Effect of 10 Weeks of Complex Training on Speed and Power in Academy Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: This study investigated the effects of complex-paired and reverse-contrast 10-week training programs on sprint, power, and change-of-direction speed performance of elite academy soccer players. Methods: Seventeen elite academy soccer players each performed assessments of the 10- and 40-m sprint, Abalakov vertical jump, seated medicine-ball throw, and Arrowhead change-of-direction speed test, both prior to and after a twice-weekly 10-week resistance-training program. The participants were randomly split into 2 groups; the complex-paired training group (CPT, n = 9) performed 4 different complex pairs (heavy-resistance exercises paired with plyometric and Olympic lifting–style exercises), with each pair being interspersed with an 8-minute recovery period in line with recommended guidelines. The comparative group—the reverse-contrast training group (RCT, n = 8)—performed the same exercises; however, all of the plyometric and Olympic lifting exercises preceded the heavy-resistance exercises. Results: Both groups achieved postintervention increases in the seated medicine-ball throw test (CPT +1.8% and RCT +1.6%, P < .05), whereas VJ performance improved only in the CPT group (+3.4%, P = .003). No significant improvements were observed in either the 10- and the 40-m sprint or Arrowhead change-of-direction speed test for either group. Conclusions: The CPT experienced a small but significant within-group improvement in jump performance. However, no significant between-groups differences were observed in any of the testing variables postintervention. Subsequently, for academy soccer athletes, the CPT approach did not produce meaningful benefits to performance compared with a more time-efficient reverse-contrast approach.

The authors are with the School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom.

Gee (tgee@lincoln.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
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