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Title: The application of novel high-intensity eccentric exercise : evolving high-performance strength and conditioning practice
Author: Harden, Mellissa
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 1418
Awarding Body: Northumbria University
Current Institution: Northumbria University
Date of Award: 2019
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Habitual use of high-intensity eccentric exercise increases the potential for muscle to be stronger and faster, and therefore generate more power. The application of high-intensity eccentric training in a performance environment is fraught with problems. This has restricted the potential to understand training prescription and adaptation in applied settings and performance contexts. The overarching aim of this thesis was to better understand the application of novel high-intensity eccentric exercise in a high-performance context, in a manner that is relevant to strength and conditioning (S&C) practitioners. The first investigation (Chapter 3) was exploratory in nature and acquired experiential knowledge from high-performance S&C practitioners which inspired the development of the series of investigations for this work. The second investigation (Chapter 4) provided a better understanding of the functioning of a bespoke leg press device and provided preliminary insight into the different mechanical stimuli that can be offered when exercising using the device in a conventional, isometric or an eccentric manner. The third and fourth investigations provided new insight into the typical performance responses of strength-trained individuals during isometric assessment (Chapter 5) and highintensity eccentric repetitions (Chapter 6). These investigations highlighted the potential for force output during different tasks performed on the leg press device. The fifth investigation (Chapter 7) captured the immediate training-induced effects of high-intensity eccentric exercise and raised awareness of the individual variability in the responses to this type of exercise. The outcomes provided information which could assist with the organisation and management of the training stimulus (or a similar) within a broader physical preparation programme. Importantly, the results highlighted a potential issue with using isometric force output as a basis for prescribing eccentric training loads. Consequently, a taskspecific assessment of eccentric strength was developed in the sixth investigation (Chapter 8) to establish a more definitive evaluation of eccentric strength and to provide a more accurate platform to prescribe individualised eccentric training loads. The task-specific approach to eccentric load prescription was applied in the seventh investigation (Chapter 9) to prescribe exercise for a 4-week strength training intervention. This approach to training load prescription was welltolerated over the course of the training intervention. The data provided an indication of the potential characteristic response to the prescribed exercise and implied that for some individuals, the task-specific approach to eccentric load prescription could be a marginally more efficient method of training. Although a more definitive conclusion could have been drawn had the training period continued for a longer duration and included a greater number of sessions. Importantly, the elite athlete group demonstrated a distinct response and perhaps have a different tolerance for the prescribed exercise. Overall, this work addressed the prescription, evaluation and application of novel high-intensity eccentric exercise and offered an insight into the potential adaptations in strength-trained individuals and elite sprint cycling athletes. The information was intended to contribute towards the body of scientific knowledge pertaining to eccentric training, whilst assisting S&C coaches with the application of eccentric exercise with athletes.
Supervisor: Howatson, Glyn ; Hicks, Kirsty ; Wolf, Alex Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C600 Sports Science