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Physiological determinants of Yo-Yo intermittent recovery tests in male soccer players


The physiological determinants of performance in two Yo-Yo intermittent recovery tests (Yo-YoIR1 and Yo-YoIR2) were examined in 25 professional (n = 13) and amateur (n = 12) soccer players. The aims of the study were (1) to examine the differences in physiological responses to Yo-YoIR1 and Yo-YoIR2, (2) to determine the relationship between the aerobic and physiological responses to standardized high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIT) and Yo-Yo performance, and (3) to investigate the differences between professional and amateur players in performance and responses to these tests. All players performed six tests: two versions of the Yo-Yo tests, a test for the determination of maximum oxygen uptake (\( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{{2\,{ \max }}} \)), a double test to determine \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{2} \) kinetics and a HIT evaluation during which several physiological responses were measured. The anaerobic contribution was greatest during Yo-YoIR2. \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{{2\,{ \max }}} \) was strongly correlated with Yo-YoIR1 (r = 0.74) but only moderately related to Yo-YoIR2 (r = 0.47). The time constant (τ) of \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{2} \) kinetics was largely related to both Yo-Yo tests (Yo-YoIR1: r = 0.60 and Yo-YoIR2: r = 0.65). The relationships between physiological variables measured during HIT (blood La, H+, HCO3 and the rate of La accumulation) and Yo-Yo performance (in both versions) were very large (r > 0.70). The physiological responses to HIT and the τ of the \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{2} \) kinetics were significantly different between professional and amateur soccer players, whilst \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{{2\,{ \max }}} \) was not significantly different between the two groups. In conclusion, \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{{2\,{ \max }}} \) is more important for Yo-YoIR1 performance, whilst τ of the \( {\dot{\text{V}}}{\text{O}}_{2} \) kinetics and the ability to maintain acid–base balance are important physiological factors for both Yo-Yo tests.

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The authors would like to thank Andrea Bosio, Dott. Stefano Mazzoni and Aaron J. Coutts for their valuable suggestions, Andrea Morelli, Maurizio Fanchini, Ivan Ferraresi and Andrea Petruolo for their valuable support in the data collection and Laura Garvican for her English revision. The authors would also like to thank all the athletes involved in the study for their contribution.

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Correspondence to Ermanno Rampinini.

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Communicated by Susan Ward.

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Rampinini, E., Sassi, A., Azzalin, A. et al. Physiological determinants of Yo-Yo intermittent recovery tests in male soccer players. Eur J Appl Physiol 108, 401 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-009-1221-4

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  • High intensity
  • Professional
  • Performance
  • Acid–base balance
  • Intermittent exercise