Scheduling eccentric-based injury prevention programs (IPP) during the common 6-day micro-cycle in Soccer is challenged by recovery and tapering phases.
This study profiled muscle damage, neuromuscular performance, and perceptual responses to a lower-limb eccentric-based IPP administered 1 (MD+1) versus 3 days (MD+3) post-match. 18 semi-professional players were monitored daily during 3 in-season 6-day micro-cycles, including weekly competitive fixtures.
Capillary creatine kinase concentration (CK), posterior lower limb isometric peak force (PF), counter-movement jump (CMJ) performance, and muscle soreness were assessed 24 h prior to match-day (baseline), and every 24 h up to 120 h post-match. The IPP consisted of lunges, single stiff leg dead-lifts, single leg-squats and Nordic hamstring exercises. Performing the IPP on MD+1 attenuated the decline in CK normally observed following match-play (CON: 142%; MD+3: 166%; small differences). When IPP was delivered on MD+3, CK was higher versus CON and MD+1 trials on both MD+4 (MD+3: 260%; CON: 146%; MD+1: 151%; moderate differences) and MD+5 (MD+3: 209%; CON: 125%; MD+1: 127%; small differences).
Soreness ratings were not exacerbated when the IPP was delivered on MD+1, but when prescribed on MD+3, hamstring soreness ratings remained higher on MD+4 and MD+5 (small differences). No between trial differences were observed for PF and CMJ. Administering the IPP in the middle of the micro-cycle (MD+3) increased measures of muscle damage and soreness, which remained elevated on the day prior to the next match (MD+5). Accordingly,
IPP should be scheduled early in the micro-cycle, to avoid compromising preparation for the following match. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.