Changes in sprint performance and sagittal plane kinematics after heavy resisted sprint training in professional soccer players
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Background Sprint performance is an essential skill to target within soccer, which can be likely achieved with a variety of methods, including different on-field training options. One such method could be heavy resisted sprint training. However, the effects of such overload on sprint performance and the related kinetic changes are unknown in a professional setting. Another unknown factor is whether violating kinematic specificity via heavy resistance will lead to changes in unloaded sprinting kinematics. We investigated whether heavy resisted sled training (HS) affects sprint performance, kinetics, sagittal plane kinematics, and spatiotemporal parameters in professional male soccer players. Methods After familiarization, a nine-week training protocol and a two-week taper was completed with sprint performance and force-velocity (FV) profiles compared before and after. Out of the two recruited homogenous soccer teams (N = 32, age: 24.1 ± 5.1 years: height: 180 ± 10 cm; body-mass: 76.7 ± 7.7 kg, 30-m split-time: 4.63 ± 0.13 s), one was used as a control group continuing training as normal with no systematic acceleration training (CON, N = 13), while the intervention team was matched into two HS subgroups based on their sprint performance. Subgroup one trained with a resistance that induced a 60% velocity decrement from maximal velocity (N = 10, HS60%) and subgroup two used a 50% velocity decrement resistance (N = 9, HS50%) based on individual load-velocity profiles. Results Both heavy resistance subgroups improved significantly all 10–30-m split times (p < 0.05, d = − 1.25; −0.62). Post-hoc analysis showed that HS50% improved significantly more compared to CON in 0–10-m split-time (d = 1.03) and peak power (d = 1.16). Initial maximal theoretical horizontal force capacity (F0) and sprint FV-sprint profile properties showed a significant moderate relationship with F0 adaptation potential (p < 0.05). No significant differences in sprinting kinematics or spatiotemporal variables were observed that remained under the between-session minimal detectable change. Conclusion With appropriate coaching, heavy resisted sprint training could be one pragmatic option to assist improvements in sprint performance without adverse changes in sprinting kinematics in professional soccer players. Assessing each player’s initial individual sprint FV-profile may assist in predicting adaptation potential. More studies are needed that compare heavy resisted sprinting in randomized conditions.
Lahti J, Huuhka T, Romero V, Bezodis I, Morin J, Häkkinen K. (2020) 'Changes in sprint performance and sagittal plane kinematics after heavy resisted sprint training in professional soccer players', PeerJ 8:e10507 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10507
Article published in PeerJ available open access at https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.10507
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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