Physical condition in soccer

The efforts made by a soccer player during a match can be analysed as the following:

Anaerobic Aerobic
Alactic Lactic -
Sprints Fast runs Slow runs Walks
10% 20% 40% 30%

Even if the most important game phases are into the 30% of anaerobic way, we can't conclude the aerobic way has a minor importance.

In fact, due to the match time, the aerobic metabolism is important because it regenerates the two others. Further more, the performance of the anaerobic lactic metabolism is closely dependent of the aerobic metabolism (Ref.).

Performance evaluation

The aerobic metabolism is mainly defined by the maximal aerobic power MAP (Ref.). This power can be measured in laboratory with special test protocols. Without laboratory, it is possible to get simply a correct estimation in measuring the running time on 2000 m (Ref.).

The aerobic endurance which is important in long runs, has a low importance in soccer. In fact, its improvement is opposed to speed needs, it is not recommended to develop into the muscles the "slow" fibers instead of the "fast" fibers (Ref.).

Performance improvement

The MAP can be improved from various ways. Generally, the more efficient way consists to run intensively on 2000 m approximately (several times a week). However, in the case of soccer, to develop both the aerobic metabolism and the alactic anaerobic metabolism, it is more efficient to use several runs on 400 m at the condition to separate them with short recoveries (less than one minute) (Ref.).

The aerobic endurance is generally improved with runs on more than 5000 m. In soccer, such runs are not recommended or only at the beginning of the season, to improve the cardiovascular system.

M.B & J.L