Enter your details:
Thank you for subscribing.
Subscribe to our newsletter!

Riccardo Izzo1, Gaetano Altavilla2, Antonio Cejudo3, Gaetano Raiola4, Tiziana D’Isanto4, Marco Giovannelli1

1University of Urbino, Department of Biomolecular Sciences, School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, Urbino, Italy
2University of Split, Faculty of Kinesiology, Split, Croatia
3Univeridad de Murcia, Facultad de Ciencias del Deporte, San Javier, Murcia, Spain
4University of Salerno, Department of Human, Philosophical and Education, Salerno, Italy

Performance Improvement in Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 and During Official Matches: The Role of Speed Endurance Training Production in Élite Football Players

Sport Mont 2020, 18(3), 61-66 | DOI: 10.26773/smj.201020


This study aims to examine the performance improvement in yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 2 (IR2) and official matches, during a competitive season in professional football players (Italian 3rd Division Series C, 2019- 2020). Twenty-eight (n=28) élite football players participated in this study (age 21.4±3.3; body weight 79.7±3.4; height 182.4±5.5; fat mass 9.2±1.9), without goalkeepers. In the pre-season (4 weeks, from July to August), the players performed yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 2 (IR2), to evaluate aerobic and anaerobic performance before the start of the season. Every player has been analysed with a K-GPS Live device 50Hz (K-Sport Universal STATS, Italy) and Polar Team System PRO 2 heart-rate sensor (Polar Electro, Finland) to recorder maximal heart rate. After 12 weeks of training (in season), the same players repeat an IR2 test to check performance improvements and verify whether the training programme is correct. The first element was to determine whether the improvement in distance covered during a test is better, the same, or worse with respect to the pre-season. After 12 weeks of training, the difference between the first trial (pre-season) and the second one (in-season) is statistically significant (ES: 0.48; p<0.05; 24%). At the same time, there has been a significant improvement in match physical performance. Regarding the importance of speed endurance training during a season, it is necessary to improve performance in IR2 test after 12 weeks and improve maximal oxygen uptake and glycolytic enzyme activity. Comparing match performance before (T1) the second trial IR2 with match performance after second (T2) trial of this test, there are statistically meaningful changes.


speed endurance, IR2, training, performance, distance covered, high intensity

View full article
(PDF – 299KB)


Aguiar, M., Botelho, G., Lago, C., Maças, V., & Sampaio, J. (2012). A review on the effects of soccer small-sided games. J Hum Kinet., 33, 103-113.

Altavilla, G., Riela, L., Di Tore, P.A., & Raiola, G. (2017). The physical effort required from professional football players in different playing positions. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 17 (3), 2007-12.

Arslan, E., Alemdaroglu, U., Koklu, Y., Hazir, T., Muniroglu, S., & Karakoc, B. (2017). Effects of Passive and Active Rest on Physiological Responses and Time Motion Characteristics in Different Small Sided Soccer Games. Journal of Human Kinetics, 60 (1), 123–132.

Bangsbo, J., & Mohr, M. (2019). Fitness testing in football. Bangsbosport ePub produktion: Rosendahls – BookPartnerMedia.

Borg, G. (1998). Borg’s Perceived Exertion and Pain Scales. Human Kinetics.

Chang, H.J., & Dong, S. (2016). Analysis of physical fitness and technical skills of youth soccer players according to playing position, Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, 12 (6), 548-552.

Di Prampero, P.E., Botter, A., & Osgnach, C. (2015). The energy cost of sprint running and the role of metabolic power in setting top performances. Eur J Appl Physiol Mar, 115 (3), 451-469.

Di Salvo, V., Gregson, W., Atkinson, G., Tordoff, P., & Drust, B. (2009). Analysis of High Intensity Activity in Premier League Soccer. Int J Sports Med, 30 (3), 205-212.

D’Isanto, T., D’Elia, F., Raiola, G., & Altavilla, G. (2019). Assessment of sport performance: theoretical aspects and practical indications. Sport Mont, 17 (1), 3-6.

Filetti, C., D’Ottavio, S, Ruscello, B, Manzi, V, & Moalla, W. (2016). Relationship between high intensity running and outcome of technical-tactical skills in professional soccer players during match play. American Journal of Sports Science, 4 (1), 1-9.

Hammami, M., Negra, Y., Shephard, R.J., & Chelly, M.S. (2017). The Effect of Standard Strength vs. Contrast Strength Training on the Development of Sprint, Agility, Repeated Change of Direction, and Jump in Junior Male Soccer Players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 31 (4), 901-912.

Iaia, F.M., Rampinini, E., & Bangsbo, J. (2009). High-intensity training in football. Int J Sports Physiol Perform, 4 (3), 291-306.

Izzo, R., & Lo Castro, L. (2015). The study of acceleration and deceleration capacity decrease in repeated sprints in soccer. International Journal of Physical Education, Sport and Health, 2 (2), 2394-1685.

Izzo, R., & Sopranzetti, S. (2016). Speed, acceleration, deceleration and metabolic power in the work to roles for a workout more targeted in elite football. International Journal of Physical Education, Sport and Health, 2(2), 2394-1685.

Izzo, R., & Giovannelli, M. (2018). Session RPE and Speed High Intensity Distance in Meters (D_SHI mt): A valid method to analyze training load in soccer players. Journal of Sports Science, 6 (3), 159-164.

Izzo, R., Giovannelli, M., & D’Isanto, T. (2019). The injury prevention program WTA functional primitive movement in professional football players: A case study. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 19 (Suppl 5), 1885-1889.

Osgnach, C., Poser, S., Bernardini, R., Rinaldo, R., & di Prampero, P.E. (2010). Energy Cost and Metabolic Power in Elite Soccer: A New Match Analysis Approach. Med Sci Sports Exerc., 42 (1), 170-178.

Raiola, G., & D’isanto, T. (2016). Assessment of periodization training in soccer. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 11, 267-278.

Rampinini, E., Sassi, R., Morelli, A., Mazzoni, S., Fanchini, M., & Coutts, A.J. (2009). Repeated-sprint ability in professional and amateur soccer players. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, 34 (6), 1048-1054.

Rampinini, E., Alberti, G., Fiorenza, M., Riggio, M., Sassi, R., Borges, T.O., & Coutts, A.J. (2015). Accuracy of GPS Devices for Measuring High-intensity Running in Field-based Team Sports. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 36 (1), 49-53.

Strauss, A., Sparks, M., & Pienaar, C. (2019). The Use of GPS Analysis to Quantify the Internal and External Match Demands of Semi-Elite Level Female Soccer Players during a Tournament. J. Sports Sci Med. 18 (1), 73–81.