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# Why Are Masters Sprinters Slower Than Their Younger Counterparts? Physiological, Biomechanical, and Motor Control Related Implications for Training Program Design

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## Abstract

Elite sprint performances typically peak during an athlete’s 20s and decline thereafter with age. The mechanisms underpinning this sprint performance decline are often reported to be strength-based in nature with reductions in strength capacities driving increases in ground contact time and decreases in stride lengths and frequency. However, an as-of-yet underexplored aspect of Masters sprint performance is that of age-related degradation in neuromuscular infrastructure, which manifests as a decline in both strength and movement coordination. Here, the authors explore reductions in sprint performance in Masters athletes in a holistic fashion, blending discussion of strength and power changes with neuromuscular alterations along with mechanical and technical age-related alterations. In doing so, the authors provide recommendations to Masters sprinters—and the aging population, in general—as to how best to support sprint ability and general function with age, identifying nutritional interventions that support performance and function and suggesting useful programming strategies and injury-reduction techniques.

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Both regular exercise training and beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation are shown as effective treatments to delay or reverse frailty and reduce cognitive impairment in older people. However, there is very little evidence on the true benefits of combining both strategies. The aim of this meta-analysis was to quantify the effects of exercise in addition to HMB supplementation, on physical and cognitive health in older adults. Data from 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of HMB supplementation and physical function in adults aged 50 years or older were analyzed, involving 384 participants. Results showed that HMB supplementation in addition to physical exercise has no or fairly low impact in improving body composition, muscle strength, or physical performance in adults aged 50 to 80 years, compared to exercise alone. There is a gap of knowledge on the beneficial effects of HMB combined with exercise to preserve cognitive functions in aging and age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Future RCTs are needed to refine treatment choices combining HMB and exercises for older people in particular populations, ages, and health status. Specifically, interventions in older adults aged 80 years or older, with cognitive impairment, frailty, or limited mobility are required.
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The evidence concerning the effects of exercise in older age on motor unit (MU) numbers, muscle fiber denervation and reinnervation cycles is inconclusive and it remains unknown whether any effects are dependent on the type of exercise undertaken or are localized to highly used muscles. MU characteristics of the vastus lateralis (VL) were assessed using surface and intramuscular electromyography in eighty-five participants, divided into sub groups based on age (young, old) and athletic discipline (control, endurance, power). In a separate study of the biceps brachii (BB), the same characteristics were compared in the favored and non-favored arms in eleven masters tennis players. Muscle size was assessed using MRI and ultrasound. In the VL, the CSA was greater in young compared to old, and power athletes had the largest CSA within their age groups. Motor unit potential (MUP) size was larger in all old compared to young (p < 0.001), with interaction contrasts showing this age-related difference was greater for endurance and power athletes than controls, and MUP size was greater in old athletes compared to old controls. In the BB, thickness did not differ between favored and non-favored arms (p = 0.575), but MUP size was larger in the favored arm (p < 0.001). Long-term athletic training does not prevent age-related loss of muscle size in the VL or BB, regardless of athletic discipline, but may facilitate more successful axonal sprouting and reinnervation of denervated fibers. These effects may be localized to muscles most involved in the exercise.
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In this review, we examine the literature in light of the mechanical principles that govern linear accelerated running. While the scientific literature concerning sprint mechanics is comprehensive, these principles of fundamental mechanics present some pitfalls which can (and does) lead to misinterpretations of findings. Various models of sprint mechanics, most of which build on the spring-mass paradigm, are discussed with reference to both the insight they provide and their limitations. Although much research confirms that sprinters to some extent behave like a spring-mass system with regard to gross kinematics (step length, step rate, ground contact time, and lower limb deformation), the laws of motion, supported by empirical evidence, show that applying the spring-mass model for accelerated running has flaws. It is essential to appreciate that models are pre-set interpretations of reality; finding that a model describes the motor behaviour well is not proof of the mechanism behind the model. Recent efforts to relate sprinting mechanics to metabolic demands are promising, but have the same limitation of being model based. Furthermore, a large proportion of recent literature focuses on the interaction between total and horizontal (end-goal) force. We argue that this approach has limitations concerning fundamental sprinting mechanics. Moreover, power analysis based on isolated end-goal force is flawed. In closing, some prominent practical concepts and didactics in sprint running are discussed in light of the mechanical principles presented. Ultimately, whereas the basic principles of sprinting are relatively simple, the way an athlete manages the mechanical constraints and opportunities is far more complex.
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Master athletes maintain high physical activity levels and have better health than age-matched non-athletes. World records show accelerated declines after age 70 in swimming, long-distance running and sprint performance. However, less is known about age-related performance declines in the general master athlete population and whether decline rates differ between disciplines and genders. We interrogated a dataset including all track and field athletes of North Rhine from 2001 to 2014 to assess age-related changes in performance. 27,088 results of athletes between 11 and 89 years of age in 12 disciplines were analyzed by regression statistics. The analyses showed an accelerated decline beyond the age of 70 in sprint, middle- and long-distance running, while in throwing and jumping disciplines the performance continued a linear decline. Patterns of decline differed between men and women. The steepest declines were observed in javelin throw and 400 m (women), and in pole vault and 800 m (men). In conclusion, performance declines in aging depend more on the specific profile of requirements than previously assumed.
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Purpose of review: Skeletal muscle mass with aging, during critical care, and following critical care is a determinant of quality of life and survival. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms that underpin skeletal muscle atrophy and recommendations to offset skeletal muscle atrophy with aging and during, as well as following, critical care. Recent findings: Anabolic resistance is responsible, in part, for skeletal muscle atrophy with aging, muscle disuse, and during disease states. Anabolic resistance describes the reduced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis to a given dose of protein/amino acids and contributes to declines in skeletal muscle mass. Physical inactivity induces: anabolic resistance (that is likely exacerbated with aging), insulin resistance, systemic inflammation, decreased satellite cell content, and decreased capillary density. Critical illness results in rapid skeletal muscle atrophy that is a result of both anabolic resistance and enhanced skeletal muscle breakdown. Summary: Insofar as atrophic loss of skeletal muscle mass is concerned, anabolic resistance is a principal determinant of age-induced losses and appears to be a contributor to critical illness-induced skeletal muscle atrophy. Older individuals should perform exercise using both heavy and light loads three times per week, ingest at least 1.2 g of protein/kg/day, evenly distribute their meals into protein boluses of 0.40 g/kg, and consume protein within 2 h of retiring for sleep. During critical care, early, frequent, and multimodal physical therapies in combination with early, enteral, hypocaloric energy (∼10-15 kcal/kg/day), and high-protein (>1.2 g/kg/day) provision is recommended.
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This review covers underlying physiological characteristics and training considerations that may affect muscular strength including improving maximal force expression and time-limited force expression. Strength is underpinned by a combination of morphological and neural factors including muscle cross-sectional area and architecture, musculotendinous stiffness, motor unit recruitment, rate coding, motor unit synchronization, and neuromuscular inhibition. Although single- and multi-targeted block periodization models may produce the greatest strength-power benefits, concepts within each model must be considered within the limitations of the sport, athletes, and schedules. Bilateral training, eccentric training and accentuated eccentric loading, and variable resistance training may produce the greatest comprehensive strength adaptations. Bodyweight exercise, isolation exercises, plyometric exercise, unilateral exercise, and kettlebell training may be limited in their potential to improve maximal strength but are still relevant to strength development by challenging time-limited force expression and differentially challenging motor demands. Training to failure may not be necessary to improve maximum muscular strength and is likely not necessary for maximum gains in strength. Indeed, programming that combines heavy and light loads may improve strength and underpin other strength-power characteristics. Multiple sets appear to produce superior training benefits compared to single sets; however, an athlete’s training status and the dose–response relationship must be considered. While 2- to 5-min interset rest intervals may produce the greatest strength-power benefits, rest interval length may vary based an athlete’s training age, fiber type, and genetics. Weaker athletes should focus on developing strength before emphasizing power-type training. Stronger athletes may begin to emphasize power-type training while maintaining/improving their strength. Future research should investigate how best to implement accentuated eccentric loading and variable resistance training and examine how initial strength affects an athlete’s ability to improve their performance following various training methods.
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Strength training is a valuable component of hamstring strain injury prevention programmes; however, in recent years a significant body of work has emerged to suggest that the acute responses and chronic adaptations to training with different exercises are heterogeneous. Unfortunately, these research findings do not appear to have uniformly influenced clinical guidelines for exercise selection in hamstring injury prevention or rehabilitation programmes. The purpose of this review was to provide the practitioner with an evidence-base from which to prescribe strengthening exercises to mitigate the risk of hamstring injury. Several studies have established that eccentric knee flexor conditioning reduces the risk of hamstring strain injury when compliance is adequate. The benefits of this type of training are likely to be at least partly mediated by increases in biceps femoris long head fascicle length and improvements in eccentric knee flexor strength. Therefore, selecting exercises with a proven benefit on these variables should form the basis of effective injury prevention protocols. In addition, a growing body of work suggests that the patterns of hamstring muscle activation diverge significantly between different exercises. Typically, relatively higher levels of biceps femoris long head and semimembranosus activity have been observed during hip extension-oriented movements, whereas preferential semitendinosus and biceps femoris short head activation have been reported during knee flexion-oriented movements. These findings may have implications for targeting specific muscles in injury prevention programmes. An evidence-based approach to strength training for the prevention of hamstring strain injury should consider the impact of exercise selection on muscle activation, and the effect of training interventions on hamstring muscle architecture, morphology and function. Most importantly, practitioners should consider the effect of a strength training programme on known or proposed risk factors for hamstring injury.
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The loss of muscle mass and strength with aging results in significant functional impairment. Creatine supplementation has been used in combination with resistance training as a strategy for increasing lean tissue mass and muscle strength in older adults, but results across studies are equivocal. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of random-ized controlled trials of creatine supplementation during resistance training in older adults with lean tissue mass, chest press strength, and leg press strength as outcomes by searching PubMed and SPORTDiscus databases. Twenty-two studies were included in our meta-analysis with 721 participants (both men and women; with a mean age of 57-70 years across studies) randomized to creatine supplementation or placebo during resistance training 2-3 days/week for 7-52 weeks. Creatine supplementation resulted in greater increases in lean tissue mass (mean difference =1.37 kg [95% CI =0.97-1.76]; p<0.00001), chest press strength (standardized mean difference [SMD] =0.35 [0.16-0.53]; p=0.0002), and leg press strength (SMD =0.24 [0.05-0.43]; p=0.01). A number of mechanisms exist by which creatine may increase lean tissue mass and muscular strength. These are included in a narrative review in the discussion section of this article. In summary, creatine supplementation increases lean tissue mass and upper and lower body muscular strength during resistance training of older adults, but potential mechanisms by which creatine exerts these positive effects have yet to be evaluated extensively.
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Objectives: Postural control in elderly people is impaired by degradations of sensory, motor, and higher-level adaptive mechanisms. Here, we characterize the effects of a progressive balance training program on these postural control impairments using a brain network model based on system identification techniques. Methods and Material: We analyzed postural control of 35 healthy elderly subjects and compared findings to data from 35 healthy young volunteers. Eighteen elderly subjects performed a 10 week balance training conducted twice per week. Balance training was carried out in static and dynamic movement states, on support surfaces with different elastic compliances, under different visual conditions and motor tasks. Postural control was characterized by spontaneous sway and postural reactions to pseudorandom anterior-posterior tilts of the support surface. Data were interpreted using a parameter identification procedure based on a brain network model. Results: With balance training, the elderly subjects significantly reduced their overly large postural reactions and approximated those of younger subjects. Less significant differences between elderly and young subjects' postural control, namely larger spontaneous sway amplitudes, velocities, and frequencies, larger overall time delays and a weaker motor feedback compared to young subjects were not significantly affected by the balance training. Conclusion: Balance training reduced overactive proprioceptive feedback and restored vestibular orientation in elderly. Based on the assumption of a linear deterioration of postural control across the life span, the training effect can be extrapolated as a juvenescence of 10 years. This study points to a considerable benefit of a continuous balance training in elderly, even without any sensorimotor deficits.
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Creatine is one of the most popular nutritional ergogenic aids for athletes. Studies have consistently shown that creatine supplementation increases intramuscular creatine concentrations which may help explain the observed improvements in high intensity exercise performance leading to greater training adaptations. In addition to athletic and exercise improvement, research has shown that creatine supplementation may enhance post-exercise recovery, injury prevention, thermoregulation, rehabilitation, and concussion and/or spinal cord neuroprotection. Additionally, a number of clinical applications of creatine supplementation have been studied involving neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s disease), diabetes, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, aging, brain and heart ischemia, adolescent depression, and pregnancy. These studies provide a large body of evidence that creatine can not only improve exercise performance, but can play a role in preventing and/or reducing the severity of injury, enhancing rehabilitation from injuries, and helping athletes tolerate heavy training loads. Additionally, researchers have identified a number of potentially beneficial clinical uses of creatine supplementation. These studies show that short and long-term supplementation (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) is safe and well-tolerated in healthy individuals and in a number of patient populations ranging from infants to the elderly. Moreover, significant health benefits may be provided by ensuring habitual low dietary creatine ingestion (e.g., 3 g/day) throughout the lifespan. The purpose of this review is to provide an update to the current literature regarding the role and safety of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine and to update the position stand of International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN).
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It has been reported that eccentric training of knee extensors is effective for improving blood insulin sensitivity and lipid profiles to a greater extent than concentric training in young women. However, it is not known whether this is also the case for elderly individuals. Thus, the present study tested the hypothesis that eccentric training of the knee extensors would improve physical function and health parameters (e.g., blood lipid profiles) of older adults better than concentric training. Healthy elderly men (60–76 years) were assigned to either eccentric training or concentric training group (n = 13/group), and performed 30–60 eccentric or concentric contractions of knee extensors once a week. The intensity was progressively increased over 12 weeks from 10 to 100% of maximal concentric strength for eccentric training and from 50 to 100% for concentric training. Outcome measures were taken before and 4 days after the training period. The results showed that no sings of muscle damage were observed after any sessions. Functional physical fitness (e.g., 30-s chair stand) and maximal concentric contraction strength of the knee extensors increased greater (P ≤ 0.05) after eccentric training than concentric training. Homeostasis model assessment, oral glucose tolerance test and whole blood glycosylated hemoglobin showed improvement of insulin sensitivity only after eccentric training (P ≤ 0.05). Greater (P ≤ 0.05) decreases in fasting triacylglycerols, total, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterols were evident after eccentric training than concentric training, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterols increased only after eccentric training. These results support the hypothesis and suggest that it is better to focus on eccentric contractions in exercise medicine.
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IntroductionCaffeine is a well-established performance enhancing nutritional supplement in a young healthy population, however far less is known about how its ergogenicity is affected by increasing age. A recent review has highlighted the value of studies examining the direct effect of caffeine on isolated skeletal muscle contractility, but the present work is the first to assess the direct effect of 70μM caffeine (physiological maximum) on the maximal power output of isolated mammalian muscle from an age range representing developmental to early ageing. Method Female CD1 mice were aged to 3, 10, 30 and 50 weeks (n = 20 in each case) and either whole EDL or a section of the diaphragm was isolated and maximal power output determined using the work loop technique. Once contractile performance was maximised, each muscle preparation was treated with 70μM caffeine and its contractile performance was measured for a further 60 minutes. ResultsIn both mouse EDL and diaphragm 70μM caffeine treatment resulted in a significant increase in maximal muscle power output that was greatest at 10 or 30 weeks (up to 5% & 6% improvement respectively). This potentiation of maximal muscle power output was significantly lower at the early ageing time point, 50 weeks (up to 3% & 2% improvement respectively), and in mice in the developmental stage, at 3 weeks of age (up to 1% & 2% improvement respectively). Conclusion Uniquely, the present findings indicate a reduced age specific sensitivity to the performance enhancing effect of caffeine in developmental and aged mice which is likely to be attributed to age related muscle growth and degradation, respectively. Importantly, the findings indicate that caffeine may still provide a substantial ergogenic aid in older populations which could prove important for improving functional capacity in tasks of daily living.
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Age-related changes in the density, morphology, and physiology of plantar cutaneous receptors negatively impact the quality and quantity of balance-relevant information arising from the foot soles. Plantar perceptual sensitivity declines with age, and may predict postural instability; however, alteration in lower-limb cutaneous reflex strength may also explain greater instability in older adults, and has yet to be investigated. We replicated the age-related decline in sensitivity by assessing monofilament and vibrotactile (30 & 250 Hz) detection thresholds near the first metatarsal head bilaterally in healthy young and older adults. We additionally applied continuous 30 and 250 Hz vibration to drive mechanically evoked reflex responses in the Tibialis Anterior muscle, measured via surface electromyography. To investigate potential relationships between plantar sensitivity, cutaneous reflex strength, and postural stability, we performed posturography during quiet standing without vision. Anteroposterior and mediolateral postural stability decreased with age, and increases in postural sway amplitude and frequency were significantly correlated with increases in plantar detection thresholds. With 30 Hz vibration, cutaneous reflexes were observed in 95% of young adults, but only 53% of older adults, and reflex gain, coherence, and cumulant density at 30 Hz were lower in older adults. Reflexes were not observed with 250 Hz vibration, suggesting this high frequency cutaneous input is filtered-out by motoneurons innervating Tibialis Anterior. Our findings have important implications for assessing the risk of balance impairment older adults.
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Older adults use a different muscle strategy to cope with postural instability, in which they ‘co-contract’ the muscles around the ankle joint. It has been suggested that this is a compensatory response to age-related proprioceptive decline however this view has never been assessed directly. The current study investigated the association between proprioceptive acuity and muscle co-contraction in older adults. We compared muscle activity, by recording surface EMG from the bilateral tibalis anterior and gastrocnemius medialis muscles, in young (aged 18-34) and older adults (aged 65-82) during postural assessment on a fixed and sway referenced surface at age-equivalent levels of sway. We performed correlations between muscle activity and proprioceptive acuity, which was assessed using an active contralateral matching task. Despite successfully inducing similar levels of sway in the two age groups, older adults still showed higher muscle co-contraction. A stepwise regression analysis showed that proprioceptive acuity measured using variable error was the best predictor of muscle co-contraction in older adults. However, despite suggestions from previous research, proprioceptive error and muscle co-contraction were negatively correlated in older adults, suggesting that better proprioceptive acuity predicts more co-contraction. Overall, these results suggest that although muscle co-contraction may be an age-specific strategy used by older adults, it is not to compensate for age-related proprioceptive deficits.
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Background Monitoring athlete well-being is essential to guide training and to detect any progression towards negative health outcomes and associated poor performance. Objective (performance, physiological, biochemical) and subjective measures are all options for athlete monitoring. Objective We systematically reviewed objective and subjective measures of athlete well-being. Objective measures, including those taken at rest (eg, blood markers, heart rate) and during exercise (eg, oxygen consumption, heart rate response), were compared against subjective measures (eg, mood, perceived stress). All measures were also evaluated for their response to acute and chronic training load. Methods The databases Academic search complete, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, SPORTDiscus and PubMed were searched in May 2014. Fifty-six original studies reported concurrent subjective and objective measures of athlete well-being. The quality and strength of findings of each study were evaluated to determine overall levels of evidence. Results Subjective and objective measures of athlete well-being generally did not correlate. Subjective measures reflected acute and chronic training loads with superior sensitivity and consistency than objective measures. Subjective well-being was typically impaired with an acute increase in training load, and also with chronic training, while an acute decrease in training load improved subjective well-being. Summary This review provides further support for practitioners to use subjective measures to monitor changes in athlete well-being in response to training. Subjective measures may stand alone, or be incorporated into a mixed methods approach to athlete monitoring, as is current practice in many sport settings.
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Despite increasing participation rates in masters sport and extensive research examining age-related changes in performance, little is known about the effect of age on recovery kinetics in masters athletes. This narrative review focuses on the relationship between ageing and sports participation, and their effect on both performance and recovery following an exercise bout. Current research suggests the effect of age on performance and recovery may be smaller than originally suggested and that increasing sedentary lifestyles appear play a larger role in any observed decrements in performance and recovery in masters athletes. Currently, it appears that performance decrements are inevitable with age. However, performance capacities can be maintained through systematic physical training. Moreover, the limited current research suggests there may be an age effect on recovery kinetics following an exercise bout although further research is required to understand the acute and chronic recovery processes in the masters athlete.
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The present study compared the effects of 12 weeks of muscle power training performing one or three sets on muscle quality assessed by echo intensity (MQEI) and index (MQindex), muscle power-related outcomes, and functional capacity in older women. Participants were randomly assigned into two groups: 1SET (n = 13) and 3SET (n = 13). Lower limb muscle power and vertical jump height were measured during a countermovement jump, maximal rate of torque development (MRTD), and root mean square (RMS) of electromyography signals and rate of rise (RER) of quadriceps maximal electromyography activation during unilateral knee extension at 0-50 and 0-200 ms, MQEI, MQindex (absolute muscle power/MQEI, and MRTD/MQEI) and functionally in both groups using timed-up-and-go were evaluated before and after training. There were significant and similar (p < 0.05) increases in muscle power, vertical jump height, MQEI, MQindex, and functionally (p ≤ 0.0001) in both groups. In contrast, MRTD increased only in 1SET (p ≤ 0.001), and the RMS0-200 and RER0-50 increased for 3SET only (p ≤ 0.05), with no difference between groups (p > 0.05). In conclusion, similar neuromuscular adaptations occurred in both groups, beyond similar improvements in functional performance.
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Exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) manifests as muscle soreness, inflammation, and reductions in force generating capacity that can last for several days after exercise. The ability to recover and repair damaged tissues following EIMD is impaired with age, with older adults (≥50 years old) experiencing a slower rate of recovery than their younger counterparts do for the equivalent exercise bout. This narrative review discusses the literature examining the effect of nutritional or pharmacological supplements taken to counter the potentially debilitating effects of EIMD in older adults. Studies have assessed the effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamin C and/or E, or higher protein diets on recovery in older adults. Each intervention showed some promise for attenuating EIMD, but, overall, there is a paucity of available data in this population, and more studies are required to determine the influence of nutrition or pharmacological interventions on EIMD in older adults.
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Adolescent, female, and masters athletes have unique nutritional requirements as a consequence of undertaking daily training and competition in addition to the specific demands of age- and gender-related physiological changes. Dietary education and recommendations for these special population athletes require a focus on eating for long-term health, with special consideration given to "at-risk" dietary patterns and nutrients (e.g., sustained restricted eating, low calcium, vitamin D and/or iron intakes relative to requirements). Recent research highlighting strategies to address age-related changes in protein metabolism and the development of tools to assist in the management of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport are of particular relevance to special population athletes. Whenever possible, special population athletes should be encouraged to meet their nutrient needs by the consumption of whole foods rather than supplements. The recommendation of dietary supplements (particularly to young athletes) overemphasizes their ability to manipulate performance in comparison with other training/dietary strategies.
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The constituent year effect, a source of relative age disparities, in masters sport has been demonstrated mainly amongst North American samples. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine whether a participation-related constituent year effect exists among athletes (n = 6492) competing in Australian Masters Athletics competitions between 2000 and 2014. The results indicated that a participation-related constituent year effect was observed as the likelihood of participating was significantly higher for masters athletes in their first and second constituent year of any five-year age category (p < 0.0001) and was lower when they were in the fourth or fifth constituent year. The results also indicated this effect is influenced by gender and age. Specifically, the effect was significant for both male (p < 0.0001) and female (p < 0.001) masters athletes; as well during the third, sixth, seventh, and eighth + decades of life (all ps < 0.001). These data demonstrate that despite masters sport being an avenue for promotion of participation and overall health, there is potential for improving how competitive organizational strategies are implemented given the recurring intermittent patterns of participation associated with five-year age brackets which are likely to compromise benefits.
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Background: Muscle quality is defined as the force generated by each volumetric unit of muscle tissue. No consensus exists on an optimal measure of muscle quality, impeding comparison across studies and implementation in clinical settings. It is unknown whether muscle quality measures that rely on complex and expensive tests, such as isokinetic dynamometry and computerized tomography correlate with lower extremity performance (LEP) any better than measures derived from simpler and less expensive tests, such as grip strength (Grip) and appendicular lean mass (ALM) assessed by DXA. Additionally, whether muscle quality is more strongly associated with LEP than strength has not been fully tested. Objectives: This study compares the concurrent validity of alternative measures of muscle quality and characterizes their relationship with LEP. We also whether muscle quality correlates more strongly with LEP than strength alone. Design: Cross-sectional analysis. Setting: Community. Participants: 365 men and 345 women 65 years of age and older in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Measures: Thigh cross-sectional area (TCSA), isokinetic and isometric knee extension strength (ID), BMI adjusted ALM (ALMBMI) from DXA, and Grip. Concurrent validity was assessed as the percent variance of different measures of LEP explained by each muscle quality measure. In addition, we compared LEP relationships between each measure of strength and its correspondent value of muscle quality. Confidence intervals for differences in percent variance were calculated by bootstrapping. Results: Grip/ALMBMI explained as much variance as ID/TCSA across all LEP measures in women and most in men. Across all LEP measures, strength explained as much variance of LEP as muscle quality. Conclusions: Grip/ALMBMI and ID/TCSA measures had similar correlations with LEP. Muscle quality did not outperform strength. Although evaluating muscle quality may be useful to assess age-related mechanisms of change in muscle strength, measures of strength alone may suffice to understand the relationship between muscle and LEP.
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Beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate free acid (HMB-FA) has been suggested to accelerate the regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle following high-intensity exercise and attenuate markers of skeletal muscle damage. Herein a systematic review on the use of HMB-FA supplementation as an ergogenic aid to improve measures of muscle recovery, performance, and hypertrophy following resistance training was conducted. This review was performed using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA). We included randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials investigating the effects of HMB-FA supplementation in conjunction with resistance exercise in humans. The search was conducted using Medline and Google Scholar databases for the terms beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate, HMB free acid, exercise, resistance exercise, strength training, and HMB supplementation. Only research articles published from 1996 to 2016 in English language were considered for the analysis. Nine studies met the criteria for inclusion in the analyses. A majority of studies included resistance-trained men, and the primary intervention strategy involved administration of 3 g HMB-FA per day. In conjunction with resistance training, HMB-FA supplementation may attenuate markers of muscle damage, augment acute immune and endocrine responses, and enhance training-induced muscle mass and strength. HMB-FA supplementation may also improve markers of aerobic fitness when combined with high-intensity interval training. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to determine the overall efficacy of HMB-FA supplementation as an ergogenic aid.
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ABSTRACT Background Cost–benefit analyses have been proposed for determining acceptable risk of injury regarding training and competition participation. Currently, there is no best evidence synthesis of the literature evaluating the relationship between injury/illness and chance of success or failure. Objective To evaluate the relationship between injury and/or illness and success and/or failure in athletic populations (individual and team sports). Methods This review was prospectively registered (PROSPERO CRD42016036729) and a systematic electronic search was conducted in May 2016. Inclusion criterion was any study design describing the association between injury and/or illness and success or failure in athletic performance. Two independent authors screened search results, performed data extraction and assessed methodological quality and strength of evidence using a modified Downs and Black appraisal tool and a modified van Tulder method, respectively. Results Of 10 546 titles identified, 14 satisfied the inclusion criteria and 7 had low risk of bias. Outcome measures associated with success and/or failure included: (1) availability of team members, (2) injury incidence, (3) injury burden, (4) squad utilisation and (5, 6) precompetition and in-competition injury. There was strong evidence that (1) increased availability of team members/athletes decreased the risk of failure and (2) precompetition and in-competition injuries were associated with increased risk of failure. Conclusions Injuries have a detrimental impact on team and individual athletic success. Increased player availability improves chances of success. Conversely, injuries sustained both prior to and during competition may increase risk of failure. Injury prevention should therefore be a priority for maximising athletic performance.
Article
Background: Based on circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, some individuals develop slightly increased inflammation as they age. In elderly inflamed rats, the muscle response to protein feeding is impaired, whereas it can be maintained by treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It is unknown whether this applies to elderly humans with increased inflammation. Thus, the muscle response to whey protein bolus ingestion with and without acute resistance exercise was compared between healthy elderly individuals and elderly individuals with slightly increased inflammation±NSAID treatment. Methods: Twenty-four elderly men (>60years) were recruited. Of those, 14 displayed a slightly increased systemic inflammation (CRP>2mg/l) and were randomly assigned to NSAID (Ibuprofen 1800mg/day) or placebo treatment for 1week. The remaining 10 elderly individuals served as healthy controls (CRP<1mg/l). The muscle protein synthetic response was measured as the fractional synthetic rate (FSR) and p70S6K phosphorylation-to-total protein ratio. Results: The basal myofibrillar FSR and the myofibrillar FSR responses to whey protein bolus ingestion with and without acute resistance exercise were maintained in inflamed elderly compared to healthy controls (p>0.05) and so was p70S6K phosphorylation. Moreover, NSAID treatment did not significantly improve the myofibrillar and connective tissue FSR responses or reduce the plasma CRP level in inflamed, elderly individuals (p>0.05). Conclusion: A slight increase in systemic inflammation does not affect the basal myofibrillar FSR or the myofibrillar FSR responses, which suggests that elderly individuals with slightly increased inflammation can benefit from protein ingestion and resistance exercise to stimulate muscle protein anabolism. Moreover, the NSAID treatment did not significantly affect the myofibrillar or connective tissue FSR responses to protein ingestion and acute resistance exercise.
Article
Purpose: The best sprint performances are usually reached between the ages of 20 and 30; however even in well-trained individuals, performance continues to decrease with age. While this inevitable decrease in performance has been related to reductions in muscular force, velocity and power capabilities, these measures have not been assessed in the specific context of sprinting. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanical outputs of sprinting acceleration among Masters sprinters to better understand the mechanical underpinnings of the age-related decrease in sprint performance. Methods: The study took place during an international Masters competition, with testing performed at the end of the warm-up for official sprint races. Horizontal ground reaction force, velocity, mechanical power outputs and mechanical effectiveness of force application were estimated from running velocity-time data during a 30-m sprint acceleration in twenty-seven male sprinters (39 to 96 yrs). Data were presented in the form of age-related changes and compared to elite young sprinters data. Results: Maximal force, velocity and power outputs decreased linearly with age (all r>0.84; P<0.001), at a rate of ~1% per year. Maximal power of the oldest subject tested was about one ninth of that of younger world-class sprinters (3.57 vs. 32.1 W·kg). While the maximal effectiveness of horizontal force application also decreased with age, its decrease with increasing velocity within the sprint acceleration was not age-dependent. Conclusions: In addition to lower neuromuscular force, velocity and power outputs, Master sprinters had a comparatively lower effectiveness of force application, especially at the beginning of the sprint.
Article
Primary aging is the progressive and inevitable process of bodily deterioration during adulthood. In skeletal muscle, primary aging causes defective mitochondrial energetics and reduced muscle mass. Secondary aging refers to additional deleterious structural and functional age-related changes caused by diseases and lifestyle factors. Secondary aging can exacerbate deficits in mitochondrial function and muscle mass, concomitant with the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Exercise opposes deleterious effects of secondary aging by preventing the decline in mitochondrial respiration, mitigating aging-related loss of muscle mass and enhancing insulin sensitivity. This review focuses on mechanisms by which exercise promotes "healthy aging" by inducing modifications in skeletal muscle.
Article
Purpose: The objective of this study is to compare the integrated muscle protein synthesis (MPS) rates of masters and younger triathletes over three consecutive days of intense endurance training. Recovery of cycling performance, after muscle-damaging running, was also compared between groups. Methods: Five masters (age, 53 ± 2 yr; V˙O2max, 55.7 ± 6.9 mL·kg·min) and six younger (age, 27 ± 2 yr; V˙O2max, 62.3 ± 1.5 mL·kg·min) trained triathletes volunteered for the study. Baseline skeletal muscle and saliva were initially sampled, after which a 150-mL bolus of deuterium oxide (70%) was consumed. Participants then completed a 30-min downhill run; three 20-km cycling time trials (TT) were completed 10, 24, and 48 h after the run. Saliva was collected each morning, and skeletal muscle was again sampled 72 h after the run; both were used for MPS analysis. Diet was controlled throughout the study. Results: Over 3 d, masters triathletes showed a significantly lower myofibrillar fractional synthetic rate (1.49% ± 0.12%·d) compared with the younger (1.70% ± 0.09%·d) triathletes (P = 0.009, d = 1.98). There was also a trend for masters triathletes to produce a slower cycle TT (-3.0%, d = 0.46) than younger triathletes (-1.4%, d = 0.29) at 10 h postrun in comparison with the baseline performance. The between-group comparison of change was moderate (d = 0.51), suggesting slower acute recovery among masters triathletes. Conclusions: The present data show lower MPS rates in well-trained masters triathletes over 3 d of training, and this likely contributes to poorer muscle protein repair and remodeling. Furthermore, acute recovery of cycle TT performance tended to be poorer in the masters triathletes.
Article
Common cyclooxygenase (COX)-inhibiting drugs enhance resistance exercise induced muscle mass and strength gains in older individuals. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether the underlying mechanism regulating this effect was specific to Type I or Type II muscle fibers, which have different contractile and metabolic profiles. Muscle biopsies (vastus lateralis) were obtained before and after 12 weeks of knee-extensor resistance exercise (3 days/week) from healthy older men who consumed either a placebo (n = 8; 64±2 years) or COX inhibitor (acetaminophen, 4 gram/day; n = 7; 64±1 years) in double-blind fashion. Muscle samples were examined for Type I and II fiber cross-sectional area, capillarization, and metabolic enzyme activities (glycogen phosphorylase, citrate synthase, β-hydroxyacyl-CoA-dehydrogenase). Type I fiber size did not change with training in the placebo group (304±590 μm2) but increased 28% in the COX inhibitor group (1,388±760 μm2, p < .1). Type II fiber size increased 26% in the placebo group (1,432±499 μm2, p < .05) and 37% in the COX inhibitor group (1,825±400 μm2, p < .05). Muscle capillarization and enzyme activity were generally maintained in the placebo group. However, capillary to fiber ratio increased 24% (p < .1) and citrate synthase activity increased 18% (p < .05) in the COX inhibitor group. COX inhibitor consumption during resistance exercise in older individuals enhances myocellular growth, and this effect is more pronounced in Type I muscle fibers.
Article
Objectives To investigate the impact of training modification on achieving performance goals. Previous research demonstrates an inverse relationship between injury burden and success in team sports. It is unknown whether this relationship exists within individual sport such as athletics. Design A prospective, cohort study (n = 33 International Track and Field Athletes; 76 athlete seasons) across five international competition seasons. Methods Athlete training status was recorded weekly over a 5-year period. Over the 6-month preparation season, relationships between training weeks completed, the number of injury/illness events and the success or failure of a performance goal at major championships was investigated. Two-by-two table were constructed and attributable risks in the exposed (AFE) calculated. A mixed-model, logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between failure and burden per injury/illness. Receiver Operator Curve (ROC) analysis was performed to ascertain the optimal threshold of training week completion to maximise the chance of success. Results Likelihood of achieving a performance goal increased by 7-times in those that completed >80% of planned training weeks (AUC, 0.72; 95%CI 0.64-0.81). Training availability accounted for 86% of successful seasons (AFE = 0.86, 95%CI, 0.46 to 0.96). The majority of new injuries occurred within the first month of the preparation season (30%) and most illnesses occurred within 2-months of the event (50%). For every modified training week the chance of success significantly reduced (OR = 0.74, 95%CI 0.58 to 0.94). Conclusions Injuries and illnesses, and their influence on training availability, during preparation are major determinants of an athlete's chance of performance goal success or failure at the international level.
Article
A study was undertaken to determine the kinematic nature of the decline in sprint velocity that has been found to occur with aging. Subjects included 162 Master’s sprinters ranging in age from 30 to 94 years. Data were collected at a national championship meet and a World Veterans Championships through use of videotape and the Peak Performance Motion Measurement System. From the digitized videotape data, measures of sprint stride velocity, stride length, stride period, support time, swing time, flight time, and hip, knee, and trunk range of motion were calculated. Velocity, stride length, flight time, swing time, and range of motion in the hip and knee all decreased significantly (p<.05) with age, whereas stride period and support time increased. Further, the proportional relationship between the components of the stride was significantly (p<.05) altered. From this it was inferred that as these sprinters aged there was a decreased ability to exert muscle force as well as a decreased ability to move quickl...
Article
This study aimed to validate a simple field method for determining force- and power-velocity relationships and mechanical effectiveness of force application during sprint running. The proposed method, based on an inverse dynamic approach applied to the body center of mass, estimates the step-averaged ground reaction forces in runner's sagittal plane of motion during overground sprint acceleration from only anthropometric and spatiotemporal data. Force- and power-velocity relationships, the associated variables, and mechanical effectiveness were determined (a) on nine sprinters using both the proposed method and force plate measurements and (b) on six other sprinters using the proposed method during several consecutive trials to assess the inter-trial reliability. The low bias (<5%) and narrow limits of agreement between both methods for maximal horizontal force (638 ± 84 N), velocity (10.5 ± 0.74 m/s), and power output (1680 ± 280 W); for the slope of the force-velocity relationships; and for the mechanical effectiveness of force application showed high concurrent validity of the proposed method. The low standard errors of measurements between trials (<5%) highlighted the high reliability of the method. These findings support the validity of the proposed simple method, convenient for field use, to determine power, force, velocity properties, and mechanical effectiveness in sprint running. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.