Joel L. Prowting1, Nick C. Hodgson1 & Jason A. Campbell1

1University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of a sprinting protocol to consistently generate exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) within an athletic female population by observing how countermovement jump (CMJ) metrics and sprint performance were affected. METHODS: 10 female athletes (Age: 21.7 ± 2.5 years; Weight: 68.54±9.2 kg) performed a repeated sprint protocol consisting of 5 sets of 8 maximal sprints, 20-meters in length, with a 5-meter deceleration zone. Participants then immediately performed three CMJs on a force plate before beginning the next set of sprints. Blood lactate and RPE were assessed immediately following the completion of the sprint protocol. Blood lactate was re-measured 3-minutes post exercise, and RPE was re-measured 30-minutes post exercise. After 24-48 hours, participants returned to have soreness ratings, 3 countermovement jumps and 3 maximal sprints (20m distance, 5-meter deceleration zone) measured to determine if the protocol induced any changes in performance. RESULTS: Both lower and total body soreness scores were significantly greater (p<0.05) during the 24-48h follow up visit as assessed via a 0-10 visual analogue scale. A number of CMJ metrics were significantly lower (p<0.05) when measured during the 24-48h follow up visit, including peak power output (pre: 43.21±7.27 W/kg v post: 40.52 ±4.35 W/kg) and concentric rate of force development (pre: 36.03±16.81 N/s/kg v post: 20.64±13.49 N/s/kg). Average velocity during the 20m sprint was found to be significantly lower (p<0.05) during the 24-48h follow up visit (pre: 4.73±0.23 m/s vs post: 4.59±1.14 m/s). The protocol also induced a high internal physiological load, evidenced by elevated post-exercise lactate levels (pre: 1.51±0.50 vs post: 5.6±2.53). CONCLUSION: A repeated sprint protocol was found to be a valid and reliable way to elicit EIMD, inducing decrements in sprinting and jumping performance persisting for 24-48h. The practical significance is that coaches could use this protocol to evaluate fatigue characteristics for their athletes and use changes in CMJ or sprint metrics to determine an athlete’s readiness for competition. Limitations of this study included the small sample size and the lack of control for external damaging activity (i.e. rugby training).

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