Short-Term Training Effects of Vertically and Horizontally Oriented Exercises on Neuromuscular Performance in Professional Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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The aim of this study was to compare the effects of 2 strength and conditioning programs involving either purely vertically oriented or combining vertically and horizontally oriented exercises on soccer-relevant performance variables (ie, acceleration, jumping ability, peak power, and endurance).


Twenty-two professional male soccer players were randomly assigned to 2 training groups: vertical strength (VS, n = 11) and vertical and horizontal strength (VHS, n = 11). Players trained 2 times per week during all the preseason (5 wk) and 3 weeks of the competitive season. The effect of the training protocols was assessed using doubleand single-leg vertical countermovement jumps (CMJ), half-squat peak power (PP), sprint performance over 5 and 15 m, and blood lactate concentration at selected running speeds.


Both groups obtained significant improvements in PP (P < .05; ES = 0.87 and 0.80 for VS and VHS, respectively) and small practical improvements in 5-m- (P < .05; ES = 0.27 and 0.25 for VS and VHS, respectively) and 15-m-sprint time (P < .05; ES = 0.19 and 0.24 for VS and VHS, respectively). The CMJ performance showed a small improvement (P < .05, ES = 0.34) only in the VHS group. Submaximal aerobic-fitness changes were similar in both groups (P < .05; ES = 1.89 and 0 .71 for VS and VHS, respectively).


This study provided a small amount of practical evidence for the consideration of preseason training protocols that combine exercises for vertical- and horizontal-axis strength development in professional male soccer players. Further studies using more aggressive training protocols involving horizontally oriented conditioning exercises are warranted.

Los Arcos is with Club Atlético Osasuna, Pamplona, Spain. Yanci is with the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Science, University of the Basque Country, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Mendiguchia is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, Zentrum Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Pamplona, Spain. Salinero is with the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Science, Camilo Jose Cela University, Madrid, Spain. Brughelli is with the Sports Performance Research Inst New Zealand, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Castagna is with the Football Training and Biomechanics Laboratory, Italian Football Federation, Florence, Italy.