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J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Jul;25(7):1983-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e4ffe6.

Estimation of oxygen uptake from heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion in young soccer players.

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  • 1Department of Health and Physical Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong.


The objective of this study was to estimate the oxygen uptake (&OV0312;O2) in elite youth soccer players using measures of heart rate (HR) and ratings of perceived exertion (RPEs). Forty-six regional-level male youth soccer players (∼13 years) participated in 2 VO(2)max tests. Data for HR, RPE, and VO(2) were simultaneously recorded during the VO(2)max tests with incremental running speed. Regression equations were derived from the first VO(2)max test. Two weeks later, all players performed the same VO(2)max test to validate the developed regression equations. There were no significant differences between the estimated values in the first test and actual values in the second test. During the continuous endurance exercise, the combination of percentage of maximal HR (%HRmax) and RPE measures gave similar estimation of %VO(2)max (R = 83%) in comparison to %HRmax alone (R = 81%). However, the estimation of VO(2) using combined %HRmax and RPE was not satisfactory (R = 45-46%). Therefore, the use of %HRmax (without RPE) to estimate %VO(2)max could be a useful tool in young soccer players during field-based continuous endurance testing and training. Specifically, coaches can use the %HRmax to quantify internal loads (%VO(2)max) and subsequently implement continuous endurance training at appropriate intensities. Furthermore, it seems that RPE is more useful as a measure of internal load during noncontinuous (e.g., intermittent and sprint) exercises but not to estimate %VO(2)max during continuous aerobic exercise (R = 59%).

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