In-season internal and external workload variations between starters and non-starters—a case study of a top elite european soccer team

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Background and Objectives: Interpretation of the load variations across a period seems important to control the weekly progression or variation of the load, or to identify in-micro-and mesocycle variations. Thus, the aims of this study were twofold: (a) to describe the in-season variations of training monotony, training strain and acute:chronic workload ratio (ACWR) through session ratings of perceived exertion (s-RPE), total distance and high-speed running (HSR); and (b) to compare those variations between starters and non-starters. Materials and Methods: Seventeen professional players from a European First League team participated in this study. They were divided in two groups: starters (n = 9) and non-starters (n = 8). The players were monitored daily over a 41-week period of competition where 52 matches occurred during the 2015–2016 in-season. Through the collection of s-RPE, total distance and HSR, training monotony, training strain and ACWR were calculated for each measure, respectively. Data were analyzed across ten mesocycles (M: 1 to 10). Repeated measures ANOVA was used with the Bonferroni post hoc test to compare M and player status. Results: The results revealed no differences between starters vs. non-starters (p > 0.05). M6 had a greater number of matches and displayed higher values for monotony (s-RPE, total distance and HSR), strain (only for total distance) and ACWR (s-RPE, TD and HSR). However, the variation patterns for all indexes displayed some differences. Conclusions: The values of both starters and non-starters showed small differences, thus suggesting that the adjustments of training workloads that had been applied over the season helped to reduce differences according to the player status. Even so, there were some variations over the season (microcycles and mesocycles) for the whole team. This study could be used as a reference for future coaches, staff and scientists.



Acute/chronic workload ratio, High-speed running, In-season, Non-starters, RPE, Soccer, Starters, Training monotony, Training strain

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Medicina (Lithuania), v. 57, n. 7, 2021.