Helgerud, J., Engen, L. C., Wisloff, U., & Hoff, J. (2000). Changes in soccer performance from enhanced aerobic endurance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5), Supplement abstract 974.

Elite male junior soccer players were divided into a training group (N = 12) or a control group (N = 12). Interval training added to the end of practice two times per week for eight weeks served as the aerobic training stimulus.

The extra aerobic training group improved significantly more than did the control group in VO2max, anaerobic threshold, and running economy. Work intensity during two matches also increased significantly for the extra-training group. There were no changes in vertical jump height, strength, speed, maximal kicking velocity, kicking precision, or quality of passing. The control group did not change in any of the tested parameters.

Implication. Enhancing aerobic endurance in soccer players improves performance in games by increasing distance covered, work intensity, number of sprints, and ball involvement.

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