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Daniel A. Boullosa, José L. Tuimil, Luis M. Alegre, Eliseo Iglesias, and Fernando Lusquiños

Purpose:

Countermovement jump (CMJ) and maximum running speed over a distance of 20 m were evaluated for examination of the concurrent fatigue and post-activation potentiation (PAP) in endurance athletes after an incremental feld running test.

Methods:

Twenty-two endurance athletes performed two attempts of CMJ on a force plate and maximum running speed test before and following the Université de Montréal Track Test (UMTT).

Results:

The results showed an improvement in CMJ height (3.6%) after UMTT that correlated with the increment in peak power (3.4%), with a concurrent peak force loss (–10.8%) that correlated with peak power enhancement. The athletes maintained their 20 m sprint performance after exhaustion. Cluster analysis reinforced the association between CMJ and peak power increments in responders with a reported correlation between peak power and sprint performance increments (r = .623; P = .041); nonresponders showed an impairment of peak force, vertical stiffness, and a higher vertical displacement of the center of mass during the countermovement that correlated with lactate concentration (r = –0.717; P = .02).

Conclusions:

It can be suggested that PAP could counteract the peak force loss after exhaustion, allowing the enhancement of CMJ performance and the maintenance of sprint ability in endurance athletes after the UMTT. From these results, the evaluation of CMJ after incremental running tests for the assessment of muscular adaptations in endurance athletes can be recommended.

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Neil Gibson, James White, Mhari Neish, and Andrew Murray

Purpose:

The study aimed to assess whether exposure to ischemic preconditioning (IPC) in a trained population would affect land-based maximal sprinting performance over 30 m.

Methods:

Twenty-five well-trained participants regularly involved in invasion-type team-sport events were recruited to take part in a randomized crossover study design. Participants underwent both an IPC and a placebo treatment involving 3 periods of 5-min occlusion applied unilaterally (3 × 5-min occlusion to each leg) at either 220 mmHg or 50 mmHg, respectively. Each period of occlusion was followed by 5 min of reperfusion. After treatment, 3 maximal sprints over a distance of 30 m were undertaken from a standing start interspersed with 1-min recovery. Split times were recorded at 10, 20, and 30 m.

Results:

No significant effects of the IPC treatment were observed on sprint speed (P < .05) at any of the split timings; however, a small and negative effect was observed in female participants. Calculated effect sizes of the treatment were found to be trivial (<0.2).

Conclusions:

Results from the current study suggest there to be no benefit to team-sport players in using IPC as a means of enhancing sprint performance over a distance of 30 m. While IPC has been shown to be beneficial to sprint activities in other sports such as swimming, further research is required to elucidate whether this is the case over distances associated with land-based events in track and field or in events reliant on repeated-sprint ability.

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Julien Robineau, Mathieu Lacome, Julien Piscione, Xavier Bigard, and Nicolas Babault

Purpose:

To assess the impact of 2 high-intensity interval-training (HIT) programs (short interval vs sprint interval training) on muscle strength and aerobic performances in a concurrent training program in amateur rugby sevens players.

Methods:

Thirty-six amateur rugby sevens players were randomly assigned to strength and short interval training (INT), strength and sprint interval training (SIT), or a strength-only training group (CON) during an 8-wk period. Maximal strength and power tests, aerobic measurements (peak oxygen uptake [VO2peak] and maximal aerobic velocity), and a specific repeated-sprint ability (RSA) test were conducted before and immediately after the overall training period.

Results:

From magnitude-based inference and effect size (ES ± 90% confidence limit) analyses, the current study revealed substantial gains in maximal strength and jump-height performance in all groups. The difference in change of slow concentric torque production was greater in CON than in SIT (0.65 ± 0.72, moderate). VO2peak and, consequently, mean performance in the RSA test were improved in the SIT group only (0.64 ± 0.29, moderate; –0.54 ± 0.35, moderate).

Conclusions:

The study did not emphasize interference on strength development after INT but showed a slight impairment of slow concentric torque production gains after SIT. Compared with INT, SIT would appear to be more effective to develop VO2peak and RSA but could induce lower muscle-strength gains, especially at low velocity.

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Øyvind Sandbakk, Matt Spencer, Gertjan Ettema, Silvana Bucher Sandbakk, Knut Skovereng, and Boye Welde

Purpose:

To investigate performance and the associated physiological and biomechanical responses during upper-body repeated-sprint work.

Methods:

Twelve male ice sledge hockey players from the Norwegian national team performed eight 30-m sprints with start every 30 s and an active recovery between sprints. Time was captured every 10 m by photocells, cycle length and rate were determined by video analyses, and heart rate and blood lactate concentration were measured by conventional methods.

Results:

The percentage sprint decrement was 7% over the 8 trials, with significant reductions in performance from the previous trial already on the second trial (all P < .05). Furthermore, cycle rate was reduced by 9% over the 8 trials (P < .05). Similar changes in performance and kinematic patterns were evident for all 10-m phases of the sprints. Heart rate gradually increased to 94% of maximal (178 ± 10 beats/min) over the 8 trials, and the mean reduction in heart rate was 7 ± 2 beats/min during the 22–24 s of active recovery for all trials (all P < .05). The blood lactate concentration increased to the athletes’ maximal levels over the 8 sprints (P < .05).

Conclusions:

This is the first study to investigate performance, physiological, and biomechanical aspects of self-propelled upperbody repeated-sprint work. The observed sprint decrement over the 8 trials was associated with reductions in cycle rates and high physiological demands. However, no kinematic and physiological characteristics were significantly correlated to repeated-sprint ability or the sprint decrement.

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Thomas A. Haugen, Espen Tønnessen, Jonny Hisdal, and Stephen Seiler

The overall objective of this review was to investigate the role and development of sprinting speed in soccer. Time–motion analyses show that short sprints occur frequently during soccer games. Straight sprinting is the most frequent action before goals, both for the scoring and assisting player. Straight-line sprinting velocity (both acceleration and maximal sprinting speed), certain agility skills, and repeated-sprint ability are shown to distinguish groups from different performance levels. Professional players have become faster over time, indicating that sprinting skills are becoming more and more important in modern soccer. In research literature, the majority of soccer-related training interventions have provided positive effects on sprinting capabilities, leading to the assumption that all kinds of training can be performed with success. However, most successful intervention studies are time consuming and challenging to incorporate into the overall soccer training program. Even though the principle of specificity is clearly present, several questions remain regarding the optimal training methods within the larger context of the team-sport setting. Considering time-efficiency effects, soccer players may benefit more by performing sprint-training regimens similar to the progression model used in strength training and by world-leading athletics practitioners, compared with the majority of guidelines that traditionally have been presented in research literature.

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Julio Tous-Fajardo, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, and Per Tesch

Purpose:

To examine the effects of a novel isoinertial eccentric-overload and vibration training (EVT) paradigm on change-ofdirection (COD) speed and multiple performance tests applicable to soccer.

Methods:

Twenty-four young male players were assigned to an EVT (n = 12) or conventional combined (CONV, n = 12) group, once weekly for 11 wk. EVT consisted of 2 sets of 6–10 repetitions in 5 specific and 3 complementary exercises. CONV used comparable volume (2 sets of 6–10 reps in 3 sequences of 3 exercises) of conventional combined weight, plyometric, and linear speed exercises. Pre- and postintervention tests included 25-m sprint with 4 × 45° COD every 5th m (V-cut test), 10- and 30-m sprints, repeat-sprint ability, countermovement jump, and hopping (RJ5).

Results:

Group comparison showed very likely to likely better performance for EVT in the COD (effect size [ES] = 1.42), 30-m (ES = 0.98), 10-m (ES = 1.17), and average power (ES = 0.69) and jump height (ES = 0.69) during RJ5. There was a large (r = –.55) relationship between the increase in average hopping power and the reduced V-cut time.

Conclusions:

As EVT, not CONV, improved not only COD ability but also linear speed and reactive jumping, this “proof-of-principle” study suggests that this novel exercise paradigm performed once weekly could serve as a viable adjunct to improve performance tasks specific to soccer.

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João Valente-dos-Santos, Manuel J. Coelho-e-Silva, Filipe Simões, Antonio J. Figueiredo, Neiva Leite, Marije T. Elferink-Gemser, Robert M. Malina, and Lauren Sherar

This study evaluates the contributions of age, growth, skeletal maturation, playing position and training to longitudinal changes in functional and skill performance in male youth soccer. Players were annually followed over 5 years (n = 83, 4.4 measurements per player). Composite scores for functional and skill domains were calculated to provide an overall estimate of performance. Players were also classified by maturity status and playing position at baseline. After testing for multicollinearity, two-level multilevel (longitudinal) regression models were obtained for functional and skill composite scores. The scores improved with age and training. Body mass was an additional predictor in both models [functional (late maturing): 13.48 + 1.05 × centered on chronological age (CA)—0.01 × centered CA2—0.19 × fat mass (FM) + 0.004 × annual volume training—1.04 × dribbling speed; skills (defenders): 7.62 + 0.62 × centered CA—0.06 × centered CA2 + 0.04 × fat-free mass—0.03 × FM + 0.005 × annual volume training—0.19 × repeated-sprint ability + 0.02 × aerobic endurance]. Skeletal maturity status was a significant predictor of functional capacities and playing position of skill performance. Sound accuracy of each multilevel model was demonstrated on an independent cross-sectional sample (n = 52).

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Asma Aloui, Anis Chaouachi, Hamdi Chtourou, Del P. Wong, Monoem Haddad, Karim Chamari, and Nizar Souissi

Purpose:

This study examined the effects of Ramadan on cycling repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and corresponding diurnal variations.

Methods:

Twelve active men performed an RSA test (5 × 6-s maximal sprints interspersed with 24 s passive recovery) during morning and afternoon sessions 1 wk before Ramadan (BR), during the second (R2) and the fourth (R4) weeks of Ramadan, and 2 wk after Ramadan (AR). Maximal voluntary contraction was assessed before (MVCpre), immediately after (MVCpost), and 5 min after the RSA test (MVCpost5). Moreover, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma sodium and potassium (K+) concentrations were measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost.

Results:

Overall, peak power (Ppeak) during the RSA test decreased throughout the 5 sprints. Ppeak measured in the first sprint and MVCpre were lower during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning BR and AR (P < .05). However, this diurnal rhythmicity was not found for the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, and MVCpost5 in all testing periods. Furthermore, the last 4 sprints’ Ppeak, MVCpost, MVCpost5, and morning MVCpre were not affected by Ramadan. [K+] measured at rest and after the RSA test and MVCpost were higher during Ramadan than BR in the afternoon (P < .05) and higher in the afternoon than the morning during Ramadan (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Fatigability is higher in the afternoon during Ramadan, and, therefore, training and competition should be scheduled at the time of day when physical performance is less affected.

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Christian J. Cook, Liam P. Kilduff, and C. Martyn Beaven

Purpose:

To examine the effects of moderate-load exercise with and without blood-flow restriction (BFR) on strength, power, and repeated-sprint ability, along with acute and chronic salivary hormonal parameters.

Methods:

Twenty male semiprofessional rugby union athletes were randomized to a lower-body BFR intervention (an occlusion cuff inflated to 180 mmHg worn intermittently on the proximal thighs) or a control intervention that trained without occlusion in a crossover design. Experimental sessions were performed 3 times a week for 3 wk with 5 sets of 5 repetitions of bench press, leg squat, and pull-ups performed at 70% of 1-repetition maximum.

Results:

Greater improvements were observed (occlusion training vs control) in bench press (5.4 ± 2.6 vs 3.3 ± 1.4 kg), squat (7.8 ± 2.1 vs 4.3 ± 1.4 kg), maximum sprint time (−0.03 ± 0.03 vs –0.01 ± 0.02 s), and leg power (168 ± 105 vs 68 ± 50 W). Greater exercise-induced salivary testosterone (ES 0.84–0.61) and cortisol responses (ES 0.65–0.20) were observed after the occlusion intervention sessions compared with the nonoccluded controls; however, the acute cortisol increases were attenuated across the training block.

Conclusions:

Occlusion training can potentially improve the rate of strength-training gains and fatigue resistance in trained athletes, possibly allowing greater gains from lower loading that could be of benefit during high training loads, in competitive seasons, or in a rehabilitative setting. The clear improvement in bench-press strength resulting from lower-body occlusion suggests a systemic effect of BFR training.

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Jocelyn K. Mara, Kevin G. Thompson, and Kate L. Pumpa

Purpose:

To investigate the physical and physiological response to different formats of various-sided games.

Methods:

Eighteen elite women’s soccer players wore 15-Hz global positioning system devices and heart-rate (HR) monitors during various-sided games (small, 4 vs 4 and 5 vs 5; medium, 6 vs 6 and 7 vs 7; large, 8 vs 8 and 9 vs 9).

Results:

Players covered more relative sprinting distance during large-sided games than in small-sided (P < .001, d = 0.69) and medium-sided (P < .001, d = 0.54) games. In addition, a greater proportion of total acceleration efforts that had a commencement velocity <1 m/s were observed in small-sided games (44.7% ± 5.5%) than in large-sided games (36.7% ± 10.6%) (P = .018, d = 0.94). This was accompanied by a greater proportion of acceleration efforts with a final velocity equivalent to the sprint threshold in large-sided games (15.4% ± 7.7%) than in small-sided games (5.2% ± 2.5%) (P < .001, d = 1.78). The proportion of time spent in HR zone 4 (>85% maximum HR) was greater during small-sided games (69.8% ± 2.5%) than in medium- (62.1% ± 2.8%, d = 2.90) and large-sided games (54.9% ± 3.1%) (P < .001, d = 5.29).

Conclusions:

The results from this study demonstrate that coaches can use small-sided games as an aerobic conditioning stimulus and to develop players’ explosiveness and repeat-sprint ability over short durations. Large-sided games can be used to maintain aerobic capacity and develop maximum speed over longer distances.