Soccer is one of the intermittent sports that require high intensity bouts of exercise, with periods of passive or active recovery and coherent performance in repeated sprints need sufficient recovery between sprints (Nicks et al., 2006; Romer et al., 2002). During the high intensity exercise (sprints etc.), respiratory muscles (RM) are more active than at rest. For this reason RM need significant amounts of metabolic work in order to sustain effective respiration (Sheel, 2002). Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effects of respiratory muscle training (RMT) on pulmonary functions and recovery performance of young soccer players.
Eighteen elite male young soccer players were participated in this study. Their maximum oxygen consumption (Vo2max) on a treadmill, pulmonary function with a spirometer, and recovery performance with a yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 2 were measured and then they were randomly assigned into RMT or control group (CON). In the RMT group participants both continued their regular training and 4 weeks pressure-threshold device (Powerlung® Inc., TX, USA) treatment; on the other hand, CON group only continued their regular training and after 4 weeks of RMT training (composed of 30 sets of inhalation, two times a day, 5 days of the week) completed and subjects were tested again.
Findings of this study indicated that 4 week of RMT treatment significantly improved (% 39) yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 2 performances of the RMT group from pre to post- test measurements when compared to subjects in the control group. However, there were no significant improvements in both RMT and control group’s Vo2max capacity and pulmonary functions (VC, FVC, FEV1.0, and PEF).
The main finding of this study was 4 week of RMT implementation improved the intermittent recovery performance of young soccer players in RMT group when compared to CON group. There were several limitations of this study. Firstly, the lactate levels of the participants were not measured. Instead, the yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 2 was used in order to assess the recovery performance of the participants. A small sample size was used due to the limitation of the instruments. Since, the athletes that evaluated in this study already had high physiological traits, any alterations or improvements in the selected parameters could be attributed to the 4 week of RMT treatment.
Nicks C, Farley R, Fuller D, Morgan D, & Caputo J. (2006). Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 38 (5), 381.
Romer L M, McConnell A K, & Jones D A. (2002). Int J Sports Med, 23(5), 353-360.
Sheel A W(2002). Sports Med, (Auckland, N.Z.), 32(9), 567-581.