The physical response to a simulated period of soccer-specific fixture congestion
The aim of this study was to assess the physiological, perceptual, and mechanical measures associated with the completion of a simulated period of short-term soccer-specific fixture congestion. Ten male semi-professional soccer players completed three trials of a treadmill-based match simulation, with 48 hours intervening each trial. A repeated measures general linear model identified significantly (P= 0.02) lower knee flexor peak torque (PT) recorded at 300 degs[BULLET OPERATOR]s-1 in the second (141.27 ± 28.51 Nm) and third trials (139.12 ± 26.23 Nm) when compared to the first (154.17 ± 35.25 Nm). Similarly, muscle soreness (MS) and PT data recorded at 60 degs[BULLET OPERATOR]s-1 were significantly (P< 0.05) different in the third trial (MS= 42 ± 25 a.u; PT60= 131.10 ± 35.38 Nm) when compared to the first (MS= 29 ± 29 a.u; PT60= 145.61 ± 42.86 Nm). Significant (P= 0.003) differences were also observed for mean Bicep Femoris electromyography (EMGmean) between the third trial (T0-15= 126.36 ± 15.57 µV; T75-90= 52.18 ± 17.19 µV) and corresponding time points in the first trial (T0-15= 98.20 ± 23.49 µV; T75-90= 99.97 ± 39.81 µV). Cumulative increases in perceived exertion, heart rate, oxygen consumption, blood lactate concentrations, EMGmean, and PlayerLoadTM were recorded across each trial. MS and PT were also significantly different post-trial. There were however no significant main effects or interactions for the salivary Immunoglobulin A, and the medial-lateral PlayerLoadTM metrics. These data suggest a biomechanical and muscular emphasis with residual fatigue, with implications for injury risk and the development of recovery strategies.