Perfect soccer stamina to start preparing!
How to take your stamina to the next level
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Anyone who has read our last article about endurance in soccer most likely remembers the difficulty of being able to make generally valid statements about training.

In recent months, we have had many questions about this topic”stamina“and achieved “endurance training.” In the upcoming endurance posts, we want to go into more detail about these and also give you a more detailed overview of physiological distinctions from traditional endurance sports. Because modern endurance training in soccer has nothing to do with eternal forest runs.

We will also discuss the benefits of structured training taking into account nutrition, regeneration, stimulus density and intensities.

Football is not a classic endurance sport

The load in a game is very different from classic endurance sports such as running, triathlon or cycling. While classic sports require the highest possible average performance/speed over a specified period/distance, the load in gaming sports is significantly more complex:

This is already quite clear from the distribution of the intensities. On closer inspection, a classic marathon runner also competes in a very small number of competitions over the full distance. Against him, soccer players are on the field week after week. With an average running distance of around 10.5 km, this means that a midfield athlete completes a marathon every 4 weeks (excluding English weeks and training sessions). In addition, the loads caused by a very high number of short intensive loads Distinguishes. In addition to a high sprint density, this also includes a variety of changes of direction. These obvious differences in load metrics result not only in a change in passive structures (tendons, ligaments) but also in physiological terms for training and regeneration.

In order to make a more specific distinction here, it is important for marathon runners to achieve the highest possible maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and at the same time generate good fat metabolism.

He also wants to have as little body weight as possible, as there is a direct connection between competition performance and weight.

Football players must tolerate greater forces

On the other side is the soccer player, and these two also want the highest possible VO2 max However, fat metabolism plays a subordinate role. In terms of body weight, the soccer player will differ significantly from the marathon runner; for the soccer player, it is essential to have a certain amount of athleticism related to the entire body. This is not only used for assertiveness, but also for injury prevention.


Because the effects on the musculoskeletal system in gaming sports have a significantly higher “impact” compared to classic endurance sports.

For the reasons mentioned above, the comparison of physiological parameters across sports therefore only makes limited sense. All values should always be classified in relation to the objectives of the sport. With these diverse demands on the body, it is only logical that training must also differ significantly between classic endurance sports and game sports in terms of endurance performance.

Concept of dispute basic endurance in soccer

If we currently talk about endurance, sooner or later the term “Basic endurance”. If you enter this term on Google, you will come across a variety of entries without any concrete meaning. That is why we want to get away from this, in my opinion, revised term somewhat. Rather, there is simply a need to create a certain physical basis in order to be able to complete a specific endurance program sensibly and with a low risk of injury.

Easy runs at a consistent pace are certainly part of this preparation.

However, we note here that running at a constant pace only has a very slight training effect on soccer-specific endurance, and could even have a negative effect on it under certain circumstances.

Intensity and stimulus density: different factors in soccer endurance training

In addition to intensity, other factors also play an important role in training planning. One of these factors is stimulus density:

Stimulus density refers to the repetition of training stimuli over time.

The body reacts very differently depending on the composition of the stimulus density. On the one hand, it would be possible to use one day a week for completely exhausting training with the aim of improving endurance. On the other hand, the identical training time and total load could be divided over different days. If divided sensibly, this results in improved adjustment, as the pause between the individual stimuli is significantly shorter. Especially with regard to the important adjustment of VO2 max (maximum oxygen capacity), a repeated stimulus without too long breaks between the individual units is elementary.

Another added value of this training design is regeneration after sessions. Since the individual units no longer result in complete utilization and the associated structural damage does not occur, the body can regenerate much faster and convert the training stimulus into improved performance.

Especially during the season, shorter but intensive sessions make it very easy to work on improving endurance even when playing.

Because if there is an additional load on the weekend due to a game, the highly intensive and exhausting stimulus mentioned above makes little sense and - taking regeneration into account - hardly makes sense to incorporate into a training structure.

The preparation looks a bit different, but here, too, it is more effective to adjust the stimulus density than just the intensity.

How “harmful” is sore muscles?

During intensive training sessions, the regeneration be a very important issue. After the first few sessions, muscles will certainly ache, as the loads can be unusual at first and the muscles must first adapt to this new stimulus.

Muscle soreness is characterized by structural damage to the muscle fibers at the smallest level; microcracks occur in the so-called Z-discs. This usually happens during eccentric heavy loads, when the muscle increases in length when the tension is high. Severe muscle soreness also has an increased risk of muscle injury, so the follow-up unit should be adjusted somewhat here if necessary. The good news at this point is that the muscles get used to new stimuli very quickly and therefore the sore muscles will recede very quickly and you shouldn't be put off by the first session.

Quite the contrary: try to see the positive effect that your body reacts to the new stimulus, because Without a new stimulus, there is also no adjustment.

Carbohydrate stores must be replenished before an endurance session

In order to make it a little easier for your body to implement and also regenerate after intensive sessions or to support it in doing so, the sustenance an important role before and after the unit.

The first important rule is to adequately fill the carbohydrate stores before the session. This is necessary because the intensive requirements go hand in hand with rapid energy supply, which can only be ensured energetically by carbohydrates. Therefore, even with a low-carb diet, a minimum of carbohydrates must be supplied before intensive sessions. In the best case scenario, this is already done over the last two meals before the unit. Since the body's intake of carbohydrates is severely limited, it only makes limited sense to only supply carbohydrates before the unit. As a rule of thumb, the absorption capacity is 1 g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight per hour, i.e. with a body weight of 70 kg, no more than 70 g of carbohydrates per hour can be absorbed.

In addition to carbohydrate management, it is also important to ensure adequate hydration; especially in the summer months, care should be taken to start the session in a well-hydrated state and to compensate for the loss of fluid after the session. After the unit, this should be done as soon as possible. For an approximate estimate of fluid loss, as this is very individual, the difference in weight before and after the unit can be used.

Finally, it should be noted that every training involves taking the existing framework conditions into account. If you do this well, intensive sessions can be a very good training tool to improve soccer-specific endurance.

Nothing should stand in the way of successful training.

Bringe dich und dein Team aufs nächste Level! Trainiere mit der ganzen Mannschaft oder dem Verein.

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