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Relationships Between Field Performance Tests in High-Level Soccer Players

Ingebrigtsen, Jørgen1,2; Brochmann, Marit3; Castagna, Carlo4; Bradley, Paul S.5; Ade, Jack6; Krustrup, Peter2,7; Holtermann, Andreas8

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 4 - p 942–949
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182a1f861
Original Research

Abstract: Ingebrigtsen, J, Brochmann, M, Castagna, C, Bradley, PS, Ade, J, Krustrup, P, and Holtermann, A. Relationships between field performance tests in high-level soccer layers. J Strength Cond Res 28(4): 942–949, 2014—To reduce athlete testing time, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test levels 1 (IR1) and 2 (IR2) performances, maximal sprinting speed (10, 20, and 35 m), repeated sprint ability (RSA; 7 × 35 m), and submaximal heart rates (HRs) after 2 and 4 minutes of the Yo-Yo IR tests by testing 57 high-level soccer players. All players played regularly in one of 3 highest levels of Norwegian soccer and were tested during 3 sessions on 3 consecutive days. Large correlations were observed between Yo-Yo IR1 and IR2 test performances (r = 0.753, p ≤ 0.05). Small and moderate correlations were found between 20- and 35-m sprinting speed and Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r = −0.289 and −0.321, respectively, p ≤ 0.05), whereas 35-m sprinting speed correlated moderately to Yo-Yo IR2 performance (r = −0.371, p ≤ 0.05). Repeated sprint ability at 10, 20, and 35 m all showed moderate to large correlations to Yo-Yo IR1 performance (r = −0.337 to −0.573, p ≤ 0.05). Repeated sprint ability at 20 m (r = −0.348, p ≤ 0.05) and 35 m (r = −0.552, p ≤ 0.01) correlated moderately and largely to Yo-Yo IR2 performance. In addition, moderate and large correlations were found between submaximal Yo-Yo IR1 HRs after 2 (r = −0.483, p ≤ 0.01) and 4 minutes (r = −0.655, p ≤ 0.01) and Yo-Yo IR1 performance, and 2 minutes Yo-Yo IR2 HR and Yo-Yo IR2 performance (r = −0.530, p ≤ 0.01). Intraclass correlation measures of submaximal HR after 2 and 4 minutes of Yo-Yo IR1 test and after 2 minutes of the Yo-Yo IR2 were 0.92 (coefficient of variation [CV] = 4.1%, n = 33), 0.93 (CV = 3.8%, n = 33), and 0.72 (CV = 2.9%, n = 10). Adjusted ordinary least square (OLS) regressions revealed associations (p ≤ 0.05) between sprint speed at 20 and 35 m and Yo-Yo IR1 test performance, but only between 35 m and IR2 test performance (p ≤ 0.05). Further, OLS showed that RSA at 35 m was related to both levels of the Yo-Yo IR test (p ≤ 0.01), and that submaximal HRs after 2 and 4 minutes were independently associated with Yo-Yo IR1 and IR2 performances (p ≤ 0.01). In conclusion, Yo-Yo IR1 and 2 test performances, as well as sprint and RSA performances, correlated very largely, and it may therefore be considered using only one of the Yo-Yo tests and a RSA test, in a general soccer-specific field test protocol. The submaximal HR measures during Yo-Yo tests are reproducible and may be used for frequent, time-efficient, and nonexhaustive testing of intermittent exercise capacity of high-level soccer players.

1Department of Sports, Center for Practical Knowledge, University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway;

2Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Center for Team Sport and Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark;

3Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway;

4Football Training and Biomechanics Laboratory, Italian Football Federation (FIGC), Technical Department, Coverciano, Florence, Italy;

5Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, United Kingdom;

6Medical Department, Newcastle United Football Club, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom;

7Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St. Luke's Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom; and

8National Research Center for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark

Address correspondence to Jørgen Ingebrigtsen,

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.