The seniors in the movement and sports science department have been hard at work on their senior theses the whole year, which offers interesting and useful information to college students and athletes of all ages and genders.
Each project is unique and provides an innovative look at different activities and their effects on the health and strength of the body.
Senior Lindsay Bistany researched the effects of sleep deprivation on memory, reaction time and strength in college-aged women.
“I’m living the life of sleep deprivation and I wanted to see how it affects my learning ability,” Bistany said.
Bistany conducted an experiment for three consecutive days on 15 college women to test their reactions to sleep deprivation.
One group had four hours of sleep each night, one group had six hours and the third had eight hours.
Each participant conducted three experiments. Two of the the experiments were computer games that calculated reaction time and memory. The third experiment was lifting a one rep maximum weight.
The tests were conducted at the beginning of their new sleep cycle and then redone after three days.
The results showed that the groups that received four to six hours of sleep a night had a significant decrease in memory and their reaction time increased slightly.
The strength of the women was not apparently affected by their lack of sleep.
This experiment provides a startling truth for many college-aged night owls.
“If you are not getting enough sleep, you are ultimately hurting yourself,” Bistany said. “You will not be able to retain information and it affects your performance.”
In Bobby Ruiz’s project he evaluated the difference between front and back squats with and without power lifting chains.
These chains are hung from the weightlifting bar, and as the bar is raised during the squat motion, the weight being lifted gradually increases because the chains are raised from the ground.
This method is believed to give an athlete a more thorough lift, as it adds weight at the top of the lift to build explosive strength.
“With a variable resistance, you should be improving the way you lift,” Ruiz said.
However, Ruiz found in his experiments that chains did not create a significant difference in muscle activity during the front or back squats.
Although his hypothesis was proven wrong, Ruiz still gained useful knowledge in the process.
“It’s a benefit to see why people choose specific workouts over others,” Ruiz said.
He concluded that the effect of chains is likely mental, as it forces people to keep exerting effort through the end of the lift, rather than just at the beginning, giving them the feeling of a more thorough workout.
Brian Perkins studied the effectiveness of Tren-Xtreme, a dietary supplement that is supposed to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass, versus amino acid supplements while working out.
Although in his own personal experience he saw results with amino acid supplements, in his research he found Tren-Xtreme to be more effective than amino acids 99 percent of the time.
He tested the effectiveness of each supplement by recording the one rep maxes of men using amino acids and men using Tren-Xtreme.
Perkins found that the men using Tren-Xtreme increased their one rep maxes by about 50 pounds each, whereas the men using amino acids only increased their maxes by about 10 pounds.
Other theses included Katrina McCoy’s, who tested whether the use of a bite plate increased power output while lifting. Jodi Lindsay examined right-handed throwing versus left-handed throwing in relation to right brain and left brain control over motor functions.
Brendan Hallinan, a basketball player on La Verne’s team researched the effectiveness of physical practice versus mental practice for jump shots and found that they had similar results.
Ricky Huerta studied the effects of active versus passive recovery in reducing lactic acid after strenuous activity.
The seniors agreed that the most difficult aspects of the projects were finding information to base their research upon and finding main subjects to experiment on.
“There isn’t a lot of information out there on the topics we’re covering,” Ruiz said.
However, they still enjoyed researching interesting subjects that pertain to their major and that gave them real life experience in the field.
“It’s something you’re interested in, so it’s not impossible to write,” Bistany said.
The goal of the department is to allow students to go beyond just learning from textbooks and in the classroom, but to actually apply their studies to real life.
Senior presentations were conducted on April 30 and May 1.
About 20 students from the department presented in front of two faculty members from the department as well as an additional faculty member from another department.
“We want outsiders to look at our department and our students and see that we’re doing legitimate and accurate academic work,” said Paul Alvarez, movement and sports science department chairman.
Jamie Ondatje can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.