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Using Heart Rate to Detect High-Intensity Efforts During Professional Soccer Competition

García, Oscar García1; Boubeta, Antonio Rial2; Deus, Eulogio Real2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: August 2012 - Volume 26 - Issue 8 - p 2058–2064
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31823b8739
Original Research

Abstract: García García, O, Rial Boubeta, A, and Real Deus, E. Using heart rate to detect high-intensity efforts during professional soccer competition. J Strength Cond Res 26(8): 2058–2064, 2012—The goal of this article is to detect, describe, and compare 2 heart rate (HR) conditions associated with high-intensity efforts but somewhat different in nature: The first one is indicated by HR values close to the maximum heart reserve (MHRR), and the second is indicated by a marked increase in the HR values (MIHR). It was expected that both conditions were associated with different game situations. A sample of 441 game situations (241 MIHRs and 200 MHRRs), taken from HR records and individual filming of 12 elite soccer players, was assessed along 7 preseason competition matches. The game situations in which each of these 441 HR conditions took place were identified, using a previously established taxonomy of a combination of field formats and category systems in the Match Vision Studio Premium. For the recording of the HR condition, an HRM Polar was attached to the players when in competition, together with a simultaneous filming of their performance during the game. The HRM and video recordings were synchronized beforehand to be able to relate the game situation in the film with HR conditions. The results showed significant differences between both HR conditions for 4 criteria of game situations (Ball in play, Game Center, Role, and Opposition). In all the cases, the MIHR is more associated with active participation of the players in the game, whereas the MHRR is more associated with the end of this participation. Thus, the results suggest that MIHR could be a useful complementary measurement to assess the intensity of physiological load that elite soccer players bear during competition, together with more traditional measurements such as MHRR.

1Faculty of Education and Sport Sciences, University of Vigo, Pontevedra, Spain

2Faculty of Psychology, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Address correspondence to Oscar García García,

© 2012 National Strength and Conditioning Association