The effect of recreational soccer training and running on postural balance in untrained men

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Mar;111(3):521-30. doi: 10.1007/s00421-010-1669-2. Epub 2010 Oct 6.


The aim of this study was to examine the effect of intense intermittent exercise performed as soccer training or interval running in comparison with continuous endurance running exercise on postural balance in young healthy untrained males. Young sedentary men were randomized to soccer training (SOC, n = 10), continuous running (RUN; n = 9), high-intensity interval running (INT; n = 7) or no training (CON; n = 9). Postural balance was evaluated pre and post 12 weeks of training using a 30-s single-leg stance test on a force plate (AMTI) to yield center of pressure (CoP) sway path and 1-min beam standing (Flamingo test). CoP sway length decreased by 18.2% (p < 0.01), 14.6% (p < 0.05) and 12.8% (p < 0.05) in SOC, INT and RUN, respectively. CoP sway area decreased in SOC (-30.2%; p < 0.01) and INT (-23.4%; p < 0.01) but remained unaffected in RUN. Acceleration parameters (Mean CoP acc, SD accX, SD accY) decreased in SOC only (17-19%, p < 0.05). All training groups demonstrated fewer falls (37-41%, p < 0.01) in the Flamingo test. No changes were observed in CON. Relationships (r > 0.40) were observed between pre-training values in CoP sway area versus muscle fiber area, explosive muscle strength and countermovement jump velocity. Postural control was improved in response to 12 weeks of soccer training and high-intensity interval running, respectively, while less-marked changes were observed following continuous running. Notably, the reduced variability in CoP acceleration after soccer training indicates that this training regimen may produce superior improvements in postural sensory-motor function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Movement / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Recreation / physiology
  • Running / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Young Adult