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European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 711–723 | Cite as

Monitoring changes in physical performance with heart rate measures in young soccer players

  • M. BuchheitEmail author
  • M. B. Simpson
  • H. Al Haddad
  • P. C. Bourdon
  • A. Mendez-Villanueva
Original Article

Abstract

The aim of the present study was to verify the validity of using exercise heart rate (HRex), HR recovery (HRR) and post-exercise HR variability (HRV) during and after a submaximal running test to predict changes in physical performance over an entire competitive season in highly trained young soccer players. Sixty-five complete data sets were analyzed comparing two consecutive testing sessions (3–4 months apart) collected on 46 players (age 15.1 ± 1.5 years). Physical performance tests included a 5-min run at 9 km h−1 followed by a seated 5-min recovery period to measure HRex, HRR and HRV, a counter movement jump, acceleration and maximal sprinting speed obtained during a 40-m sprint with 10-m splits, repeated-sprint performance and an incremental running test to estimate maximal cardiorespiratory function (end test velocity V Vam-Eval). Possible changes in physical performance were examined for the players presenting a substantial change in HR measures over two consecutive testing sessions (greater than 3, 13 and 10% for HRex, HRR and HRV, respectively). A decrease in HRex or increase in HRV was associated with likely improvements in V Vam-Eval; opposite changes led to unclear changes in V Vam-Eval. Moderate relationships were also found between individual changes in HRR and sprint [r = 0.39, 90% CL (0.07;0.64)] and repeated-sprint performance [r = −0.38 (−0.05;−0.64)]. To conclude, while monitoring HRex and HRV was effective in tracking improvements in V Vam-Eval, changes in HRR were moderately associated with changes in (repeated-)sprint performance. The present data also question the use of HRex and HRV as systematic markers of physical performance decrements in youth soccer players.

Keywords

Association football Fitness monitoring Submaximal heart rate Heart rate recovery Heart rate variability 

Notes

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Buchheit
    • 1
    Email author
  • M. B. Simpson
    • 1
  • H. Al Haddad
    • 1
  • P. C. Bourdon
    • 1
  • A. Mendez-Villanueva
    • 1
  1. 1.Physiology Unit, Sport Science DepartmentASPIRE Academy for Sports ExcellenceDohaQatar

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