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Effect of ACTN3 Gene on Strength and Endurance in Soccer Players

Pimenta, Eduardo M.1; Coelho, Daniel B.2; Veneroso, Christiano E.2; Barros Coelho, Ering J.3; Cruz, Izinara R.4; Morandi, Rodrigo F.2; De A. Pussieldi, Guilherme5; Carvalho, Maria R.S.4; Garcia, Emerson S.2; De Paz Fernández, José A.1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182915e66
Original Research

Abstract: Pimenta, EM, Coelho, DB, Veneroso, CE, Barros Coelho, EJ, Cruz, IR, Morandi, RF, De A. Pussieldi, G, Carvalho, MRS, Garcia, ES, and De Paz Fernández, JA. Effect of ACTN3 gene on strength and endurance in soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 27(12): 3286–3292, 2013—Sports efficiency in activities in which strength and speed are the determining factors has been associated to the ACTN3 gene, which is responsible for the expression of α-actinin-3. Soccer is a mainly aerobic sport because of its long duration, but the acute actions that define the game demand a lot of strength and speed. The purpose of the present study was to compare the performance capacity of soccer players with different genotype groups of ACTN3 (XX, RX, and RR) in strength, speed, and endurance tests. Two hundred professional players of Brazilian soccer first division teams participated in this study. Speed, jump, and endurance test results were compared with the polymorphisms of the ACTN3 gene. It was noticed that RR individuals spent less time to run a 10-m path, compared with XX individuals (p < 0.05). The RR individuals also presented lower time rates at the 20- and 30-m path, compared with RX and XX individuals (p < 0.05). In jump tests, RR individuals presented higher rates, compared with RX and XX individuals (p < 0.05). As for aerobic tests, the XX individuals presented higher rates of V[Combining Dot Above]O2 max, compared with the RR group (p < 0.05), and did not differ from the RX group. The main conclusion of this study is that soccer players of genotype ACTN3/RR are the fastest in short distances and present higher jump potential. ACTN3/XX individuals presented the highest aerobic capacity. These findings can be used in training load adjustment and can influence the development of tactical schemes in soccer matches.

Author Information

1Institute of Biomedicine (IBIOMED),University of León, León, Spain;

2Laboratory of Exercise Physiology, School of Physical Education, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil;

3Department of Statistics, University Center of Eastern Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil;

4Laboratory of Human and Medical Genetics, Department of Biology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil; and

5Department of Sports Sciences, Physical Education College, Federal University of Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Address correspondence to: Eduardo Mendonça Pimenta,

Copyright © 2013 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.