JOURNAL ARTICLE

Improving repeated sprint ability in young elite soccer players: repeated shuttle sprints vs. explosive strength training

Martin Buchheit, Alberto Mendez-Villanueva, Gregory Delhomel, Matt Brughelli, Said Ahmaidi
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2010, 24 (10): 2715-22
20224449
To compare the effects of explosive strength (ExpS) vs. repeated shuttle sprint (RS) training on repeated sprint ability (RSA) in young elite soccer players, 15 elite male adolescents (14.5 ± 0.5 years) performed, in addition to their soccer training program, RS (n = 7) or ExpS (n = 8) training once a week for a total of 10 weeks. RS training consisted of 2-3 sets of 5-6 × 15- to 20-m repeated shuttle sprints interspersed with 14 seconds of passive or 23 seconds of active recovery (≈2 m·s⁻¹); ExpS training consisted of 4-6 series of 4-6 exercises (e.g., maximal unilateral countermovement jumps (CMJs), calf and squat plyometric jumps, and short sprints). Before and after training, performance was assessed by 10 and 30 m (10 and 30 m) sprint times, best (RSAbest) and mean (RSAmean) times on a repeated shuttle sprint ability test, a CMJ, and a hopping (Hop) test. After training, except for 10 m (p = 0.22), all performances were significantly improved in both groups (all p's < 0.05). Relative changes in 30 m (-2.1 ± 2.0%) were similar for both groups (p = 0.45). RS training induced greater improvement in RSAbest (-2.90 ± 2.1 vs. -0.08 ± 3.3%, p = 0.04) and tended to enhance RSAmean more (-2.61 ± 2.8 vs. -0.75 ± 2.5%, p = 0.10, effect size [ES] = 0.70) than ExpS. In contrast, ExpS tended to induce greater improvements in CMJ (14.8 ± 7.7 vs. 6.8 ± 3.7%, p = 0.02) and Hop height (27.5 ± 19.2 vs. 13.5 ± 13.2%, p = 0.08, ES = 0.9) compared with RS. Improvements in the repeated shuttle sprint test were only observed after RS training, whereas CMJ height was only increased after ExpS. Because RS and ExpS were equally efficient at enhancing maximal sprinting speed, RS training-induced improvements in RSA were likely more related to progresses in the ability to change direction.

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