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DIFFERENCES IN UNILATERAL CHEST PRESS MUSCLE ACTIVATION ON A STABLE VERSUS UNSTABLE SURFACE WHILE HOLDING ONE VERSUS TWO DUMBBELLS

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Training the bench press exercise on a traditional flat bench does not induce a level of instability as seen in sport movements and activities of daily living. Because of this, many new types of equipment have been created in an

Training the bench press exercise on a traditional flat bench does not induce a level of instability as seen in sport movements and activities of daily living. Because of this, many new types of equipment have been created in an attempt to induce instability, such as the COR Bench. 15 males and 7 females between the ages of 18 and 30 were recruited for the present study, which tested two forms of instability: using one dumbbell rather than two, and lifting on the COR bench compared to a flat bench. Thusly, EMG was used to measure muscle activity in four separate conditions of unilateral bench press movements: on a flat bench with one dumbbell, on a flat bench with two dumbbells, on the COR Bench with one dumbbell, and on the COR Bench with two dumbbells. Results indicated that lifting with one dumbbell compared to two dumbbells on the flat bench significantly increased muscle activity across all four muscles being analyzed (pectoralis major, p = .005; middle trapezius, p = .008; external obliques, p = .004; and internal obliques, p = .003), but lifting with one dumbbell compared to two dumbbells on the COR Bench only significantly increased muscle activity in the middle trapezius (p = .001), external obliques(p = . 032), and internal obliques (p = .001). The only muscle to exhibit a significant increase in muscle activity when going from one dumbbell on the flat bench to one dumbbell on the COR Bench was the middle trapezius (p = .010). These results imply that the COR Bench itself does not increase muscle activity as much as switching from two dumbbells to one dumbbell, regardless of the bench being used.

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2013-12

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Differences in mental toughness of collegiate female soccer players at different levels of competition

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Mental toughness is frequently cited as a key psychological component for superior athletic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine if differences in mental toughness exist between female soccer players at different levels of collegiate competition: intramural, club,

Mental toughness is frequently cited as a key psychological component for superior athletic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine if differences in mental toughness exist between female soccer players at different levels of collegiate competition: intramural, club, and varsity. Based on the available literature, a progressive relationship between mental toughness and level of competition was hypothesized. A total of sixty-two athletes (n=62) were recruited from the intramural, club and varsity soccer teams and administered the Sport Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMQT). Descriptive statistics and one-way analysis of variances (ANOVA) revealed no significant differences between total mental toughness or subcategories (confidence, constancy, control) of mental toughness between athletes of different levels. Though these findings were surprising, there are several possible explanations as to why no relationship could be established. The study controlled for age and gender which may have proved to be a limitation. Other limitations included a small sample size, a brief questionnaire and the timing of the administration of the questionnaire. Future research should examine gender and sport differences in mental toughness across the three collegiate competitive levels as well as examine how/if mental toughness can change over the course of a competitive season.

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2016-12

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Keys to the Mind of an Elite Pole Vaulter: An Investigation of Psychological Skills and Mental Toughness

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Athletes at any level of competition face high-stress environments in which they are still expected to perform at a high level. Because of this, athletes require mental toughness in order to skillfully perform and hopefully outperform their opponents. Mental toughness

Athletes at any level of competition face high-stress environments in which they are still expected to perform at a high level. Because of this, athletes require mental toughness in order to skillfully perform and hopefully outperform their opponents. Mental toughness in sport is a term used to describe a variety of psychological skills that an athlete utilizes that allows them to perform better and more consistently than their competitors. This study was designed to determine whether mental toughness distinguished pole vaulters at three different levels of competition. It was hypothesized that post-collegiate athletes would have higher mental toughness scores than collegiate athletes who would subsequently score higher than high school athletes. Two questionnaires were given to high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate pole vaulters (n = 65) to determine total mental toughness scores as well as scores for eight different subcategories of mental toughness including motivation, self-belief, intensity, focus, control, coping, thriving on pressure, and assertiveness. ANOVA and multiple comparisons demonstrated that mental toughness differentiated post-collegiate pole vaulters from high school pole vaulters, but not between collegiate and post-collegiate. Additionally, collegiate and post-collegiate vaulters scored significantly higher than high school vaulters in the subcategories of motivation and control. Data also showed that male competitors demonstrated significantly higher mental toughness scores than female athletes on both questionnaires. Based on the research, knowing that mental toughness scores differentiate high school pole vaulters from elite pole vaulters (particularly in the areas of control and motivation) could set the foundation for training programs and targeted psychological interventions for younger athletes.

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2016-12