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Purpose: To investigate the acute effect of repeated-sprint activity (RSA) on change-of-direction economy (assessed using shuttle running economy [SRE]) in soccer players and explore neuromuscular and cardiorespiratory characteristics that may modulate this effect. Methods: Eleven young elite male soccer players (18.5 [1.4] y old) were tested on 2 different days during a 2-week period in their preseason. On day 1, lower-body stiffness, power and force were assessed via countermovement jumps, followed by an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion to measure maximal aerobic capacity. On day 2, 2 SRE tests were performed before and after a repeated-sprint protocol with heart rate, minute ventilation, and blood lactate measured. Results: Pooled group analysis indicated no significant changes for SRE following RSA due to variability in individual responses, with a potentiation or impairment effect of up to 4.5% evident across soccer players. The SRE responses to RSA were significantly and largely correlated to players’ lower-body stiffness (r = .670; P = .024), and moderately (but not significantly) correlated to players’ force production (r = −.455; P = .237) and blood lactate after RSA (r = .327; P = .326). Conclusions: In summary, SRE response to RSA in elite male soccer players appears to be highly individual. Higher lower-body stiffness appears as a relevant physical contributor to preserve or improve SRE following RSA.
Dolci and Piggott are with the School of Health Science, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, WA, Australia. Kilding is with the Sports Performance Research Inst New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Spiteri, Chivers, and Hart are with the School of Medical and Health Science, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia. Chivers and Hart are also with the Inst for Health Research, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, WA, Australia; and the Exercise Medicine Research Inst, Edith Cowan University, Perth, WA, Australia. Maiorana is with the School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia; and the Allied Health Dept, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, WA, Australia.