Health & Skill-Related Fitness
Soccer Endurance (Aerobic Fitness)
If one were to engage in only one type of training, then exercise that develops cardiovascular or circulorespiratory endurance would be the best choice. Activities such as walking, swimming or distance running, or team sports such as soccer, team handball or lacrosse, involve the large muscle groups of the body in continuous, submaximal contraction, and thus constitute an effective exercise mode for the buildup and maintenance of aerobic fitness. Team handball and cross country running are excellent activities for either pre-season buildup, or off-season maintenance of soccer fitness. Interval training and endurance running are excellent modes of exercise for the consolidation of a powerful combination of aerobic and anaerobic game related fitness.
The Intensity of Training
Of the three interrelated training factors (frequency, intensity, and duration), intensity is the most critical to improvement of cardiovascular endurance. Intensity of training can be expressed (1) as expended energy in calories or joules units, (2) percentage of max VO2, (3) as a specific heart rate (HR) or some percentage of one's maximal HR, (4) in terms of multiples of resting metabolic rate (METs) required to accomplish a certain task. Exercise HR is the most practical means of assessing and understanding the intensity of training. The equivalent of about 50% to 55% of max VO2, or about 60-70% of the max. exercise HR generally represents 18-25 year olds' threshold intensity for training improvement.
According to The American College of Sports Medicine, cardiovascular endurance may improve by the use of an exercise program that includes at least three 20 to 30 min. weekly sessions of sufficient strenuousness to burn about 240-360 Kcal. This may be achieved, for example, by an individual who weighs 170 lbs and swims fast crawl for 20-30 min., or by someone who weighs 145 lbs and runs cross-country at an 8 min/mile pace for 16-24 min. (thus covering a distance of 2-3 miles). As the level of aerobic capacity increases so does the level of the threshold intensity for training improvement. Therefore, for further buildup of soccer endurance both pace and distance of training would have to be increased.
DETERMINATION OF TARGET HEART RATE FOR TRAINING*
Note: Periodic revision of target HR will become necessary as resting HR changes.
Monitoring Your Heart Rate
A simple method to determine exercise intesity is to count one's heart rate. Blood rich in oxygen flows from the left atrium into the left ventricle and is then pumped through the aorta to the arteries. The pulse of the blood flow in the arteries may be easily measured at the radial artery in the wrist or, if hard to find at the wrist, it may be also measured at the carotid artery at the neck.
Holding the index and middle fingers together feel for a pulse and then gently press on the radial or the carotid artery. At first, practice finding the pulse and count the pulse for several seconds. Repeate a number of times. Once you can easily find your pulse you are ready to assess your exercise intensity.
To find your exercise intensity value, measure your heart rate five minutes after you already started your activity, and then measure your heart rate again near to or at the end of your session (measure you heart rate while standing still, and make an effort to start the count within 5 or less seconds after stopping).
Since the heart recovers rather quickly, you are advised to derive a heart rate from a 6-seconds, a 10-seconds or a 15-seconds measurement and then multiply the result by 10, 6, or 4,respectively, to get the heart beat per minute (bpm) value.
Once you are very comfortable measuring your heart rate you may use the 6-seconds method. Lack of experience may cause errors in the count. Each error of a miscounted pulse is augmented by 10 when using the 6-seconds method. An error of a miscounted pulse using the 15-seconds method is augmented by four. However, the 15-seconds method runs the risk of counting a somewhat recovered pulse. Thus, the popularity of the 10-seconds count stems from its service as a "happy middle."
1996-2011, Daniel Frankl, Ph.D.
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Last Modified: February 19, 2011