The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a regular pre-season training on the aerobic performance and the blood antioxidant defense capacity in soccer players from the Polish Premier League club (n=19) and IVth League team (n=15). The players participated in an incremental treadmill running exercise to volitional fatigue twice (i.e., at the beginning (Trial A) and the end (Trial B) of the pre-season spring training). In venous blood samples, taken at rest and 3 min post-test, the activities of antioxidant enzymes (SOD, GSH-Px, CAT, GR) and concentrations of non-enzymatic antioxidants (GSH, tocopherols, retinol, uric acid) and malondialdehyde as a lipid peroxidation biomarker were measured. With the aim of between-group comparisons and possible conclusions on training-induced changes in the capacity of the blood antioxidant defense, the POTAX index was calculated as a sum of standardized activities of antioxidant enzymes and concentrations of non-enzymatic antioxidants.
The results of the present study indicate that the players from the Premier League club were characterized by only slightly higher maximal oxygen uptake rates, the differences compared to IVth League team, as assessed in both trials, were statistically insignificant. Participation in the pre-season training resulted in a moderate improvement of aerobic performance, although only a few players were characterized by VO2max comparable to the international-class elite performers. No distinct differences were observed in the level of aerobic performance between higher- and lower-classified players.
Pre-season training led to an improvement in the global blood antioxidant capacity expressed in terms of POTAOX indices, although the changes in the activities and concentrations of individual components of the antioxidant system were less pronounced. Training-induced level of antioxidant conditioning was higher among the Premier League players, which may be related to differences in the training schedule and nutritional preparation of the athletes.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.