performed the same test, administered in the same order than in the first trial. No significant differences between groups were observed in heart rate and RPE. No significant effect due to recovery interventions was found on lower limb flexibility and anaerobic performances except CMJ that posttest value was significantly greater in the active recovery group than in the passive group (p < 0.05).
PMCID: PMC3588659  PMID: 23486836
soccer; recovery; cool-down; fatigue
5.  Changes in Cardiac Tone Regulation with Fatigue after Supra-Maximal Running Exercise 
The Scientific World Journal  2011;2012:281265.
To investigate the effects of fatigue and metabolite accumulation on the postexercicse parasympathetic reactivation, 11 long-sprint runners performed on an outdoor track an exhaustive 400 m long sprint event and a 300 m with the same 400 m pacing strategy. Time constant of heart rate recovery (HRRτ), time (RMSSD), and frequency (HF, and LF) varying vagal-related heart rate variability indexes were assessed during the 7 min period immediately following exercise. Biochemical parameters (blood lactate, pH, PO2, PCO2, SaO2, and HCO3−) were measured at 1, 4 and 7 min after exercise. Time to perform 300 m was not significantly different between both running trials. HHRτ measured after the 400 m running exercise was longer compared to 300 m running bouts (183.7 ± 11.6 versus 132.1 ± 9.8 s, P < 0.01). Absolute power density in the LF and HF bands was also lower after 400 m compared to the 300 m trial (P < 0.05). No correlation was found between biochemical and cardiac recovery responses except for the PO2 values which were significantly correlated with HF levels measured 4 min after both bouts. Thus, it appears that fatigue rather than metabolic stresses occurring during a supramaximal exercise could explain the delayed postexercise parasympathetic reactivation in longer sprint runs.
PMCID: PMC3361189  PMID: 22666098
6.  A Comparison of the Immediate Effects of Eccentric Training vs Static Stretch on Hamstring Flexibility in High School and College Athletes 
A pre-event static stretching program is often used to prepare an athlete for competition. Recent studies have suggested that static stretching may not be an effective method for stretching the muscle prior to competition.
The intent of this study was to compare the immediate effect of static stretching, eccentric training, and no stretching/training on hamstring flexibility in high school and college athletes.
Seventy-five athletes, with a mean age of 17.22 (+/- 1.30) were randomly assigned to one of three groups - thirty- second static stretch one time, an eccentric training protocol through a full range of motion, and a control group. All athletes had limited hamstring flexibility, defined as a 20° loss of knee extension measured with the femur held at 90° of hip flexion.
A significant difference was indicated by follow up analysis between the control group (gain = -1.08°) and both the static stretch (gain = 5.05°) and the eccentric training group (gain = 9.48°). In addition, the gains in the eccentric training group were significantly greater than the static stretch group.
Discussion and Conclusion
The findings of this study reveal that one session of eccentrically training through a full range of motion improved hamstring flexibility better than the gains made by a static stretch group or a control group.
PMCID: PMC2953312  PMID: 21522215
7.  A laboratory running test: metabolic responses of sprint and endurance trained athletes. 
A laboratory-based sprint running test has been devised to examine the performance characteristics and metabolic responses of an individual to 30 seconds of maximal exercise. A non-motorised treadmill was used so that the individual was able to sprint at his own chosen speed and also to vary his speed as fatigue occurred. The treadmill was instrumented so that the chosen speeds as well as the equivalent distance travelled could be monitored by micro-computer throughout the test. The test-retest reliability of the procedure was investigated with 14 recreational runners who performed the test on different days. A good correlation (r = 0.93) was found between the values obtained for peak running speeds on the two occasions. In an attempt to establish whether or not this test could be used to identify the differences in the performance characteristics of highly trained individuals, the responses to the test of eleven sprint trained and eleven endurance trained athletes were examined. The sprint trained athletes covered a greater distance (162.2 +/- 5.95 m vis 153.51 +/- 12.32 m; p less than 0.01) and had higher blood lactate concentrations (16.52 +/- 1.23 mM vis 12.98 +/- 1.77 mM; p less than 0.01) than the endurance trained athletes. Therefore this laboratory sprint running test offers an additional way of investigating human responses to brief periods of high intensity exercise.
PMCID: PMC1478520  PMID: 4027498
8.  The Effects of Different Stretching Techniques of the Quadriceps Muscles on Agility Performance in Female Collegiate Soccer Athletes: A Pilot Study 
Stretching has long been an integral component of pre-performance activities for a multitude of athletic endeavors. Previous research has demonstrated that stretching may have detrimental effects on performance. Specific knowledge of the precise effects of stretching may influence the decision to appropriately apply stretching techniques in the sport and therapeutic settings.
The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the effects of static stretching, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (contract-relax) stretching, and no stretching of the quadriceps muscle group on agility performance.
Twelve healthy, female, collegiate soccer players aged 18 – 25 performed one of the three stretching protocols (static, contract-relax, no stretch) and the agility test (T-test) on three non-consecutive days. Agility times were recorded and compared based on stretching technique and day that each test was performed.
No significant difference was found among the means of the different stretching techniques. The t-test agility performance times were as follows: control, =9.7 seconds; static stretch, =9.73 seconds; and contract-relax, =9.62 seconds.
The results of this study suggest that agility performance may be independent of stretching technique of the quadriceps performed in female collegiate soccer athletes. It is recommended that female soccer athletes about to engage in agility activity may perform either no stretch, static stretch, or contract-relax stretching according to individual preference.
PMCID: PMC2953305  PMID: 21509139
agility performance; contract-relax stretching; static-stretching; female athletes
9.  The Effect of Acute Vibration Exercise on Short-Distance Sprinting and Reactive Agility 
Vibration exercise (VbX) has been a popular modality to enhancing physical performance, where various training methods and techniques have been employed to improve immediate and long-term sprint performance. However, the use of acute side-alternating VbX on sprint and agility performance remains unclear. Eight female athletes preformed side-alternating vibration exercise (VbX) and control (no VbX) in a cross over randomised design that was conducted one week apart. After performing a warm-up, the athletes undertook maximal 5m sprints and maximal reactive agility sprints (RAT), this was followed by side-alternating VbX (26 Hz, 6mm) or control (no VbX). Immediately following the intervention, post-sprint tests and RAT were performed. There was a significant treatment effect but there was no time effect (pre vs. post) or interaction effect for sprint and RAT; however, side-alternating VbX did not compromise sprint and agility performance.
Key PointsAcute VbX could be beneficial for the acceleration phase (1.5m) of a short-distance sprint.Acute VbX does not have positive influence on short-distance (3m & 5m) sprint performance.Acute VbX does not enhance reactive agility performance.
PMCID: PMC3772594  PMID: 24149157
Explosive power; speed; postactivation potentiation; warm-up
10.  Physiological and psychological correlates of success in track and field athletes. 
Twenty-four collegiate distance runners and 20 power athletes (sprinters and jumpers) of various success levels were tested on a number of physiological and psychological parameters. Multiple regression analysis indicated that physiological factors could explain over 81% of the variance related to successful distance running while physiological and psychological factors could explain over 80% of the of the variance related to successful sprinting and jumping. Body weight, fibre type, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and hamstring strength were significant singular correlates to successful distance running. Year in school, percent body fat, quadriceps strength, and leg muscle balance were significant single correlates to successful sprinting and jumping performance.
PMCID: PMC1859022  PMID: 6883017
11.  Reliability and Validity of a New Test of Change-of-Direction Speed for Field-Based Sports: the Change-of-Direction and Acceleration Test (CODAT) 
Field sport coaches must use reliable and valid tests to assess change-of-direction speed in their athletes. Few tests feature linear sprinting with acute change- of-direction maneuvers. The Change-of-Direction and Acceleration Test (CODAT) was designed to assess field sport change-of-direction speed, and includes a linear 5-meter (m) sprint, 45° and 90° cuts, 3- m sprints to the left and right, and a linear 10-m sprint. This study analyzed the reliability and validity of this test, through comparisons to 20-m sprint (0-5, 0-10, 0-20 m intervals) and Illinois agility run (IAR) performance. Eighteen Australian footballers (age = 23.83 ± 7.04 yrs; height = 1.79 ± 0.06 m; mass = 85.36 ± 13.21 kg) were recruited. Following familiarization, subjects completed the 20-m sprint, CODAT, and IAR in 2 sessions, 48 hours apart. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) assessed relative reliability. Absolute reliability was analyzed through paired samples t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) determining between-session differences. Typical error (TE), coefficient of variation (CV), and differences between the TE and smallest worthwhile change (SWC), also assessed absolute reliability and test usefulness. For the validity analysis, Pearson’s correlations (p ≤ 0.05) analyzed between-test relationships. Results showed no between-session differences for any test (p = 0.19-0.86). CODAT time averaged ~6 s, and the ICC and CV equaled 0.84 and 3.0%, respectively. The homogeneous sample of Australian footballers meant that the CODAT’s TE (0.19 s) exceeded the usual 0.2 x standard deviation (SD) SWC (0.10 s). However, the CODAT is capable of detecting moderate performance changes (SWC calculated as 0.5 x SD = 0.25 s). There was a near perfect correlation between the CODAT and IAR (r = 0.92), and very large correlations with the 20-m sprint (r = 0.75-0.76), suggesting that the CODAT was a valid change-of-direction speed test. Due to movement specificity, the CODAT has value for field sport assessment.
Key pointsThe change-of-direction and acceleration test (CODAT) was designed specifically for field sport athletes from specific speed research, and data derived from time-motion analyses of sports such as rugby union, soccer, and Australian football. The CODAT features a linear 5-meter (m) sprint, 45° and 90° cuts and 3-m sprints to the left and right, and a linear 10-m sprint.The CODAT was found to be a reliable change-of-direction speed assessment when considering intra-class correlations between two testing sessions, and the coefficient of variation between trials. A homogeneous sample of Australian footballers resulted in absolute reliability limitations when considering differences between the typical error and smallest worthwhile change. However, the CODAT will detect moderate (0.5 times the test’s standard deviation) changes in performance.The CODAT correlated with the Illinois agility run, highlighting that it does assess change-of-direction speed. There were also significant relationships with short sprint performance (i.e. 0-5 m and 0-10 m), demonstrating that linear acceleration is assessed within the CODAT, without the extended duration and therefore metabolic limitations of the IAR. Indeed, the average duration of the test (~6 seconds) is field sport-specific. Therefore, the CODAT could be used as an assessment of change-of-direction speed in field sport athletes.
PMCID: PMC3761765  PMID: 24149730
Lateral cutting; field testing; Illinois agility run; linear speed; team sports
12.  Muscular and Functional Performance Characteristics of Individuals Wearing Prophylactic Knee Braces 
Journal of Athletic Training  1993;28(4):336-344.
The efficacy of prophylactic knee bracing has been refuted with regard to reducing the incidence and/or severity of injuries to the knee joint. This is thought to be a result of the prophylactic knee brace's ineffectiveness in protecting the knee joint from valgus loads. Furthermore, discrepancies exist regarding the prophylactic knee brace's detrimental effect on functional performance. The purpose of this study was to measure the effect of the prophylactic knee brace on selected isokinetic muscular characteristics and forward sprint speed. Twenty physically active, healthy, male college students with no prior history of brace use participated in this study. The subjects were randomly tested both with and without the prophylactic knee brace worn on various performance parameters. The dependent measures assessed included peak torque (PT) and torque acceleration energy (TAE) at 60 and 240°/s. A 40-yard forward sprint was selected to assess sprint speed. A paired t-test analysis revealed mean values which were significantly less for PT at 60°/s (p < .05), 240°/s (p < .01), and TAE at 240°/s (p < .05) with the prophylactic knee brace applied during knee extension. Analysis also revealed slower times for sprint speed (p < .01), while the subjects were wearing the prophylactic knee brace. Muscular strength (PT) and power (TAE) scores were not correlated (p > .05) with sprint speed. This study suggests that wearing the prophylactic knee brace may consequently inhibit muscular and functional performance of the athlete, but that specific population has yet to be studied.
PMCID: PMC1317738  PMID: 16558250
13.  Effects of a Short-Term Plyometric and Resistance Training Program on Fitness Performance in Boys Age 12 to 15 Years 
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a six week training period of combined plyometric and resistance training (PRT, n = 13) or resistance training alone (RT, n = 14) on fitness performance in boys (12-15 yr). The RT group performed static stretching exercises followed by resistance training whereas the PRT group performed plyometric exercises followed by the same resistance training program. The training duration per session for both groups was 90 min. At baseline and after training all participants were tested on the vertical jump, long jump, medicine ball toss, 9.1 m sprint, pro agility shuttle run and flexibility. The PRT group made significantly (p < 0.05) greater improvements than RT in long jump (10.8 cm vs. 2.2 cm), medicine ball toss (39.1 cm vs. 17.7 cm) and pro agility shuttle run time (-0.23 sec vs. -0.02 sec) following training. These findings suggest that the addition of plyometric training to a resistance training program may be more beneficial than resistance training and static stretching for enhancing selected measures of upper and lower body power in boys.
Key pointsYouth conditioning programs which include different types of training and different loading schemes (e.g., high velocity plyometrics and resistance training) may be most effective for enhancing power performance.The effects of resistance training and plyometric training may be synergistic in children, with their combined effects being greater that each program performed alone.
PMCID: PMC3794493  PMID: 24149486
Adolescent; strength training; power; stretch-shortening cycle
14.  Association of Short-Passing Ability with Athletic Performances in Youth Soccer Players 
This study was designed to examine the relationship between multiple short-passing ability [measured using the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT)] and athletic performances in youth soccer players.
Forty-two young soccer players (age 14.8±0.4years) performed the LSPT, the squat-jump (SqJ), the counter movement jump (CMJ), the 30m sprints (with 5m and 20m split times also recorded), the 15m agility run (Agility-15m), the 15m ball dribbling (Ball-15m), the Illinois agility test (IAGT) and the Yo-Yo IRT Level 1 tests.
LSPT total performance (LSPT TP) showed significant positive correlation with 5m, 20m, and 30m sprint times, Agility-15m, Ball-15m and Illinois agility test (r=0.60, r=0.58, r=0.49, r=0.75, r=0.71 and r=0.72; P<0.01, respectively). Significant negative correlation were found between LSPT TP and SqJ and CMJ (r=−0.62 and r=−0.64; P<0.01, respectively). It was determined that Agility-15m, Illinois agility test and Ball-15m were the most effective factors associated with LSPT TP among other factors in multiple regression analysis.
This study showed that LSPT TP of young elite soccer players is determined by their agility abilities, thus enabling this test to be used for talent identification purposes.
PMCID: PMC3685159  PMID: 23785575
Technical Skills; Agility; Cognitive Function; Physical Fitness; Football
15.  Acute Lower Extremity Running Kinematics After a Hamstring Stretch 
Journal of Athletic Training  2012;47(1):5-14.
Limited passive hamstring flexibility might affect kinematics, performance, and injury risk during running. Pre-activity static straight-leg raise stretching often is used to gain passive hamstring flexibility.
To investigate the acute effects of a single session of passive hamstring stretching on pelvic, hip, and knee kinematics during the swing phase of running.
Randomized controlled clinical trial.
Biomechanics research laboratory.
Patients or Other Participants:
Thirty-four male (age = 21.2 ± 1.4 years) and female (age = 21.3±2.0 years) recreational athletes.
Participants performed treadmill running pretests and posttests at 70% of their age-predicted maximum heart rate. Pelvis, hip, and knee joint angles during the swing phase of 5 consecutive gait cycles were collected using a motion analysis system. Right and left hamstrings of the intervention group participants were passively stretched 3 times for 30 seconds in random order immediately after the pretest. Control group participants performed no stretching or movement between running sessions.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Six 2-way analyses of variance to determine joint angle differences between groups at maximum hip flexion and maximum knee extension with an α level of .008.
Flexibility increased between pretest and post-test in all participants (F1,30 = 80.61, P<.001). Anterior pelvic tilt (F1,30 = 0.73, P=.40), hip flexion (F1,30 = 2.44, P=.13), and knee extension (F1,30 = 0.06, P=.80) at maximum hip flexion were similar between groups throughout testing. Anterior pelvic tilt (F1,30 = 0.69, P=.41), hip flexion (F1,30 = 0.23, P=.64), and knee extension (F1,30 = 3.38, P=.62) at maximum knee extension were similar between groups throughout testing. Men demonstrated greater anterior pelvic tilt than women at maximum knee extension (F1,30 = 13.62, P=.001).
A single session of 3 straight-leg raise hamstring stretches did not change pelvis, hip, or knee running kinematics.
PMCID: PMC3418114  PMID: 22488225
straight-leg raises; flexibility
16.  Effects of a 12 Week SAQ Training Programme on Agility with and without the Ball among Young Soccer Players 
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a 12 week conditioning programme involving speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) training and its effect on agility performance in young soccer players. Soccer players were randomly assigned to two groups: experimental group (EG; n = 66, body mass: 71.3 ± 5.9 kg; body height: 1.77 ± 0.07 m) and control group (CG; n = 66, body mass: 70.6 ± 4.9 kg; body height: 1.76 ± 0.06 m). Agility performance was assessed using field tests: Slalom; Slalom with ball; Sprint with 90° turns; Sprint with 90° turns with ball; Sprint with 180° turns; Sprint with backward and forward running; Sprint 4 x 5 m. Statistically significant improvements (p < 0.05) between pre and post training were evident for almost all measures of agility, with and without the ball, with the exception being the Sprint with backward and forward running. This suggests that SAQ training is an effective way of improving agility, with and without the ball, for young soccer players and can be included in physical conditioning programmes.
Key pointsSAQ training appears to be an effective way of improving agility with and without the ball in young soccer playersSoccer coaches could use this training during pre-season and in-season trainingCompared with pre-training, there was a statistically significant improvement in all but one measure of agility, both with and without the ball after SAQ training
PMCID: PMC3761749  PMID: 24149731
speed; specific agility; change of direction; SAQ.
17.  Acute Effects of Pre-Event Lower Limb Massage on Explosive and High Speed Motor Capacities and Flexibility 
The aim of this study was to examine the acute effects of pre- performance lower limb massage after warm-up on explosive and high-speed motor capacities and flexibility. Twenty-four physically active healthy Caucasian male subjects volunteered to participate in this study. All subjects were from a Physical Education and Sport Department in a large university in Turkey. The study had a counterbalanced crossover design. Each of the subjects applied the following intervention protocols in a randomised order; (a) massage, (b) stretching, and (c) rest. Before (pre) and after (post) each of the interventions, the 10 meter acceleration (AS), flying start 20 meter sprint (FS), 30 meter sprint from standing position (TS), leg reaction time (LR), vertical jump (VJ) and sit & reach (SR) tests were performed. A Wilcoxon’s signed rank test was used to compare before and after test values within the three interventions (massage, stretching and rest). The data showed a significant worsening, after massage and stretching interventions, in the VJ, LR (only in stretching intervention), AS and TS tests (p < 0.05), and significant improvement in the SR test (p < 0.05). In contrast, the rest intervention led only to a significant decrement in TS performance (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the present findings suggest that performing 10 minute posterior and 5 minute anterior lower limb Swedish massage has an adverse effect on vertical jump, speed, and reaction time, and a positive effect on sit and reach test results.
Key pointsPerforming 10 minute posterior and 5 minute anterior lower limb Swedish massages has an adverse affect on vertical jump, speed, and reaction time and a positive effect on sit and reach test results.According to the present results, long duration massage should not be recommended for warm-ups.Larger subject pools are needed to verify these events.
PMCID: PMC3761914  PMID: 24149965
Massage; warm-up; performance; stretching
18.  Acute Effects of Three Different Stretching Protocols on the Wingate Test Performance 
The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of different stretching exercises on the performance of the traditional Wingate test (WT). Fifteen male participants performed five WT; one for familiarization (FT), and the remaining four after no stretching (NS), static stretching (SS), dynamic stretching (DS), and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Stretches were targeted for the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles. Peak power (PP), mean power (MP), and the time to reach PP (TP) were calculated. The MP was significantly lower when comparing the DS (7.7 ± 0.9 W/kg) to the PNF (7.3 ± 0.9 W/kg) condition (p < 0.05). For PP, significant differences were observed between more comparisons, with PNF stretching providing the lowest result. A consistent increase of TP was observed after all stretching exercises when compared to NS. The results suggest the type of stretching, or no stretching, should be considered by those who seek higher performance and practice sports that use maximal anaerobic power.
Key points
The mean power was significantly lower when comparing dynamic proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.
For peak power, significant differences were observed between more comparisons, with proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching providing the lowest result.
A consistent increase of time to reach the peak was observed after all stretching exercises when compared to non-stretching.
The type of stretching, or no stretching, should be considered by those who seek higher performance and practice sports that use maximal anaerobic power.
PMCID: PMC3737835  PMID: 24149116
Static stretching; proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation; dynamic stretching; anaerobic power
19.  Longitudinal Study of Repeated Sprint Performance in Youth Soccer Players of Contrasting Skeletal Maturity Status 
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the developmental changes in performance in a repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test in young soccer players of contrasting maturity status. A total of 83 regional level Portuguese youth soccer players, aged 11-13 years at baseline was assessed annually. Stature, body mass, 7x34.2-m sprint protocol (25-s active recovery), 20-m multi-stage continuous shuttle endurance run and counter-movement jump (CMJ) without the use of the arms were measured. Fat-free mass (FFM) was determined by age and gender-specific formulas. Developmental changes in total sprint time across ages were predicted using multilevel modeling. Corresponding measurements were performed on an independent cross-sectional subsample of 52 youth soccer players 11-17 years to evaluate the predictive model. CA, CA2, maturational status (SA-CA), body size (mass and stature), FFM, aerobic endurance, lower limb explosive strength and annual volume training significantly improved the statistical fit of the RSA multilevel model. In ‘late’ maturing athletes, the best model for predicting change in RSA was expressed by the following equation: 86.54 - 2.87 x CA + 0.05 x CA2 - 0.25 x FFM + 0.15 x body mass + 0.05 x stature - 0.05 x aerobic endurance - 0.09 x lower limb explosive strength - 0.01 x annual volume training. The best fitting models for players who were ‘on time’ and ‘early’ maturing were identical to the best model for late maturing players, less 0.64 seconds and 1.74 seconds, respectively. Multilevel modeling provided performance curves that permitted the prediction of individual RSA performance across adolescent years in regional level soccer players.
Key pointsRepeated-sprint ability tests are a valuable sport-specific field test of sprint performance in youth soccer players. Here, the test had reasonable reliability and can be useful to trainers and coaches in the assessment of young athletes and in monitoring changes over time.The total sprint time of youth soccer players advanced in biological maturation improves more, on average, than that of players who are on time (average) and late in maturation. The performance difference between early and late maturing players is consistent after about 13 years of age.Multilevel modeling is a promising statistical technique for analyzing the development of functional capacity in a sport. It has the potential to provide useful information to assist trainers and coaches in evaluating and facilitating the development of individual players.
PMCID: PMC3737923  PMID: 24149342
young athletes; multilevel modeling; growth; maturation; short-term effort
20.  Changes in performance, skinfold thicknesses, and fat patterning after three years of intense athletic conditioning in high level runners 
British Journal of Sports Medicine  2005;39(11):851-856.
Objectives: To determine if the changes in specific skinfold sites induced by intense athletic conditioning over a three year period were associated with changes in running performance in high level athletes.
Methods: Thirty seven top class runners (eight male and five female sprint trained, 16 male and eight female endurance trained) volunteered to participate in the study. The athletes were divided into class A (n = 18) and class B (n = 17), with class A having the best performance. Biceps, triceps, subscapular, pectoral, iliac crest, abdominal, front thigh, and medial calf skinfold thickness and the best running performance were recorded at the beginning and after one, two, and three years of training. A one way analysis of variance and a linear regression analysis were conducted to determine changes and association between performance and skinfold thicknesses. Analyses were controlled for sex, sprint event or endurance event, and class.
Results: Training resulted in a significant increase in performance and decreases in sum of six skinfolds, abdominal, front thigh, and medial calf skinfolds, and the ratio of extremity to trunk skinfolds (E/T, ∑triceps, front thigh, medial calf/∑subscapular, iliac crest, abdominal). There were no significant differences in body weight. Except for the abdominal skinfold, there was no significant difference in trunk skinfolds. Significant differences in these changes were observed by sex for E/T, which decreased and increased in male and female runners respectively, and by class. Class B runners significantly improved performance, with decreased skinfold thicknesses in the lower limb. There were no significant changes in performance or skinfold thicknesses in class A runners. Improvements in performance were consistently associated with a decrease in the lower limb skinfolds.
Conclusions: On the basis of these findings, anthropometric assessment of top class athletes should include an evaluation of all skinfolds. The loss of body fat appears to be specific to the muscular groups used during training. The lower limb skinfolds may be particularly useful predictors of running performance.
PMCID: PMC1725063  PMID: 16244197
21.  Does an in-Season 6-Week Combined Sprint and Jump Training Program Improve Strength-Speed Abilities and Kicking Performance in Young Soccer Players? 
Journal of Human Kinetics  2013;39:157-166.
The aim of this study was to examine the effect of a six-week combined jump and sprint training program on strength-speed abilities in a large sample of youth competitive soccer players. It was hypothesized that the experimental training group would enhance their jumping and sprinting abilities. Enhancement of kicking performance was also hypothesized due to an expected increase in explosive strength established by a plyometric and sprinting regimen. Fifty-two young male soccer players playing at the national level (aged 13.4 ± 1.4 years, body mass 53.4 ± 11.7 kg, body height 1.66 ± 0.11 m) took part in the study. Half of the group underwent the plyometric and sprint training program in addition to their normal soccer training, while the other half was involved in soccer training only. The plyometric training group enhanced their running (+1.7 and +3.2%) and jumping performance (+7.7%) significantly over the short period of time, while the control group did not. Furthermore, both groups increased their kicking velocity after just six weeks of training (+3.3 vs. 6.6%). The findings suggest that a short in-season 6-week sprint and jump training regimen can significantly improve explosive strength in soccer-specific skills and that these improvements can be transferred to soccer kicking performance in terms of ball speed.
PMCID: PMC3916921  PMID: 24511351
speed training; lower extremity; kicking; soccer
22.  The differential effects of a complex protein drink versus isocaloric carbohydrate drink on performance indices following high-intensity resistance training: a two arm crossover design 
Post-workout nutrient timing and macronutrient selection are essential for recovery, glycogen replenishment and muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Performance repeatability, particularly after strenuous activity, can be influenced by substrate availability, recovery markers and perceived rate of exertion. This study compared the differential effects of a complex protein ready-to-drink beverage (VPX) and isocaloric carbohydrate beverage (iCHO) on performance—agility T-test, push-up test, 40-yard sprint, and rate of perceived exertion (RPE), following high-intensity resistance training (HIRT).
In a randomized, double blind two-arm crossover controlled trial, 15 subjects performed a 15–18 minute (2:1 work to rest) HIRT and then immediately drank one of the two treatments. After a 2-hour fast, subjects returned to execute the field tests and report RPE. The protocol was repeated one week later with the other treatment.
There were no significant main effect differences in the agility T-test (p = 0.83), push-up (p = 0.21) sprint (p = 0.12), average agility RPE (p = 0.83), average push-up RPE (p = 0.81) or average sprint RPE (p = 0.66) between the two trials and the two treatments. The multivariate analysis yielded a cumulative significant interaction effect amongst the three performance variables after consuming VPX (p < 0.01). These results suggest a complex protein beverage is a better post-workout choice compared to an isocaloric carbohydrate beverage for repeated performance for activities that require multiple energy demands and athletic skills; however, this outcome was not observed for each single performance event or RPE.
When considering the collective physical effects of the agility T-test, push-up and sprint tests, a complex protein beverage may provide a recovery advantage as it relates to repeated-bout performance compared to an iCHO-only beverage. Additional research examining the chronic effects of post-exercise protein versus iCHO beverages on performance repeatability, particularly in special populations (e.g. tactical and elite athletes), is warranted to further develop these findings.
PMCID: PMC3685561  PMID: 23758838
Isocaloric carbohydrate; Protein drink/beverage; Performance; Repeated-bout; Nutrient timing
23.  Sprint and endurance power and ageing: an analysis of master athletic world records 
Human physical performance is notably reduced with ageing. Although the effects of ageing are often compounded by disuse, the study of master athletes provides an opportunity for investigating the effects of ageing per se. It is often held that sprinting is more affected than endurance performance. However, past analyses of master athletic world record data have yielded opposite observations. We argue here that our understanding of these data improves by considering how, biomechanically, metabolic power is related to athletic performance. In line with earlier studies, our analysis showed that running speed declines with age in a more pronounced way for endurance events than for sprinting events, confirming former studies. However, when assessing the metabolic power required to achieve the running world records, sprint and endurance events show a relatively uniform decline with age across the different events. This study has reconciled formerly conflicting scientific results and improves our understanding of the ageing process. However, it is unclear as to which are the governing mechanisms that cause the different systems in our body, responsible for sprinting and for endurance performance, to be affected by ageing in a remarkably uniform way.
PMCID: PMC2660943  PMID: 18957366
master athletes; veteran athletes; maximum performance; sport; exercise
24.  BMI, a Performance Parameter for Speed Improvement 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e90183.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the association between anthropometric characteristics and performance in all track and field running events and assess Body Mass Index (BMI) as a relevant performance indicator. Data of mass, height, BMI and speed were collected for the top 100 international men athletes in track events from 100 m to marathon for the 1996–2011 seasons, and analyzed by decile of performance. Speed is significantly associated with mass (r = 0.71) and BMI (r = 0.71) in world-class runners and moderately with height (r = 0.39). Athletes, on average were continuously lighter and smaller with distance increments. In track and field, speed continuously increases with BMI. In each event, performances are organized through physique gradients. «Lighter and smaller is better» in endurance events but «heavier and taller is better» for sprints. When performance increases, BMI variability progressively tightens, but it is always centered around a distance-specific optimum. Running speed is organized through biometric gradients, which both drives and are driven by performance optimization. The highest performance level is associated with narrower biometric intervals. Through BMI indicators, diversity is possible for sprints whereas for long distance events, there is a more restrictive aspect in terms of physique. BMI is a relevant indicator, which allows for a clear differentiation of athletes' capacities between each discipline and level of performance in the fields of human possibilities.
PMCID: PMC3934974  PMID: 24587266
25.  Accounting for elite indoor 200 m sprint results 
Biology Letters  2005;2(1):47-50.
Times for indoor 200 m sprint races are notably worse than those for outdoor races. In addition, there is a considerable bias against competitors drawn in inside lanes (with smaller bend radii). Centripetal acceleration requirements increase average forces during sprinting around bends. These increased forces can be modulated by changes in duty factor (the proportion of stride the limb is in contact with the ground). If duty factor is increased to keep limb forces constant, and protraction time and distance travelled during stance are unchanging, bend-running speeds are reduced. Here, we use results from the 2004 Olympics and World Indoor Championships to show quantitatively that the decreased performances in indoor competition, and the bias by lane number, are consistent with this ‘constant limb force’ hypothesis. Even elite athletes appear constrained by limb forces.
PMCID: PMC1617210  PMID: 17148323
biomechanics; sprint; run; force

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