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Velocity at Lactate Threshold and Running Economy Must Also be Considered Along With Maximal Oxygen Uptake When Testing Elite Soccer Players During Preseason

Ziogas, Giorgos G1; Patras, Kostas N1; Stergiou, Nicholas1,2,3; Georgoulis, Anastasios D1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: February 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - pp 414-419
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181bac3b9
Original Research

Ziogas, GG, Patras, KN, Stergiou, N, and Georgoulis, AD. Velocity at lactate threshold and running economy must also be considered along with maximal oxygen uptake when testing elite soccer players during preseason. J Strength Cond Res 25(2): 414-419, 2011-Maximal oxygen uptake (V̇o2max) has been traditionally used to explain physiologic differences among soccer teams of different ranking. However, other endurance markers may have greater discriminatory ability. The purpose of this study was to examine whether velocity at lactate threshold and running economy can be used to better discriminate endurance characteristics of soccer teams of different levels along with V̇o2max during preseason testing. One hundred twenty-nine professional Greek soccer players participating in the top 3 divisions underwent an incremental treadmill test to exhaustion using expired gas analysis and simultaneous blood lactate measurements. Velocity at lactate threshold was determined using the Dmax method, and running economy was measured at 12 km·h−1. Analyses of variation were used to compare for differences between divisions. Velocity at lactate threshold was the only variable that was statistically different between any 2 divisions. In every comparison, the higher division had the higher velocity at lactate threshold. The V̇o2max was statistically different only between the top 2 divisions. Running economy was statistically different between divisions with similar V̇o2max, with better running economy for the higher division in each comparison. These results indicate that velocity at lactate threshold can be used to better discriminate endurance characteristics of soccer teams of different level along with V̇o2max during preseason testing. Running economy may reveal differences between teams with similar V̇o2max.

1Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Center, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece; 2Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska; and 3Department of Environmental, Agricultural and Occupational Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska

Address correspondence to: Anastasios D. Georgoulis, georgoulis@osmci.gr.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association