Monitoring Locomotor Load in Soccer: Is Metabolic Power, Powerful?

Int J Sports Med. 2015 Dec;36(14):1149-55. doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1555927. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


The aim of the present study was to examine the validity and reliability of metabolic power (P) estimated from locomotor demands during soccer-specific drills. 14 highly-trained soccer players performed a soccer-specific circuit with the ball (3×1-min bouts, interspersed with 30-s passive recovery) on 2 different occasions. Locomotor activity was monitored with 4-Hz GPSs, while oxygen update (VO2) was collected with a portable gas analyzer. P was calculated using either net VO2 responses and traditional calorimetry principles (PVO2, or locomotor demands (PGPS, Distance covered into different speed, acceleration and P zones was recorded. While PGPS was 29±10% lower than PVO2 (d<- 3) during the exercise bouts, it was 85±7% lower (d<- 8) during recovery phases. The typical error between PGPS vs. PVO2 was moderate: 19.8%, 90% confidence limits: (18.4;21.6). The correlation between both estimates of P was small: 0.24 (0.14;0.33). Very large day-to-day variations were observed for acceleration, deceleration and > 20 distances (all CVs > 50%), while average Po2 and PGPS showed CVs < 10%. ICC ranged from very low- (acceleration and > 20 distances) to-very high (PVO2). PGPS largely underestimates the energy demands of soccer-specific drills, especially during the recovery phases. The poor reliability of PGPS >20 questions its value for monitoring purposes in soccer.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Running / physiology*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Time and Motion Studies