Comparison of Internal and External Training Loads in Male and Female Collegiate Soccer Players During Practices vs. Games

Bridget A. McFadden, Alan J. Walker, Brittany N. Bozzini, David J. Sanders, Shawn M. Arent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to compare the internal and external training loads (TLs) in men and women throughout a Division I soccer season during practices versus games. Players were evaluated during all practices and regulation game play using the Polar TeamPro system, utilizing Global Positioning Satellite technology and heart rate (HR) monitoring to determine TL, time spent in HR zones expressed as a percent of HRmax (HRZ1-Z5), calories expended per kilogram body mass (Kcal·kg-1), distance covered (DIS), sprints, average speed (SPDAVG), and distance covered in speed zones (DISZ1-Z5). During games, no significant differences were seen between men and women for TL, Kcal·kg-1, HRZ1-Z5, SPDAVG, DIS, DISZ1, DISZ3, and DISZ4. However, men accumulated a significantly greater number of sprints and DISZ5 (p < 0.05) during games, whereas women accumulated a greater DISZ2 (p < 0.05). During practice, no differences were observed for TL, DIS, sprints, Kcal·kg-1, DISZ2, DISZ3, HRZ1-Z5, but men exhibited higher SPDAVG, (p < 0.05), DISZ1 (p < 0.05), DISZ4 (p < 0.05), and DISZ5 (p < 0.05). The parallels in Kcal·kg-1, total DIS, HR, and TL indicate a similar relative workload between men and women. However, distance covered in higher speed zones was found to be greater in men than women across practice and games likely reflecting inherent sex differences in the ability to achieve those speeds. Monitoring techniques that track relative player workloads throughout practices and games may enhance player health and performance during the season. An individualized approach to tracking high-intensity running may improve workload prescriptions on a per player basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-974
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


  • GPS
  • athlete monitoring
  • heart rate
  • high-speed running


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