Neuromuscular Performance and Training Workload Over an In-Season Mesocycle in Elite Young Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
View More View Less
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $114.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $152.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $217.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $289.00

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess neuromuscular performance capabilities over an in-season mesocycle in early-career professional soccer players and examine the relationship with training workload. Methods: Neuromuscular performance capabilities (isometric knee extensor: peak force, rate of force development, and peak twitch force) of 12 professional soccer players were assessed weekly over a 6-week period. Training and match workload were also recorded over the same period for each player (high-intensity running distance). Changes in neuromuscular performance and workload variables were analyzed. Results: There was evidence of fluctuations in neuromuscular performance capability over the mesocycle that reached statistical (P < .05) and practical (13.3% [peak-to-peak]) significance alongside interweek heterogeneity in training and match workload (∼17.5% [coefficient of variation], P < .05). Congruence among fluctuating patterns of intramesocycle training load and concomitant neuromuscular performance responses was noted over time for acute training load and acute:chronic workload ratio with peak force and rate of force development. Conclusion: Neuromuscular performance capabilities fluctuate over an in-season mesocycle and are influenced by high-intensity running workload, emphasizing the need for acute monitoring in elite soccer players.

The authors are with the School of Health Sciences, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Clancy is also with the Football Science and Medicine Dept, Hibernian Training Centre, Hibernian Football Club, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Clancy (cclancy@hibernianfc.co.uk) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Goodall S, Thomas K, Harper LD, et al. The assessment of neuromuscular fatigue during 120 min of simulated soccer exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017;117(4):687697. PubMed ID: 28247027 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Cormack SJ, Newton RU, McGuigan MR, Cormie P. Neuromuscular and endocrine responses of elite players during an Australian rules football season. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2008;3(3):359374. PubMed ID: 19211947 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Zhou S, Carey MF, Snow RJ, Lawson DL, Morrison WE. Effects of muscle fatigue and temperature on electromechanical delay. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1998;38(2):6773. PubMed ID: 9553743

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Howatson G. The impact of damaging exercise on electromechanical delay in biceps brachii. J Electromyogr and Kinesiol. 2010;20(3): 477481. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Buchheit M, Simpson BM. Player-tracking technology: half-full or half-empty glass? Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;12(s2):S2-35S2-41. doi:

  • 6.

    Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Caputi P, Lawson DW, Sampson JA. Low chronic workload and the acute:chronic workload ratio are more predictive of injury than between-match recovery time: a two-season prospective cohort study in elite rugby league players. Br J Sports Med. 2016;50(16):10081012. PubMed ID: 26851288 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Malone S, Owen A, Newton M, Mendes B, Collins KD, Gabbett TJ. The acute:chonic workload ratio in relation to injury risk in professional soccer. J Sci Med Sport. 2017;20(6):561565. PubMed ID: 27856198 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Fitzpatrick JF, Hicks KM, Hayes PR. Dose-response relationship between training load and changes in aerobic fitness in professional youth soccer players. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;13(10):13651370. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Bowen L, Gross AS, Gimpel M, Li FX. Accumulated workloads and the acute:chronic workload ratio relate to injury risk in elite youth football players. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51(5):452459. PubMed ID: 27450360 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Hader K, Rumpf MC, Hertzog M, Kilduff LP, Girard O, Silva JR. Monitoring the athlete match response: can external load variables predict post-match acute and residual fatigue in soccer? A systematic review with meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2019;5:48.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Thorpe RT, Strudwick AJ, Buchheit M, Atkinson G, Drust B, Gregson W. Monitoring fatigue during the in-season competitive phase in elite soccer players. Int J Sports Physiol Perf. 2015;10(8):958964. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Buckthorpe M, Wright S, Bruce-Low S, et al. Recommendations for hamstring injury prevention in elite football: translating research into practice. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(7):449456. PubMed ID: 30413424 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Griffin A, Kenny IC, Comyns TM, Lyons M. The association between the acute:chronic workload ratio and injury and its application in team sports: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2020;50(3):561580. PubMed ID: 31691167 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Anderson L, Orme P, Di Michele R, et al. Quantification of seasonal-long physical load in soccer players with different starting status from the English premier league: implications for maintaining squad physical fitness. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016;11(8):10381046. PubMed ID: 26915393 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Minshull C, Eston R, Bailey A, Rees D, Gleeson N. Repeated exercise stress impairs volitional but not magnetically evoked electromechanical delay of the knee flexors. J Sports Sci. 2012;30(2):217225. PubMed ID: 22126366 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Minshull C, Gleeson N, Walters-Edwards M, Eston R, Rees D. Effects of acute fatigue on the volitional and magnetically-evoked electromechanical delay of the knee flexors in males and females. Eur J App Physiol. 2007;100(4):469478. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 17.

    Moore MA, Kukulka CG. Depression of Hoffmann reflexes following voluntary contraction and implications for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation therapy. Phys Ther 1991;71(4):321329. PubMed ID: 2008455 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Gleeson N, Eston R, Minshull C, et al. Effects of antecedent flexibility conditioning on neuromuscular and sensorimotor performance during exercise-induced muscle damage. J Exerc Sci Fit. 2013;11(2):107117. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Rampinini E, Bosio A, Ferraresi I, Petruolo A, Morelli A, Sassi A. Match-related fatigue in soccer players. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(11):21612170. PubMed ID: 21502891 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Akenhead R, Nassis GP. Training load and player monitoring in high-level football: current practice and perceptions. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016;11(5):587593. PubMed ID: 26456711 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Gabbett TJ, Kennelly S, Sheehan J, et al. If overuse injury is a “training load error,” should undertraining be viewed the same way? Brit J Sports Med. 2016;50(7):10301041.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Polkey MI, Kyroussis D, Hamnegard CH, Mills GH, Green M, Moxham J. Quadriceps strength and fatigue assessed by magnetic stimulation of the femoral nerve in man. Muscle Nerve. 1996;19(5):549555. PubMed ID: 8618551 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    Kent-Braun JA, Fitts RH, Christie A. Skeletal muscle fatigue. Compr Physiol. 2012;2(2):971044.

  • 24.

    Hortobágyi T, Houmard J, Fraser D, Dudek R, Lambert J, Tracy J. Normal forces and myofibrillar disruption after repeated eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1998;84(2):492498. PubMed ID: 9475858 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Ndlec M, McCall A, Carling C, Legall F, Berthoin S, Dupont G. Recovery in soccer: part I—post-match fatigue and time course of recovery. Sports Med. 2012;42:9971015.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Ekstrand J, Hägglund M, Waldén M. Epidemiology of muscle injuries in professional football (soccer). Am J Sports Med. 2011;39(6):12261232. PubMed ID: 21335353 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Clarkson PM, Nosaka K, Braun B. Muscle function after exercise-induced muscle damage and rapid adaptation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992;24(5):512520. PubMed ID: 1569847

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    Abbott W, Brickley G, Smeeton NJ. Positional differences in GPS outputs and perceived exertion during soccer training games and competition. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(11):32223231. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Johnston RD, Gabbett TJ, Jenkins DG, Hulin BT. Influence of physical qualities on post-match fatigue in rugby league players. J Sci Med Sport. 2015;18(2):209213. PubMed ID: 24594214 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 920 920 90
Full Text Views 26 26 7
PDF Downloads 30 30 4