• Differences in forearm strength, endurance, and hemodynamic kinetics between male boulderers and lead rock climbers

      Fryer, Simon; Stone, Keeron; Sveen, Joakim; Dickson, Tabitha; España-Romero, Vanesa; Giles, David; Baláš, Jiří; Stoner, Lee; Draper, Nick; University of Gloucestershire; et al. (Taylor and Francis, 2017-07-28)
      This study examined differences in the oxygenation kinetics and strength and endurance characteristics of boulderers and lead sport climbers. Using near infrared spectroscopy, 13-boulderers, 10-lead climbers, and 10-controls completed assessments of oxidative capacity index and muscle oxygen consumption (mV̇O2) in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP), and extensor digitorum communis (EDC). Additionally, forearm strength (maximal volitional contraction MVC), endurance (force–time integral FTI at 40% MVC), and forearm volume (FAV and ΔFAV) was assessed. MVC was significantly greater in boulderers compared to lead climbers (mean difference = 9.6, 95% CI 5.2–14 kg). FDP and EDC oxidative capacity indexes were significantly greater (p = .041 and .013, respectively) in lead climbers and boulderers compared to controls (mean difference = −1.166, 95% CI (−3.264 to 0.931 s) and mean difference = −1.120, 95% CI (−3.316 to 1.075 s), respectively) with no differences between climbing disciplines. Climbers had a significantly greater FTI compared to controls (mean difference = 2205, 95% CI= 1114–3296 and mean difference = 1716, 95% CI = 553–2880, respectively) but not between disciplines. There were no significant group differences in ΔFAV or mV̇O2. The greater MVC in boulderers may be due to neural adaptation and not hypertrophy. A greater oxidative capacity index in both climbing groups suggests that irrespective of climbing discipline, trainers, coaches, and practitioners should consider forearm specific aerobic training to aid performance.
    • Forearm muscle oxidative capacity index predicts sport rock-climbing performance

      Fryer, Simon; Stoner, Lee; Stone, Keeron; Giles, David; Sveen, Joakim; Garrido, Inmaculada; España-Romero, Vanesa; University of Gloucestershire; Massey University; University of Derby; et al. (Springer, 2016-06-02)
      Abstract: Rock-climbing performance is largely dependent on the endurance of the forearm flexors. Recently, it was reported that forearm flexor endurance in elite climbers is independent of the ability to regulate conduit artery (brachial) blood flow, suggesting that endurance is not primarily dependent on the ability of the brachial artery to deliver oxygen, but rather the ability of the muscle to perfuse and use oxygen, i.e., skeletal muscle oxidative capacity. Purpose: The aim of the study was to determine whether an index of oxidative capacity in the flexor digitorum profundus (FDP) predicts the best sport climbing red-point grade within the last 6 months. Participants consisted of 46 sport climbers with a range of abilities. Methods: Using near-infrared spectroscopy, the oxidative capacity index of the FDP was assessed by calculating the half-time for tissue oxygen resaturation (O2HTR) following 3–5 min of ischemia. Results: Linear regression, adjusted for age, sex, BMI, and training experience, revealed a 1-s decrease in O2HTR was associated with an increase in red-point grade by 0.65 (95 % CI 0.35–0.94, Adj R2 = 0.53). Conclusions: Considering a grade of 0.4 separated the top four competitors in the 2015 International Federation Sport Climbing World Cup, this finding suggests that forearm flexor oxidative capacity index is an important determinant of rock-climbing performance.
    • Foresee the glory and train better: Narcissism, goal-setting and athlete training

      Zhang, Shuge; Roberts, Ross; Woodman, Tim; Pitkethly, Amanda; English, Cedric; Nightingale, David; University of Derby; Bangor University; Edinburgh Napier University (American Psychological Association, 2021-03)
      Grandiose narcissism may be debilitative to athlete training because the opportunity for self-enhancement that motivates narcissists to strive is normally absent in training environments. However, this view ignores the divergent influences of the self-inflated (reflecting over-confidence) and dominant (reflecting willingness for dominance) facets of grandiose narcissism. We expected that self-inflated narcissism would undermine athlete training, but only when dominant narcissism was low. This is because dominant narcissism may serve as the catalyst that drives those with self-inflated narcissism to train well. We further considered goal-setting as a practical means of alleviating the negative influence of self-inflated narcissism in training. Goal-setting provides athletes with an exciting vision of the future and thus can be an important self-enhancement strategy to engage narcissistic athletes in training. In the present study, 321 athletes completed the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI-40) and the goal-setting subscale in the Test of Performance Strategies-3 (TOPS-3). Coaches of these athletes assessed training behaviors using the Quality of Training Inventory (QTI). Self-inflated narcissism predicted higher levels of (coach-rated) distractibility and poorer quality of preparation only when both dominant narcissism and goal-setting were low (and not when either was high). The findings suggest that dominant narcissism and goal-setting protect against the adverse influences of self-inflated narcissism on athlete training. The work underscores the importance of considering grandiose narcissism as a multidimensional construct and supports goal-setting as a useful self-enhancement strategy.
    • Lead me to train better: transformational leadership’s moderation of the negative relationship between athlete personality and training behaviors

      Zhang, Shuge; Beattie, Stuart; Pitkethly, Amanda; Dempsey, Chelsey; Bangor University; Edinburgh Napier University (Human Kinetics, 2019-06-01)
      High-quality training environments are essential for athletic peak performance. However, recent research highlighted that athletes' personality characteristics could undermine effective training. The current set of studies aimed to examine whether specific transformational leadership characteristics displayed by the coach would moderate the potential negative impacts of two personality traits (i.e., extraversion and neuroticism) on training behaviours. In study 1, ninety-nine university athletes completed questionnaires assessing personality, transformational leadership, and training behaviours. In study 2, eighty-four high-level athletes completed the same personality and transformational leadership questionnaires. However, in study 2 the head coaches assessed athletes’ training behaviours. Both studies showed that coach high-performance expectations moderated the extraversion-distractibility relationship. Further, both studies also demonstrated that the relationship between neuroticism and coping with adversity was moderated by coach’s inspirational motivation. Our findings highlight that extraversion and neuroticism can negatively relate to training behaviours, but such effects can be moderated by certain transformational leadership behaviours.
    • Task-efficacy predicts perceived enjoyment and subsequently barrier-efficacy: Investigation of a psychological process underpinning schoolchildren’s physical activity

      Zhang, Shuge; Wang, Jingjing; Pitkethly, Amanda; University of Derby; China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing; Edinburgh Napier University (Taylor & Francis, 2020-11-20)
      Self-efficacy and perceived enjoyment have been recognized as important psychological correlates of children’s physical activity (PA). However, research investigating the psychological process underpinning self-efficacy and perceived enjoyment has generated “contradictory” findings – with some regarding self-efficacy as an antecedent of enjoyment while the others arguing for the reverse. To mitigate this confusion, we have embraced the largely overlooked distinction between task- and barrier-efficacy in PA research and have examined the proposal that task-efficacy enhances perceived enjoyment and, subsequently, increases barrier-efficacy and PA. In a sample of 331 eight-to-ten years old schoolchildren (169 boys), task-efficacy manifested an indirect effect on accelerometer-based measures of MVPA and total PA via perceived enjoyment and subsequently barrier-efficacy. Perceived enjoyment served as a mediator of task-efficacy on MVPA but not total PA. Barrier-efficacy appeared to be a consistent mediator underlying schoolchildren’s PA regardless of PA intensity. The findings suggest that 1) the distinction between task- and barrier-efficacy warrants consideration in children’s PA promotion and 2) the psychological drivers of more vigorous types of PA differ compared to lower intensity PA. Future research would do well to explore the key psychological factors underpinning less vigorous types of PA to inform the development of effective PA interventions for those who have difficulties engaging in MVPA.