Int J Sports Med 2017; 38(1): 1-11
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-111439
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Variation in Responses to Sprint Training in Male Youth Athletes: A Meta-analysis

J. Moran1, G. Sandercock1, M. C. Rumpf2, 3, D. A. Parry1
  • 1Centre for Sports and Exercise Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • 2National Sports Medicine Program, Excellence in Football, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar
  • 3Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 20 June 2016

Publication Date:
28 October 2016 (eFirst)


The trainability of youths and the existence of periods of accelerated adaptation to training have become key subjects of debate in exercise science. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to characterise youth athletes’ adaptability to sprint training across PRE-, MID-, and POST-peak height velocity (PHV) groups. Effect sizes were calculated as a measure of straight-line sprinting performance with studies qualifying based on the following criteria: (a) healthy male athletes who were engaged in organised sports; (b) groups of participants with a mean age between 10 and 18 years; (c) sprint training intervention duration between 4 and 16 weeks. Standardised mean differences showed sprint training to be moderately effective (Effect size=1.01, 95% confidence interval: 0.43–1.59) with adaptive responses being of large and moderate magnitude in the POST- (ES=1.39; 0.32–2.46) and MID- (ES=1.15; 0.40–1.9) PHV groups respectively. A negative effect size was found in the PRE group (ES=–0.18; –1.35–0.99). Youth training practitioners should prescribe sprint training modalities based on biological maturation status. Twice weekly training sessions should comprise up to 16 sprints of around 20 m with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:25 or greater than 90 s.