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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY AND BIOMECHANICS 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 April;57(4):345-52

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06130-2

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Neuromuscular demand in a soccer match assessed by a continuous electromyographic recording

Marco MONTINI, Francesco FELICI, Andrea NICOLÒ, Massimo SACCHETTI, Ilenia BAZZUCCHI

Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, Università degli Studi di Roma “Foro Italico”, Rome, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The bulk of research investigating soccer player’s performance has been concentrated on the metabolic demand, while only few studies focused on the neuromuscular activation. The present study aimed at investigating the activation profile of the leg muscles throughout a 90- minute soccer match.
METHODS: Fifteen football players (18.3±0.7 years) performed: 1) an isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) before the game [MVCpre]; 2) a 90-minute soccer match (composed of two 45-minute periods separated by a 15-minute rest); 3) a second MVC after the match [MVCpost]. Electromyographic (EMG) activity of the Vastus Lateralis (VL) muscle of the dominant leg was recorded during the match. The root mean square (RMS) of the EMG signals was normalized for the maximal RMS obtained during the MVCpre (100%RMSmax) and six intensity classes were created in order to represent the %RMS distribution during the match (1st: 0-20%RMSmax; 2nd: 20-40%RMSmax; 3rd: 40-60%RMSmax; 4th: 60-80%RMSmax; 5th: 80-100%RMSmax; 6th: 100-120%RMSmax).
RESULTS: After the 90-minute soccer match, knee extensor MVC failed to show any statistical difference from pre-game values (-4.2%; P>0.05) whilst the neuromuscular activation demonstrated a significant reduction (-26.3%, P<0.01). During the game, the mean total distribution of RMS of the players was: 84.8±7.1% of total time in the 1st class, 8.5±3.9% in the 2nd, 3.6±1.6% in the 3rd, 1.7±1.0% in the 4th, 0.9±0.6% in the 5th and 0.4±0.5% in the 6th class of intensity. There was a significant difference (P<0.05) between the first versus the second half for the classes 1st, 3rd and 4th.
CONCLUSIONS: This represents the first attempt to characterize the neuromuscular activation profile during a 90-minute soccer match. Integrating this approach with more traditional ones may help further our understanding of the physiological demand of competitive soccer.


KEY WORDS: Electromyography - Soccer - Athletic performance

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