Systematic Reductions in Differential Ratings of Perceived Exertion Across a 2-Week Repeated-Sprint-Training Intervention That Improved Soccer Players’ High-Speed-Running Abilities

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To quantify changes in differential ratings of perceived exertion (dRPE) across a 2-wk repeated-sprint-training intervention that improved high-intensity intermittent-running ability and linear speed of semiprofessional soccer players. Methods: Thirteen players completed 3 (sessions 1–3) or 4 (sessions 4–6) sets of 7 sprints (group 1 [n = 7]: 30-m straight; group 2 [n = 6]: 2 × 10-m shuttle), with 20 s and 4 min of recovery between sprints and sets, respectively. Postset perceptions of breathlessness (RPE-B) and leg-muscle exertion (RPE-L) were rated using the CR100 scale. Results: Overall, RPE-B (mean [SD]: 46 [13] arbitrary units [AU], “hard”) was most likely higher than RPE-L (39 [13] AU, “somewhat hard,” mean difference: 8 AU; 90% confidence limits [CLs]: ±2). Set-to-set increases in dRPE (in AU; 90% CL: approximately ±2) were large in session 1 (RPE-B: 15; RPE-L: 14), moderate in sessions 2–5 (RPE-B: 7–10; RPE-L: 7–8), and small (RPE-B: 6) to moderate (RPE-L: 7) in session 6. Across the intervention, RPE-B reduced moderately in sets 3 (−13; 90% CL: ±4) and 4 (−12; 90% CL: ±12) and RPE-L reduced by a small magnitude in set 3 (−5; 90% CL: ±6). The set 4 change in RPE-L was unclear (−11; 90% CL: ±13). Conclusions: The authors observed systematic intrasession and intersession changes in dRPE across a 2-wk repeated-sprint-training intervention, with a fixed prescription of external load that improved semiprofessional soccer players’ high-speed-running abilities. These findings could support dRPE as a measure of internal load and highlight its usefulness in evaluating repeated-sprint-training dose–response.

McLaren is with the Carnegie Applied Rugby Research Centre, Inst for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom; and the England Performance Unit, Rugby Football League, Leeds, United Kingdom. Taylor, Macpherson, and Weston are with the School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom. Spears is with the Dept of Engineering, School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom.

McLaren (s.mclaren@leedsbeckett.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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