Performance enhancements and muscular adaptations of a 16-week recreational football intervention for untrained women

Jens Bangsbo, Jens Jung Nielsen, Magni Mohr, Morten B. Randers, Birgitte Rejkjær Krustrup, J. Brito, Lars Nybo, Peter Krustrup

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53 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated the performance effects and physiological adaptations over 16 weeks of recreational football training and continuous running for healthy untrained premenopausal women in comparison with an inactive control group [Football group (FG): n=21; running group (RG): n=18; CO: n=14]. Two weekly 1-h training sessions were performed in FG and RG. After 4 and 16 weeks of training VO(2max) was elevated (P<0.05) by 7% and 15%, respectively, in FG, and by 6% and 10%, respectively, in RG. After 16 weeks, Yo-Yo intermittent endurance level 2 performance was 33% and 19% better (P<0.05) for FG and 29% and 21% better (P<0.05) for RG than after 4 and 0 weeks, respectively. Peak sprinting speed was 12% higher (21.0 +/- 0.6 vs 18.8 +/- 0.7 km/h; P<0.05) for FG after the training period, whereas no difference was observed for RG. After 4 weeks citrate synthase (CS) and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (HAD) activity was 9% and 8%, respectively, higher (P<0.05) than before training in FG with no further changes during the last 12 weeks. In RG, CS increased (P<0.05) by 12% after 4 weeks and no significant increase was observed for HAD. In FG, the number of capillaries per fiber was 18% higher (P<0.05) after 16 weeks (2.44 +/- 0.15 vs 2.07 +/- 0.05 cap/fiber), with no significant difference for RG. No differences were observed between 0 and 16 weeks for CO. In conclusion, recreational women's football leads to significant increases in VO(2max), performance and muscular adaptations throughout a 16-week training period. Thus, football can be used as an activity to elevate the physical capacity of untrained women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-30
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2010


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