Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)


Whether transgender people should be able to compete in sport in accordance with their gender identity is a widely contested question within the literature and among sport organisations, fellow competitors and spectators. Owing to concerns surrounding transgender people (especially transgender female individuals) having an athletic advantage, several sport organisations place restrictions on transgender competitors (e.g. must have undergone gender-confirming surgery). In addition, some transgender people who engage in sport, both competitively and for leisure, report discrimination and victimisation.

Concepts: Gender, Gender role, Gender identity, Transgender, Third gender, Homosexuality, Gender studies, Gender identity disorder


It is widely believed that an active cool-down is more effective for promoting post-exercise recovery than a passive cool-down involving no activity. However, research on this topic has never been synthesized and it therefore remains largely unknown whether this belief is correct. This review compares the effects of various types of active cool-downs with passive cool-downs on sports performance, injuries, long-term adaptive responses, and psychophysiological markers of post-exercise recovery. An active cool-down is largely ineffective with respect to enhancing same-day and next-day(s) sports performance, but some beneficial effects on next-day(s) performance have been reported. Active cool-downs do not appear to prevent injuries, and preliminary evidence suggests that performing an active cool-down on a regular basis does not attenuate the long-term adaptive response. Active cool-downs accelerate recovery of lactate in blood, but not necessarily in muscle tissue. Performing active cool-downs may partially prevent immune system depression and promote faster recovery of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. However, it is unknown whether this reduces the likelihood of post-exercise illnesses, syncope, and cardiovascular complications. Most evidence indicates that active cool-downs do not significantly reduce muscle soreness, or improve the recovery of indirect markers of muscle damage, neuromuscular contractile properties, musculotendinous stiffness, range of motion, systemic hormonal concentrations, or measures of psychological recovery. It can also interfere with muscle glycogen resynthesis. In summary, based on the empirical evidence currently available, active cool-downs are largely ineffective for improving most psychophysiological markers of post-exercise recovery, but may nevertheless offer some benefits compared with a passive cool-down.

Concepts: Immune system, Blood, Heart, Muscle, Glycogen, Lactic acid, Neuromuscular disease, Exercise physiology


Reducing the energetic cost of running seems the most feasible path to a sub-2-hour marathon. Footwear mass, cushioning, and bending stiffness each affect the energetic cost of running. Recently, prototype running shoes were developed that combine a new highly compliant and resilient midsole material with a stiff embedded plate.

Concepts: Classical mechanics, Elasticity, Elastic modulus, Shoe, Footwear, Hardness, Structural analysis, Athletic shoe


Inspired by recent findings that prolonged sitting has detrimental health effects, Rietveld Architecture Art Affordances (RAAAF) and visual artist Barbara Visser designed a working environment without chairs and desks. This environment, which they called The End of Sitting, is a sculpture whose surfaces afford working in several non-sitting postures (e.g. lying, standing, leaning).

Concepts: Arts, Sitting, Art, Architecture, Interaction design, Affordance


Middle- and long-distance running performance is constrained by several important aerobic and anaerobic parameters. The efficacy of strength training (ST) for distance runners has received considerable attention in the literature. However, to date, the results of these studies have not been fully synthesized in a review on the topic.

Concepts: Strength training, Aerobic exercise, Running


Periodization theory has, over the past seven decades, emerged as the preeminent training planning paradigm. The philosophical underpinnings of periodization theory can be traced back to the integration of diverse shaping influences, whereby coaching beliefs and traditions were blended with historically available scientific insights and contextualized against pervading social planning models. Since then, many dimensions of elite preparation have evolved significantly, as driven by a combination of coaching innovations and science-led advances in training theory, techniques, and technologies. These advances have been incorporated into the fabric of the pre-existing periodization planning framework, yet the philosophical assumptions underpinning periodization remain largely unchallenged and unchanged. One particularly influential academic sphere of study, the science of stress, particularly the work of Hans Selye, is repeatedly cited by theorists as a central pillar upon which periodization theory is founded. A fundamental assumption emanating from the early stress research is that physical stress is primarily a biologically mediated phenomenon: a presumption translated to athletic performance contexts as evidence that mechanical training stress directly regulates the magnitude of subsequent ‘fitness’ adaptations. Interestingly, however, since periodization theory first emerged, the science of stress has evolved extensively from its historical roots. This raises a fundamental question: if the original scientific platform upon which periodization theory was founded has disintegrated, should we critically re-evaluate conventional perspectives through an updated conceptual lens? Realigning periodization philosophy with contemporary stress theory thus presents us with an opportunity to recalibrate training planning models with both contemporary scientific insight and progressive coaching practice.

Concepts: Scientific method, Natural selection, Truth, Epistemology, Dimension, Science, History, Eustress


Concentrations of endogenous sex hormones fluctuate across the menstrual cycle (MC), which could have implications for exercise performance in women. At present, data are conflicting, with no consensus on whether exercise performance is affected by MC phase.


The objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of a newly developed warm-up programme (‘11+ Kids’) regarding its potential to reduce injuries in children’s football.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Efficacy


Exercising in the heat induces thermoregulatory and other physiological strain that can lead to impairments in endurance exercise capacity. The purpose of this consensus statement is to provide up-to-date recommendations to optimize performance during sporting activities undertaken in hot ambient conditions. The most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimize performance is to heat acclimatize. Heat acclimatization should comprise repeated exercise-heat exposures over 1-2 weeks. In addition, athletes should initiate competition and training in an euhydrated state and minimize dehydration during exercise. Following the development of commercial cooling systems (e.g., cooling vests), athletes can implement cooling strategies to facilitate heat loss or increase heat storage capacity before training or competing in the heat. Moreover, event organizers should plan for large shaded areas, along with cooling and rehydration facilities, and schedule events in accordance with minimizing the health risks of athletes, especially in mass participation events and during the first hot days of the year. Following the recent examples of the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sport governing bodies should consider allowing additional (or longer) recovery periods between and during events for hydration and body cooling opportunities when competitions are held in the heat.

Concepts: Competition, Olympic Games, Homeostasis, Acclimatization, FIFA World Cup, FIFA, FIFA World Rankings, 2014 Winter Olympics


The literature base regarding the development of sporting talent is extensive, and includes empirical articles, reviews, position papers, academic books, governing body documents, popular books, unpublished theses and anecdotal evidence, and contains numerous models of talent development. With such a varied body of work, the task for researchers, practitioners and policy makers of generating a clear understanding of what is known and what is thought to be true regarding the development of sporting talent is particularly challenging. Drawing on a wide array of expertise, we address this challenge by avoiding adherence to any specific model or area and by providing a reasoned review across three key overarching topics: (a) the performer; (b) the environment; and © practice and training. Within each topic sub-section, we review and calibrate evidence by performance level of the samples. We then conclude each sub-section with a brief summary, a rating of the quality of evidence, a recommendation for practice and suggestions for future research. These serve to highlight both our current level of understanding and our level of confidence in providing practice recommendations, but also point to a need for future studies that could offer evidence regarding the complex interactions that almost certainly exist across domains.

Concepts: Knowledge, Policy, The Current, Evidence, Scientific evidence, Challenge, Anecdotal evidence, Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses