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PeerJ. 2019 Aug 13;7:e7466. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7466. eCollection 2019.

The effects of detraining and retraining periods on fat-mass and fat-free mass in elite male soccer players.

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Department of Sport and Informatics, Section of Physical Education and Sport, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain.
Performance Department, FC Basel 1893, Basel, Switzerland.
Football Science Department, Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain.
Sports Science Department, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.
Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain.
The College of Healthcare Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.
Associate Graduate Program in Physical Education UPE/UFPB, João Pessoa, PB, Brazil.
Football Performance & Science Department, Aspire Academy, Doha, Qatar.
Department of Movement, Human and Health Sciences, University of Rome "Foro Italico", Rome, Italy.


The aim of the study was to examine the effects of a detraining period (DTP) (i.e., off-season) with an individually prescribed training program, and a retraining period (RTP) (i.e., pre-season) combining soccer and flywheel-based strength training on fat-free mass (FFM) and fat-mass (FM) in 10 elite professional male soccer players. The present study used a controlled repeated-measures research design to investigate the changes in FFM and FM using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Whole body %FM increased (effect size (ES) = 0.87 ± 0.46) and FFM reduced after DTP (ES = -0.30 ± 0.19), returning to values comparable to the end of the previous season after RTP. At regional levels, arms, legs, and trunk %FM increased (ES = from 0.42 to 1.29) while trunk-FFM was reduced (ES = -0.40 ± 0.26) after DTP, returning to the values observed at the end of the previous season after RTP. Legs-FFM did not change after DTP, with a substantial increase after RTP in comparison with pre-season values (ES = 0.34 ± 0.29 and 0.53 ± 0.36 for the right and left leg, respectively). Despite the small sample size of the present study, the findings indicate that elite soccer players can be allowed 2 weeks of rest during a five-week DTP, since the changes in %FM and FFM were relatively small, and FM and FFM returned to the optimal initial values for competition after the proposed RTP during the pre-season.


Football; Inertial devices; Neuromuscular training; Power

Conflict of interest statement

Luis Suarez-Arrones and Nacho Torreno are employees of FC Basel, Rafael Maldonado is an employee of FC Girondins de Bourdeaux. The authors declare there are no competing interests.

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