Effects and Sustainability of a 13-Day High-Intensity Shock Microcycle in Soccer

Wahl P., Güldner M., Mester J.

The preseason in soccer is a short period of 6-8 weeks where conditional abilities, technical, and tactical elements need to be trained. Therefore, time is lacking to perform long-term preparation periods for different abilities, especially endurance training.

There is evidence that the implementation of high-intensity shock microcycles in preseason training could be one way to improve physical performance in a short period of time. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to examine the effects and the sustainability of a high-intensity shock microcycle on soccer-specific performance.

Over 2 weeks, 12 male soccer players (26.1 ± 4.5 years) performed 12 high-intensity training (HIT) sessions in addition to their usual training. Before (pre), 6 days (6d), and 25 days (25d) after training, subjects performed Counter Movement Jump (CMJ), Repeated-Sprint Ability (RSA) test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 (YYIR2).

Mean sprint time (RSAMean) (Cohen’s d = -1.15), percentage decrement score (RSAIndex) (Cohen’s d = -1.99), and YYIR2 (Cohen’s d = +1.92) improved significantly from pre to 6d. 25d after, values showed a significant reduction for YYIR2 (Cohen’s d = -0.81) and small to moderate but not significant increase for RSAMean (Cohen’s d = +0.37) and RSAIndex (Cohen’s d = +0.7) compared to 6d values. Small but not significant increases were found for CMJ (Cohen’s d = +0.33), and no significant and substantial changes were found for RSABest (Cohen’s d = -0.07) from pre to 6d.

For competitive soccer players, block periodization of HIT offers a promising way to largely improve RSA and YYIR2 in a short period of time. Despite moderate to large decreases in RSAIndex and YYIR2 performance in the 19-day period without HIT, values still remained significantly higher 25d after the last HIT session compared to pre-values.

However, it might be necessary to include isolated high-intensity sessions after a HIT training block in order to maintain the higher level of YYIR2 and RSAIndex performance.

View this research