Relationships between field performance tests in high-level soccer players

Jørgen Ingebrigtsen, Marit Brochmann, Carlo Castagna, Paul S Bradley, Jack Ade, Peter Krustrup, Andreas Holtermann
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2014, 28 (4): 942-9
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.

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