Physical Activity during a Prolonged Congested Period in a Top-Class European Football Team

The aim of the present study was to examine the variation in physical activity of elite soccer players within successive prolonged periods of fixture congestion over 5 months of competition during the competitive season 2011-2012.
Sixteen international players, classified into 6 positions (central defenders: CD; full-backs: FB; central defensive midfielders: CDM; wide midfielders: WM; central attacking midfielders: CAM; forwards: FW), were examined during the French First League, French Cup, and UEFA Champion’s League matches. The total distance covered at light (<12 km.h-1), sustained-cruising (>18-21 km.h-1), high (>21-23 km.h-1), very high (>23-25 km.h-1), sub-maximal (>25-27 km.h-1), and maximal (>27 km.h-1) intensity running (IR) were measured and analysed using a semi-automatic match analysis system (Amisco Pro™).
No differences were observed between congested and non-congested periods (two vs. one match a week, respectively) for the total distance covered at all the speed thresholds over 18 km.h-1, with no variation in physical fitness over the 5 studied months. Specifically to the playing positions, regardless of the congestion periods, FB and WM covered more distance than CDM over 21km.h-1; FB, WM and FW covered similar distances for all running intensities; and CD and CDM covered shorter distance during non-congested compared to congested periods (P<0.05) at light-IR.
The present study reveals that prolonged congested match fixture did not affect the high-intensity physical activity of top-class soccer players during official games during a 5 months fixture period.
Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, Volume:5 Issue: 1, Mar 2014
47 to 53  
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