This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the association between hamstring muscle peak torque and rapid force capacity (rate of torque development: RTD) versus sprint performance in elite youth football players.
Thirty elite academy youth football players (16.75 ± 1.1 years, 176.9 ± 6.7 cm, 67.1 ± 6.9 kg) were included. Isometric peak torque (Nm/kg) and early (0-100 ms) and late (0-200 ms) phase RTD (RTD100, RTD200) (Nm/s/kg) of the hamstring muscles were obtained as independent predictor variables. Sprint performance was assessed during a 30-m sprint trial. Mechanical sprint variables (maximal horizontal force production (FH0) (N/kg); maximal theoretical velocity (V0) (m/s); maximal horizontal power output (Pmax) (W/kg)) and sprint split times (0-5 m; 0-15 m; 0-30 m; 15-30 m) (s) were derived as dependent variables. Subsequently, linear regression analysis was conducted for each pair of dependent and independent variables.
Positive associations were observed between hamstring RTD100 and FH0 (r2=0.241, p=0.006) and Pmax (r2=0.227, p=0.008). Furthermore, negative associations were observed between hamstring RTD100 and 0-5 m (r2=0.206, p=0.012), 0-15 m (r2=0.217, p=0.009) and 0-30 m sprint time (r2=0.169, p=0.024). No other associations were observed.
The present data indicate that early-phase (0-100 ms) rapid force capacity of the hamstring muscles plays an important role for the acceleration capacity in elite youth football players. In contrast, no associations were observed between hamstring muscle function and maximal sprint velocity.
Strength training focusing on improving early-phase hamstring rate of force development may contribute to enhance sprint acceleration performance in this athlete population.
Lassee Ishol, Per Aagaard, Mathias F. Nielsen, Kasper B. Thorton. 2018. The Influence of Hamstring Muscle Peak Torque and Rate Of Torque Development for Sprinting Performance in Football Players: A Cross-Sectional Study. Human Kinetics, Volume:0 Issue: 0 Pages:1-27 doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2018-0464