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High-Intensity Training Improves Exercise Performance in Elite Women Volleyball Players During a Competitive Season

Purkhús, Elisabeth; Krustrup, Peter; Mohr, Magni

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 11 - p 3066–3072
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001408
Original Research

Purkhús, E, Krustrup, P, and Mohr, M. High-intensity training improves exercise performance in elite women volleyball players during a competitive season. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 3066–3072, 2016—Elite women volleyball players (n = 25; mean ± SD: age, 19 ± 5 years; height, 171 ± 7 cm; weight, 63 ± 10 kg) volunteered to participate in the study. They were randomized into a high-intensity training (HIT; n = 13) group and a control (CON; n = 12) group. In addition to the normal team training and games, HIT performed 6–10 × 30-seconds all-out running intervals separated by 3-minute recovery periods 3 times per week during a 4-week in-season period whereas CON only completed the team training sessions and games. Preintervention and postintervention, all players completed the arrowhead agility test (AAT), a repeated sprint test (RST; 5 × 30 meters separated by 25 seconds of recovery), and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery level 2 test (Yo-Yo IR2) followed by a-10 minute rest period and the Yo-Yo IR1 test. Mean running distance during HIT in week 1 was 152 ± 4 m and increased (p ≤ 0.05) by 4.6% (159 ± 3 m) in week 4. The AAT performance improved (p ≤ 0.05) by 2.3% (18.87 ± 0.97–18.44 ± 1.06 seconds) and RST by 4.3% postintervention in the HIT group only. Baseline RST fatigue index was 7.0 ± 2.9 and 6.2 ± 5.0% in HIT and CON, respectively, but was lowered (p ≤ 0.05) to 2.7 ± 3.0% posttraining in HIT and remained unaltered in CON (5.5 ± 5.0%). In HIT, Yo-Yo IR2 and Yo-Yo IR1 performance improved by 12.6 and 18.3% postintervention, respectively, with greater (p ≤ 0.05) Yo-yo IR1 change scores than in CON. In conclusion, additional high-intensity in-season training performed as interval running improved agility, repeated sprint ability, and high-intensity intermittent exercise performance in elite women volleyball players.

1Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Section of Human Physiology, Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;

2Faculty of Natural and Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands;

3Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom; and

4Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, Center of Health and Human Performance, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Address correspondence to Magni Mohr,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.