Testing aerobic endurance in football

Before we start to describe tests that assess aerobic endurance, we would like elaborate on the term with regard to a football context.


Performance in football dependents heavily on the aerobic endurance (or aerobic system) of players (1) - see references below. Individuals operate on average at about 70% of their maximum oxygen uptake, at about 80-90% of maximum heart rate (2), with blood lactate of 2-10 mmol/l (3, 4) while they cover approximately 8-12 km distance during a professional football match (5, 6).  Women reveal similar values; however youth players reported lower values, which increased with increasing age.


The importance of the aerobic system was also seen in differences in competitive team ranking, team level and distance covered during a match (7-9).


Generally, aerobic endurance can be tested in a laboratory and/or field-setting.


1) Laboratory measurements

Usually aerobic endurance will be measured on a treadmill (and not necessarily on a bike ergometer, as its football and it involves running and not cycling).

 

Measurements will include spirometry (and therefore measurements involving ventilatory/pulmonary system) and/or lactate in connection with heart rate, distance and running speed on the treadmill.

There are several testing protocols and variables that are assessed in a laboratory settings, however we don’t want to go into detail too much as we believe that most of the coaches/teams will not have access to an exercise physiolgy labs (and probably and exercise physiologist). Additionally, using a laboratory system is time consuming (as you can only test one player at a time), expensive and not the best practical solution (10).

However laboratory measurements might give the most accurate information (and can be seen as gold standard) about a player’s aerobic endurance.

 

 

2) Field measurements

Field measurements can be continuous or intermittent in nature (11). Football specific tests are more or less continuous but interchange in activity so it seems to depend on definition what they are in nature.

  • Continuous tests
  1. Cooper test (12)
  2. Multistage 20-m shuttle run test/Beep test (13, 14)
  3. Universite de Montreal track test (15)
  • Intermittent tests
  1. Loughborough Test (16)
  2. Yo-Yo tests (17-20)
  3. 30-15 Intermittent fitness test (21)
  4. 45-15 test (23)
  • Football specific endurance tests
  1. Bangsbo-test (11)
  2. The Hoff-test - a soccer specific dribbling test (22)

 

As football is more intermittent in nature, we suggest the equivalent tests. However, continuous tests will also provide information about the player’s aerobic endurance due to the fact, that continuous tests were correlated with intermittent test (11, 22).


The field tests can also be used to predict VO2max (13) (the maximal oxygen consumption) and therefore might substitute laboratory measurements (which are considered the gold standard, due to the actual measurement of variables).


However, due to their practicability (and possible limitation in time, money, and manpower anyway), field test might be the preferred choice in testing aerobic endurance.


Depending on purpose of tests and further usage of data (such as training prescription) tests can/should be appropriately.

 

References

 

1. Bangsbo, J., M. Mohr and P. Krustrup. Physical and metabolic demands of training and match-play in the

elite football player. J. Sports. Sci. 24(7): 665-674, 2006.


2. Stolen, T., et al. Physiology of soccer: An update. Sports. Med. 35(6): 501-536, 2005.


3. Bangsbo, J., F. M. Iaia and P. Krustrup. Metabolic responses and fatigue in soccer. Int. J. Sport. Perf.

2(2): 111-127, 2007.


4. Ferrauti, A., et al. Indirekte Kalorimetrie im Fußballspiel. Deutsch. Zeit. Sportmed. 47(5): 142-146, 2006.


5. Burgess, D. J., G. Naughton and K. I. Norton. Profile of movement demands of national football players

in Australia. J. Sci. Med. Sports. 9(4): 334-341, 2006.


6. Baros, R. M., et al. Analysis of the distances covered by first division Brazilian soccer players obtained

with an automatic tracking method. J.  Sports. Sci. Med. 6: 233-242, 2007.


7. Wisløff, U., J. Helgerud and J. Hoff. Strength and endurance of elite soccer players. Med. Sci. Sports.

Exerc. 30(3): 462-467, 1998.


8. Arnason, A., et al. Physical fitness, injuries, and team performance in soccer. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc.

36(2): 278-285, 2004.


9. Kalapotharakos, V. I., G. Ziogas and S. P. Tokmakidis. Seasonal aerobic performance variations in elite

soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 25(6): 1502-1507, 2011.


10. Mirkov, D., et al. Evaluation of the reliability of soccer-specific field tests. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 22(4):

1046-1050, 2008.


11. Bangsbo, J. and F. Lindquist. Comparison of various exercise tests with endurance performance during

soccer in professional players. Int. J. Sports. Med. 13(2): 125-132, 1992.


12. Cooper, K. Cooper aerobics.  1968  [cited 2012 04/02/2012]; Available from: http://www.cooperaerobics.com/About-Cooper/Dr--Kenneth-Cooper.aspx.

 

13. Leger, L. A., et al. The multistage 20 metre shuttle run test for aerobic fitness. J. Sports. Sci. 6(2):

93-101, 1988.


14. Nassis, G. P., et al. Relationship between the 20-m multistage shuttle run test and 2 soccer-specific field

tests for the assessment of aerobic fitness in adult semi-professional soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 24(10): 2693-2697, 2010.

 

15. Leger, L. A. and R. Boucher. An indirect continuous running multistage field test: the Universite de

Montreal track test. Can. J. Appl. Sport. Sc. 5(77-84), 1980.


16. Nicholas, C. W., F. E. Nuttall and C. Williams. The Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test: a field test

that simulates the activity pattern of soccer. J. Sports. Sci. 18(2): 97-104, 2000.


17. Krustrup, P., et al. The yo-yo intermittent recovery test: physiological response, reliability, and validity.

Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 35(4): 697-705, 2003.


18. Krustrup, P., et al. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test is highly reproducible, sensitive, and valid. Med.

Sci. Sports. Exerc. 38(12): 2120, 2005.


19. Krustrup, P., et al. The Yo-Yo IR2 test: physiological response, reliability, and application to elite soccer.

Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 38(9): 1666-1673, 2006.


20. Bangsbo, J., Fitness Training in Football: A scientific approach. 1994, Bagsvaerd: HO+Storm. 1-336.


21. Buchheit, M. The 30-15 intermittent fitness Test: A new intermittent running field test for intermittent

sport players - part 1. Approaches Handball. 87: 27-34, 2005.


22. Hoff, J., et al. Soccer specific aerobic endurance training. Br. J. Sports. Med. 36(3): 218-221, 2002.

 

23. Castagna, C., et al. Validity and reliability of the 45-15 test for aerobic fitness in young soccer players.

Int. J. Sports. Physiol. Perform., 2013

 

References

 

1. Bangsbo, J., M. Mohr and P. Krustrup. Physical and metabolic demands of training and match-play in the

elite football player. J. Sports. Sci. 24(7): 665-674, 2006.


2. Stolen, T., et al. Physiology of soccer: An update. Sports. Med. 35(6): 501-536, 2005.


3. Bangsbo, J., F. M. Iaia and P. Krustrup. Metabolic responses and fatigue in soccer. Int. J. Sport. Perf.

2(2): 111-127, 2007.


4. Ferrauti, A., et al. Indirekte Kalorimetrie im Fußballspiel. Deutsch. Zeit. Sportmed. 47(5): 142-146, 2006.


5. Burgess, D. J., G. Naughton and K. I. Norton. Profile of movement demands of national football players

in Australia. J. Sci. Med. Sports. 9(4): 334-341, 2006.


6. Baros, R. M., et al. Analysis of the distances covered by first division Brazilian soccer players obtained

with an automatic tracking method. J.  Sports. Sci. Med. 6: 233-242, 2007.


7. Wisløff, U., J. Helgerud and J. Hoff. Strength and endurance of elite soccer players. Med. Sci. Sports.

Exerc. 30(3): 462-467, 1998.


8. Arnason, A., et al. Physical fitness, injuries, and team performance in soccer. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc.

36(2): 278-285, 2004.


9. Kalapotharakos, V. I., G. Ziogas and S. P. Tokmakidis. Seasonal aerobic performance variations in elite

soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 25(6): 1502-1507, 2011.


10. Mirkov, D., et al. Evaluation of the reliability of soccer-specific field tests. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 22(4):

1046-1050, 2008.


11. Bangsbo, J. and F. Lindquist. Comparison of various exercise tests with endurance performance during

soccer in professional players. Int. J. Sports. Med. 13(2): 125-132, 1992.


12. Cooper, K. Cooper aerobics.  1968  [cited 2012 04/02/2012]; Available from: http://www.cooperaerobics.com/About-Cooper/Dr--Kenneth-Cooper.aspx.

 

13. Leger, L. A., et al. The multistage 20 metre shuttle run test for aerobic fitness. J. Sports. Sci. 6(2):

93-101, 1988.


14. Nassis, G. P., et al. Relationship between the 20-m multistage shuttle run test and 2 soccer-specific field

tests for the assessment of aerobic fitness in adult semi-professional soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 24(10): 2693-2697, 2010.

 

15. Leger, L. A. and R. Boucher. An indirect continuous running multistage field test: the Universite de

Montreal track test. Can. J. Appl. Sport. Sc. 5(77-84), 1980.


16. Nicholas, C. W., F. E. Nuttall and C. Williams. The Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test: a field test

that simulates the activity pattern of soccer. J. Sports. Sci. 18(2): 97-104, 2000.


17. Krustrup, P., et al. The yo-yo intermittent recovery test: physiological response, reliability, and validity.

Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 35(4): 697-705, 2003.


18. Krustrup, P., et al. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test is highly reproducible, sensitive, and valid. Med.

Sci. Sports. Exerc. 38(12): 2120, 2005.


19. Krustrup, P., et al. The Yo-Yo IR2 test: physiological response, reliability, and application to elite soccer.

Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 38(9): 1666-1673, 2006.


20. Bangsbo, J., Fitness Training in Football: A scientific approach. 1994, Bagsvaerd: HO+Storm. 1-336.


21. Buchheit, M. The 30-15 intermittent fitness Test: A new intermittent running field test for intermittent

sport players - part 1. Approaches Handball. 87: 27-34, 2005.


22. Hoff, J., et al. Soccer specific aerobic endurance training. Br. J. Sports. Med. 36(3): 218-221, 2002.

 

23. Castagna, C., et al. Validity and reliability of the 45-15 test for aerobic fitness in young soccer players.

Int. J. Sports. Physiol. Perform., 2013

 


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