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Influence of prolonged intermittent high-intensity exercise on knee flexor strength in male and female soccer players

By Tom Mercer, Nigel Gleeson and Karen Wren


This study investigated the effect of an acute, prolonged, intermittent, high-intensity single-leg pedalling exercise task (PIHIET) on the isokinetic leg strength of the knee flexors in six male and seven female collegiate soccer players. Following determination of single-leg V˙O2peak, subjects completed a PIHIET designed to simulate the energetics of soccer match play (~90 min in total; ~70% single-leg V˙O2peak). Pre-, mid- and post-PIHIET gravity-corrected indices of knee flexion peak torque (PT) and range of motion-relativised torque at 15% of knee flexion (RRT15%; 0% = full knee extension) were assessed at a lever-arm angular velocity of 1.05 rad·s−1 for intervention and control limbs using an isokinetic dynamometer. Repeated measures ANOVAs revealed significant condition (PIHIET, control) × time (pre-, mid-, post-PIHIET) interactions for knee flexion PT (F [2,22]=26.2; P<0.001) and RRT15% (F [2,22]=20.1; P<0.001). Flexion PT and RRT15% were observed to decrease, pre- to post-intervention, from 92.8 (28.7) N·m to 72.1 (28.0) N·m and from 63.8 (17.5) N·m to 47.9 (18.4) N·m respectively, for the intervention limb alone. These data corresponded to 22.3% and 24.9% mean reductions pre–post intervention in PT and RRT15%. Exploratory post hoc analysis of the pattern of the relative deterioration (%) of PT and RRT15%, for the intervention limb alone, revealed a three-way interaction [group (male, female) x parameter (PT, RRT15%) x assessment phase (pre- to mid-PIHIET, mid- to post-PIHIET)] (F 1,11=5.2; P<0.05). This interaction characterised a greater deterioration of strength performance during the mid- to post-PIHIET assessment phase, at the extremes of range of motion (RRT15%) for the female group. The greater percentage of mid–post phase strength loss observed in women near the end-range extension may potentially be implicated in the higher incidence of knee injury reported in female soccer players

Publisher: Springer Verlag
Year: 2003
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