Pre-season physiological characteristics of English first and second division soccer players

J Sports Sci. 1992 Dec;10(6):541-7. doi: 10.1080/02640419208729950.


This investigation was undertaken in an effort to establish physiological characteristics of soccer players and to relate them to positional roles. A total of 135 footballers (age 24.4 +/- 4.6 years) were assessed for body mass, % body fat, haemoglobin, maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), leg power, anaerobic capacity and speed prior to an English league season. The sample included 13 goalkeepers, 22 full-backs, 24 centre-backs, 35 midfield players and 41 forwards. The goalkeepers were significantly heavier (86.1 +/- 5.5 kg; P < 0.01) than all groups except the centre-backs, had significantly higher estimated body fat percentages than centre-backs, forwards, midfield players (P < 0.01) or full-backs (P < 0.05), significantly lower estimated VO2 max values (56.4 +/- 3.9 ml kg-1 min-1; P < 0.01) and were slowest over 60 m (12.71 +/- 0.42 s). The midfield players had the highest predicted VO2 max values (61.4 +/- 3.4 ml kg-1 min-1), this being significantly greater (P < 0.05) than for the centre-backs. The forwards were the fastest group over 60 m (12.19 +/- 0.30 s), being significantly quicker than goalkeepers or centre-backs (P < 0.01) and full-backs (P < 0.05). Anaerobic power, as well as knee extensor torques (corrected for body mass) and extensor-flexor ratios, were similar between groups. No difference in estimated body fat percentage was observed between any of the outfield players, and haemoglobin concentrations were similar among players of all positions.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Soccer / physiology*