Influence of different training regimes on physical and physiological demands during small-sided soccer games: continuous vs. intermittent format

J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Mar;27(3):690-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825d99dc.


The aim of this study was to examine the physical and heart rate (HR) response of soccer players during 16 minutes of training using the same 5 vs. 5 small-sided game (SSG) in 3 different training regimes: a continuous format of 16 minutes and 2 intermittent formats (4 periods of 4 minutes; and 2 periods of 8 minutes) with the same work/rest ratio of passive recovery between the different periods (4:1). Ten male players (age 21.3 ± 3.4 years) belonging to a team of the third Spanish division participated in this study. Analyses were carried using a training regimen vs. drill time design (i.e., training × duration), that is, differentiating 2 training regimen (intermittent vs. continuous SSG formats) and the 4-minute periods (0-4, 4-8, 8-12, and 12-16 minutes) to determine the extent to which fatigue affected the variables studied in each regimen. During each SSG, HR and total distance covered in different speed categories and accumulated accelerations (i.e., training load) were measured. Results showed significant differences for (a) in intermittent format of 2 × 8 minutes, the distance covered at a speed of 7-12.9 km·h(-1) was greater in the 0- to 4-minute period than in the 12- to 16-minute period, and (b) the distance covered at a speed of 7-12.9 km·h(-1) during the 8- to 12-minute period was greater in intermittent format of 2 × 8 minutes than in continuous format (16 minutes). This study showed that drill regimen may affect physical responses during training SSG. The resulting evidence suggests that the continuous SSG format induces greater physical loads on players as compared with intermittent SSG format and that should help coaches to establish a better distribution of playing according to the objectives of the training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Young Adult