JOURNAL ARTICLE

Strength and endurance in elite football players

J Helgerud, G Rodas, O J Kemi, J Hoff
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2011, 32 (9): 677-82
21563031
We aimed to improve the physical capacity of a top-level elite football team during its pre-season by implementing a maximal strength and high-intensity endurance training program. 21 first league elite football players (20-31 yrs, height 171-194 cm, mass 58.8-88.1 kg) having recently participated in the UEFA Champions' League, took part in the study. Aerobic interval-training at 90-95% of maximal heart rate and half-squats strength training with maximum loads in 4 repetitions × 4 sets were performed concurrently twice a week for 8 weeks. The players were not familiar with maximal strength training as part of their regular program. Maximal oxygen uptake (VO(2max)) increased 8.6% (1.7-16.6) (p<0.001), from 60.5 (51.7-67.1) to 65.7 (58.0-74.5) mL · kg (-1) · min (-1) whereas half-squat one repetition maximum increased 51.7% (13.3-135.3) (p<0.001), from 116 (85-150) to 176 (160-210) kg. The 10-m sprint time also improved by 0.06 s (0.02-0.16) (p<0.001); while counter movement jump improved 3.0 cm (0.1-6.2) (p<0.001), following the training program. The concurrent strength and endurance training program together with regular football training resulted in considerable improvement of the players' physical capacity and so may be successfully introduced to elite football players.

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