Special Issue "The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (4 September 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Paul Comfort

Directorate of Sport, Exercise and Physiotherapy, University of Salford, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: weightlifting derivatives; kinetics; strength; force; power; sprint; jump; athletic performance; muscle architecture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Strength underpins successful performance in many athletic tasks. Strong relationships have been observed between measures of multi-joint dynamic and isometric strength (force production) and performance in short sprints, jumps, and change of direction tasks. Clear associations have also been reported between isometric force production and dynamic strength. Relative strength (ratio scaled) appears to differentiate between performances in many athletic tasks, between levels of competition and may explain differences in performances between sexes. More importantly, the results of a limited number of studies demonstrate that inceases in relative strength tend to result in improvements in short sprint, jump and change of direction prformance. The aim of this Special Issue is to expand on this growing body of research, highlighting the role of strength on performance in athletic tasks including differentiation between levels of performance and between sexes.

Dr. Paul Comfort
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Strength
  • Force
  • Power
  • Sprint
  • Jump
  • Change of Direction
  • Athletic Performance
  • Acceleration
  • Velocity

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effects of a Six-Week Strength Training Programme on Change of Direction Performance in Youth Team Sport Athletes
Sports 2017, 5(4), 83; doi:10.3390/sports5040083
Received: 4 September 2017 / Revised: 14 October 2017 / Accepted: 16 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
This study investigated the effects of eccentric phase-emphasis strength training (EPE) on unilateral strength and performance in 180- and 45-degree change of direction (COD) tasks in rugby union players. A 12-week cross-over design was used to compare the efficacy of resistance training executed
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This study investigated the effects of eccentric phase-emphasis strength training (EPE) on unilateral strength and performance in 180- and 45-degree change of direction (COD) tasks in rugby union players. A 12-week cross-over design was used to compare the efficacy of resistance training executed with 3 s eccentric duration (EPE, n = 12) against conventional strength training, with no constraints on tempo (CON, n = 6). Players in each condition were categorised as ‘fast’ (FAST) or ‘slow’ (SLOW) using median trial times from baseline testing. Players recorded greater isometric strength improvements following EPE (ES = −0.54 to 1.80). Whilst these changes were not immediate, players improved in strength following cessation. Improvements in 180-degree COD performance was recorded at all test-points following EPE (ES = −1.32 to −0.15). Improvements in 45-degree COD performance were apparent for FAST following CON (ES = −0.96 to 0.10), but CON was deleterious for SLOW (ES = −0.60 to 1.53). Eccentric phase-emphasis strength training shows potential for sustained strength enhancement. Positive performance changes in COD tasks were category- and condition-specific. The data indicate the greatest improvement occurred at nine weeks following resistance training in these players. Performance benefits may also be specific to COD task, player category, and relative to emphasis on eccentric phase activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Effect of a Hexagonal Barbell on the Mechanical Demand of Deadlift Performance
Sports 2017, 5(4), 82; doi:10.3390/sports5040082
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 12 October 2017 / Accepted: 21 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
This study compared typical mechanical variables of interest obtained directly from barbell motion during deadlift performance with a conventional (CBD) and a hexagonal barbell (HBD). Eleven men, proficient with both deadlift variations, volunteered to participate in the study (age: 20.3 ± 0.6 years;
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This study compared typical mechanical variables of interest obtained directly from barbell motion during deadlift performance with a conventional (CBD) and a hexagonal barbell (HBD). Eleven men, proficient with both deadlift variations, volunteered to participate in the study (age: 20.3 ± 0.6 years; height: 175.5 ± 8.5 m; mass: 88.7 ± 19.0 kg; CBD 1RM: 183 ± 22 kg; HBD 1RM: 194 ± 20 kg). During the first session, CBD and HBD 1RM was assessed; during the second session, they performed 3 sets of 1 CBD repetition with 90% 1RM; and in session three, they repeated this process with the HBD. Barbell displacement was recorded at 1000 Hz and mechanical parameters derived from this. Significantly heavier loads were lifted during HBD (6%, p = 0.003). There were no significant differences between barbell displacement (p = 0.216). However, HBD was performed significantly faster (15%, p = 0.012), HBD load was accelerated for significantly longer (36%, p = 0.004), and significantly larger mean forces underpinned this (6%, p < 0.001), with more work having been performed (7%, p < 0.001) at greater power outputs (28%, p < 0.001). The results of this study showed that heavier HBD loads can be lifted through the same range of motion faster, and that this load is accelerated for significantly longer. The strategies used to achieve these differences could have a significant effect on training outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Maximum Strength, Rate of Force Development, Jump Height, and Peak Power Alterations in Weightlifters across Five Months of Training
Sports 2017, 5(4), 78; doi:10.3390/sports5040078
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 3 October 2017 / Published: 13 October 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this monitoring study was to investigate how alterations in training affect changes in force-related characteristics and weightlifting performance. Subjects: Seven competitive weightlifters participated in the study. Methods: The weightlifters performed a block style periodized plan across 20 weeks. Force plate
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The purpose of this monitoring study was to investigate how alterations in training affect changes in force-related characteristics and weightlifting performance. Subjects: Seven competitive weightlifters participated in the study. Methods: The weightlifters performed a block style periodized plan across 20 weeks. Force plate data from the isometric mid-thigh pull and static jumps with 0 kg, 11 kg, and 20 kg were collected near the end of each training block (weeks 1, 6, 10, 13, 17, and 20). Weightlifting performance was measured at weeks 0, 7, 11, and 20. Results: Very strong correlations were noted between weightlifting performances and isometric rate of force development (RFD), isometric peak force (PF), peak power (PP), and jump height (JH). Men responded in a more predictable manner than the women. During periods of higher training volume, RFD was depressed to a greater extent than PF. JH at 20 kg responded in a manner reflecting the expected fatigue response more so than JH at 0 kg and 11 kg. Conclusions: PF appears to have been more resistant to volume alterations than RFD and JH at 20 kg. RFD and JH at 20 kg appear to be superior monitoring metrics due to their “sensitivity.” Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Influence of Dynamic Strength Index on Countermovement Jump Force-, Power-, Velocity-, and Displacement-Time Curves
Sports 2017, 5(4), 72; doi:10.3390/sports5040072
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 14 September 2017 / Accepted: 20 September 2017 / Published: 23 September 2017
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Abstract
The dynamic strength index (DSI), often calculated as the ratio of countermovement jump (CMJ) propulsion peak force to isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) peak force, is said to inform whether ballistic or maximal strength training is warranted for a given athlete. CMJ propulsion peak
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The dynamic strength index (DSI), often calculated as the ratio of countermovement jump (CMJ) propulsion peak force to isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) peak force, is said to inform whether ballistic or maximal strength training is warranted for a given athlete. CMJ propulsion peak force is highly influenced by jump strategy, however, which is not highlighted by the DSI alone. This study aimed to quantitatively compare CMJ force-, power-, velocity-, and displacement-time curves between athletes who achieved high versus low DSI scores. Fifty-three male collegiate athletes performed three CMJs and IMTPs on a force platform. Athletes were ranked based on DSI score and the CMJ kinetic and kinematic-time curves of the bottom and top twenty athletes were compared. The low DSI group (0.55 ± 0.10 vs. 0.92 ± 0.11) produced greater IMTP peak force (46.7 ± 15.0 vs. 31.1 ± 6.6 N·kg−1) but a larger braking net impulse in the CMJ, leading to greater braking velocity and larger countermovement displacement. This strategy resulted in a similar CMJ propulsion peak force (25.9 ± 2.2 vs. 25.4 ± 3.1 N·kg−1) to the high DSI group. These results, taken together with those of previous studies, support the notion of ballistic versus maximal strength training likely being better suited to low versus high DSI scorers, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Comparison of Dynamic Strength Index between Team-Sport Athletes
Sports 2017, 5(3), 71; doi:10.3390/sports5030071
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 19 September 2017 / Published: 20 September 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in countermovement jump peak force (CMJ-PF), isometric mid-thigh pull peak force (IMTP-PF), and resultant dynamic strength index (DSI) values between team-sport athletes. One hundred and fifteen male and female team-sport athletes performed the
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The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in countermovement jump peak force (CMJ-PF), isometric mid-thigh pull peak force (IMTP-PF), and resultant dynamic strength index (DSI) values between team-sport athletes. One hundred and fifteen male and female team-sport athletes performed the CMJ and IMTP to determine peak force (CMJ-PF and IMTP-PF, respectively). Statistically and practically significant differences (p ≤ 0.050; d = 0.49–1.32) in CMJ-PF were evident between teams. Specifically, the greatest CMJ-PFs were produced by the male cricket players and were followed in order by the male basketball, male soccer, female netball, female cricket, and female soccer players. Statistically and practically significant differences (p ≤ 0.045; d = 0.64–1.78) in IMTP-PF existed among sports teams, with the greatest IMTP-PFs were produced by the male soccer players and were followed in order by the male cricket, male basketball, female netball, female soccer, and female cricket players. Statistically and practically significant differences (p ≤ 0.050; d = 0.92–1.44) in DSI were found between teams. These findings demonstrate that CMJ-PF, IMTP-PF, and DSI differ between sports teams and provide normative data for ballistic and isometric PF measures. Strength and conditioning coaches should consider relative changes in CMJ-PF and IMTP-PF when assessing DSI ratios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Comparison of Different Minimal Velocity Thresholds to Establish Deadlift One Repetition Maximum
Sports 2017, 5(3), 70; doi:10.3390/sports5030070
Received: 1 September 2017 / Revised: 12 September 2017 / Accepted: 14 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to compare the actual deadlift one repetition maximum (1RM) and the deadlift 1RM predicted from individualised load-velocity profiles. Twelve moderately resistance-trained men participated in three deadlift sessions. During the first, 1RM was assessed; during the second, load-velocity
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The aim of this study was to compare the actual deadlift one repetition maximum (1RM) and the deadlift 1RM predicted from individualised load-velocity profiles. Twelve moderately resistance-trained men participated in three deadlift sessions. During the first, 1RM was assessed; during the second, load-velocity profiles were recorded with six loads (65% to 90% 1RM) using a linear position transducer recording at 1000 Hz; and during the third, minimal velocity thresholds (MVT) were recorded from the velocity of the last repetition during sets to volitional fatigue with 70% and 80% 1RM with a linear position transducer recording at 1000 Hz. Regression was then used to generate individualised load-velocity profiles and the MVT was used as a cut-off value from which to predict deadlift 1RM. In general, velocity reliability was poor to moderate. More importantly, predicted deadlift 1RMs were significantly and meaningfully less than actual deadlift 1RMs (p < 0.05, d = 1.03–1.75). The main practical application that should be taken from the results of this study is that individualized load-velocity profiles should not be used to predict deadlift 1RM. Practitioners should not use this method in combination with the application of MVT obtained from the last repetition of sets to volitional fatigue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Relationships between Isometric Force-Time Characteristics and Dynamic Performance
Sports 2017, 5(3), 68; doi:10.3390/sports5030068
Received: 11 August 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 11 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) force-time characteristics (peak force and time-specific force vales (100–250 ms)) and dynamic performance and compare dynamic performance between stronger and weaker athletes. Forty-three athletes from different sports (rowing,
[...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) force-time characteristics (peak force and time-specific force vales (100–250 ms)) and dynamic performance and compare dynamic performance between stronger and weaker athletes. Forty-three athletes from different sports (rowing, soccer, bicycle motocross, and hockey) performed three trials of the squat jump (SJ), countermovement jump (CMJ), and IMTP, and performed a one repetition maximum power clean (PC). Reactive strength index modified (RSImod) was also calculated from the CMJ. Statistically significant large correlations between IMTP force-time characteristics and PC (ρ = 0.569–0.674, p < 0.001), and moderate correlations between IMTP force-time characteristics (excluding force at 100 ms) and RSImod (ρ = 0.389–0.449, p = 0.013–0.050) were observed. Only force at 250 ms demonstrated a statistically significant moderate correlation with CMJ height (ρ = 0.346, p = 0.016) and no statistically significant associations were observed between IMTP force-time characteristics and SJ height. Stronger athletes (top 10) demonstrated statistically significantly greater CMJ heights, RSImods, and PCs (p ≤ 0.004, g = 1.32–1.89) compared to weaker (bottom 10) athletes, but no differences in SJ height were observed (p = 0.871, g = 0.06). These findings highlight that the ability to apply rapidly high levels of force in short time intervals is integral for PC, CMJ height, and reactive strength. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
Open AccessArticle The Relationships between Hip and Knee Extensor Cross-Sectional Area, Strength, Power, and Potentiation Characteristics
Sports 2017, 5(3), 66; doi:10.3390/sports5030066
Received: 26 February 2017 / Revised: 9 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 5 September 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), maximal strength, power output, and maximum potentiation characteristics. The vastus lateralis and biceps femoris CSA, one repetition maximum (1RM) back squat, 1RM concentric-only half-squat (COHS) strength, static jump
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The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), maximal strength, power output, and maximum potentiation characteristics. The vastus lateralis and biceps femoris CSA, one repetition maximum (1RM) back squat, 1RM concentric-only half-squat (COHS) strength, static jump power output, and maximum potentiation characteristics of 17 resistance-trained men was assessed during several testing sessions. Pearson’s correlation coefficients were used to examine the relationships between CSA, strength, power output, and maximum potentiation measures. Moderate-to-strong relationships existed between CSA and strength measures (r = 0.462–0.643) as well as power output (r = 0.396–0.683). In addition, moderate-to-strong relationships existed between strength and power output (r = 0.407–0.548), while trivial relationships existed between strength and maximum potentiation (r = −0.013–0.149). Finally, small negative relationships existed between CSA and maximum potentiation measures (r = −0.229–−0.239). The results of the current study provide evidence of the interplay between muscle CSA, strength, power, and potentiation. Vastus lateralis and biceps femoris CSA may positively influence an individual’s back squat and COHS maximal strength and squat jump peak power; however, muscle CSA and absolute strength measures may not contribute to an individual’s potentiation capacity. Practitioners may consider implementing resistance training strategies that improve vastus lateralis and biceps femoris size in order to benefit back squat and COHS strength. Furthermore, implementing squatting variations—both full and partial—may benefit jumping performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessArticle Between-Leg Mechanical Differences as Measured by the Bulgarian Split-Squat: Exploring Asymmetries and Relationships with Sprint Acceleration
Sports 2017, 5(3), 65; doi:10.3390/sports5030065
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 29 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
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Abstract
Between-leg strength differences can negatively influence sprint acceleration. The challenge is to find a method to measure this within a unilateral exercise. This study analyzed a five repetition-maximum (5RM) Bulgarian split-squat (BSS) to identify between-leg differences for the dominant and non-dominant legs in
[...] Read more.
Between-leg strength differences can negatively influence sprint acceleration. The challenge is to find a method to measure this within a unilateral exercise. This study analyzed a five repetition-maximum (5RM) Bulgarian split-squat (BSS) to identify between-leg differences for the dominant and non-dominant legs in peak and mean power, force, and velocity as measured by a linear position transducer. Between-leg differences in these variables were correlated with 20-m (0–5, 0–10, 0–20 m intervals) sprint velocity. Eight men were assessed in the 5RM BSS and 20-m sprint. T-tests calculated between-leg differences in power, force, and velocity. Spearman’s correlations calculated relationships between the between-leg differences in the mechanical variables with velocity over each interval. When comparing the dominant and non-dominant legs, there were significant (p = 0.002–0.056) differences in 11 of 12 variables. However, percentage differences were low (~0.3–12%). There was one large, non-significant correlation (best repetition mean force between-leg difference and 0–5 m velocity; ρ = −0.810) out of 36 relationships. The BSS can provide a profile of between-leg differences in power, force, and velocity. There were limited relationships between the BSS between-leg differences and 20-m sprint velocities. Smaller between-leg differences in BSS power, force, and velocity could ensure minimal impact on acceleration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessArticle Differences in Vertical Jump Force-Time Characteristics between Stronger and Weaker Adolescent Basketball Players
Sports 2017, 5(3), 63; doi:10.3390/sports5030063
Received: 8 August 2017 / Revised: 18 August 2017 / Accepted: 22 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
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Abstract
The countermovement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) are commonly used to compare one’s force capacity during dynamic and isometric assessments, respectively. However, little research has investigated the influence of maximum isometric strength on drop-jump (DJ) performance. Therefore, the purpose of this
[...] Read more.
The countermovement jump (CMJ) and isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP) are commonly used to compare one’s force capacity during dynamic and isometric assessments, respectively. However, little research has investigated the influence of maximum isometric strength on drop-jump (DJ) performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore differences in CMJ and DJ force-time characteristics between stronger and weaker adolescent male basketball players. Sixteen adolescent male basketball players performed the IMTP to assess measures of peak force (IMTP PF), whereas CMJ and DJ calculated a range of kinetic and kinematic variables. Peak concentric force (CMJ-PF) in the CMJ was greater for stronger players (d = 1.99). However, no differences in DJ force-time characteristics existed between stronger and weaker players. Future research should be undertaken to investigate the role of maximum strength on DJ force-time characteristics in adolescent male basketball players. Such studies may help direct the creation of athlete training and monitoring programs more effectively to represent accurate player profiling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Role of Eccentric Strength in 180° Turns in Female Soccer Players
Sports 2017, 5(2), 42; doi:10.3390/sports5020042
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 15 June 2017 / Published: 17 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (982 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Previous studies have reported an association between eccentric strength (ECC-STR) and change of direction (COD) ability. Little is known about how ECC-STR facilitates COD maneuvers. The aim of this study was to examine the role of ECC-STR during a 180° COD task in
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Previous studies have reported an association between eccentric strength (ECC-STR) and change of direction (COD) ability. Little is known about how ECC-STR facilitates COD maneuvers. The aim of this study was to examine the role of ECC-STR during a 180° COD task in 18 female soccer players. Each player performed six trials of a 180° COD task whereby three-dimensional motion data from 10 Qualisys Pro-Reflex infrared cameras (240 Hz) and ground reaction forces (GRFs) from two AMTI force platforms (1200 Hz) were collected. Relative eccentric knee extensor (ECC-EXT) and flexor (ECC-FLEX) peak torque was collected from both limbs at 60°·s−1 using a Kin Com isokinetic dynamometer. Large correlations were revealed between COD performance (time to complete 5 m approach, 180° turn, 5 m return) and ECC-EXT (R = −0.674) and ECC-FLEX (R = −0.603). Moderate to large correlations were observed between approach velocity (AV) and COD performance (R = −0.484) and ECC-EXT (R = 0.724). Stronger participants (n = 9) recorded significantly (p < 0.05) faster AV (4.01 ± 0.18 vs. 3.74 ± 0.24 m·s−1, d = 1.27) and a greater reduction in velocity (−1.55 ± 0.17 vs. −1.37 ± 0.21 m·s−1, d = −0.94) during penultimate contact than weaker (n = 9) subjects. Greater ECC-STR is associated with faster COD performance in female soccer players, as stronger players are better able to decelerate during penultimate contact from faster approach velocities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Strength on Performance in Athletic Tasks)
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