Thursday, 17 April 2014

New Article Published

This work was a collaboration with colleagues at Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education, in East Tennessee State University.

 2014 Apr 9. [Epub ahead of print]

Repeated change-of-direction test for collegiate male soccer players.

Author information

  • 1Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education, Department of Kinesiology, Leisure, and Sport Science, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA -



The aim of the study was to investigate the applicability of a repeated change-of-direction (RCoD) test for NCAA Division-I male soccer players.


The RCoD test consisted of 5 diagonal direction changes per repetition with a soccer ball to be struck at the end. Each player performed 15 repetitions with approximately 10 seconds to jog back between repetitions. Data were collected in two sessions. In the first session, 13 players were examined for heart rate responses and blood lactate concentrations. In the second session, 22 players were examined for the test's ability to discriminate the primary from secondary players (78.0 ± 16.1 and 10.4 ± 13.3 minutes per match, respectively).


Heart rate data were available only from 9 players due to artifacts. The peak heart rate (200.2 ± 6.6 beats∙min1: 99.9 ± 3.0% maximum) and blood lactate concentration (14.8 ± 2.4 mmol∙L1 immediately after) resulted in approximately 3.5 and 6.4fold increases from the resting values, respectively. These values appear comparable to those during intense periods of soccer matches. In addition, the average repetition time of the test was found to discriminate the primary (4.85 ± 0.23 s) from the secondary players (5.10 ± 0.24 s) (p = 0.02).


The RCoD test appears to induce physiological responses similar to intense periods of soccer matches with respect to heart rate and blood lactate concentration. Players with better average repetition times tend to be those who play major minutes.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A One-Year Study of Endurance Runners: Training, Laboratory and Field Tests

I have been away form the blog for few months now. The move to Qatar has meant adjusting to life in the desert and learning a lot new relevant aspects of my new job. There are so many things to learn and too many things to do. Sadly the time to update the blog has been less than expected. Abandoning Windos for Mac has also not helped, as I am still trying to find a good software solution to be able to blog more often (if you have suggestions, feel free to email them!). 

Anyway, I want to share the news that finally this paper has been published. This was the result of a lot of hard work from Dr. Andy Galbraith and a collaboration with Professor Louis Passfield's group at University of Kent to make sure we made the most out of the data gathered in the study. Hopefully more data of this study will be published in the future.

Here is the abstract:

A One-Year Study of Endurance Runners: Training, Laboratory and Field Tests

Section: Original Investigation
Authors: Andy Galbraith1, James Hopker1, Marco Cardinale2,3,4, Brian Cunniffe3 and Louis Passfield1
Affiliations: 1Endurance Research Group, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Kent, Chatham Maritime, United Kingdom. 2Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar. Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, United Kingdom. School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland.
Acceptance Date: March 18, 2014
 This longitudinal study examined the training and concomitant changes in laboratory and field-test performance of highly trained endurance runners. Methods: Fourteen highly trained male endurance runners (mean ± SD: VO2max 69.8 ± 6.3mL·kg-1·min-1) completed this 1-year training study commencing in April. During the study the runners undertook 5 laboratory tests of VO2max, lactate threshold (LT) and running economy, and 9 field tests to determine critical speed (CS) and the modelled maximum distance performed above CS (D’). The data for different periods of the year were compared using repeated measures ANOVA. The influence of training on laboratory and field test changes was analysed by multiple regression.Results: Total training distance varied during the year, and was lower in May-July (333km [SD: ± 206km], P=0.01) and July-August (339km [SD: ± 206km], P=0.02) than in the subsequent January-February period (474km [SD: ± 188km]). VO2max increased from the April baseline (4.7L·min-1 [SD: ± 0.4L·min-1]) in October and January periods (5.0L·min-1 [SD: ± 0.4L·min-1], P<0.01). Other laboratory measures did not change. Runners’ CS was lowest in August (4.90m·s-1 [SD: ± 0.32m·s-1]) and highest in February (4.99m·s-1 [SD: ± 0.30m·s-1], P=0.02). Total training distance and the percentage of training time spent above LT velocity explained 33% of the variation in CS. Conclusion: Highly trained endurance runners achieve small but significant changes in VO2max and CS in a year. Increases in training distance and time above LT velocity were related to increases in CS.
Keywords: VO2max, critical speed, distance running, endurance, performance changes

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Change of scenery, move, new job and new opportunities

Apologies for the silence, but the last month has been quite eventful. I left the UK and moved to Qatar to start my new job at Aspire Academy heading physiology and biochemistry. So far I have been a month in Qatar and I can tell you that this is an exciting project with huge potential.
This is the location of the Academy.

An incredible facility with some great colleagues and great coaches, so looking forward to get back into working with young athletes. Reading a lot at the moment and trying to write up few things while developing the structure of the physiology and biochemistry activities in Aspire. 
I plan to write more and have few ideas for new articles on this blog, so stay tuned and hopefully you will like the new content.

Friday, 26 April 2013

On the road

It’s been an interesting month. Changing jobs and moving to new challenges. It has been also interesting because I had the chance to visit few places, give talks, meet people, learn loads and reflect on the last 8 years. I was in Vaxjo in Sweden at the end of March to talk about strength and power training. It was great to see some great coaches in the audience (one of my sporting idols and now successful silver medalist coach of the Swedish Handball team was there!) and a brilliant facility with plenty of athletes of all ages. This trip was followed by London for the Sports Analytics Summit to talk about data in Sport and how to use them better, great conference and lots of learning and new ideas. Then I lectured at the Strength and Conditioning Students Conference at Middlesex University and it was great to see so many young practitioners asking loads of questions and engaging to learn more. More recently I travelled to Potsdam University in Germany to give a talk about Science in Sport and discuss few potential collaborations with Professor Urs Granacher and his team. They do loads of interesting things on neuromuscular function, so watch this space for some exciting developments in the future. Spent a great afternoon at Birmingham University with my colleague Dr. Matt Bridge who is doing some very interesting work on Golf. and gave a talk on science and coaching on the road to London 2012. Finally, last Saturday I was at the Football Medicine Conference in London perfectly organised by Isokinetic to give a talk on vibration and its use in rehabilitation in a parallel workshop organised by UCL.

The next few weeks are going to be challenging as I am travelling again, but I am looking forward to catch up with loads of friends and colleagues and also learn about new things and continue to develop some ideas for research work to do in the next few years.

So, I will be at the VISTA conference in Bonn organised by the IPC to talk about technology in sport and how it can be used to help the coach and the athlete. Following that, I will be in Boston at the BSMPG Summer seminar to give two talks, but most of all to listen to some great speakers and visit some of the best sporting teams in the World and engage with some fantastic practitioners. Finally, at the end of May, I will be with Nike in Oregon at the #SPARQ2013 conference with some of my colleagues of the SPARQ Advisory Board.

If you are are a reader and are attending any of the above, make sure you get in touch and give some feedback. I am planning to rearrange the blog and improve it so feedback is needed to get it right. Also, I am starting to think about another edition of the strength and conditioning book so I need to start asking questions of what to improve in the next edition.

I promise to write a bit more in the next few weeks about few topics, time is now on my side (or at least this is what I believe!).

Two new papers

Apologies for radio silence. It has been a buys few months with loads happening. I have now left Team GB and moved on to new adventures (I will talk about it soon). In the meantime two papers have been recently published and the abstracts are here.


Horm Metab Res. 2013 Apr 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Combination of External Load and Whole Body Vibration Potentiates the GH-releasing Effect of Squatting in Healthy Females.

Giunta M, Rigamonti AE, Agosti F, Patrizi A, Compri E, Cardinale M, Sartorio A.


Istituto Auxologico Italiano, IRCCS, Laboratorio Sperimentale di Ricerche Auxo-endocrinologiche, Milan and Piancavallo (VB), Italy.


In recent years, whole body vibration (WBV) has become an efficient complement or alternative to resistance training. Very limited data on the effects of different WBV protocols on anabolic hormones are available. In this study, we compared the growth hormone (GH), blood lactate (LA), and cortisol responses to different protocols involving WBV. Six healthy women recreationally active performed 10 sets of 12 dynamic squats in the following conditions: squatting alone (S), squatting+vibration (SV), squatting+external load (SE), and squatting+external load+vibration (SEV). All responses at the different stimuli determined acute increases in GH, cortisol, and LA. In particular, GH secretion significantly increased in all 4 conditions immediately after the exercise session compared to other time points. Furthermore, a significantly larger increase was identified following SEV as compared to the other conditions. Cortisol concentrations significantly decreased after S, SV and SE whereas they increased significantly following SEV. LA peaks occurred immediately at the end of each condition. However it reached statistical significance only following SEV. The results of our study demonstrate that the combination of squatting+external load+vibration (SEV) could represent the most suitable modality to potentiate the somatotropic function and, indirectly, to obtain an increase in muscle strength and positive changes in the body composition. Further studies are necessary in order to determine the chronic effects of this exercise modality on the hormonal profile.


Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jan 24. [Epub ahead of print]

Neuromuscular fatigue induced by whole-body vibration exercise.

Maffiuletti NA, Saugy J, Cardinale M, Micallef JP, Place N.


Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Lengghalde 2, 8008, Zurich, Switzerland,


The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and the origin of neuromuscular fatigue induced by half-squat static whole-body vibration (WBV) exercise, and to compare it to a non-WBV condition. Nine healthy volunteers completed two fatiguing protocols (WBV and non-WBV, randomly presented) consisting of five 1-min bouts of static half-squat exercise with a load corresponding to 50 % of their individual body mass. Neuromuscular fatigue of knee and ankle muscles was investigated before and immediately after each fatiguing protocol. The main outcomes were maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque, voluntary activation, and doublet peak torque. Knee extensor MVC torque decreased significantly (P < 0.01) and to the same extent after WBV (-23 %) and non-WBV (-25 %), while knee flexor, plantar flexor, and dorsiflexor MVC torque was not affected by the treatments. Voluntary activation of knee extensor and plantar flexor muscles was unaffected by the two fatiguing protocols. Doublet peak torque decreased significantly and to a similar extent following WBV and non-WBV exercise, for both knee extensors (-25 %; P < 0.01) and plantar flexors (-7 %; P < 0.05). WBV exercise with additional load did not accentuate fatigue and did not change its causative factors compared to non-WBV half-squat resistive exercise in recreationally active subjects.

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