Purpose: The aim of this study was to test the effects of high-intensity resistance training (HIRT) intervention on the physical fitness, hormonal and antioxidant factors of adult male soccer players.
Methods: A randomized controlled study design was implemented. Eighteen soccer players (age: 20.3 ± 0.66 years; stature: 174.0 ± 6.01 cm; body mass: 69.1 ± 6.4 kg; body mass index: 22.8 ± 1.6 kg/m2) voluntarily participated in this study. Players were assessed before and after an intervention lasting 8 weeks, with three training sessions a week. Assessments of physical fitness included the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (YYIRT1), 10-, 20-, and 30 m sprint time (ST), running-based anaerobic sprint test (RAST) and change-of-direction time (COD). Hormonal tests included cortisol, testosterone and growth hormone (GH), whereas the antioxidant assessment included superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH).
Results: Between-group analysis revealed no significant differences at baseline, whereas it revealed that HIRT presented significant better results than the control group on YYIRT (p = 0.032), 10 m ST (p = 0.041), 20 m ST (p = 0.040), 30 m ST (p = 0.044), RAST (p = 0.013), and COD (p = 0.031) after the intervention period. The within group analysis revealed that the HIRT group significantly improved the YYIRT1 (p < 0.001), VO2max (p < 0.001), 10 m ST (p < 0.001), 20 m ST (p = 0.006), 30 m ST (p < 0.001), RAST (p < 0.001) and COD (p < 0.001). Moreover, HIRT group significantly reduced the cortisol (p < 0.001) and MDA (p = 0.021), whereas it significantly increased the GH (p < 0.001), testosterone (p < 0.001), SOD (p = 0.009) and GSH (p = 0.005).
Conclusions: The HIRT is effective for improving physical fitness, revealing significant better adaptations than controls. Moreover, hormonal and antioxidant adaptations are also confirmed after HIRT intervention.
Keywords: aerobic fitness; exercise; football; hormones; physical fitness; strength.