A new study on the effects of concurrent strength and endurance training in professional footballers has been published. 21 professional footballers (mean age 21-30, height 171 – 194cm, mass 59 – 88kg) who have all played UEFA Champions league football over the past two seasons participated in a 2 session per week * 8 week programme (16 training sessions total) where they performed the following per session:

– Aerobic interval training @ 90-95% MHR

– Maximal strength training: 4 * 4 reps of half squats

Results

The results indicate that VO2max and 1RM half squat increased significantly by respective values of 8.6% and 51%. the magnitude of strength increase is due to the fact that participants had not participated in a strength training programme before. Of significant interest, 10m sprint time (speed) and counter-movement jump height (power) also improved significantly (p < 0.001) during the training programme.

Implications

The study demonstrates the effectiveness of a low-volume concurrent strength and endurance (S & E) training programme on a wide variety of soccer performance indicators including aerobic power, strength, speed and power. Interestingly, speed & power were maintained over the 8 weeks, indicating that the inclusion of strength training may have provided a beneficial effect on those measures.

Traditionally, professional soccer coaches & players have avoided heavy strength training as a training modality. This study indicates that a low-volume concurrent strength & aerobic power protocol can be successfully implemented.