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Remco Polman, Jonathan Bloomfield and Andrew Edwards

Purpose:

The main objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of both programmed (speed, agility, and quickness; SAQ) and random (small-sided games; SSG) conditioning methods on selected neuromuscular and physical performance variables.

Methods:

Twenty volunteers (21.1 ± 4.0 y, 1.71 ± 0.09 m, 66.7 ± 9.9 kg; mean ± SD) completed the study. The study design used two physically challenging periodized experimental conditions (SAQ and SSG conditions) and a non exercise control condition (CON). Participants engaged in 12.2 ± 2.1 h of directed physical conditioning. All participants had at least 24 h of recovery between conditioning sessions, and each 1-h session included 15 min of general warm-up and a 45-min exercise session. Participants completed a battery of tests (15-m sprint, isokinetic flexion/extension, depth jump) before and following the training program.

Results:

There was a 6.9% (95% CI: -4.4 to 18.3) greater improvement in 5-m acceleration time and 4.3% (95% CI: -0.9 to 9.5) in 15-m mean running velocity time for the SAQ group compared with the SSG group. In addition, increases in maximal isokinetic concentric strength for both the flexor and extensor muscles, with the exception of 180 °/s flexion, were greater in the SAQ than SSG condition. The SAQ group also showed 19.5% (95% CI: -11.2 to 50.2) greater gain in reactive strength (contact time depth jump) and 53.8% (95% CI: 11.2 to 98.6) in mean gastrocnemius medialis activity in comparison with SSG.

Conclusions:

SAQ training should benefit the physical conditioning programs of novice players performing invasion games.

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Hugh H.K. Fullagar, Rob Duffield, Sabrina Skorski, David White, Jonathan Bloomfield, Sarah Kölling and Tim Meyer

Purpose:

The current study examined the sleep, travel, and recovery responses of elite footballers during and after long-haul international air travel, with a further description of these responses over the ensuing competitive tour (including 2 matches).

Methods:

In an observational design, 15 elite male football players undertook 18 h of predominantly westward international air travel from the United Kingdom to South America (–4-h time-zone shift) for a 10-d tour. Objective sleep parameters, external and internal training loads, subjective player match performance, technical match data, and perceptual jet-lag and recovery measures were collected.

Results:

Significant differences were evident between outbound travel and recovery night 1 (night of arrival; P < .001) for sleep duration. Sleep efficiency was also significantly reduced during outbound travel compared with recovery nights 1 (P = .001) and 2 (P = .004). Furthermore, both match nights (5 and 10), showed significantly less sleep than nonmatch nights 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 (all P < .001). No significant differences were evident between baseline and any time point for all perceptual measures of jet-lag and recovery (P > .05), although large effects were evident for jet-lag on d 2 (2 d after arrival).

Conclusions:

Sleep duration is truncated during long-haul international travel with a 4-h time-zone delay and after night matches in elite footballers. However, this lost sleep appeared to have a limited effect on perceptual recovery, which may be explained by a westbound flight and a relatively small change in time zones, in addition to the significant increase in sleep duration on the night of arrival after the long-haul flight.