Resistance training status and effectiveness of low frequency resistance training on upper-body strength and power in highly trained soccer players

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Soccer is classified as a contact/collision sport with many player-to-player duels. Winning these duels, shielding the ball or fending off an opponent requires upper-body strength and power. Therefore this study aimed, a) to examine the time-related effect of an upper-body RT on maximal strength and power changes in highly trained soccer players, b) to investigate if the resistance-training (RT) status influences these changes throughout a competitive season. Twenty-eight soccer players participated in this study and were divided into an untrained (UG) and a trained (TG) group, according to their RT status. Both groups performed the same upper-body RT once a week, over 30 weeks. Maximal strength (1RM) and maximal power (MP) were assessed before, during and after the competitive season. Both groups significantly improved 1RM and MP over the entire competitive season, with a moderate (TG, 13%) to very large (UG, 21%) magnitude in 1RM and with a small (TG, 8%) to moderate (UG, 13%) magnitude in MP. After the initial 10 weeks of RT, UG presented significant and slightly (1RM) to moderately (MP) greater improvements than TG. For all other time intervals, the between-groups changes in 1RM were rated as similar. For the last 20 weeks of the RT, the change in MP was significantly lower for UG compared to TG. One upper-body RT-session per week will provide sufficient stimulus to enable an almost certain improvement in strength and power throughout a competitive season for all players disregarding their initial RT status.

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