Special Issue "Training Load, Well-Being, and Readiness: Reducing Injury Risk and Improving Sports Performance"

A special issue of Medicina (ISSN 1648-9144). This special issue belongs to the section "Sports Medicine".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure, 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
Interests: football; soccer; match analysis; performance analysis; network analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Monitoring the athlete’s performance is part of a sports training puzzle that aims to decrease injury risk and improving the ultimate performance. Therefore, applying a consistent monitoring system involves individually track the internal and external load of athletes, analyze the impact of accumulated load and peripherical factors on well-being and assess the athlete’s readiness. These main topics allow coaches and sports scientists to make decisions about the more adequate training approaches to implement in the athletes.An individual training process depends on well-implemented monitoring systems that provide important information about the thresholds of increasing or decreasing the load, managing the athlete, and reduce the injury risk associated with erroneous training plans. Despite too much information provided by monitoring systems, it still needs more and better research that helps to bring more accurate and precise information that helps to understand critical points or identify the most appropriate approaches based on the interaction between factors.Therefore, this special issue “Training load, well-being, and readiness: reducing injury risk and improving sports performance” aims to bridge the gap between theory and practice, providing an opportunity to publish original articles, systematic reviews, and/or meta-analyses conducted in the topics of (i) training load monitoring and interactions with fitness, injury risk, and sports performance; (ii) well-being monitoring and interactions with training load, lifestyle, nutrition, and psychological factors; and (iii) readiness assessment and interactions with fatigue, training load, and well-being.

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • training load
  • injury prevention
  • injury risk
  • illness
  • well-being
  • wellness
  • sports performance
  • readiness
  • sports training

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Anabolic–Androgenic Steroid Abuse among Gym Users, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia
Medicina 2021, 57(7), 703; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina57070703 - 10 Jul 2021
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: The main aim of the present study was to assess the use of androgenic–anabolic steroids (AAS) and to investigate its potentially unfavorable effects among gym members attending gym fitness facilities in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The main aim of the present study was to assess the use of androgenic–anabolic steroids (AAS) and to investigate its potentially unfavorable effects among gym members attending gym fitness facilities in Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was carried out during the summer of 2017. Male gym users in the Eastern Province region of Saudi Arabia were the respondents. Information on socio-demographics, use of AAS, knowledge, and awareness about its side effects were collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Results: The prevalence of AAS consumption among trainees in Eastern Province was 21.3%. The percentage was highest among those 26–30 years of age (31.9%), followed by the 21–25 (27.4%) (p = 0.003) age group. Participants in the study were not aware of the potential adverse effects of AAS use. Adverse effects experienced by 77% of AAS users include psychiatric problems (47%), acne (32.7%), hair loss (14.2%), and sexual dysfunction (10.7%). Moreover, it appears that trainers and friends are major sources (75.20%) for obtaining AAS. Conclusion: AAS abuse is a real problem among gym members, along with a lack of knowledge regarding its adverse effects. Health education and awareness programs are needed not only for trainees, but also for trainers and gym owners as they are reportedly some of the primary sources of AAS. Full article
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Article
Effect of Heel-First Strike Gait on Knee and Ankle Mechanics
Medicina 2021, 57(7), 657; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina57070657 - 26 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: Acquiring knowledge about the magnitude and direction of induced joint forces during modifying gait strategies is critical for proper exercise prescription. The present study aimed to evaluate whether a heel-first strike pattern during gait can affect the biomechanical characteristics [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Acquiring knowledge about the magnitude and direction of induced joint forces during modifying gait strategies is critical for proper exercise prescription. The present study aimed to evaluate whether a heel-first strike pattern during gait can affect the biomechanical characteristics of ankle and knee joints among asymptomatic people. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study performed in the biomechanics laboratory, 13 professional healthy male athletes walked on an instrumented walkway under two walking conditions. For the normal condition, subjects were instructed to walk as they normally would. For the heel-first strike condition, subjects were instructed to walk with heel-first strike pattern and increase heel contact duration as much as possible. Then, knee and ankle joint range of motions and moments, as well as vertical ground reaction force was measured by the Kistler force plate and Vicon motion analysis system. Results: Knee flexion angle at the initial contact and during stance phase was significantly lower when increasing the heel strike pattern. In addition, the mean values of the knee external rotation and adductor moments during heel strike condition were lower than those in normal walking. Further, the ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) during mid-stance increased significantly during heel-first strike pattern compared to the value in normal gait pattern. Conclusions: The modification of gait pattern including heel-first strike pattern can reduce the mechanical load applied to the knee, while improving the extensibility of gastro-soleus muscle complex. Full article
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Article
In-Season Internal and External Workload Variations between Starters and Non-Starters—A Case Study of a Top Elite European Soccer Team
Medicina 2021, 57(7), 645; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina57070645 - 23 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: Interpretation of the load variations across a period seems important to control the weekly progression or variation of the load, or to identify in-micro- and mesocycle variations. Thus, the aims of this study were twofold: (a) to describe the in-season [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Interpretation of the load variations across a period seems important to control the weekly progression or variation of the load, or to identify in-micro- and mesocycle variations. Thus, the aims of this study were twofold: (a) to describe the in-season variations of training monotony, training strain and acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR) through session ratings of perceived exertion (s-RPE), total distance and high-speed running (HSR); and (b) to compare those variations between starters and non-starters. Materials and Methods: Seventeen professional players from a European First League team participated in this study. They were divided in two groups: starters (n = 9) and non-starters (n = 8). The players were monitored daily over a 41-week period of competition where 52 matches occurred during the 2015–2016 in-season. Through the collection of s-RPE, total distance and HSR, training monotony, training strain and ACWR were calculated for each measure, respectively. Data were analyzed across ten mesocycles (M: 1 to 10). Repeated measures ANOVA was used with the Bonferroni post hoc test to compare M and player status. Results: The results revealed no differences between starters vs. non-starters (p > 0.05). M6 had a greater number of matches and displayed higher values for monotony (s-RPE, total distance and HSR), strain (only for total distance) and ACWR (s-RPE, TD and HSR). However, the variation patterns for all indexes displayed some differences. Conclusions: The values of both starters and non-starters showed small differences, thus suggesting that the adjustments of training workloads that had been applied over the season helped to reduce differences according to the player status. Even so, there were some variations over the season (microcycles and mesocycles) for the whole team. This study could be used as a reference for future coaches, staff and scientists. Full article
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Article
Relationships between Fitness Status and Match Running Performance in Adult Women Soccer Players: A Cohort Study
Medicina 2021, 57(6), 617; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina57060617 - 13 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to analyze the relationships between fitness status (repeated-sprint ability (RSA), aerobic performance, vertical height jump, and hip adductor and abductor strength) and match running performance in adult women soccer players and (ii) [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The aim of this study was twofold: (i) to analyze the relationships between fitness status (repeated-sprint ability (RSA), aerobic performance, vertical height jump, and hip adductor and abductor strength) and match running performance in adult women soccer players and (ii) to explain variations in standardized total distance, HSR, and sprinting distances based on players’ fitness status. Materials and Methods: The study followed a cohort design. Twenty-two Portuguese women soccer players competing at the first-league level were monitored for 22 weeks. These players were tested three times during the cohort period. The measured parameters included isometric strength (hip adductor and abductor), vertical jump (squat and countermovement jump), linear sprint (10 and 30 m), change-of-direction (COD), repeated sprints (6 × 35 m), and intermittent endurance (Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1). Data were also collected for several match running performance indicators (total distance covered and distance at different speed zones, accelerations/decelerations, maximum sprinting speed, and number of sprints) in 10 matches during the cohort. Results: Maximal linear sprint bouts presented large to very large correlations with explosive match-play actions (accelerations, decelerations, and sprint occurrences; r = −0.80 to −0.61). In addition, jump modalities and COD ability significantly predicted, respectively, in-game high-intensity accelerations (r = 0.69 to 0.75; R2 = 25%) and decelerations (r = −0.78 to −0.50; R2 = 23–24%). Furthermore, COD had significant explanatory power related to match running performance variance regardless of whether the testing and match performance outcomes were computed a few or several days apart. Conclusion: The present investigation can help conditioning professionals working with senior women soccer players to prescribe effective fitness tests to improve their forecasts of locomotor performance. Full article
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Article
Characteristics of Pedaling Muscle Stiffness among Cyclists of Different Performance Levels
Medicina 2021, 57(6), 606; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/medicina57060606 - 11 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Background and Objectives: The aim of the present study was to compare the impact of an incremental exercise test on muscle stiffness in the rectus femoris (RF), vastus lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF), and gastrocnemius (GL) among road cyclists of three performance levels. [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The aim of the present study was to compare the impact of an incremental exercise test on muscle stiffness in the rectus femoris (RF), vastus lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF), and gastrocnemius (GL) among road cyclists of three performance levels. Materials and Methods: The study group consisted of 35 cyclists grouped according to their performance level; elite (n = 10; professional license), sub-elite (n = 12; amateur license), and recreational (n = 13; cyclosportive license). Passive muscle stiffness was assessed using myometry before and after an incremental exercise test. Results: There was a significant correlation between time and category in the vastus lateralis with stiffness increases in the sub-elite (p = 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.88) and elite groups (p = 0.003, Cohen’s d = 0.72), but not in the recreational group (p = 0.085). Stiffness increased over time in the knee extensors (RF, p < 0.001; VL, p < 0.001), but no changes were observed in the knee flexors (GL, p = 0.63, BF, p = 0.052). There were no baseline differences among the categories in any muscle. Conclusions: Although the performance level affected VL stiffness after an incremental exercise test, no differences in passive stiffness were observed among the main muscles implicated in pedaling in a resting state. Future research should assess whether this marker could be used to differentiate cyclists of varying fitness levels and its potential applicability for the monitoring of training load. Full article
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