Effects of warming up with lower-body wearable resistance on physical performance measures in soccer players over an 8-week training cycle

Bustos, Metral (25)

 

Purpose Statement:

The aim of this study was to quantify the physical performance effects of adding lower-limb wearable resistance to a youth soccer warm-up over 8-weeks

 

Introduction:

Soccer players spend a considerable amount of time training on-field as well as playing games, forcing strength and conditioning professionals to use time efficient resistance training methods to promote optimal adaptations in congested schedules. Resistance training as a part of what athlete do on the field may provide a specific physiological adaptation to optimize transference directly to their sport, without adverse effects on technique. Further, warm-up programs are designed to prepare the body for specific movements encountered during the sport, and thus performing a warm-up consisting of specific movements with WR affixed to the legs may optimize transfer between training and actual sports movements with minimal effects on technique.

 

Thirty-one national level U20 Argentinian soccer players (15-18 years, 68.5 ± 5.42kg, 176 ± 0.61cm) were matched for sprinting ability and split into two groups; control group (CON) (n=16) and WR group (n = 15). All participants were tested pre-, mid-, and post- the 8-week training protocol. After a 15-minute standardized warm-up, participants were taken through a testing battery.

 

Table 5: Performance tests conducted pre-, mid-, and post- 8 week intervention

Speed Repeated Sprint Ability Jump
0 – 10 meters (RSA): 6 x 40 meters

20 meters –> change direction –> 180° –> 20 meters

Bilateral vertical countermovement jump (CMJ)
0 – 20 meters Single leg horizontal jump (SLJ)

 

All subjects performed an 8-week program; WRT group with periodised weight (Table 6). At training sessions, all subjects performed a warm-up protocol consisting of active stretching, technical drills with the ball, and high-intensity accelerations, decelerations, changes of direction, and plyometric and sprint exercises. The WRT group wore compression garments with 200g-600g distributed on each calf (Figure 25) during the warm-up 2-3 times per week.

 

Table 6: Periodized 8-week loading scheme for the wearable resistance training (WRT) group

Weeks Load-Placement Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
1 200g, posterior, proximal 200g 200g 200g
2 200g, posterior, distal 200g 200g 200g
3 400g, posterior, proximal 400g 400g 400g
4 600g, 400g posterior, proximal 400g Testing 400g
5 400g, posterior, proximal 400g 400g 400g
6 600g, 400g posterior, proximal 600g 600g 600g
7 600g, 400g posterior, distal 600g 600g 600g
8 600g, 400g posterior, proximal 600g 600g 600g

 

Figure 25: Illustration of load placement

Key Findings:

  1. The WRT group was found to be more effective (P< 0.05) in reducing 10- and 20-m sprint times for the entire pre-post training cycle than the unloaded CON (ES: -1.06 to -0.96) (60.0% – 66.7% vs. 18.8% – 37.5% > SWC)
  2. No differences between groups for RSA either within groups or between groups for any training block comparison
  3. Both WRT and CON groups improved SLJ performance after the 8-week block (ES = 0.85 and 0.93) (86.7% – 62.5% > SWC), yet no difference in magnitude change were identified over any training blocks

 

Practical Applications:

  1. Wearable resistance can be used to improve 10m and 20m sprint performance as a part of a warm-up rather than a dedicated sprinting session
  2. Calf loaded WR protocol above provides a movement-specific training stimulus that positively influences sprint ability
  3. In terms of anaerobic adaptations, the accumulated load over 8 weeks of warming up with WR limb loads may be insufficient with resistance less than 600g

WR, when worn during a horizontal ground-based warm-up over 8 weeks, enhances an athletes ability to apply force horizontally, but does not improve vertical jump performance (CMJ)

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