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J Strength Cond Res. 2007 Aug;21(3):793-800.

Nonfunctional overreaching during off-season training for skill position players in collegiate American football.

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Human Performance Laboratories, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the performance and hormonal responses to a 15-week off-season training program for American football. Nine skill position players from a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I-A football team participated as subjects in this study. Following 4 weeks of weight training (phase I), subjects performed weight training concurrently with high-volume conditioning drills (phase II). Phase III consisted of 15 spring football practice sessions executed over a 30-day period. Performance and hormonal changes were assessed prior to phase I, and following phases I, II, and III. Maximal strength was significantly increased (p < 0.05) for all strength tests during phase I. Squat and power clean values decreased following phase II (p < 0.05), with all values returning to baseline upon completion of phase III. Sprinting speed significantly worsened during phase I (p < 0.05), but then returned to baseline during phase III. Vertical jump and agility improved during phase I (p < 0.05), with vertical jump remaining unchanged for the duration of the study and agility returning to baseline following phase II. Testosterone levels decreased during phase II (p < 0.05) prior to returning to baseline levels during phase III. Cortisol and the testosterone/cortisol ratio remained unchanged during the course of the investigation. Even though overtraining did not occur in the current investigation, a significant maladaptation in performance did occur subsequent to phase II. For this particular athletic population, a strength and conditioning program utilizing a reduced training volume-load may prove more effective for improving performance in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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