Energy demands in competitive soccer

J Sports Sci. 1994 Summer;12 Spec No:S5-12.


In elite outfield players, the average work rate during a soccer match, as estimated from variables such as heart rate, is approximately 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max). This corresponds to an energy production of approximately 5700 kJ (1360 kcal) for a person weighing 75 kg with a VO2 max of 60 ml kg-1 min-1. Aerobic energy production appears to account for more than 90% of total energy consumption. Nevertheless, anaerobic energy production plays an essential role during soccer matches. During intensive exercise periods of a game, creatine phosphate, and to a lesser extent the stored adenosine triphosphate, are utilized. Both compounds are partly restored during a subsequent prolonged rest period. In blood samples taken after top-class soccer matches, the lactate concentration averages 3-9 mM, and individual values frequently exceed 10 mM during match-play. Furthermore, the adenosine diphosphate degradation products--ammonia/ammonium, hypoxanthine and uric acid--are elevated in the blood during soccer matches. Thus, the anaerobic energy systems are heavily taxes during periods of match-play. Glycogen in the working muscle seems to be the most important substrate for energy production during soccer matches. However, muscle triglycerides, blood free fatty acids and glucose are also used as substrates for oxidative metabolism in the muscles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Lactic Acid
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Soccer / physiology*


  • Lactates
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glycogen