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Abstract

Aim: Soccer performance is determined by a number of physiological adaptations that can be altered by high intensity training. However, the effectiveness of using an uphill sprint based protocol has not been demonstrated for soccer players. We sought to determine the effectiveness of an in-season uphill sprint training (UST) programme on soccer related physiological outcomes. Methods: 14 male soccer players (age: 22 ± 8 years, height: 1.81 ± 8 m, body mass: 76 ± 12 kg) underwent testing (5-10-5 agility drill, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1, leg and back dynamometry & 3km time trial) at baseline and after 6 weeks of UST or normal activity. Participants were allocated to a control (n=7) or UST (n=7) group. The UST group took part in twice weekly training consisting of 10 x 10 sec sprints with 60s recovery on a 7% gradient for 6 weeks. The control group maintained normal activity patterns. Results: 3km time trial, strength, agility and Yo-Yo performance were all significantly improved pre to post following 6 weeks of UST (Agility 3%, d=1.3; Strength 10%, d=-3.2; VO2 max 3%, d=-1.4; 3-km TT 4%, d=1.3). In the control group 3km time trial, strength, agility and Yo-Yo performance remained unchanged after 6 weeks (Agility 0.1%, d=-0.2; Strength 2%, d=0.0; VO2 max -0.1%, d=0.0; 3-km TT 1.3%, d=0.3). Conclusion: Therefore in-season short duration UST is an effective way to improve soccer fitness in a time efficient manner.
THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA
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Effects of in-season uphill sprinting on physical
characteristics in semi-professional soccer players
Mykolas KAVALIAUSKAS, Ross KILVINGTON, John BABRAJ
J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2015 Dec 03 [Epub ahead of print]
THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport
pISSN 0022-4707 - eISSN 1827-1928
Article type: Original Article
The online version of this article is located at http://www.minervamedica.it
1
Effects of in-season uphill sprinting on physical characteristics in semi-professional
soccer players
Mykolas Kavaliauskas, Ross Kilvington, John Babraj
School of Social and Health Sciences, Division of Sport and Exercise Science, Abertay
University, Dundee, UK
Congresses: N/A
Funding: There was no funding
Conflicts of interest: There were no conflicts of interest
Acknowledgements:
Corresponding author:
J. Babraj,
School of Social and Health Sciemces,
Division of Sport and Exercise Science,
Abertay University,
Bell Street,
DD1 1HG, Dundee,
UK
E-mail: j.babraj@abertay.ac.uk
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2
ABSTRACT
Aim. Soccer performance is determined by a number of physiological adaptations that can
be altered by high intensity training. However, the effectiveness of using an uphill sprint
based protocol has not been demonstrated for soccer players. We sought to determine the
effectiveness of an in-season uphill sprint training (UST) programme on soccer related
physiological outcomes.
Methods. 14 male soccer players (age: 22 ± 8 years, height: 1.81 ± 8 m, body mass: 76 ± 12
kg) underwent testing (5-10-5 agility drill, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1, leg
and back dynamometry & 3km time trial) at baseline and after 6 weeks of UST or normal
activity. Participants were allocated to a control (n=7) or UST (n=7) group. The UST group
took part in twice weekly training consisting of 10 x 10 sec sprints with 60s recovery on a
7% gradient for 6 weeks. The control group maintained normal activity patterns.
Results. 3km time trial, strength, agility and Yo-Yo performance were all significantly
improved pre to post following 6 weeks of UST (Agility 3%, d=1.3; Strength 10%, d=-3.2;
VO2 max 3%, d=-1.4; 3-km TT 4%, d=1.3). In the control group 3km time trial, strength,
agility and Yo-Yo performance remained unchanged after 6 weeks (Agility 0.1%, d=-0.2;
Strength 2%, d=0.0; VO2 max -0.1%, d=0.0; 3-km TT 1.3%, d=0.3).
Conclusion. Therefore in-season short duration UST is an effective way to improve soccer
fitness in a time efficient manner.
Key words: High Intensity Training, Soccer, Endurance performance, Strength
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3
Introduction
Quantification of physiological demands is complex as it is largely determined by the
demands of positional groups, team tactics, opposition strategy and individual match-ups1.
Players typically cover 10-12 km at an average intensity of approximately 70% of maximal
oxygen uptake (VO2 max) during games, thus relying on the aerobic production of energy 2.
Bishop et al.3 suggest that a higher VO2 max in soccer can prolong high-intensity
performance, due to the greater contribution of aerobic metabolism during later sprints.
Therefore aerobic metabolism becomes important in the second half of soccer games when
the total distance covered and the number of high-intensity runs are reduced4. VO2 max has
also been associated with successful performance in soccer, with greater VO2 max found in
players of more successful clubs and national teams4. In addition to the high aerobic demand,
the nature of the game requires players to repeatedly perform sprints, turns, tackles and
jumps5. Therefore a high anaerobic capacity is also required to perform these types of
movements2.
Training for these diverse physical demands becomes challenging, especially during the in-
season because of the high number of competitive fixtures, the need for frequent travel and
because technical and tactical sessions are usually prioritised over physical training6. Other
commitments (e.g., work/study) and accumulated fatigue may also result in a reduced
physical capacity and lower performance level of soccer players as the season progresses. A
significant decrease in aerobic fitness, from midseason to the end of the season, has been
demonstrated in semi-professional male soccer players7. In contrast, Magal et al.8 have
demonstrated a significant improvement in VO2max and sprint performance in collegiate
male soccer players over the course of the soccer season. Nevertheless, seasonal changes in
physiological parameters associated with soccer performance are expected to have an effect
on the on-field performance of soccer players. Therefore, players and coaches face a
challenge to maintain physical fitness whilst finding the time to enhance the tactical and
technical qualities of the athlete.
High-intensity interval training (HIT) is a time-efficient training method defined as brief
periods of intense exercise interspersed by a short recovery period9. Two weeks of Wingate-
based HIT, consisting of 4-6 maximal 30 second sprints against 7.5% of body weight on a
cycle ergometer, have been shown to improve aerobic performance and skeletal muscle
oxidative metabolism10, whilst 6 weeks of HIT appears to modify vascular function11. In
soccer players, twice weekly aerobic HIT sessions for eight weeks, involving running on the
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4
flat, have been shown to improve aerobic capacity, lactate metabolism and running economy
which subsequently results in an improved soccer performance4, 12.
Intensity of exercise is crucial to the magnitude of training adaptation13, 14. Skeletal muscle
adaptation to run training is directly related to the intensity of the running programme, with
greater adaptations shown at >80% VO2 peak14. Likewise cardiorespiratory adaptation is
also greater with higher exercise intensity13. For sprint training the intensity can be altered
via increasing mass (weighted vest, sledge), air resistance (parachute) or gradient (uphill
sprinting)15. For example, uphill sprinting elicits a greater metabolic and mechanical cost
compared to flat sprinting15. Despite its good ecological validity16 and the use by coaches as
a resistance-to-movement training method17, there is little evidence of uphill sprinting as a
time-efficient training method in soccer players. Acutely, uphill intermittent running
produces a higher heart rate and blood lactate accumulation than uphill repeated sprinting in
soccer players18. However, the effectiveness of a longer uphill sprinting programme during
in-season on a range of physical characteristics in soccer players remains unknown.
Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine whether twice weekly shorter duration
uphill sprinting training could elicit improvements in endurance, agility and strength
parameters in soccer players. It was hypothesised that 12 sessions of short duration uphill
sprinting training would significantly improve performance in endurance, agility and
strength.
Materials and methods
Fourteen male soccer players (age: 22 ± 8 years, height: 1.81 ± 8 m, body mass: 76 ± 12 kg)
from the Scottish Junior Football Association were recruited. All players had a minimum of
5years’experience of training twice weekly and playing once weekly. Subjects were
randomly allocated into 2 groups, control (age: 23 ± 7 years, height: 1.82 ± 8 m, body mass:
78 ± 14 kg, n=7) and uphill sprint training (UST) (age: 22 ± 8 years, height: 1.75 ± 8 m,
body mass: 74 ± 11 kg, n=7). The control group were asked to maintain their current training
and playing habits. The UST group maintained the same current training and playing whilst
adding an uphill sprint protocol twice weekly. For the duration of the study all participants
were requested to follow their normal diet. The study was carried out in the second half of
competitive season (i.e. February to April). The study protocol was approved by the
institutional Ethics Committee and conducted in accordance with the Declaration of
Helsinki.
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5
Baseline testing
Subjects carried out the following field tests after performing a standardised warm up,
consisting of an aerobic warm-up of jogging for 5 minutes followed by standardised
dynamic stretches.
5-10-5 agility test
Three cones were placed along a line 5 m apart and the participant straddled the middle cone
andontheverbalcommand“go”he sprinted 5 m in a pre-determined direction (i.e., once to
the right and once to the left) and touched the cone; turned and sprinted 10 m to the other
cone; turned and sprinted back to the middle cone. The total time taken to complete this test
was recorded in seconds using a stopwatch. Participants repeated the test twice, with 5
minutes recovery between tests, with the best time reported.
Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1)
The participants were given 10 min passive recovery before performing the Yo-Yo
Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 on the football pitch. The test consisted of performing
repeated 20-m shuttle runs between the starting line and finish line. Each shuttle was
performed at increasing velocities with 10 s of active recovery between runs until
exhaustion. The end of the test was considered when the participants had twice failed to
reach the front line in time or felt unable to cover another shuttle at the dictated speed. The
total distance covered during the test was recorded and then converted to a predicted VO2
peak using the following equation: VO2 peak = distance covered * 0.0084 + 36.4 19.
Laboratory testing
Participants reported to the laboratory 48h after the field tests, having fasted for 4h prior to
arrival.Uponarrivaltheparticipants’bodycompositionwasmeasuredusingabioelectrical
impedance analyser (Tanita TBF-300 Body Composition Analyser, Tanita Inc, USA).
Participants were instructed to void their bladder prior to testing to ensure accurate
assessment of body composition. Then the following performance tests were completed:
Leg and back strength
Participants stood on the dynamometer with a slight knee flexion as described previously20
and then pulled as hard as possible. This was repeated on 3 occasions, with the average value
recorded.
3-km time-trial
It has been estimated that 3 km time trials are run at 95% of VO2 max and 92% of the
velocity at VO2 max21 and peak running velocity during an incremental treadmill test is a
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6
good predictor of endurance performance22. Therefore 3km time-trial is an accurate measure
of endurance performance and in soccer it has been demonstrated that enhanced aerobic
endurance improves match performance4.
Subjects rested for 5 min prior to performing a self-paced time-trial. The treadmill
(H/P/Cosmos Mercury, Germany) was set at 1% gradient23 and participants were given
instructions to complete the test in the fastest time possible. The treadmill was set to an
initial speed of 8km.h-1 and then the participants were free to control their own speed
throughout the time-trial via a speed-up/slow down button. However, no visual feedback was
given to the participants except for distance completed.
Training protocol
The 6 week training programme consisted of two outdoor training sessions per week on the
days when players were not taking part in their regular training sessions. Training sessions
were preceded by the standardised warm-up. Each session involved performing 10 x 10
second sprints, on a gradient of 7%, followed by a 60 second recovery period that involved
walking back to the start (work-to-rest ratio 1:6). Participants were verbally encouraged to
give an“all-out”effortinevery sprint.
Post testing
Five days after the last training session participants repeated the baseline tests in the same
order and at the same time of day (± 2h) to avoid diurnal variations in performance.
Data analysis
Data are expressed as means ± standard deviation. Data were checked for skewness and
kurtosis and these values did not exceed twice the standard error, therefore the data were
deemed to be normally distributed. Due to the small sample size the data were analysed
using the methodology proposed by Hopkins24 for controlled trials. The significance level
wassetat0.05(P<0.05)andtheCohen’sd effect size were calculated to quantify the
magnitude of difference between groups. Furtherwithingroup(pretopost)Cohen’s d effect
size were calculated using MorrisandDeshon’sequation25. Effect sizes were defined as
follows: d < 0.2 trivial effect, 0.2 - 0.5 small effect, 0.6 - 1.1 moderate effect and >1.2 as a
large effect26.
Results
5-10-5 agility test
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7
There were no significant differences in agility performance in the control group pre to post,
but agility was significantly increased in the UST group pre to post (Table 1). The
percentage change is significantly greater in the UST group compared to the control group
(Table 2).
Leg and back dynamometry
There were no significant differences in isometric strength in the control group pre to post,
but isometric strength was significantly increased in the UST group pre to post (Table 1).
The percentage change is significantly greater in the UST group compared to the control
group (Table 2).
Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1
There were no significant differences in distance covered during the Yo-Yo test in the
control group pre to post, but distance covered was significantly increased in the UST group
pre to post (Table 1). The percentage change is significantly greater in the UST group
compared to the control group (Table 2).
There were no significant differences in calculated VO2 max in the control group pre to post,
but VO2 max was significantly increased in the UST group pre to post (Table 1). The
percentage change is significantly greater in the UST group compared to the control group
(Table 2).
3-km time-trial
There were no significant differences in time taken to complete the 3-km time-trial in the
control group pre to post, but the time taken to complete the 3-km time-trial was
significantly decreased in the UST group pre to post (Table 1). The percentage change is
significantly greater in the UST group compared to the control group (Table 2).
Discussion
HIT interventions carried out in soccer players have previously been shown to improve
sprint performance and aerobic capacity4, 27. However, these studies have utilised longer
duration sprints, which have been performed on the flat, compared to the uphill sprint
protocol of this study. This study demonstrates for the first time that 6 weeks of twice
weekly uphill sprinting significantly reduces the time taken to complete a soccer specific
agility test, increases estimated VO2 peak and reduces time taken to complete a 3-km time
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8
trial (Table 1 & 2). Further, there was also a significant increase in leg and back strength
(Table 1 & 2) after 6 weeks of uphill sprint training.
Time to complete the 5-10-5 agility test was decreased by 3.2% in the UST group, with a
large within and between group effect size (Table 1 & 2). This improvement may reflect an
increased acceleration speed following uphill sprints. It has been demonstrated that HIT
involving longer duration sprints increases the acceleration phase and 40m sprint
performance of soccer players27, potentially due to greater anaerobic enzyme activity after
HIT28. Alternatively improved neuromuscular adaptations may improve agility due to
increased electrical activity29 and more dispersed synapses30 after HIT. These neural
adaptations may improve power and work production, via increased motor unit recruitment,
resulting in greater strength. Strength can be defined as the integrated response of several
muscles contracting maximally during a task31.
Agility is the ability to rapidly change direction and speed of movement as a result of a
stimulus3 and requires rapid force development and high power output, as well as the ability
to perform ballistic movements32. It can be broken down into the time taken to reach
maximum velocity33 and is determined by the ability of the athlete to generate anaerobic
power34. For soccer players, agility has been shown to be a key component of performance33,
35. Typically reaction ability over 5 to 10 m reflects game performance35, allowing a faster
change of direction and a faster sprint pace36. Meylan et al.37 demonstrated that leg strength
and power are important contributors to speed when changing direction quickly, with the
push off action requiring a high volume of force generated.
Following 6 weeks of uphill sprint training, there was a 10% increase in leg and back
strength, with a large within group effect size and a moderate between group effect size
(Table 1 & 2). Ferley et al.17 reported a significant improvement in isokinetic strength of
between 3 and 5% in well-trained distance runners following 12 sessions of uphill (10%
incline) sprint training. Strength improvement is generally associated with muscular
hypertrophy or neural adaptations38. However, it is unlikely that skeletal muscle hypertrophy
has occurred during the relatively short duration of the current training programme. Muscle
hypertrophy is normally only detected after 8-12 weeks of resistance training39 and we see
no change in body mass (data not shown). Likewise, others have reported no change in %
muscle mass in young adults following 8 weeks of uphill running HIT40. Therefore it seems
likely that the increase in strength is due to neural adaptations rather than hypertrophy and
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9
importantly for soccer players occurs without any increase in body mass, as extra weight can
impair performance2.
Uphill sprint training has been shown to increase VO2 peak by approx. 6% after 8 weeks39
and is similar to that reported for cycle based HIT protocols11. In the current study we report
a 3% increase in VO2 peak after 6 weeks of uphill sprinting training as assessed by the Yo-
Yo IR1 test, with a large within group effect size but a small between group effect size
(Table 1 & 2). Further there was a 4% decrease in time taken to complete a 3km time trial,
with a large within group effect size but a small between group effect size (Table 1 & 2).
This suggests a small improvement in aerobic metabolism following 6 weeks of uphill
sprinting, which may reflect the length of recovery given. A recent study by Kavaliauskas et
al. Has demonstrated that a work to rest ratio of 1:3 produces greater aerobic adaptations
compared to 1:8 or 1:12 work to rest ratios41. Ferley et al.17 report an 8% improvement in
submaximal endurance performance when running at 60 and 80% of lactate threshold
velocity after 6 weeks of uphill sprint training. It has long been established that intensity of
exercise is crucial to the magnitude of training adaptation14. Following cycle based HIT,
improvements in aerobic metabolism have been shown to be largely regulated via increased
mitochondrial density and activity10 leading to improved time trial performance. With
shorter duration cycle based sprints there is a rightward shift in the blood lactate curve
resulting in improved time trial performance41. Therefore it seems reasonable to assume
similar muscular adaptations are underpinning the improvement in aerobic performance in
the current study. In soccer, improvements in aerobic capacity have been shown to increase
distance covered and the total number of sprint performed during game play 31.
Conclusions
In conclusion, this study demonstrated for the first time that short duration uphill sprint
training (consisting of 10 second sprints) completed in addition to usual training improves
agility, endurance and strength measures in semi-professional male soccer players.
Therefore, coaches and sport scientists can use uphill sprinting as a time-efficient training
method, that is easily accesable, to optimise in-season training programmes. Future studies
should look at the applicability of this type of training within an elite setting or the effect of
sprint duration on performance adaptations.
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TITLES OF TABLES
Table 1.- Absolute changes in performance outcomes in the control and UST groups.
Table 2. - Percentage changes in performance outcomes in the control and UST groups.
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Table 1.- Absolute changes in performance outcomes in the control and UST groups.
CONTROL UST
Pre Post dPre Post d
5-10-5 agility
(s) 6.02 ± 0.14 6.03 ± 0.14 -0.2 5.96 ± 0.16 5.77 ± 0.23a1.3
Leg & back
dynamometer
(kg)
131 ± 16 131 ± 23 0.0 127 ± 10 139 ± 11a-3.2
YO-YO R1 test
(m)
1164 ±
438 1171 ± 433 -0.1 1468 ± 409 1643 ±382a-1.5
YO-YO R1 test
(ml.kg-1.min-1)46.2 ± 3.7 46.2 ± 3.7 0.0 48.8 ± 3.4 50.2 ± 3.2a-1.4
3km time trial
(s)
1063 ±
127 1046 ±113 0.3 872 ± 70 835 ± 54a1.3
a = p<0.05 pre versus post; d = within group cohen’s d effect size
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Table 2. - Percentage changes in performance outcomes in the control and UST groups.
CONTROL UST
% change % change d
5-10-5 agility -0.1 ± 0.8 3.2 ± 3.3a-1.4
Leg & back
dynamometer 1.9 ± 4.9 -10.4 ± 9.6a0.7
YO-YO R1 test
distance -1.2 ± 5.5 -13.4 ± 8.8a0.4
YO-YO R1 test
VO2 max -0.1 ± 0.9 -2.9 ± 2.0a0.4
3km time trial 1.3 ± 4.6 4.2 ± 3.4a-0.2
a = p<0.05 UST compared to control; d = between groups Cohen’s d effect size
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... Similarly, a more recent study by Willoughby et al. [8] found that four weeks of UST improves cardiorespiratory and anaerobic fitness in young and middle-aged adults. In addition, the efficacy of UST has been demonstrated in athletic populations including the semi-professional male soccer players [9], semi-professional female field hockey players [10], and well-trained distance runners [11]. While both sprinting protocols appear to lead to similar improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness in non-athletic populations (cycling-6.2-7.8% ...
... While both sprinting protocols appear to lead to similar improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness in non-athletic populations (cycling-6.2-7.8% [12,13], running-3.9-11.5% [9,10], no studies have directly measured early physiological responses between SIT and UST in healthy, recreationally-trained male adults. ...
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This study sought to compare early physiological and performance adaptations between a two-week cycle sprint interval training (SIT) and uphill run sprint training (UST) programs. Seventeen recreationally active adult males (age = 28 ± 5 years; body mass (BM) = 78 ± 9 kg) were assigned to either a control (n = 5), SIT (n = 6), or UST (n = 6) group. A discrete group of participants (n = 6, age = 33 ± 6 years, and body mass = 80 ± 9 kg) completed both training protocols to determine acute physiological responses. Intervention groups completed either a run or cycle peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) test (intervention type dependent) prior to and following two weeks of training. Training comprised of three sessions per week of 4 × 30-s “all-out” sprints with a four-minute active recovery between bouts on a cycle ergometer against 7.5% of body mass in the SIT group and on a 10% slope in the UST group. The VO2peak values remained unchanged in both training groups, but time-to-exhaustion (TTE) was significantly increased only in the UST group (pre—495 ± 40 s, post—551 ± 15 s; p = 0.014) and not in the SIT group (pre—613 ± 130 s, post—634 ± 118 s, p = 0.07). Ventilatory threshold (VT) was significantly increased in both training groups (SIT group: pre—1.94 ± 0.45 L·min−1, post—2.23 ± 0.42 L·min−1; p < 0.005, UST group: pre—2.04 ± 0.40 L·min−1, post—2.33 ± 0.34 L·min−1, p < 0.005). These results indicate that UST may be an effective alternative to SIT in healthy individuals.
... 4 On the basis of the undeniable importance of the actions described above, training studies have been conducted with the expectation of improving the performance of these high-velocity actions through the application of different conditioning programmes. Resistance training, [5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] plyometric training, 5,9,[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] sprint or changes of direction training, 18,[32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40] and different combinations of these methods 5,15,[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55] have been the conditioning programmes most used to elucidate their effectiveness to enhance the performance of high-velocity soccerrelated tasks (e.g. vertical jump, linear sprint, change of direction with and without ball, repeated sprint ability, and kicking velocity). ...
... Soccer players need to perform multiple changes of direction during competitive matches to cope the tactical demands of the game. 2 The time needed to complete a preplanned change of direction protocol without the ball was the variable employed to determine this ability. The meta-analysis of change of direction without ball performance has included different pre-planned change of direction protocols such as the 10-8-8-10 test, 32 5-10-5 agility test, 35 Balsom agility test, 44 or Illinois test. 27,54 To avoid overestimation of the precision of the studies with multiple outcomes for the change of direction without ball category, only the protocol with the highest time at pretest was included in the meta-analysis. ...
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Physical performance is a key factor in most of the actions that determine success in soccer competitions. The present meta-analysis aimed to determine whether, and to what extent different conditioning programmes implemented in addition to regular soccer training are able to enhance the performance of high-velocity soccer-related tasks. Study groups were categorised according to type of performance measurement: (A) vertical jump ability, (B) linear sprint performance, (C), change of direction with ball, (D) change of direction without ball, (E) repeated sprint ability, and (F) kicking performance. Subgroup analyses were done with reference to the type of conditioning programme applied: (A) resistance training, (B) plyometric, (C) sprint and/or change of direction, and (D) combined methods. The standardised mean differences (SMD) along with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated using the Review Manager 5.3 software. The application of a conditioning programme was associated with a significant improvement in vertical jump ability (SMD = 0.64 [95% CI: 0.50–0.77]), linear sprint (SMD = −0.79 [95% CI: −0.61 to −0.96]), change of direction with ball (SMD = −0.78 [95% CI: −0.42 to −1.15]), change of direction without ball (SMD = −0.83 [95% CI: −0.61 to −1.05]), repeated sprint ability (SMD = −0.51 [95% CI: −0.19 to −0.84]), and kicking performance (SMD = 0.78 [95% CI: 0.34–1.22]). No clear differences among the different conditioning programmes were observed. The implementation of a conditioning programme in addition to regular soccer training enhances the performance of high-velocity soccer-related tasks.
... 90,91 Interestingly, findings from the similar spread in performance, indicate that sub-elite and novice athletes are characterised by similar athletic capabilities when it comes to 180°COD performance. 82 It is important to note however, the variation in number of studies found for the data presented in each sport, in terms of skill level and player positions. For example, lacrosse performance data gathered was mostly in sub-elite athletes, 17,18,70,71 with elite athlete performance being reported in a single study. ...
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Article
Change of direction (COD) is an important component of athlete performance and measuring and comparing athletes is an integral aspect of strength and conditioning practice. This article aimed to determine pro-agility shuttle utility, by quantifying variability and normative values for different sports, skill-levels and positions. Limitations of the pro-agility shuttle are identified, as are future research directions. A total of 67 studies were included for review. Pro-agility shuttle reliability was reported in 10 studies across 6 sports; however, comprehensive reliability statistics were absent in most papers. Additionally, only reliability of total-time from stopwatch and timing lights were reported. Data of 32,891 subjects in 12 sports (American football, basketball, cricket, general athletes, hockey, lacrosse, recreational athletes, resistance-trained athletes, rugby, soccer, swimming, and tennis) were extracted and aggregated, establishing sport, skill-level (elite, sub-elite, and novice) and positional normative values, where practical. Elite athletes showed the fastest performance times, whereas sub-elite and novice athletes showed similar spreads in performance, suggesting similar athletic capabilities. In conclusion, the pro-agility shuttle currently has limited diagnostic value and the variability of smaller performance sub-components within pro-agility shuttle should be examined. Furthermore, the value of other technologies such as smart phone, inertial sensor or radar should be investigated.
... However, previous studies on the interaction between running speed and slope steepness did not consider high running speeds, and thus, practical knowledge regarding uphill sprinting biomechanics is limited. Sloped running as a form of resisted sprint training is typically performed at high running speeds (Jakeman et al., 2016;Kavaliauskas et al., 2018Kavaliauskas et al., , 2017Slawinski et al., 2008). Therefore, understanding the unique mechanical adaptations to varying slope inclinations at high speeds could aid in optimal recommendations for uphill sprint training interventions and better athlete performance. ...
Article
Uphill training is applied to induce specific overload on the musculoskeletal system to improve sprinting mechanics. This study aimed to identify unique kinematic features of uphill sprinting at different slopes and to suggest practical implications based on comparisons we early stance phase. At take-off, steeper slopes induced significantly more extended joint angles and higher ROMs during the late stance phase. Compared with moderate slopes, more anti-phase coordination patterns were detected at steeper slopes. Thus, uphill sprinting at steeper slopes shares essential kinematic features with the early acceleration phase of level sprinting. Moderate inclinations induce biomechanical adaptations similar to those in the late acceleration phase of level sprinting. Hence, the specific transfer of uphill sprinting to acceleration depends on the slope inclinations.
... In the case of controlled trials, slight improvements were observed in comparison to control groups. Interestingly, among the controlled studies, those testing short or long-interval HIIT (Bravo et al., 2008;Helgerud et al., 2001;Ouerghi et al., 2014) had moderate to large benefits, while RST (Kavaliauskas et al., 2017) and SIT (Macpherson & Weston, Table 5. Summary of the included studies and results of VO 2 max (mL·kg −1 ·min −1 ) reported before and after HIIT programs. ...
Article
This systematic review with meta-analysis (SRMA) was conducted to assess the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) programs on men soccer players’ aerobic fitness (maximal oxygen uptake and performance at field-based incremental tests [AP]), repeated sprint ability (RSA), vertical jump height (VJH), and linear sprinting time (ST). An electronic search yielded 1,714 articles, 33 of which were included in the present study. Meta-analyses revealed significant benefits of HIIT compared to controls in maximal oxygen uptake (p = 0.018), AP (p = 0.041), and RSA (p = 0.049). No significant effects were found in terms of ST (p = 0.080). The meta-analyses of non-controlled studies revealed significant improvements after HIIT in maximal oxygen uptake (p = 0.001), AP (p = 0.007), RSA (p = 0.001), and ST (p < 0.001). However, no significant improvements in VHJ were found (p = 0.063). Furthermore, no significant differences were found in sub-group analysis (comparisons between HIIT types). In conclusion, HIIT is effective for improving maximal oxygen uptake, AP, and RSA regardless of the HIIT type. For VHJ and ST outcomes, it seems reasonable to complement the HIIT since it might not be enough to achieve significant changes.
... Specific to SIT, a variety of approaches are routinely used during combined training programs for soccer players, including short burst sprints (e.g., #25 m) performed with and without resistance and longer (e.g., 30 seconds) bouts (17,22,28). Incline running represents another form of SIT, with Kavaliauskas et al. (20) reporting that soccer players demonstrated significant improvements in aerobic and anaerobic performance measures following 6 weeks of twice weekly incline training sessions. Of note, SIT performed as part of an incline treadmill training protocol in combination with plyometrics and strength training led to a significantly reduced lower extremity injury rate among female soccer players (U14-U18) compared with a control group (16). ...
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Ferley, DD, Scholten, S, and Vukovich, MD. Combined sprint interval, plyometric, and strength training in adolescent soccer players: effects on measures of speed, strength, power, change of direction, and anaerobic capacity. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-During winter, many soccer players train indoors to improve the aerobic and anaerobic demands of their sport. Sprint interval training (SIT) performed on a treadmill using level and graded conditions represents a viable alternative to traditional endurance conditioning. To date, little research exists contrasting the effects of these conditions. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation included examining the effects of 2 approaches combining SIT, plyometrics, and strength training on performance measures in soccer players aged 13-18 years over 8 weeks. Forty-six subjects were divided into 3 groups. Group 1 performed SIT using predominantly inclined treadmill conditions combined with resistance and plyometric training (INC, n = 17). Group 2 performed SIT using level treadmill grades and completed the same resistance and plyometric training (LEV, n = 14). Group 3 was a control group representing various sports who continued their normal training (CON, n = 15). Pre- and posttests assessed speed, strength, change of direction, and anaerobic capacity, including sprint speed (9.1 and 18.3 m sprint), unilateral triple hop for distance (3HOP_L and 3HOP_R), pro agility change of direction (PA); treadmill running to exhaustion on a 20% grade (CFMod), and hip flexor maximum strength (HF_1RM). After training, INC and LEV improved more in all measures compared with CON. Furthermore, INC improved significantly more compared with LEV in 9.1- and 18.3-m sprint, 3HOP_L and 3HOP_R, PA, CFMod, and HF_1RM (p < 0.05). We conclude that strength and plyometric training combined with incline-based SIT is more effective than a similar training approach using level-grade SIT.
... Resisted sprinting is a commonly used method to overload specific capacities for sprinting acceleration performance, including uphill sprinting, sled sprints, or using motorized devices. Although sled sprints have been most investigated in the research literature [2], uphill sprinting has also been reported as an effective tool for sprint performance improvement, at least in team sport players [112,113]. It has been suggested that resisted sprint training may be a more effective tool to improve horizontal force and power production during sprinting compared with, e.g., traditional strength and power training performed in the gym [2,114]. ...
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Despite a voluminous body of research devoted to sprint training, our understanding of the training process leading to world-class sprint performance is limited. The objective of this review is to integrate scientific and best practice literature regarding the training and development of elite sprint performance. Sprint performance is heavily dependent upon genetic traits, and the annual within-athlete performance differences are lower than the typical variation, the smallest worthwhile change and the influence of external conditions such as wind, monitoring methodologies, etc. Still, key underlying determinants (e.g., power, technique and sprint-specific endurance) are trainable. In this review, we describe how well-known training principles (progression, specificity, variation/periodization and individualization) and varying training methods (e.g., sprinting/running, technical training, strength/power, plyometric training) are used in a sprint-training context. Indeed, there is a considerable gap between science and best practice in how training principles and methods are applied. While the vast majority of sprint-related studies are performed on young team-sport athletes and focus on brief sprints with maximal intensity and short recoveries, elite sprinters perform sprinting/running over a broad range of distances and with varying intensity and recovery periods. Within best practice there is a stronger link between choice of training component (i.e., modality, duration, intensity, recovery, session rate) and the intended purpose of the training session compared to the “one-size-fits-all” approach in scientific literature. This review provides a point of departure for scientists and practitioners regarding the training and development of elite sprint performance and can serve as a position statement for outlining state-of-the-art sprint training recommendations and for generation of new hypotheses to be tested in future research.
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We examined the effects of an intensive fixture schedule on salivary IgA (SIgA) concentration in professional soccer players from the English Premier League. Salivary samples were obtained from 21 males who participated in seven games over a 30-day period during December 2013 and January 2014 (games 1-5 occurred in a 15-day period). Salivary-IgA decreased (P < 0.05) at 2 days post-game 3 (45 ± 9 μg mL(-1)), 4 (52 ± μg mL(-1)) and 5 (41 ± 10 μg mL(-1)) compared with game 1 (139 ± 25 μg mL(-1)). When the normal fixture schedule resumed (i.e. one game per week), SIgA returned towards baseline such that game 6 and 7 values were not different (P > 0.05) from game 1 (91 ± 18 and 99 ± 21 μg mL(-1), respectively). Data demonstrate for the first time that a congested winter fixture schedule induces detectable perturbations to mucosal immunity in professional soccer players.
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