Physical Demands During an Elite Female Soccer Game: Importance of Training Status

Krustrup P., Mohr M., Ellingsgaard H., Bangsbo J.

Purpose: To examine the activity profile and physical loading of elite female soccer players during match play and to study the relationship between training status and physical match performance.

Methods: Time-motion analysis and HR recordings were performed on 14 elite female soccer players during competitive matches. In addition, the players carried out a laboratory treadmill test and the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test.

Results: The total distance covered during a game was 10.3 km (range: 9.7–11.3) with high-intensity running (HIR) accounting for 1.31 km (0.71–1.70). HIR was performed 125 times (72–159) for 2.3 s (2.0–2.4) on average. The average and peak HR in a game were 167 beats per minute (bpm) (152–186) and 186 (171–205), respectively, corresponding to 87% (81–93) and 97% (96–100) of HRmax. Maximal pulmonary oxygen uptake (
𝑉
˙
𝑂
2
𝑚
𝑎
𝑥
V
˙
O
2

max) was 49.4 mL·min

1

𝑘
𝑔

1
−1
⋅kg
−1
(43.4–56.8), and incremental treadmill test (ITT) performance was 4.49 min (3.38–5.17). The Yo-Yo test performance was 1379 m (600–1960). The total distance covered during match play did not correlate with
𝑉
˙
𝑂
2
𝑚
𝑎
𝑥
V
˙
O
2

max or ITT performance but correlated with the Yo-Yo test result (
𝑟
=
0.56
,
𝑃
< 0.05 r=0.56,P<0.05). Significant positive correlations were observed between HIR and 𝑉 ˙ 𝑂 2 𝑚 𝑎 𝑥 V ˙ O 2 ​ max ( 𝑟 = 0.81 , 𝑃 < 0.05 r=0.81,P<0.05), ITT ( 𝑟 = 0.82 , 𝑃 < 0.05 r=0.82,P<0.05), and Yo-Yo test performance ( 𝑟 = 0.76 , 𝑃 < 0.05 r=0.76,P<0.05). No relationship was observed between %HRmax during match play and any of the performance measures. Conclusion: The present study demonstrated that 1) HIR during games varies markedly between elite female soccer players, 2) all players have high HR throughout a competitive game with periods of near-maximal values, 3) the distance covered by HIR during match play is closely related to the physical capacity, and 4) the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test can be used as an indicator of the physical match performance of elite female players.

View this research