IMR Press / JOMH / Volume 17 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.063
Open Access Original Research
Match-to-match variations in external load measures during congested weeks in professional male soccer players
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1 Escola Superior Desporto e Lazer, Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Rua Escola Industrial e Comercial de Nun’Álvares, 4900-347 Viana do Castelo, Portugal
2 Physical Education and Sports Teaching Department, Kazim Karabekir Faculty of Education, Ataturk University, 25030 Erzurum, Turkey
3 Department of Physical Education and Special Motricity, University Transilvania of Brasov, 500068 Brasov, Romania
4 Department of Physical Education and Sports, University of Granada, 18010 Granada, Spain
5 Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Isfahan, 81746-7344 Isfahan, Iran
6 HEME Research Group, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Extremadura, 10003 Cáceres, Spain
7 Associação de Futebol de Bragança, 5300-379 Bragança, Portugal
8 Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisboa, 1649-004 Lisboa, Portugal
9 Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Taipei, 11153 Taipei, Taiwan
10 Instituto de Telecomunicações, Delegação da Covilhã, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
*Correspondence: (Georgian Badicu)
J. Mens. Health 2021, 17(4), 207–217;
Submitted: 1 May 2021 | Accepted: 1 June 2021 | Published: 30 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exercise and sports in men: from health to sports performance)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Objectives: This study aimed to analyze within-week and within-match external load variations in male soccer players over three consecutive matches during a congested week.

Methods: The study cohort included nineteen elite professional male players (age: 26.5 ± 4.3 years) from a European First League team. Players were monitored daily over a full season using measurements collected by global positioning systems (GPSs). GPS-derived measures of total distance (TD), high-speed running (HSR), high metabolic load (HML), and maximal speed (maxSpeed) were collected during each match.

Results: TD and HML intensity were meaningfully lower during the second half of the season than the first half for all weeks (p < 0.05), regardless of the number of matches. Also, the standardized differences for both metrics presented moderate-to-strong effect sizes. Although no significant differences between halves were found for HSR or maxSpeed (p > 0.05), these measures presented inconsistently minimum-to-strong effect sizes in some matches in overall weeks.

Conclusion: The findings of this study revealed that TD and HML distances were significantly different between halves for all weeks, regardless of the number of matches. Meanwhile, HSR and maxSpeed measures presented no significant differences across matches overall.

External load
Load monitoring
Sports science
Fig. 1.
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