prof. dr. Nejc Šarabon – PHD TOPICS

Name and Surname: prof. Nejc Šarabon, PhD

Research facility (research activity location)
University of Primorska, Faculty of Health Sciences
S2P, Science to practice, Ltd., Ljubljana
Opportunities to collaborate with Faculty of Sport (Ljubljana) Ludwig Boltzmann Institute (Vienna)

Research field according to ARRS classification
Science: Social sciences
Field: Sport
Subfield: Kinesiology – medical aspect (orthopedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation,..)

Summary of research topic and field
1. TOPIC: Exercise with isoinertial (i.e. flywheel) resistance brings potential advantages in comparison to other resistance types used in resistance exercises regimens, and is particularly promising for the elderly population. The research activities in this doctoral project will be carried out in 3 parts: (i) evidence-based optimization of isoinertial exercise device and exercise protocols, based on isoinertial resistance, (ii) optimization of a battery of test for assessment of adaptation following isoinertial exercise and (iii) exploring the effects of 10-week isoinertial exercise program for the elderly. We will examine what combination of the mass of the load and the speed of exercise execution is the most suitable (based on force-velocity-power profiles and ground reaction force recordings). Acute and chronic effects of performing exercise with isoinertial resistance will be assessed using test for different aspect of physical function, such as: (1) balance and stability; (2) kinesthesia; (3) fundamental motor and functional abilities; (4) structural and physiological characteristics of the muscles. The exercise-based intervention will be carried out in three separate successive cycles. For each cycle, 30 elderly participants will be recruited (10 weeks, 2 training session per week). The results of this doctoral project will contribute importantly to the body of knowledge on the field of comprehensive care of the elderly and their physical function. Another important novelty will be the preparation and presentation of foundations for personalization of isoinertial-exercise-based programs for the elderly, in terms of safety and stability. The work in this project will also lay a foundation for inclusion of novel measurement approaches for assessment of function in activities of daily life of the elderly. The outcomes of the studies will also reveal certain underlying mechanisms of daily function of the elderly.
2. TOPIC: The research activities will be carried out in 3 parts, according to the three primary aims: (i) to assess the validity and reliability of field assessment of force-velocity-power (FVP) for different movement patterns (sprint, jump, bench press), (ii) to explore the associations in FVP profiles between cycling and discrete movement, and between upper and lower body and (iii) to investigate whether injury risk and sport-specific performance may be increased in athletes by utilizing individualized training approach, based on FVP profile assessment. For the first part, we will compare the field methods to laboratory methods that represent the current gold standard for FVP profile assessment. Next, we will examine the relationships between FVP profiles obtained during different tasks and joints, from which conclusions on generalizability of the FVP profile assessment will be drawn. The last and most extensive part will encompass a targeted intervention approach. In particular, individual athletes will be assessed in terms of their FVP profile and associated parameters, which will be used to tailor the programs according to each individual. The aim of this approach is to determine whether an individualized training approach, based on FVP profile assessment, is an effective mean for improving performance and reducing injury risk. For this purpose, a sample of athletes (n = 22-25) will be recruited and will be required to perform loaded sprint training (10 weeks, 2-3 times per week), after which we will assess the effect on FVP profile and performance. The results of the studies carried out in this doctoral project will present a novel and original contribution to the body of knowledge in sport science (basic and applied). The project brings several interesting challenges and opportunities, not only in view of research work, but also to collaborate in technical work and development of innovative solutions in cooperation with a mentor with an abundance of experience in innovating and development.