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

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


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.

Keywords: Football; Inertial devices; Neuromuscular training; Power.

Grant support

This study was supported by an NPRP grant # NPRP 6-1526-3-363 from the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of the Qatar Foundation). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.