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Study Finds an Increase in VO2max Using a 10 Week Ball Dribbling Soccer Training Interval

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2005 followed 16 professional youth soccer players.  Two times a week after training sessions an aerobic interval training session took place.  Four bouts of 4 minutes work periods at 90-95% of each players maximal heart rate followed by 3 minutes of jogging at 70% of each players maximal heart rate for 10 weeks during pre-season (6 weeks) and the competitive season (4 weeks).  All players wore heart rate monitors for their individualized needs. 

The interval training involved dribbling a soccer ball through a series of in-line cones 18 m, then jumping over 3 hurdles spaced 7m apart along the length of the field.  This was followed by dribbling in a diagonal pattern 3 times back and forth for 25 meters , followed by 4 sprints in a switch back style spaced for 30 meters.  The last section of the course was backwards dribbling for 15 meters and sprint back to the start.  This circuit was set up in a box area of 55 meters x 30 meters.

Results showed a 9% increase in Vo2max after the 10 week training program without negatively affecting individual strength, jumping ability and sprinting performance.  Players improved their ability to effectively utilize oxygen and maintain a high level working rate.  This study includes a diagram of the dribbling pattern.

K. McMillan, J. Helgerud, R. Macdonald, J. Hoff. Br J Sports Med 2005;39:273–277

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