Intensity and duration of intermittent exercise and recovery during a soccer match

Michael S. Orendurff, Jason D. Walker, Mladen Jovanovic, Kirsten L. Tulchin, Morris Levy, David K. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Soccer is a sport consisting of high-intensity intermittent exercise, with players making forays across their anaerobic threshold for tactical advantage followed by periods of recovery. The intensity and duration of these work and recovery bouts were defined during a men's soccer match using Step Watch Activity Monitors recording step rate for each 3-second period. The data were coded by custom software to separate work bouts (step rate ≥ 4) from recovery bouts (step rate < 4), and a square wave of the pattern of bouts was plotted for 5 players: center forward, central midfielder, wing midfielder, central defender, and wing defender. Four values were calculated for each work and recovery bout identified: duration, and mean, maximum, and minimum step rate (intensity). This novel technique provided detailed graphical information on the duration and exercise intensity of each position throughout the match. The center midfielder was able to sustain work and recovery bout characteristics throughout the match and appeared to recover at higher intensity levels than other players. The forward showed the consequence of accumulated fatigue late in the match and was unable to sustain the duration of high-intensity work bouts observed earlier in the match. The central defender attenuated the intensity of his work and recovery bouts late in the match staying closer to a more moderate work rate with fewer high-or low-intensity bouts. Having objective data qualifying players' work and recovery bout characteristics might prove valuable for tactical decision making, substitution timing, and for planning future training sessions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2683-2692
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Football
  • Rest
  • Sports
  • Training
  • Workload


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