The effect of leg strength and power on brief and prolonged repeated-sprint ability
University of Wales
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The ability to reproduce high-intensity bouts of activity, separated by phases of rest or low intensity exercise is a critical determinant of performance in intermittent-sprint sports. Researchers have identified both muscular leg strength and explosive power as potential facilitators of repeated-sprint ability (RSA). However, the relationship between these variables and RSA has received little attention. Furthermore, the accuracy of leg strength and power in predicting RSA with prolonged periods of recovery has not been researched. Consequently, this investigation sought to examine the accuracy of leg strength and power in predicting RSA with brief and prolonged periods of recovery. Twelve male university rugby players (age 22.1 ± 1.9 years; mass 87.5 ± 6.9 kg; stature 179.3 ± 7.8 cm) performed a 3RM squat to assess leg strength, countermovement jumps (CMJ) to examine leg power, as well as brief (7 x 30m with 20s recovery) and prolonged (20 x 30m with 80s recovery) repeated-sprint tests. Paired samples t-tests were used to identify differences between the brief and prolonged protocols in terms of best sprint time, mean sprint time and fatigue index. Furthermore, Pearsons Product Moment Correlation was used to identify accuracy of leg strength and power in predicting brief and prolonged RSA. CMJ height strongly predicted single-sprint performance and moderately predicted with mean sprint performance in the brief and prolonged tests, where squat strength which showed no relationship in either test. It was deemed that the presence of the stretch-shortening cycle during the CMJ and sprinting explains the strong relationship between the two variables. Interestingly, neither squat strength nor CMJ height was related to fatigue index, regardless of recovery time between bouts. This indicates that perhaps metabolic variables more accurately determine fatigue indices during intermittent-sprints. Future research should seek to examine the accuracy of VO2 max and muscle buffer capacity in predicting single and mean sprint performances during brief and prolonged repeated-sprint exercise
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