Ferrari Bravo D1, Impellizzeri FM2, Rampinini E1, Castagna C3, Bishop D4, Wisloff U5

1, Human Performance Laboratory, MAPEI Sport Research Center, Castellanza, Italy;2, Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland;3, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy;4, Team Sport Research Group, Facoltà di Scienze Motorie, Università di Verona, Verona, Italy;5, Circulation and Medical Imaging, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Trondheim, Norway

The aim of this study was to compare the effects of high-intensity aerobic interval and repeated-sprint ability (RSA) training on aerobic and anaerobic physiological variables in male football players. Forty-two participants were randomly assigned to either the interval training group (ITG, 4 x 4 min running at 90 – 95 % of HRmax; n = 21) or repeated-sprint training group (RSG, 3 x 6 maximal shuttle sprints of 40 m; n = 21). The following outcomes were measured at baseline and after 7 weeks of training: maximum oxygen uptake, respiratory compensation point, football-specific endurance (Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test, YYIRT), 10-m sprint time, jump height and power, and RSA. Significant group x time interaction was found for YYIRT (p = 0.003) with RSG showing greater improvement (from 1917 +/- 439 to 2455 +/- 488 m) than ITG (from 1846 +/- 329 to 2077 +/- 300 m). Similarly, a significant interaction was found in RSA mean time (p = 0.006) with only the RSG group showing an improvement after training (from 7.53 +/- 0.21 to 7.37 +/- 0.17 s). No other group x time interactions were found. Significant pre-post changes were found for absolute and relative maximum oxygen uptake and respiratory compensation point (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that the RSA training protocol used in this study can be an effective training strategy for inducing aerobic and football-specific training adaptations.

Int J Sports Med. 2008 Aug;29(8):668-74. Epub 2007 Dec 17.