Accelerometer Load: A New Way to Measure Fatigue During Repeated Sprint Training?

Akenhead, R., Marques, J.B., Paul, D.J.

Purpose: The objective of this study was to determine whether accelerometer load could effectively detect performance decrements during repeated sprints, offering coaches a means to monitor fatigue in team sports training.
Materials and Methods: Nine male semi-professional and amateur soccer players completed 25-meter sprints (2 × 12.5 meters with 180° change of direction) with 20 seconds of passive recovery until a 5% performance decrement in sprint time was reached. Trunk segmental accelerations were measured at the thoracic spine using a triaxial accelerometer worn in a tight-fitting vest.
Results: Sprint time increased by 8.5% (range 5–13%) from the first to the last sprint, while accelerometer load showed a mean decrease of 15% (range 11–23%) over the same period. Least squares linear regression revealed that accelerometer decrement was two to three times greater than sprint performance decrement. Strong within-participant associations were observed between accelerometer load and sprint decrement, with very large to nearly perfect correlations (Pearson’s r = 0.84–0.99, P < 0.03). Conclusion: This study suggests that practitioners could potentially use accelerometer load to monitor fatigue induced by repeated sprinting or high-intensity efforts during team sports training, allowing for the prescription of sprint training relative to individual fatigue profiles.

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