Objective Measures of Strain and Subjective Muscle Soreness Differ Between Positional Groups and Season Phases in American College Football

Publication Name

International journal of sports physiology and performance


PURPOSE: To assess objective strain and subjective muscle soreness in "Bigs" (offensive and defensive line), "Combos" (tight ends, quarterbacks, line backers, and running backs), and "Skills" (wide receivers and defensive backs) in American college football players during off-season, fall camp, and in-season phases. METHODS: Twenty-three male players were assessed once weekly (3-wk off-season, 4-wk fall camp, and 3-wk in-season) for hydroperoxides (free oxygen radical test [FORT]), antioxidant capacity (free oxygen radical defense test [FORD]), oxidative stress index (OSI), countermovement-jump flight time, Reactive Strength Index (RSI) modified, and subjective soreness. Linear mixed models analyzed the effect of a 2-within-subject-SD change between predictor and dependent variables. RESULTS: Compared to fall camp and in-season phases, off-season FORT (P ≤ .001 and <.001), FORD (P ≤ .001 and <.001), OSI (P ≤ .001 and <.001), flight time (P ≤ .001 and <.001), RSI modified (P ≤ .001 and <.001), and soreness (P ≤ .001 and <.001) were higher for "Bigs," whereas FORT (P ≤ .001 and <.001) and OSI (P = .02 and <.001) were lower for "Combos." FORT was higher for "Bigs" compared to "Combos" in all phases (P ≤ .001, .02, and .01). FORD was higher for "Skills" compared with "Bigs" in off-season (P = .02) and "Combos" in-season (P = .01). OSI was higher for "Bigs" compared with "Combos" (P ≤ .001) and "Skills" (P = .01) during off-season and to "Combos" in-season (P ≤ .001). Flight time was higher for "Skills" in fall camp compared with "Bigs" (P = .04) and to "Combos" in-season (P = .01). RSI modified was higher for "Skills" during off-season compared with "Bigs" (P = .02) and "Combos" during fall camp (P = .03), and in-season (P = .03). CONCLUSION: Off-season American college football training resulted in higher objective strain and subjective muscle soreness in "Bigs" compared with fall camp and during in-season compared with "Combos" and "Skills" players.

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