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  • Author: Luis Suarez-Arrones x
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Fernando Pareja-Blanco, Luis Sánchez-Medina, Luis Suárez-Arrones and Juan José González-Badillo

Purpose:

To analyze the effects of 2 resistance-training (RT) programs that used the same relative loading but different repetition volume, using the velocity loss during the set as the independent variable: 15% (VL15) vs 30% (VL30).

Methods:

Sixteen professional soccer players with RT experience (age 23.8 ± 3.5 y, body mass 75.5 ± 8.6 kg) were randomly assigned to 2 groups, VL15 (n = 8) or VL30 (n = 8), that followed a 6-wk (18-session) velocity-based squat-training program. Repetition velocity was monitored in all sessions. Assessments performed before (Pre) and after training (Post) included estimated 1-repetition maximum (1RM) and change in average mean propulsive velocity (AMPV) against absolute loads common to Pre and Post tests, countermovement jump (CMJ), 30-m sprint (T30), and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (YIRT). Null-hypothesis significance testing and magnitude-based-inference statistical analyses were performed.

Results:

VL15 obtained greater gains in CMJ height than VL30 (P < .05), with no significant differences between groups for the remaining variables. VL15 showed a likely/possibly positive effect on 1RM (91/9/0%), AMPV (73/25/2%), and CMJ (87/12/1%), whereas VL30 showed possibly/unclear positive effects on 1RM (65/33/2%) and AMPV (46/36/18%) and possibly negative effects on CMJ (4/38/57%). The effects on T30 performance were unclear/unlikely for both groups, whereas both groups showed most likely/likely positive effects on YIRT.

Conclusions:

A velocity-based RT program characterized by a low degree of fatigue (15% velocity loss in each set) is effective to induce improvements in neuromuscular performance in professional soccer players with previous RT experience.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Javier Núñez, Eduardo Sáez de Villareal, Javier Gálvez, Gabriel Suarez-Sanchez and Diego Munguía-Izquierdo

Purpose:

To describe the repeated-high-intensity activity and internal training load of rugby sevens players during international matches and to compare the differences between the 1st and 2nd halves.

Methods:

Twelve international-level male rugby sevens players were monitored during international competitive matches (n = 30 match files) using global positioning system technology and heart-rate monitoring.

Results:

The relative total distance covered by the players throughout the match was 112.1 ± 8.4 m/min. As a percentage of total distance, 35.0% (39.2 ± 9.0 m/min) was covered at medium speed and 17.1% (19.2 ± 6.8 m/min) at high speed. A substantial decrease in the distance covered at >14.0 km/h and >18.0 km/h, the number of accelerations of >2.78 m/s and >4.0 m/s, repeated-sprint sequences interspersed with ≤60 s rest, and repeated-acceleration sequences interspersed with ≤30 s or ≤60 s rest was observed in the 2nd half compared with the 1st half. A substantial increase in the mean heart rate (HR), HRmax, percentage of time at >80% HRmax and at >90% HRmax, and Edwards training load was observed in the 2nd half compared with the 1st half.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence of a pronounced reduction in high-intensity and repeated-highintensity activities and increases in internal training load in rugby sevens players during the 2nd half of international matches.

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F. Javier Núñez, Luis J. Suarez-Arrones, Paul Cater and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

The aim of this study was to examine the kinematics and kinetics (force, velocity, and acceleration) and blood lactate concentration with the VersaPulley (VP) device in comparison with free-weight (FW) exercise at a similar external load. Fifteen rugby players randomly performed 2 training sessions of 6 sets of 6 repetitions with 20 s of recovery between sets of the high-pull exercise with the VP and the FW. The training sessions were separated by 72 h. Barbell displacement (cm), peak velocity (m/s), peak acceleration (m/s2), mean propulsive velocity (m/s), mean propulsive acceleration (m/s2), propulsive phase (%), and mean and maximal force (N) were continuously recorded during each repetition. Blood lactate concentration was measured after each training session (end) and 3 min and 5 min later. Barbell displacement (+4.8%, small ES), peak velocity (+4.5% small ES), mean propulsive acceleration (+8.8%, small ES), and eccentric force (+26.7, large ES) were substantially higher with VP than with FW. Blood lactate concentration was also greater after the VP exercise (end +32.9%, 3 min later +36%, 5 min later +33.8%; large ES). Maximal concentric force was substantially higher with FW than VP during the 6th set (+6.4%, small ES). In the cohort and exercise investigated in the current study, VP training can be considered an efficient training device to induce an accentuated eccentric overload and augmented metabolic demands (ie, blood lactate concentration).

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Javier Núñez, Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Javier Gálvez and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effect of repeated-sprint training (RST) vs combined RST and resistance training with superimposed vibrations on repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and lower-body power output in male rugby players.

Methods:

Players were divided into 2 training groups. One group performed RST (n = 10) 2 d/wk and the other performed RST 1 d/wk and squat resistance training with superimposed vibrations on the second day (RS+ST; n = 10). The squat training was carried out with a volume similar (ie, number of sets and repetitions) to that of the RST. The training period lasted 6 wk, and it was carried out as a supplement to the regular rugby training sessions.

Results:

Substantial improvements in RSA mean time (RSAmean; +2.3%/ES: 0.77 vs +4.1%/ES: 0.91), RSA percent decrement (%Dec; –25.6%/ES: 1.70 vs –23.2%/ES: 0.99), and squat absolute power output (+5.0%/ES:0.36 vs +17.2%/ES: 0.93) were obtained in RST and RS+ST, respectively. Substantial improvements in RSA best time (RSAbest; +2.6%/ES: 0.61) and squat power output normalized to body mass (+18.6%/ES: 0.76) only occurred in RS+ST. Both pretest and posttest RSAmean were largely correlated with the RSAbest. However, there were only unclear, small to moderate correlations between individual changes in squat power output and either RSAmean or RSAbest.

Conclusion:

Combined RST and resistance training induced improvements of greater magnitude in both repeated-sprint performance and muscle power output than the RST alone. The lack of substantial correlations between individual changes in repeated-sprint and muscle-power performance suggests that the same subjects were not systematically low or high responders to both RST and strength training.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Javier Núñez, Diego Munguía-Izquierdo, Javier Portillo and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effects of several matches per day on running performance and cardiovascular stress in referees during a national Rugby Sevens championship.

Methods:

Seven referees, who refereed 3 matches/day, were monitored by GPS during 21 matches.

Results:

Referees’ movement patterns were relatively stable from the 1st to the 2nd match, although a substantial decrease was observed in the 2nd match for maximal and average sprint distance. A substantial decrease in the number of sprints, maximal speed, walking, distance covered at medium intensity, total and >14 km/h distance covered per minute was observed in the 3rd match in comparison with the 2nd. Compared with the 1st match, in the 3rd game referees showed a substantial decrease in maximal and average sprint distance, total walking at medium intensity, distance covered >14 km/h, and high-intensity running distance. Referees exhibited a substantial decrease in average heart rate (HR), percentage of time at >70%HRmax, and percentage of time at >90%HRmax in the 2nd match compared with the 1st. Referees’ HR responses were relatively stable from the 2nd to the 3rd match except for the HR zones of 71–80%HRmax and 81–90%HRmax and performance-efficiency index (Effindex). Substantial differences were observed in the 3rd match compared with the 1st in average HR, 81–90%HRmax, >90%HRmax, and Effindex.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence of reduced overall running performance and pronounced reduction in high-intensity running performance during the last match in Rugby Sevens referees refereeing 3 matches in the same day.

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Luis Suarez-Arrones, Carlos Arenas, Guillermo López, Bernardo Requena, Oliver Terrill and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

This study describes the physical match demands relative to positional group in male rugby sevens.

Methods:

Ten highly trained players were investigated during competitive matches (N = 23) using GPS technology, heart rate (HR), and video recording.

Results:

The relative distance covered by the players throughout the match was 102.3 ± 9.8 m/min. As a percentage of total distance, 35.8% (36.6 ± 5.9 m/min) was covered walking, 26.0% (26.6 ± 5.5 m/min) jogging, 10.0% (10.2 ± 2.4 m/min) running at low intensity, 14.2% (14.5 ± 4.0 m/min) at medium intensity, 4.6% (4.7 ± 1.6 m/min) at high intensity, and 9.5% (9.7 ± 3.7 m/min) sprinting. For the backs, a substantial decrease in total distance and distance covered at low, medium, and high intensity was observed in the second half. Forwards exhibited a substantial decrease in the distance covered at medium intensity, high intensity, and sprinting in the 2nd half. Backs covered substantially more total distance at medium and sprinting speeds than forwards. In addition, the maximum length of sprint runs was substantially greater for the backs than forwards. On the contrary, forwards performed more tackles. The mean HR during the match in backs and forwards was similar, with the exception of time spent at HR intensities >90%HRmax, which was substantially higher in forwards.

Conclusion:

These findings provide a description of the different physical demands placed on rugby sevens backs and forwards. This information may be helpful in the development of positional and/or individualized physical-fitness training programs.

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Javier Raya-González, Luis Suárez-Arrones, Archit Navandar, Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández and Eduardo Sáez de Villarreal

Context: As the number of injuries in young soccer players increases, an epidemiological study is the first step in improving preventive strategies. Objectives: To analyze the injury profile of a Spanish professional soccer club’s academy during 4 consecutive seasons and to examine the injury incidence across different chronological age groups. Design: Prospective cohort design. Setting: Aggregate injury and exposure data collected during 4 consecutive seasons. Participants: Three hundred nine elite male young soccer players. Main Outcomes Measures: Injuries that led to participation time missed from training and match play prospectively reported by medical or coaching staff of the club. Results: A total of 464 time-loss injuries were observed during this study period. The overall injury incidence was 2.93 injuries per 1000 hours, with higher incidence during matches than during training (10.16 vs 2.10 injuries/1000 h; rate ratio [RR] = 0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.17–0.25; P < .05), with the U14 age group presenting the lowest injury rate (2.39 injuries/1000 h; RR = 1.15–1.57; P < .05). In terms of injury severity, moderate injuries were the most frequent (1.42 injuries/1000 h). Muscle injuries were the most common type of injuries (57.7%; 2.75 injuries/1000 h; RR = 1.84–13.4; P < .05), and hamstrings (93/268) were the most affected muscle group (0.58 injuries/1000 h; RR = 1.58–2.91; P < .05). Injury incidence showed a seasonal variation as indicated by peaks in August and October. In matches, specifically, the match period between 75 and 90 minutes showed the highest injury incidence (10.29 injuries/1000 h; RR = 1.89–6.38; P < .01). Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that specific preventive strategies must be implemented to try to reduce the injury incidence in Spanish elite young soccer players attending to the characteristics of each age group.

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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Antonio Casajús and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To examine the effects of a low-volume repeated-power-ability (RPA) training program on repeated-sprint and changeof-direction (COD) ability and functional jumping performance.

Methods:

Twenty-two male elite young basketball players (age 16.2 ± 1.2 y, height 190.0 ± 10.0 cm, body mass 82.9 ± 10.1 kg) were randomly assigned either to an RPA-training group (n = 11) or a control group (n = 11). RPA training consisted of leg-press exercise, twice a week for 6 wk, of 1 or 2 blocks of 5 sets × 5 repetitions with 20 s of passive recovery between sets and 3 min between blocks with the load that maximized power output. Before and after training, performance was assessed by a repeated-sprint-ability (RSA) test, a repeated-COD-ability test, a hop for distance, and a drop jump followed by tests of a double unilateral hop with the right and left legs.

Results:

Within-group and between-groups differences showed substantial improvements in slowest (RSAs) and mean time (RSAm) on RSA; best, slowest and mean time on repeated-COD ability; and unilateral right and left hop in the RPA group in comparison with control. While best time on RSA showed no improvement in any group, there was a large relationship (r = .68, 90% CI .43;.84) between the relative decrement in RSAm and RSAs, suggesting better sprint maintenance with RPA training. The relative improvements in best and mean repeated-COD ability were very largely correlated (r = .89, 90% CI .77;.94).

Conclusions:

Six weeks of low-volume (4–14 min/wk) RPA training improved several physical-fitness tests in basketball players.

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Oliver Gonzalo-Skok, Julio Tous-Fajardo, Luis Suarez-Arrones, José Luis Arjol-Serrano, José Antonio Casajús and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

Purpose:

To compare the effects of unilateral and bilateral resistance training on single-leg power output, between-limbs imbalance (BLI), bilateral deficit (BLD), change of direction (COD), and linear sprinting and jumping performance in young elite basketball players.

Methods:

Twenty-two young (U-16–U-19) male basketball players were randomly assigned either to an exclusive unilateral (UNI) (n = 11) or a bilateral (BIL) (n = 11) resistance-training group during a 6-wk period. Both groups training consisted of 3 unilateral or bilateral 90° back-squat sets. A postdetermined number of repetitions was set until power output dropped to <10% of maximum power (MP) output. In addition, both groups performed 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral drop jumps and 2 sets of 5 unilateral or bilateral countermovement jumps (CMJ). Pre- and posttraining, performance was assessed by an incremental bilateral and unilateral squat-load test, a multiple-COD test (V-cut test), a 15-m-sprint test (7.5 + 7.5 m) with one 180° COD performed with both right (180° RCOD) and left (180° LCOD) legs, a 25-m-sprint test (5- and 15-m split time), and a CMJ test.

Results:

Within-group analyses showed substantial improvements in 180° RCOD, bilateral and unilateral MP, 25-m-sprint test, and CMJ in both groups. Between-groups analyses showed substantially better results in 180° LCOD, MP with right and left legs, BLI, and BLD in UNI than in BIL.

Conclusions:

Both training programs substantially improved most of the physical-fitness tests, but only UNI reduced between-limbs asymmetry and achieved greater enhancements in actions that mostly required applying force unilaterally in basketball players.

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Nacho Torreño, Diego Munguía-Izquierdo, Aaron Coutts, Eduardo Sáez de Villarreal, Jose Asian-Clemente and Luis Suarez-Arrones

Purpose:

To analyze the match running profile, distance traveled over successive 15 min of match play, heart rates (HRs), and index of performance efficiency (effindex) of professional soccer players with a global positioning system (GPS) and HR in official competition.

Methods:

Twenty-six professional players were investigated during full matches in competitive club-level matches (N = 223). Time–motion data and HR were collected using GPS and HR technology.

Results:

The relative total distance was 113 ± 11 m/min, with substantial differences between halves. For all playing positions, a substantial decrease in total distance and distance covered at >13.0 km/h was observed in the second half in comparison with the first. The decrease during the second half in distance covered at >13.0 km/h was substantially higher than in total distance. The average HR recorded was 86.0% maximal HR, and the relationship between external and internal load (effindex) was 1.3, with substantial differences between halves in all playing positions, except strikers for effindex. Wide midfielders reflected substantially the lowest mean HR and highest effindex, whereas center backs showed substantially the lowest effindex of all playing positions.

Conclusions:

The current study confirmed the decrement in a player’s performance toward the end of a match in all playing positions. Wide midfielders displayed the highest and fittest levels of physical and physiological demands, respectively, whereas center backs had the lowest and least-fit levels of physical and physiological demands, respectively. The position-specific relationship between external and internal load confirms that players with more overall running performance during the full match were the best in effindex.