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The Effects of Repeated-Sprint Training on Field-Based Fitness Measures: A Meta-Analysis of Controlled and Non-Controlled Trials

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Iain SpearsORCiD


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© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.Background: Repeated-sprint training appears to be an efficient and practical means for the simultaneous development of different components of fitness relevant to team sports. Objective: Our objective was to systematically review the literature and meta-analyse the effect of repeated-sprint training on a selection of field-based measures of athletic performance, i.e. counter-movement jump, 10 m sprint, 20 m sprint, 30 m sprint, repeated-sprint ability and high-intensity intermittent running performance. Data Sources: The SPORTDiscus, PubMed, MEDLINE and Web of Science databases were searched for original research articles. Search terms included ‘repeated-sprint training’, ‘sprint training’, ‘aerobic endurance’, ‘repeated-sprint ability’, ‘counter-movement jump’ and ‘sprint performance’. Study Selection: Inclusion criteria included intervention consisting of a series of ≤10 s sprints with ≤60 s recovery; trained participants; intervention duration of 2–12 weeks; field-based fitness measures; running- or cycling-based intervention; published up to, and including, February 2014. Data Extraction: Our final dataset included six trials for counter-movement jump (two controlled trials), eight trials for 10 m sprint, four trials for 20 m sprint (three controlled trials), two trials for 30 m sprint, eight trials for repeated-sprint ability and three trials for high-intensity intermittent running performance. Analyses were conducted using comprehensive meta-analysis software. Uncertainty in the meta-analysed effect of repeated-sprint training was expressed as 95 % confidence limits (CL), along with the probability that the true value of the effect was trivial, beneficial or harmful. Magnitude-based inferences were based on standardised thresholds for small, moderate and large changes of 0.2, 0.6 and 1.2 standard deviations, respectively. Results: Repeated-sprint training had a likely small beneficial effect in non-controlled counter-movement jump trials (effect size 0.33; 95 % CL ±0.30), with a possibly moderate beneficial effect in controlled trials (0.63; 95 % CL ±0.44). There was a very likely small beneficial effect on 10 m sprint time in non-controlled trials (−0.42; 95 % CL ±0.24), with a possibly moderate beneficial effect on 20 m sprint time in non-controlled (−0.49; 95 % CL ±0.46) and controlled (−0.65; 95 % CL ±0.61) trials. Repeated-sprint training had a possibly large beneficial effect on 30 m sprint performance in non-controlled trials (−1.01; 95 % CL ±0.93), with possibly moderate beneficial effects on repeated-sprint ability (−0.62; 95 % CL ±0.25) and high-intensity intermittent running performance (−0.61; 95 % CL ±0.54). Conclusions: Repeated-sprint training can induce small to large improvements in power, speed, repeated-sprint ability and endurance, and may have relevance for training in team sports.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taylor J, Macpherson T, Spears I, Weston M

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sports Medicine

Year: 2015

Volume: 45

Issue: 6

Pages: 881-891

Print publication date: 01/06/2015

Online publication date: 20/03/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 0112-1642

ISSN (electronic): 1179-2035

Publisher: Springer International Publishing


DOI: 10.1007/s40279-015-0324-9

PubMed id: 25790793