Dr Mel C Siff wrote
What always strikes one is that one invariably hears that some or other
rugby, soccer or football team which has not performed as well as it should
because of problems caused by competing at altitude, yet their sports are
essentially 'anaerobic' dominant sports.
Can somebody please tell me how a sport that lasts as long as 90 - 110 min
can be 'anaerobic dominant'.
I work closely with two elite soccer squads one female the other male. Both
squads are the age group 14-18. The males have a VO2 between 50-65ml/kg,
females 35-55ml/kg depending on age and history. I would suggest that both
groups have very good aerobic capacities.
Based on HR data from games and training the athletes spend 60-80% of the
time at a HR intensity of 60% to 90% of max HR. That is 60min of a 90min
game / training is aerobic. If I take the average HR for the entire
game/training it is often lower and around 70%-80% of MHR. Definitely
aerobic. However taking the average for the entire game/training is a little
misleading. Looking at the average for a particular play in a game is very
difficult to do in the field but relatively easy in training. This type of
analysis has shown me that the intensity of a drill lasting 5min can be
anaerobic but, and it is a big but, we must remember Soccer is not played in
a small area for five min under controlled conditions. So it relates little
to a game and only well to training. Doing this has shown me more or less
the same thing. Soccer is played predominately at an aerobic intensity.
I have also taken lactate samples during these games/training with an
Accusport (Boehinger Mannheim) and it has shown levels of 2mM up to 7mM.
They may be slightly over the classic OBLA of 4mM but given the equipment
and individual differences I feel confident that the periods work were in
fact aerobic (I have tested 400m runners after 300m efforts and had results
as high as 20mM on the same type of device).
You could also look at it another way. Published articles suggest
approximately 10km of ground is covered each game of soccer. The majority of
the distance covered is done walking, slow jog, moderate pace and only a
relative small amount done short or extended sprinting or anaerobically.
I think it is responsible to at least get the correct energy system of a
sport if you are going to use that sport as an example to argue against
altitude training whether good or bad.
South Australian Sports Institute.
ph. 61 8 8416 6679
fax. 61 8 8416 6756