A somewhat extreme test to figure out your fitness

Do you know how much a soccer player runs in a 90-minute game? On average at least 10 km, some as high as 13. Not a little bit, right? Neither should it be overlooked that it is not their job (to run, theirs is in fact to score goals or to serve the ball to those who must do so, or to defend) and that the pace they maintain is fragmented into accelerations, stops, restarts and more stops. Nor should it be overlooked that every time you have to accelerate from a standstill you are making much more effort than if the movement you make were constant and continuous.

It is no coincidence that to understand the level of fitness, every player in the English Premier League must pass a very special test, done in two very demanding stages.

The test

The two sessions are ruthless in their simplicity. Let’s look at them one by one.

Phase One: “the 320”

You run a distance of 60 meters five times, back and forth. If you have a soccer field available, you can take the opposite corners on the short side as a reference. Your goal is to cover the distance in 70 seconds or less.
Now you can stop for 70 seconds. But it is not over.
You need to repeat the exercise six more times. At the end you can rest for a full two minutes, and do it properly because it’s not over yet.

Phase Two: “the 120”

Have you rested? Good: resume position. This time you have to complete the distance twice (120 meters, so back and forth) but in less than 24 seconds. Then you can rest for 45 seconds. And now repeat the whole thing, for six more times.

By the end of this workout/test, you will have covered over 2.5 kilometers.

What’s the point?

Like all fitness tests, it needs to be contextualized with respect to the sport the person taking it does. This, as we said, tests the physical level of the players. Who are sportsmen accustomed to accelerations, stops and especially sudden changes of direction. To succeed, their bodies and especially their hearts must be trained to withstand very fast changes of pace.

The test also measures another skill they must demonstrate and that is that of the most efficient run. In this specific case, it is the kind of behavior on the field that allows the player to cover only the distances necessary to handle the ball and distribute it, possibly to the opponent’s goal. How to accomplish this? Keeping the ball as much as possible, which is the opposite of chasing after it to steal it from opponents. The more you are able to handle the effort then, the less you will have to go looking everywhere for the ball. In fact, it is no coincidence that teams that win championships often do not also lead the field mileage rankings. Not because they don’t run a lot but because they only run as long as needed.

(Via InsideHook)


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