Can maximal aerobic running speed be predicted from submaximal cycle ergometry in soccer players? The effects of age, anthropometry and positional roles


Department of Physical and Cultural Education, Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece


Background: Considering maximal aerobic running speed (MAS) as a useful tool to evaluate aerobic capacity and monitor training load in soccer, there is an increasing need to develop indirect assessment methods of MAS, e.g., submaximal tests. The aim of this study was to examine the prediction of MAS from the physical working capacity (PWC) in heart rate (HR) 170 beat/min test (PWC 170 ).
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was done on adolescent (n = 67) and adult soccer players (n = 82) were examined for anthropometric characteristics, PWC 170 and performed Conconi test to assess MAS.
Results: Midfielders scored higher than goalkeepers (GKs) and defenders in MAS while GKs scored lower than all the other playing positions. Although this trend was also observed in PWC 170 , statistical difference was only observed between midfielders and GKs. Players with higher MAS had also higher PWC 170 in both age groups (P < 0.05). The odds ratio of a player of the best PWC 170 group to belong also to the best MAS group was 3.96 (95% confidence interval 2.00; 7.84). That is players with high-performance in the PWC 170 were about 4 times more likely than those with low PWC 170 to achieve a high score in MAS. Regression analysis suggested body fat (BF) percentage, PWC 170 , maximal HR and age as predictors of MAS (R = 0.61, R2 = 0.37 and standard error of estimate [SEE] =1.3 km/h, in total; R = 0.74, R2 = 0.55 and SEE = 1.2 km/h, in adolescents; R = 0.55, R2 = 0.30 and SEE = 1.3 km/h, in adults).
Conclusions: While there was only moderate correlation between MAS and PWC 170 , the former can be predicted from the latter when BF, HR max , and age are considered (large to very large multiple correlation coefficients).


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