The effects of fatigue on the running profile of elite team sport athletes. A systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION:With the underlying mechanisms of fatigue shown to be task-specific, gaining an understanding of changes within the running profile due to fatigue may provide a greater task-specific method for monitoring neuromuscular fatigue (NMF) in elite team sport athletes. This review aimed to identify, review and summarize the literature to understand the effects of fatigue on the running profile of elite team sport athletes. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION:MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, EMBASE and CINAHL were searched. To manage heterogeneity in athlete characteristics and sport demands, studies were limited to elite male field/court team sports, in which changes in running, gait or stride characteristics were assessed. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS:Thirteen studies were included in the analysis with changes in sprint time, kinematic variables; contact time, center of mass vertical displacement and vertical stiffness, GPS accelerometer vector variables; z and y, and mechanical parameters; velocity and V0, all shown to be sensitive measures of fatigue. Due to having at least three sets of data points, meta-analysis was run for sprint time, with results showing a significant increase immediately postexercise (effect size [ES]±95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.67±1.61, P=0.04), but no change 24 hours postexercise (ES±95% CI; 0.93±3.21, P=0.57). CONCLUSIONS:The findings indicate that fatigue has a negative impact on the running profile in elite team sport athletes, offering an alternative task-specific measure of monitoring NMF in this population. However, due to large discrepancies in protocols, future research is required to allow greater uniformity in variables and methods.

publication date

  • 2019