Impellizzeri FM, Rampinini E, Maffiuletti NA, Castagna C, Bizzini M, Wisløff U.
Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland.
To examine the effects of aerobic interval training on the decline in short-passing ability caused by a short bout of high-intensity intermittent activities. For this randomized controlled trial, 26 junior soccer players (mean age, 17.8 +/- 0.6 years; mean height, 178 +/- 5 cm; mean body mass, 74.5 +/- 6.9 kg) were recruited. After baseline measurements, subjects were randomly allocated to 1 of 2 groups: the control group (CG) or the aerobic interval training group (ITG). The ITG completed 4 weeks of high-intensity aerobic training, consisting of 4 bouts of running for 4 min at 90%-95% of maximal heart rate, with 3 min of active recovery between sets, in addition to normal training. Maximum oxygen uptake, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1 (YYIRT), and short-passing ability (measured using the Loughborough Soccer Passing Test (LSPT)) were measured before and after a 5 min high-intensity simulation (HIS), reproducing the most intense phase of a match. The ITG (n = 11), but not the CG (n = 10), showed a significant 12% and 4% increase in YYIRT and maximal oxygen consumption after training, respectively, and reduced the worsening in LSPT penalty time after the HIS (p < 0.05). The relative exercise intensity during HIS decreased in the ITG only (p < 0.01). Our results demonstrated that junior soccer players may benefit from aerobic training to attenuate the decline in short-passing ability caused by a short bout of intermittent activities completed at the same pretraining workload.
Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2008 Dec;33(6):1192-8.