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Paola Rodriguez-Giustiniani, Ian Rollo, Oliver C. Witard and Stuart D. R. Galloway

intermittent exercise is evidenced by the previously reported better maintenance of high-intensity running capacity ( McGregor et al., 1999 ). Several studies have demonstrated that consuming carbohydrate beverages before and at regular intervals during sporting activities improves subsequent high

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Adam C. Clansey, Mark J. Lake, Eric S. Wallace, Tom Feehally and Michael Hanlon

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of prolonged high-intensity running on impact accelerations in trained runners. Thirteen male distance runners completed two 20-minute treadmill runs at speeds corresponding to 95% of onset of blood lactate accumulation. Leg and head accelerations were collected for 20 s every fourth minute. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scores were recorded during the third and last minute of each run. RPE responses increased (P < .001) from the start (11.8 ± 0.9, moderate intensity) of the first run to the end (17.7 ± 1.5, very hard) of the second run. Runners maintained their leg impact acceleration, impact attenuation, stride length, and stride frequency characteristics with prolonged run duration. However, a small (0.11–0.14g) but significant increase (P < .001) in head impact accelerations were observed at the end of both first and second runs. It was concluded that trained runners are able to control leg impact accelerations during sustained high-intensity running. Alongside the substantial increases in perceived exertion levels, running mechanics and frequency domain impact attenuation levels remained constant. This suggests that the present trained runners are able to cope from a mechanical perspective despite an increased physiological demand.

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William P. McCormack, Jay R. Hoffman, Gabriel J. Pruna, Tyler C. Scanlon, Jonathan D. Bohner, Jeremy R. Townsend, Adam R. Jajtner, Jeffrey R. Stout, Maren S. Fragala and David H. Fukuda

Purpose:

During the competitive soccer season, women’s intercollegiate matches are typically played on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The efficacy of a 42-h recovery period is not well understood. This investigation was conducted to determine performance differences between Friday and Sunday matches during a competitive season.

Methods:

Ten NCAA Division I female soccer players (20.5 ± 1.0 y, 166.6 ± 5.1 cm, 61.1 ± 5.8 kg) were monitored with 10-Hz GPS devices across 8 weekends with matches played on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. The players were outside backs, midfielders, and forwards. All players had to participate in a minimum of 45 min/match to be included in the study. Average minutes played, total distance covered, total distance of high-intensity running (HIR) (defined as running at a velocity equal to or exceeding 3.61 m/s for longer than 1 s), the number of HIR efforts, and the number of sprints were calculated for each match. Data for Friday vs Sunday matches were averaged and then compared using dependent t tests.

Results:

No differences were seen in minutes played, distance rate, or number of sprints between Friday and Sunday matches. A significant (P = .017) decrease in rate of HIR between Friday (25.37 ± 7.22 m/min) and Sunday matches (22.90 ± 5.70 m/min) was seen. In addition, there was a trend toward a difference (P = .073) in the number of efforts of HIR between Friday (138.41 ± 36.43) and Sunday (126.92 ± 31.31).

Conclusions:

NCAA Division I female soccer players cover less distance of HIR in games played less than 48 h after another game. This could be due to various factors such as dehydration, glycogen depletion, or muscle damage.

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Alireza Rabbani, Mehdi Kargarfard, Carlo Castagna, Filipe Manuel Clemente and Craig Twist

influenced by well-developed high-intensity running (HIR) capacity, 2 which can be trained using a generic or specific high-intensity interval training. 3 During the in-season phase, professional soccer players are mostly involved in high-volume skill-based training, aiming to improve technical, tactical

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Tim J. Gabbett, Håvard Wiig and Matt Spencer

Background:

To the authors’ knowledge, no study has investigated the concurrent repeated, high-intensity (RHIA) and repeated-sprint activity (RSA) of intermittent team-sport competition.

Purpose:

In this study, they report on the RSA of elite women’s football competition. In addition, they describe the nature of RHIA (eg, striding and sprinting activities) that involve a high energy cost and are associated with short (ie, ≤20 s) recovery periods.

Methods:

Thirteen elite women soccer players underwent video-based time–motion analysis on 34 occasions during national and international standard matches. RSA and RHIA were defined as successive (ie, 2) sprints or striding and sprinting efforts that occurred with ≤20 s between efforts.

Results:

The number of RSA and RHIA bouts performed was similar between the first and second halves of matches. Sprinting and striding/sprinting durations tended to remain relatively stable irrespective of the number of efforts in an RSA or RHIA bout or the period of play. However, recovery duration between efforts increased in the second half, when a greater number of efforts were performed per bout.

Conclusion:

These findings suggest that first- to second-half reductions in RHIA and RSA do not occur in elite women’s soccer competition. However, players increase the amount of low-intensity recovery undertaken between RHIA and RSA efforts, most likely in an attempt to maintain RHIA and RSA performance. These findings emphasize the importance of RSA and RHIA to elite women’s soccer and highlight the importance of training this quality to prevent reductions in performance during competitive match play.

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Paul S. Bradley, Carlos Lago-Peñas and Ezequiel Rey

Purpose:

To evaluate match performances of substitute players using different research designs.

Methods:

English Premier League matches were analyzed using a multiple-camera system. Two research designs were adopted: an independent-measures analysis comparing the match-performance characteristics of players completing the entire match (n = 810) vs substitutes (n = 286) and the players they replaced (n = 286) and a repeated-measures analysis comparing the same players completing full matches vs those in which they were introduced as a substitute (n = 94).

Results:

Most substitutions (P < .05) occurred at halftime and between the 60- to 85-min vs all first-half periods and the remaining second-half periods (effect size [ES]: 0.85–1.21). These substitutions become more (P < .01) offensive (eg, more attacking positions were introduced) in relation to the positions introduced as the half progressed (ES: 0.93–1.37). Independent-measures analysis indicated that high-intensity running was greater (P < .01) in substitutes compared with players who either completed the entire match or were replaced (ES: 0.28–0.67), but no differences were evident for pass-completion rates (ES: 0.01–0.02). Repeated-measures analysis highlighted that players covered more (P < .01) high-intensity running when they were introduced as substitutes compared with the equivalent period of the second- but not the first-half period (ES: 0.21–0.47). Both research designs indicated that attackers covered more (P < .05) high-intensity running than peers or their own performances when completing the entire match (ES: 0.45– 0.71).

Conclusions:

Substitutes cover greater high-intensity-running distance; this was particularly evident in attackers, but pass-completion rates did not differ for any position. This information could be beneficial to coaches regarding optimizing the match running performances of their players, but much more work needs to be undertaken to investigate the overall impact of substitutes (physical, technical indicators, and contribution to key moments of matches).

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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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Joshua Darrall-Jones, Gregory Roe, Shane Carney, Ryan Clayton, Padraic Phibbs, Dale Read, Jonathon Weakley, Kevin Till and Ben Jones

Purpose:

To evaluate the difference in performance of the 30-15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30–15IFT) across 4 squads in a professional rugby union club in the UK and consider body mass in the interpretation of the end velocity of the 30-15IFT (VIFT).

Methods:

One hundred fourteen rugby union players completed the 30-15IFT midseason.

Results:

VIFT demonstrated small and possibly lower (ES = –0.33; 4/29/67) values in the under 16s compared with the under 21s, with further comparisons unclear. With body mass included as a covariate, all differences were moderate to large and very likely to almost certainly lower in the squads with lower body mass, with the exception of comparisons between senior and under-21 squads.

Conclusions:

The data demonstrate that there appears to be a ceiling to the VIFT attained in rugby union players that does not increase from under-16 to senior level. However, the associated increases in body mass with increased playing level suggest that the ability to perform high-intensity running increases with age, although not translating into greater VIFT due to the detrimental effect of body mass on change of direction. Practitioners should be aware that VIFT is unlikely to improve, but it needs to be monitored during periods where increases in body mass are evident.

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Mark Waldron, Jamie Highton, Matthew Daniels and Craig Twist

Purpose:

This study aimed to quantify changes in heart rate (HR) and movement speeds in interchanged and whole-match players during 35 elite rugby league performances.

Methods:

Performances were separated into whole match, interchange bout 1, and interchange bout 2 and further subdivided into match quartiles. Mean percentages of peak HR (%HRpeak) and total and high-intensity running (> 14 km/h) meters per minute (m/min) were recorded.

Results:

For whole-match players, a decline in high-intensity m/min and %HRpeak was observed between successive quartiles (P < .05). High-intensity m/min during interchange 1 also progressively declined, although initial m/min was higher than whole match (24.2 ± 7.9 m/min vs 18.3 ± 4.7 m/min, P = .018), and %HRpeak did not change over match quartiles (P > .05). During interchange 2, there was a decline in high-intensity m/min from quartile 1 to quartile 3 (18 ± 4.1 vs 13.4 ± 5 m/min, P = .048) before increasing in quartile 4. Quartiles 1 and 2 also showed an increase in %HRpeak (85.2 ± 6.5 vs 87.3 ± 4.2%, P = .022).

Conclusions:

Replacement players adopted a high initial intensity in their first match quartile before a severe decline thereafter. However, in a second bout, lower exercise intensity at the outset enabled a higher physiological exertion for later periods. These findings inform interchange strategy and conditioning for coaches while also providing preliminary evidence of pacing in team sport.

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Jonathan M. Taylor, Tom W. Macpherson, Iain R. Spears and Matthew Weston

The ability to repeatedly perform sprints has traditionally been viewed as a key performance measure in team sports, and the relationship between repeated-sprint ability (RSA) and performance has been explored extensively. However, when reviewing the repeated-sprint profile of team-sports match play it appears that the occurrence of repeated-sprint bouts is sparse, indicating that RSA is not as important to performance as commonly believed. Repeated sprints are, however, a potent and time-efficient training strategy, effective in developing acceleration, speed, explosive leg power, aerobic power, and high-intensity-running performance—all of which are crucial to team-sport performance. As such, we propose that repeated-sprint exercise in team sports should be viewed as an independent variable (eg, a means of developing fitness) as opposed to a dependent variable (eg, a means of assessing fitness/performance).