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Effects of Lower-Limb Strength Training on Agility, Repeated Sprinting With Changes of Direction, Leg Peak Power, and Neuromuscular Adaptations of Soccer Players

Hammami, Mehréz1; Negra, Yassine1; Billaut, François2; Hermassi, Souhail1,3; Shephard, Roy J.4; Chelly, Mohamed Souhaiel1,3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 37–47
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001813
Original Research
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Hammami, M, Negra, Y, Billaut, F, Hermassi, S, Shephard, RJ, and Chelly, MS. Effects of lower-limb strength training on agility, repeated sprinting with changes of direction, leg peak power, and neuromuscular adaptations of soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 32(1): 37–47, 2018—We examined the effects on explosive muscular performance of incorporating 8 weeks strength training into the preparation of junior male soccer players, allocating subjects between an experimental group (E, n = 19) and a matched control group (C, n = 12). Controls maintained their regular training program, but the experimental group replaced a part of this schedule by strength training. Performance was assessed using running times (5, 10, 20, 30 and 40 m), a sprint test with 180° turns (S180°), a 9-3-6-3-9 m sprint with backward and forward running (SBF), a 4 × 5 m sprint test with turns, repeated shuttle sprinting, repeated changes of direction, squat (SJ) and counter-movement (CMJ) jumping, back half-squatting, and a force–velocity test. Electromyographic (EMG) activity of the vastus lateralis (VL), vastus medialis (VM), and rectus femoris (RF) muscles was recorded during jumping. Two-way ANOVA showed significant gains in E relative to C during the straight sprint (all distances). Scores of E increased substantially (p ≤ 0.01) on S4 × 5 and SBF and moderately on S180°. Leg peak power, SJ, and CMJ were also enhanced, with significant increases in EMG activity. However, repeated-sprint parameters showed no significant changes. We conclude that biweekly strength training improves key components of performance in junior soccer players relative to standard in-season training.

1Research Unit (UR17JS01), Sport Performance Health & Society, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Saîd, University of Manouba, Tunis, Tunisia;

2Department of Kinesiology, University Laval, Quebec, QC, Canada;

3Department of Biological Science Applied for Physical Activities and Sport, Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Saîd, University of Manouba, Tunis, Tunisia; and

4Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Address correspondence to Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly, csouhaiel@yahoo.fr.

Copyright © 2018 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.