Effects of small-sided games and highintensity interval training on aerobic and repeated sprint performance and peripheral muscle oxygenation changes in elite junior basketball players


The aim of the current study was to compare the effects of 6 weeks of small-sided game (SSG) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on aerobic fitness and muscle oxygenation during a repeated sprint (RS) sequence in elite male junior basketball players. Twenty participants (14.3 ± 0.5 years; 176.8 ± 12.5 cm; 74.5 ± 9.8 kg) performed pre- and post-tests interspersed by 6 weeks of SSG or HIIT training. Testing sessions consisted of the 30-15 intermittent fitness test and an RS sequence (2 bouts of 15 seconds). During RS, muscle oxygenation parameters (tissue saturation index [TSI, %], postsprint muscle reoxygenation rate) were measured using near-infrared spectroscopy. The results showed that both training interventions similarly improved maximal aerobic speed (V IFT , 3.4 and 4.1%, respectively, for HIIT and SSG, P < 0.05) as well as RS ability (smaller percentage decrement by 62.5 and 21.6%, respectively, for HIIT and SSG, P < 0.05). Both training interventions also resulted in a greater $Δ$TSI during the second sprint (47.8-114%, P < 0.05) and significant improvements in postsprint reoxygenation after both sprints (+23.0 to +107.7%). Finally, the variation in muscle reoxygenation after sprint 1 was significantly associated with improvements in aerobic ($Δ$V IFT , r = 0.61, P = 0.008) and anaerobic ($Δ$% Dec during RS, r = 20.487, P = 0.028) performances. The current study has observed that SSG and HIIT resulted in similar improvements in aerobic and anaerobic variables and a better muscle oxygenation capacity during RS. Coaches should be aware that both trainings are applicable methodologies to improve in-season aerobic and anaerobic fitness capacities in junior basketball players.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research