Scheduling of eccentric lower limb injury prevention exercises during the soccer micro-cycle: Which day of the week?
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) vs 3 days (MD+3) postmatch. A total of 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 hours prior to match-day (baseline), and every 24 hours up to 120 hours postmatch. 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 vs 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.
Lovell, R., Whalan, M., Marshall, P. W. M., Sampson, J. A., Siegler, J. C. & Buchheit, M. (2018). Scheduling of eccentric lower limb injury prevention exercises during the soccer micro-cycle: Which day of the week?. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28 (10), 2216-2225.