With the exception of football, it may take some convincing of coaches from other sports (e.g., soccer) to prioritize in-season resistance training. While the culture in soccer is progressively embracing the benefits of strength training, there are still many coaches and players who elect not to do it during the competitive season. This may be due to concerns of excess muscle damage/soreness and preferential allocation of training time to technical and tactical abilities, among other reasons. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that in-season strength training can stimulate improvements in performance qualities such as sprinting speed and reactive ability. What remains debated among practitioners is the optimal effective strength training frequency that yields the greatest results with the least expense of time and energy.
A new study published ahead of print in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared the effects of various in-season resistance training frequencies on performance markers in professional indoor soccer players. A total of 35 male players (~23 years of age) were divided into groups that trained once per week (n=12), twice per week (n=12) and once every other week (n=11). The training period took place during the first six weeks of the competitive season. All groups performed the same workout comprised of half squats, leg presses and leg curls. The same sets and reps were performed for each group, though training frequency varied according to grouping. Before and after the 6-week training intervention, jump height, sprinting speed (with varying split times) and repeated sprint ability were assessed.
The results showed that groups who trained once or twice per week each substantially improved jumping height, sprinting speed and repeated sprint performance with effect sizes ranging from small to moderate. The group training only every other week showed no meaningful improvements in any of the performance tests. Comparisons between groups showed the the group training twice per week experienced greater improvements in jump height and 5 meter sprinting speed than the once per week group. The current study showed that training once or twice per week can substantially improve performance variables while training once every other week was only able to maintain them. Thus, coaches should include resistance training sessions at least once per week to potentially improve performance markers.
Paz-Franco, A. et al. Effects of Three Different Resistance Training Frequencies on Jump, Sprint, and Repeated Sprint Ability Performance in Professional Futsal Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Ahead of Print.