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Improving Repeated Sprint Ability in Young Elite Soccer Players: Repeated Shuttle Sprints Vs. Explosive Strength Training

Buchheit, Martin; Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto; Delhomel, Gregory; Brughelli, Matt; Ahmaidi, Said

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: October 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 10 - pp 2715-2722
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bf0223
Original Research

Buchheit, M, Mendez-Villanueva, A, Delhomel, G, Brughelli, M, and Ahmaidi, S. Improving repeated sprint ability in young elite soccer players: repeated shuttle sprints vs. explosive strength training. J Strength Cond Res 24(10): 2715-2722, 2010-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·s1); 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.

1Research Laboratory, EA 3300, Laboratory of Exercise Physiology and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Picardie, Jules Verne, Amiens, France; 2Performance Enhancement and Talent Identification Section, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, Qatar; 3Sport Development and Analysis, Myorobie Association, Montvalezan, France; and 4School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia

No funding was received for this work.

Address correspondence to Martin Buchheit,

Copyright © 2010 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.