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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 June;40(2):131-8

Copyright © 2002 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Physical, hematological, and exercise response of collegiate female equestrian athletes

Meyers M. C., Sterling J. C.

From the Department of Sports and Exercise Science West Texas A&M University, Canyon, Texas, USA * Orthopedic Specialists, Dallas, Texas, USA


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Background. Physiological test­ing is exten­sive­ly ­used to ­assess cur­rent phys­i­cal stat­us, tar­get ­strength/defi­cien­cies, and deter­mine pre­dis­po­si­tion to inju­ry in ath­letes. No stud­ies ­exist regard­ing ­these ­issues on eques­trian ath­letes. The pur­pose of ­this ­study was to quan­ti­fy the phys­i­cal, hemat­o­log­i­cal, and exer­cise ­response of ­female eques­trian ath­letes in ­order to pro­vid­ed great­er ­insight ­into the ­health fit­ness of ­this ­unique com­pet­i­tor, and to com­pare ­results to oth­er bet­ter stud­ied ­sport ath­letes.
Methods. Following writ­ten ­informed con­sent, phys­io­log­i­cal assess­ments ­were per­formed on 24 col­le­giate ­female eques­trian ath­letes (23.6±1.8 yrs; ht = 161.8±5.0 cm; wt = 64.9±9.3 kg) to quan­ti­fy aero­bic pow­er (V·O2max, V·Emax, Timemax), anaer­o­bic pow­er (­peak pow­er, ­total ­work out­put, ­fatigue ­index), ­body com­po­si­tion (%BF, LBM), mus­cu­lar ­strength (­curl-ups, ­reverse sit-ups, push­ups, hand­grip ­strength), ­blood chem­is­tries, and cor­o­nary ­risk pro­file.
Results. Data indi­cat­ed ­that ­mean (±SD) LBM (49.0±4.5 kg) and BMI (24.8±1.7 wt/ht2) ­fell with­in report­ed ath­let­ic ­norms for ­females. Percent ­body fat (24.5±6.0%), how­ev­er, was ­above aver­age. Mean V·O2max (33.9±4.5 ml/kg/min), tread­mill ­time (10:06±:36 min:sec), and V·Emax (90.3±16.0 l/min) ­were low­er ­than pre­dict­ed val­ues. Observed ­peak pow­er (5.3±0.9 w/kg), ­total ­work out­put (315.9±48.1 j/kg), ­fatigue ­index (66.9±7.9%), and hand­grip ­strength (27.8±6.6 kg) ­were ­also low­er ­than estab­lished ­norms for ­young ­females. Mean ­curl-up, ­reverse sit-up, and push­up respons­es (56.5±15.8, 36.6±13.2, 32.1±10.6, ­reps/min, respec­tive­ly) ­were con­sid­ered aver­age to ­above aver­age for ­this age ­group. Mean rest­ing ­blood chem­is­try val­ues ­were with­in nor­mal rang­es. When ana­lyz­ing the ­blood pres­sure, ­body com­po­si­tion, and ser­um lip­id ­data, ­results indi­cate an aver­age to low ­risk for cor­o­nary ­heart dis­ease in ­this pop­u­la­tion. Wide vari­a­tion in lip­id pro­files in ­this ­group as com­pared to ath­letes in oth­er ­sports is a con­cern.
Conclusions. Although work­ing ­with ­equine pos­es a con­stant dan­ger, the ­lack of ade­quate phys­i­cal con­di­tion­ing of the eques­trian may be a con­trib­ut­ing fac­tor in the grow­ing num­ber of inju­ries. When com­pared to ­female ath­letes in oth­er ­sports, exer­cise per­for­mance was ­found to be low­er. Equestrian ath­letes ­need to sup­ple­ment con­ven­tion­al ­sport activ­ity ­with tra­di­tion­al aero­bic and anaer­o­bic train­ing reg­i­mens.

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