Muscle temperature and sprint performance during soccer matches – beneficial effect of re-warm-up at half-time

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The relationship between quadriceps muscle temperature (Tm) and sprint performance was evaluated during soccer matches in 25 competitive players. In one game, Tm was determined frequently (n = 9). In another game, eight players performed low-intensity activities at half-time (re-warm-up, (RW), whereas another eight players recovered passively (CON). Tm was 36.0 ± 0.2 °C at rest and increased (P < 0.05) to 39.4 ± 0.2 °C before the game and remained unaltered during the first half. At half-time, Tm decreased (P < 0.05) to 37.4 ± 0.2 °C, but increased (P < 0.05) to 39.2 ± °C during the second half. In CON and RW, Tm and core temperature (Tc) were similar before and after the first half, but 2.1 ± 0.1 and 0.9 ± 0.1 °C higher (P < 0.05), respectively, in RW prior to the second half. At the onset of the second half, the sprint performance was reduced (P < 0.05) by 2.4% in CON, but unchanged in RW. The decrease in Tm was correlated to the decrease in performance (r = 0.60, P < 0.05, n = 16). This study demonstrates that in soccer, the decline in Tm and Tc during half-time is associated with a lowered sprint capacity at the onset of the second half, whereas sprint performance is maintained when low-intensity activities preserve muscle temperature.

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