I am highlighting three particularly different MSSE® articles this month. First, McCrary et al. studied elite violinists, a unique group previously classified as submaximal athletes. The current study found that 15 min of cardiovascular, core muscle, and musical warm-ups did not acutely impact surface EMG muscle activity levels or performance quality, but did significantly decrease perceived exertion. Accordingly, these results on performing arts “athletes” are consistent with a number of other studies suggesting that warm-up does not induce any significant acute physiological or performance benefits for submaximal activities. Further, the decrease in perceived exertion without accompanying physiological changes or performance enhancement suggests that the acute effects of warm-up for submaximal activities may be the result of psychological mechanisms and/or the placebo effect.
In a traditional athlete type, Smith et al. performed two separate randomized, crossover protocols to assess the impact of mental fatigue on soccer-specific physical and technical performance. The results of the first protocol revealed that mental fatigue increased perception of effort and reduced Yo-Yo IR1 (a validated physical test for soccer players) performance by an average of 16%. The second protocol utilized the Loughborough Soccer Passing and Shooting Tests, and was the first study to investigate the impact of mental fatigue on sport-specific skill-based performance. The second protocol results revealed that mental fatigue impaired ball control and passing accuracy, and reduced shooting accuracy and speed. The combined results of both protocols suggest that mental fatigue is detrimental to multiple factors that contribute to successful soccer performance. Therefore, prematch activities should be assessed, and fatigue-attenuating strategies utilized, to ensure that players are not mentally fatigued during competition.
Finally, proper control of appetite and satiety is a crucial component of weight management. Acute aerobic exercise transiently reduces appetite, and in the context of obesity this “improvement” in appetite should aid in weight management. However, the impact of resistance training and its timing around a meal on appetite is not clear. Heden et al. addressed this topic by having obese individuals with type 2 diabetes perform a single session of resistance training either prior to, or after a dinner meal, while simultaneously measuring perceived appetite and appetite regulating hormones. Both pre- and postmeal resistance exercise reduced perceived appetite, showing for the first time that resistance training reduces perceived hunger and increases perceived fullness, and thus should aid weight management efforts in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
L. Bruce Gladden