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Medicina dello Sport 2019 December;72(4):477-87

DOI: 10.23736/S0025-7826.19.03589-0


language: English, Italian

Evaluation of the effects of respiratory training on functional aerobic capacity in young soccer players

Gian P. GANZIT 1, Fiammetta SCARZELLA 1, Marco CRAVERO 1, Claudia TAROZZO 1, Luca BERATTO 2

1 Institute of Sports Medicine affiliated to the Italian Federation of Sports Medicine (FMSI), Turin, Italy; 2 School of Exercise and Sport Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy


BACKGROUND: The respiratory system is a significant variable in aerobic intensive exercises. Perceived effort sensation and respiratory muscle fatigue can limit the athlete’s performance. In recent years, several studies investigated the influence of respiratory muscle training during repetitive sprint sports like soccer. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of specific respiratory muscle training (RMT) with voluntary isocapnic hyperpnea (VIH) training using SpiroTiger on aerobic performance, fatigue and body composition in soccer players.
METHODS: Fourteen youth elite soccer players (mean age 18,5 years) participated in this study. Participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental (VIH) or control group. The VIH group performed 16 sessions of a 15-minute respiratory muscle training with SpiroTiger 2-3 times a week. The control group performed 16 sessions of 5 minutes at 65% of the maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) 2-3 times a week. All participants were evaluated by functional tests: body composition with impedance analysis, resting spirometry and cardiopulmonary exercise test on treadmill (heart rate evaluation, pulmonary ventilation, oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production with metabolimeter). Functional tests were performed at the beginning and at the end of the study.
RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in anthropometric measures or in body composition between the experimental and control group. In the VIH group there was a statistically significant improvement of the MVV (from 148 to 167 L/min), vital capacity (from 5.06 to 5.25 L) and peak expiratory flow (from 7.2 to 8.3 L/s). Furthermore, the running time before exhaustion increased during maximal stress test (from 55 to 77 s). There were no statistically significant differences in cardio-circulatory, respiratory and metabolic parameters during sub-maximal load test. At maximal load the pulmonary ventilation has been statistically increased (from 130 to 139 l/min) whereas the maximum oxygen consumption and the respiratory equivalent increased without reaching statistical significance. The value of the oxygen respiratory equivalent was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the experimental group than in the control group. Blood lactate concentration after VIH was higher (P<0.05 from 8.2 to 9.3 mmol/L) at exhaustive load.
CONCLUSIONS: According to previous studies isocapnic hyperpnea training doesn’t change the gas exchange mechanism. Spirometry values increased thanks to an improvement in diaphragm and rib cage mobility for increased respiratory muscle strength, as required by SpiroTiger exercises. Elevated ventilation training improves resistance of fatigue during maximal exercises and increases the performance in youth soccer players.

KEY WORDS: Breathing exercises; Soccer; Athletic performance

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