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Aerobic Fitness Ecological Validity in Elite Soccer Players: A Metabolic Power Approach

Manzi, Vincenzo1; Impellizzeri, Franco2; Castagna, Carlo1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 914–919
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000239
Original Research

Abstract: Manzi, V, Impellizzeri, F, and Castagna, C. Aerobic fitness ecological validity in elite soccer players: a metabolic power approach. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 914–919, 2014—The aim of this study was to examine the association between match metabolic power (MP) categories and aerobic fitness in elite-level male soccer players. Seventeen male professional soccer players were tested for V[Combining Dot Above]O2max, maximal aerobic speed (MAS), V[Combining Dot Above]O2 at ventilatory threshold (V[Combining Dot Above]O2VT and %V[Combining Dot Above]O2VT), and speed at a selected blood lactate concentration (4 mmol·L−1, VL4). Aerobic fitness tests were performed at the end of preseason and after 12 and 24 weeks during the championship. Aerobic fitness and MP variables were considered as mean of all seasonal testing and of 16 Championship home matches for all the calculations, respectively. Results showed that V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (from 0.55 to 0.68), MAS (from 0.52 to 0.72), V[Combining Dot Above]O2VT (from 0.72 to 0.83), %V[Combining Dot Above]O2maxVT (from 0.62 to 0.65), and VL4 (from 0.56 to 0.73) were significantly (p < 0.05 to 0.001) large to very large associated with MP variables. These results provide evidence to the ecological validity of aerobic fitness in male professional soccer. Strength and conditioning professionals should consider aerobic fitness in their training program when dealing with professional male soccer players. The MP method resulted an interesting approach for tracking external load in male professional soccer players.

1Technical Department, Football Training and Biomechanics Laboratory, Italian Football Association (FIGC), Florence, Italy; and

2Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland

Address correspondence to Dr. Carlo Castagna,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.