Energetics of Shuttle Runs: The Effects of Distance and Change of Direction

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Shuttle runs can be used to study the physiological responses in sports (such as basketball) characterized by sprints (accelerations/decelerations) and changes of direction.


To determine the energy cost (C) of shuttle runs with different turning angles and over different distances (with different acceleration/deceleration patterns).


Nine basketball players were asked to complete 6 intermittent tests over different distances (5, 10, 25 m) and with different changes of direction (180° at 5 and 25 m; 0°, 45°, 90°, and 180° at 10 m) at maximal speed (v ≍ 4.5 m/s), each composed by 10 shuttle runs of 10-s duration and 30-s recovery; during these runs oxygen uptake (VO2), blood lactate (Lab), and C were determined.


For a given shuttle distance (10 m) no major differences where observed in VO2 (~33 mL · min−1 · kg−1), Lab (~3.75 mM), and C (~21.2 J · m−1 · kg−1) when the shuttle runs were performed with different turning angles. For a given turning angle (180°), VO2 and Lab were found to increase with the distance covered (VO2 from 26 to 35 mL · min−1 · kg−1; Lab from 0.7 to 7.6 mM) while C was found to decrease with it (from 29.9 to 10.6 J · m−1 · kg−1); the relationship between C and d (m) is well described by C = 92.99 × d0.656, R2 = .971.


The metabolic demands of shuttle tests run at maximal speeds can be estimated based on the running distance, while the turning angle plays a minor role in determining C.

Zamparo and Beato are with the Dept of Neurological and Movement Sciences, University of Verona, Verona, Italy. Zadro, Lazzer, and Sepulcri are with the Dept of Medical and Biological Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy. Address author correspondence to Paola Zamparo at paola.zamparo@univr.it.