Listed in Issue 255


PELKA and COLLEAGUES, 1. a Faculty of Sport Science, Unit of Sport Psychology , Ruhr University Bochum , Bochum , Germany; 2. b Faculty of Sport Science, Unit of Training and Exercise Science , Ruhr University Bochum , Bochum , Germany; 3. c Institute of Sports and Preventive Medicine , Saarland University , Saarbrücken , Germany; 4. d Institute of Sports Science , Johannes-Gutenberg University , Mainz , Germany; 5. e School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences , The University of Queensland , Brisbane , Australia conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing mechanisms of relaxation techniques in sports upon performance results.


The concept of recovery strategies includes various ways to achieve a state of well-being, prevent under recovery syndromes from occurring and re-establish pre-performance states. A systematic application of individualised relaxation techniques is one of those.


Following a counterbalanced cross-over design, 27 sport science students (age 25.22 ± 1.08 years; sports participation 8.08 ± 3.92 h/week) were randomly assigned to series of progressive muscle relaxation, systematic breathing, power nap, yoga, and a control condition. Once a week, over the course of five weeks, their repeated sprint ability was tested. Tests (6 sprints of 4 s each with 20 s breaks between them) were executed on a non-motorised treadmill twice during that day intermitted by 25 min breaks.


RM-ANOVA revealed significant interaction effects between the relaxation conditions and the two sprint sessions with regard to average maximum speed over all six sprints, F(4,96) = 4.06, P = 0.004, [Formula: see text] = 0.15. Post-hoc tests indicated that after systematic breathing interventions, F(1,24) = 5.02, P = 0.033, [Formula: see text] = 0.18, participants performed significantly better compared to control sessions.


As the focus of this study relied on basic mechanisms of relaxation techniques in sports, this randomized controlled trial provides us with distinct knowledge on their effects, i.e., systematic breathing led to better performances, and therefore, seems to be a suited relaxation method during high-intensity training.


Pelka M1, Kölling S1, Ferrauti A2, Meyer T3, Pfeiffer M4, Kellmann M1,5. Acute effects of psychological relaxation techniques between two physical tasks. J Sports Sci.35(3):216-223. Feb 2017. Epub Mar 21 2016.

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