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The development of a soccer-specific test: reproducibility and comparison with a treadmill test

By Jamie Ramsden


Introduction: Aerobic fitness is recognised as one of the principal fitness components in soccer (Helgerud et al, 2000). Thus, it is important to monitor the aerobic fitness of professional soccer players throughout the soccer season and throughout injury rehabilitation. Sub-maximal blood lactate assessment in soccer players has been shown to be a sensitive indicator of change in aerobic fitness over a specified time-period, and can also prove useful for monitoring aerobic fitness of professional soccer players undergoing a period of injury rehabilitation, when VO2 max assessment may be inappropriate. Soccer, being a high-intensity, intermittent team sport is multi-directional in nature. However, traditionally most sub-maximal blood lactate assessments have been conducted on a treadmill, being only unidirectional in nature. Muscle fibres that are recruited during soccer-specific movements such as turning and decelerating may not be recruited to the same degree during treadmill running. Therefore, some specific peripheral aerobic fitness adaptations that arise from soccer-specific activities may not be fully detected by sub- maximal blood lactate assessment on a treadmill. To improve the specificity of sub-maximal blood lactate assessment of soccer players, a Soccer-specific Endurance Lactate Test (SELT), incorporating multi-directional movements was devised. If this soccer-specific test is to be of value in the monitoring of changes in training status, it must be shown to be reproducible. It is also important to establish if the SELT provides different information from a 'traditional' blood lactate test on a treadmill. This could provide some validation for using the SELT in the assessment of the endurance capabilities of soccer players in preference to a currently used test such as an incremental treadmill test

Year: 2004
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