The cardiac parasympathetic reactivation is currently used in soccer with a daily or weekly monitoring. However, previous studies have not investigated how this cardiac parasympathetic reactivation is in elite soccer players along different types of traditional high-intensity training exercise and specific tests. In this context, the present study aim to analyse it and to determine the interests and limits of this type of physiological information.
The present study aims to examine how different traditional training exercise modes affect the cardiac parasympathetic reactivation function in elite soccer players.
Materials and Methods:
Twenty-two international soccer players participating in UEFA Champion’s League took part in this study (age: 24.3 ± 4.2 years; height: 178.1 ± 6.2 cm; body mass: 80.3 ± 5.7 kg). Players performed different training methods including: short-duration intermittent exercises (INT) in-line and with changes of direction (COD) (10 - 10 seconds, 15 - 15 seconds, 30 - 30 seconds, e.g. an alternance of 10 - 10 seconds is 10 seconds of running according to the maximal aerobic speed (MAS) and 10-sec of recovery), INT including agility and technical skills (8 - 24-seconds), small-sided-games (SSGs) with and without goalkeepers (2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, 4 vs. 4), and repeated sprint ability (RSA) efforts (10 × 20 m, 10 × 30 m, 15 × 20 m). Heart rate (HR) decline was recorded 3 minutes after each exercise.
HR declines were greater after the RSA compared to SSGs (P < 0.001) and INT (P < 0.01), especially at 1 min post-exercise. In addition, when the analysis focused on each type of exercise, greater HR declines were observed in on-field players at 1 minute when there was: inclusion of goalkeepers in SSGs (for 2 vs. 2 and 3 vs. 3, P < 0.01); increase of sprint distances or number of sprint repetitions in RSA (P < 0.01); increase of intensity (% of maximal aerobic speed), and the use of COD or inclusion of technical skills during INT, especially for the 30 - 30-seconds.
This study revealed that cardiac parasympathetic reactivation function varied after INT, RSA and SSG, but also according to the rules manipulation. Therefore, this study provides interesting information for the training monitoring and players’ recovery profile, with the aim of facilitating a more efficient planning and manipulation of training recovery strategies according to their fitness markers.