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Effect of Overload and Tapering on Individual Heart Rate Variability, Stress Tolerance, and Intermittent Running Performance in Soccer Players During a Preseason

Figueiredo, Diego H.1; Figueiredo, Diogo H.2; Moreira, Alexandre3; Gonçalves, Helcio R.4; Stanganelli, Luiz C.R.4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: May 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 5 - p 1222–1231
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003127
Original Research

Figueiredo, DH, Figueiredo, DH, Moreira, A, Gonçalves, HR, and Stanganelli, LCR. Effect of overload and tapering on individual heart rate variability, stress tolerance, and intermittent running performance in soccer players during a preseason. J Strength Cond Res 33(5): 1222–1231, 2019—This study evaluates the weekly natural log of the root-mean-square difference of successive R-R intervals (lnRMSSDmean), its coefficient of variation (lnRMSSDcv), training load (TL), stress tolerance (ST), and changes in intermittent running performance in response to a 2-week overload (OL) followed by a 1-week taper (TP) during a preseason. Additionally, we determined the relationships between these variables. Ultra-short lnRMSSD, psychometric responses, and ratings of perceived exertion were evaluated daily among 16 under-19 soccer players. At the end of each training phase, the athletes performed the Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo). Group analysis showed a decrease in lnRMSSDmean and ST, increases in lnRMSSDcv, and decreases in the Yo-Yo during OL, with a return to baseline levels and a trivial increase in the Yo-Yo during TP. Small to very large correlations were found between lnRMSSDmean and lnRMSSDcv values, with changes in Yo-Yo, TL, monotony, and strain during the preseason (r values ranging from −0.27 to 0.82). No correlation was found between lnRMSSD responses and ST. During OL, athletes with decreases in lnRMSSDmean and increases in lnRMSSDcv accumulated higher perceived TL, with higher monotony and overall stress, and presented a decrease in ST and intermittent running performance, interpreted as a negative adaptation in response to the maintenance of higher TL. During TP, these responses were reversed, leading to an increase in intermittent running performance. In addition, subjective measures of ST may be used to provide early indicators of training adaptation in soccer players.

1Research Laboratory in Sports Science, State University of Londrina—LAPECE, Londrina, Brazil;

2Sport Science Department, State University of Maringá, Maringá, Brazil;

3Department of Physical Education, School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; and

4Sport Science Department, State University of Londrina, Londrina, Brazil

Address correspondence to Diego H. Figueiredo,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.