International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
Ministry of Science and Technology Higher Education Sprout Project Ministry of Education, Taiwan
The present study aimed to compare changes in muscle damage and performance parameters after playing single versus multiple soccer matches to examine fixture congestion effects on performance. Twelve elite female university soccer players performed single, three and six consecutive 90-min bouts of the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST) with ≥ 12-weeks between conditions in a pseudo-randomized order. Heart rate, blood lactate, rating of perceived exertion and covering distance in each LIST were examined. Changes in several types of muscle damage (e.g., maximal voluntary isometric torque of the knee extensors: MVC-KE) and performance measures (e.g., Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1: YYIR1) were taken before each LIST, 1 h, and 1–5 d after the last LIST. The total distance covered during the LIST was shorter (p < 0.05) in the 2nd–3rd, or 2nd–6th LISTs when compared with the 1st LIST. Changes (p < 0.05) in all measures were observed after the LIST, and the greatest changes were observed after the six than after the three LISTs followed by one LIST (e.g., largest changes in MVC-KE: −26 > −20 > −14%; YYIR1: −31 > −26 > −11%). Many of the variables did not recover to the baseline for 5 d after six LISTs. These suggest that fixture congestion induces greater muscle damage and performance decline than a single match.
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