Effects of Resisted Sprints with Changes of Direction through Several Relative Loads on Physical Performance in Soccer Players


The physical abilities associated with accelerations, decelerations, and rapid changes of direction (CODs) are considered key components in the match demands of various team-sports (Abdelkrim et al., 2010). A recent systematic review showed that there are approximately 500 to 3000 changes of activity throughout a soccer game or about one every 2 to 4 seconds (Taylor et al., 2017). Therefore, COD ability seems to be of key importance for soccer players. In this regard, the search for training methods able to improve COD ability has increased in recent years. Several training strategies have been used to enhance COD performance (Keiner et al., 2014; Torres-Torrelo et al., 2017). However, there is a lack of information about the influence of resisted COD movements on the ability to change direction rapidly and effectively. One of the critical concerns regarding resisted movements is the relative intensity applied during training sessions. However, no previous research has compared the training effects of resisted COD movements using different magnitudes of external loads in soccer players.


The aim of the study was to examine the effects of performing resisted COD movements under different relative loading conditions on the physical performance of soccer players.


After comparing the effects of three distinct COD training strategies (i.e., without external load, using a weighted vest with 12.5% body mass [BM], and using a weighted vest with 50% BM) on linear and COD sprint performance and vertical jumping height, the authors observed that:

  1. The three training groups presented meaningful improvements in vertical jumping ability and 10-m sprint performance.
  2. Only the group that trained with 12.5% BM exhibited meaningful increases in 20- and 30-m linear sprint and COD capacities.
  3. A greater improvement in COD ability was noticed in the 12.5% BM group when compared to the other training groups.


The results revealed that resisted COD training, especially when performed with light to moderate range loads (12.5% BM), may meaningfully improve COD speed, linear sprint, and jump performance in soccer players.


  • COD training with light to moderate overloads can be easily implemented in different periods of the season due to its practical and time-saving characteristics.
  • This strategy can be performed, for example, as a warm-up strategy, with low volume, immediately before the soccer-specific training sessions.
  • As the resisted COD training improved distinct aspects of neuromuscular performance (e.g., vertical jump, linear and COD velocities), this method can also be employed as a complement to regular strength-power training practices, mainly during congested fixture periods (which is commonplace in elite soccer).

Abdelkrim, N. B., Castagna, C., Jabri, I., Battikh, T., El Fazaa, S., & El Ati, J. (2010). Activity profile and physiological requirements of junior elite basketball players in relation to aerobic-anaerobic fitness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(9), 2330-2342.

Keiner, M., Sander, A., Wirth, K., & Schmidtbleicher, D. (2014). Long-term strength training effects on change-of-direction sprint performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28(1), 223-231.

Taylor, J. B., Wright, A. A., Dischiavi, S. L., Townsend, M. A., & Marmon, A. R. (2017). Activity demands during multi-directional team sports: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 47(12), 2533-2551.

Torres-Torrelo, J., Rodríguez-Rosell, D., & González-Badillo, J. J. (2017). Light-load maximal lifting velocity full squat training program improves important physical and skill characteristics in futsal players. Journal of sports sciences, 35(10), 967-975.