European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 111, Issue 12, pp 2987–2995 | Cite as

Maximal voluntary contraction force, SR function and glycogen resynthesis during the first 72 h after a high-level competitive soccer game

  • Peter Krustrup
  • Niels Ørtenblad
  • Joachim Nielsen
  • Lars Nybo
  • Thomas P. Gunnarsson
  • F. Marcello Iaia
  • Klavs Madsen
  • Francis Stephens
  • Paul Greenhaff
  • Jens BangsboEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to examine maximal voluntary knee-extensor contraction force (MVC force), sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) function and muscle glycogen levels in the days after a high-level soccer game when players ingested an optimised diet. Seven high-level male soccer players had a vastus lateralis muscle biopsy and a blood sample collected in a control situation and at 0, 24, 48 and 72 h after a competitive soccer game. MVC force, SR function, muscle glycogen, muscle soreness and plasma myoglobin were measured. MVC force sustained over 1 s was 11 and 10% lower (P < 0.05) after 0 and 24 h, respectively, compared with control. The rate of SR Ca2+ uptake at 800 nM [Ca2+]free was lower (P < 0.05) after 0 h (2.5 μmol Ca2+ g prot−1 min−1) than for all other time points (24 h: 5.1 μmol Ca2+ g prot−1 min−1). However, SR Ca2+ release rate was not affected. Plasma myoglobin was sixfold higher (P < 0.05) immediately after the game, but normalised 24 h after the game. Quadriceps muscle soreness (0–10 VAS-scale) was higher (P < 0.05) after 0 h (3.6), 24 h (1.8), 48 h (1.1) and 72 h (1.4) compared with control (0.1). Muscle glycogen was 57 and 27% lower (P < 0.001) 0 and 24 h after the game compared with control (193 and 328 vs. 449 mmol kg d w−1). In conclusion, maximal voluntary contraction force and SR Ca2+ uptake were impaired and muscle soreness was elevated after a high-level soccer game, with faster recovery of SR function in comparison with MVC force, soreness and muscle glycogen.


Recovery Performance Peak force SR Ca2+ uptake Muscle glycogen Myoglobin Creatine kinase Association football 



The authors would like to acknowledge the players and their elite soccer clubs for the participation. They would also like to thank the Danish Football Association (Dansk Boldspil-Union) for their cooperation. The excellent technical assistance by Jens Jung Nielsen and Christian Hasson is appreciated. Special thanks to the camera crew led by Per Hansen and Christoffer Krustrup. The study was supported by Arla Foods, Team Denmark and The Danish Ministry of Culture (Kulturministeriets Udvalg for Idrætsforskning).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Krustrup
    • 1
  • Niels Ørtenblad
    • 2
  • Joachim Nielsen
    • 2
  • Lars Nybo
    • 1
  • Thomas P. Gunnarsson
    • 1
  • F. Marcello Iaia
    • 1
  • Klavs Madsen
    • 3
  • Francis Stephens
    • 4
  • Paul Greenhaff
    • 4
  • Jens Bangsbo
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Section of Human PhysiologyUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Sport ScienceAarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  4. 4.School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School, Queen’s Medical CentreNottinghamUK
  5. 5.August Krogh Building, Section of Human PhysiologyCopenhagen ØDenmark

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