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Effects of a six-week period of congested match play on plasma volume variations, hematological parameters, training workload and physical fitness in elite soccer players

Abstract : Objectives: The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of a six-week in-season period of soccer training and games (congested period) on plasma volume variations (PV), hematological parameters, and physical fitness in elite players. In addition, we analyzed relationships between training load, hematological parameters and players’ physical fitness. Methods: Eighteen elite players were evaluated before (T1) and after (T2) a six-week in-season period interspersed with 10 soccer matches. At T1 and T2, players performed the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (YYIR1), the repeated shuttle sprint ability test (RSSA), the countermovement jump test (CMJ), and the squat jump test (SJ). In addition, PV and hematological parameters (erythrocytes [M/mm3], hematocrit [%], hemoglobin [g/dl], mean corpuscular volume [fl], mean corpuscular hemoglobin content [pg], and mean hemoglobin concentration [%]) were assessed. Daily ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were monitored in order to quantify the internal training load. Results: From T1 to T2, significant performance declines were found for the YYIR1 (p<0.001, effect size [ES] = 0.5), RSSA (p<0.01, ES = 0.6) and SJ tests (p< 0.046, ES = 0.7). However, no significant changes were found for the CMJ (p = 0.86, ES = 0.1). Post-exercise, RSSA blood lactate (p<0.012, ES = 0.2) and PV (p<0.01, ES = 0.7) increased significantly from T1 to T2. A significant decrease was found from T1 to T2 for the erythrocyte value (p<0.002, ES = 0.5) and the hemoglobin concentration (p<0.018, ES = 0.8). The hematocrit percentage rate was also significantly lower (p<0.001, ES = 0.6) at T2. The mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin content and the mean hemoglobin content values were not statistically different from T1 to T2. No significant relationships were detected between training load parameters and percentage changes of hematological parameters. However, a significant relationship was observed between training load and changes in RSSA performance (r = -0.60; p<0.003). Conclusions: An intensive period of “congested match play” over 6 weeks significantly compromised players’ physical fitness. These changes were not related to hematological parameters, even though significant alterations were detected for selected measures.
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Karim Saidi, Hassane Zouhal, Fatma Rhibi, Jed M Tijani, Daniel Boullosa, et al.. Effects of a six-week period of congested match play on plasma volume variations, hematological parameters, training workload and physical fitness in elite soccer players. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2019, 14 (7), pp.e0219692. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0219692⟩. ⟨hal-02281451⟩

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