Contextual Variables and Training Load Throughout a Competitive Period in a Top-Level Male Soccer Team

Vincenzo Rago, António Rebelo, Peter Krustrup, Magni Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the present study was to investigate and quantify the weekly training load (TL) according to different match-related contextual factors in a professional male soccer team (n = 23). Training load was quantified using a 10-Hz global positioning system with integrated 100-Hz accelerometer and heart rate recordings over a 3-month competitive period. Total distance (TD) covered and high-speed running (HSR, >16 km·h−1) during training were higher in the week after playing against a bottom-level or top-level opponent compared to a medium-level opponent (p < 0.05; effect size [ES] = 0.30–1.04). TD was also higher when preparing for a match against a bottom-level opponent (p < 0.05; ES = 0.39–0.76). In addition, the percentage of HSR was higher after playing a bottom-level compared to a medium-level opponent (p < 0.001; ES = 0.49 [0.27; 0.71]). TD covered was higher in the week following a draw or a win, and higher before a loss compared to a draw (p < 0.05, ES = 0.32–0.81). Both absolute HSR and HSR expressed as percentage of TD were higher before losing and winning a match compared to a draw (p < 0.05; ES = 0.72–0.98). Weekly TL seems to be slightly affected by match-related contextual variables, with special emphasis on the opponent standard and match outcome. Higher training volume was observed before and after playing against a top-level opponent, and after losing a match, whereas the volume of high-intensity training seems to be higher when preparing for a game against a top-level opponent. Future experimental research should clarify the interaction between match-related contextual variables (e.g., cause) and weekly TL (e.g., effect).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3177-3183
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Strength & Conditioning Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • heart rate
  • GPS
  • distance covered
  • internal load
  • external load


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