Intermittent endurance and repeated sprint ability in soccer players

Anis Chaouachi, Vincenzo Manzi, Del P Wong, Anis Chaalali, Louis Laurencelle, Karim Chamari, Carlo Castagna
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2010, 24 (10): 2663-9
The ability to perform high-intensity intermittent exercise (i.e., Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test [Yo-Yo IR1]) and to repeat sprints with relatively short recovery times (i.e., 20- to 30-seconds, relatively short time interval [repeated sprint ability (RSA)]) has been shown to be relevant fitness variables in soccer. However, though they potentially share common features, it is not known whether these 2 abilities are associated. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between Yo-Yo IR1 and RSA performances in elite soccer players. Twenty-three soccer players (age 19 ± 1 years, height 181 ± 5.7 cm, body mass 73.2 ± 4.1 kg, %body fat 11 ± 2.4) performed the Yo-Yo IR1 and a test for RSA (7 × 30 m with 25-second recovery). Results were 2,289 ± 409 m, 31.21 ± 1.13 seconds, and 4 ± 2.1% for Yo-Yo IR1, total sprint time, and sprint decrement, respectively. Yo-Yo IR1 showed a significant and moderate relationship with sprint decrement (r² = -0.44, p = 0.04). Splitting the sample into Best and Worst Yo-Yo IR1 performers according to median score (2,320 m), the Best group showed lower RSA total time (30.69 ± 0.99 vs. 31.79 ± 1.06, p < 0.05) and speed decrement (2.90 ± 0.86 vs. 5.09 ± 2.42, p < 0.01) compared to the Worst group. Sprint-time deterioration over 30 m occurred earlier (from the second sprint on) in the Yo-YoWorst compared with in the Yo-YoBest group (from the fourth sprint on, p < 0.001). Intermittent high-intensity endurance is poorly associated with RSA performance (r² = 0.19). Consequently, coaches and strength and conditioning professionals should consider both Yo-Yo IR1 and RSA in their testing batteries. A Yo-Yo IR1 performance ≥2,320 m could be considered as a reasonable indicator of physical fitness in elite soccer. Relatively short time interval test protocols similar to the present study should consist of at least 5 sprint bouts.

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