Circuit Training

“Proper conditioning provides players with the physical and Psychological foundation to meet the requirements of the game. In order to carry out the technical and tactical demands of the game, players must be physically and mentally fit. Without fitness, technique and tactics soon disappear from the game.” (USSF, 2003)

The goal of soccer specific fitness training is to develop player’s capacity to perform at high intensities. VO2 max and Lactate Threshold mark the human limitations to performance. When a player constantly is surpassing the Lactate threshold, and if the aerobic system is not able to recuperated quick enough, then fatigue will settle. Physical and mental fatigue will diminish technique greatly, and without an adequate technique, tactics are soon to have a negative effect.

VO2 max and Lactate Threshold can be improved and farther develop with Interval Circuit Training. Aerobic Low Intensity and Aerobic High intensity are crucial to sustain indirectly the energy systems used in the anaerobic state. For Interval Circuit Training to be effective is fundamental to have a good Aerobic Base.

Heart Rate (USSF “B” Manual, 2003. Pg 42)

  Heart Rate Heart Rate Heart Rate Heart Rate
Type of Training % Of MHR % Of MHR BMP BMP
  Mean Range Mean Range
Recovery 65% 40% – 80% 130 80 – 160
Aerobic LI 80% 65% – 90% 160 130 – 180
Aerobic HI 90% 80% – 100% 180 160 – 200

Fixed Time Intervals (USSF “B” manual, 2003. Pg 43)

  Exercise Rest Heart Rate
A 30 seconds 30 Seconds 90% – 100%
B 2 minutes 1 minute 85% – 95%
C 4 minutes 1 minute 80% – 90%

Aerobic High Intensity Training

During this type of training, the coach most be careful not to exceed the Aerobic HI training. If the intensity if too high then the training could become exclusively speed training. For Aerobic HI training to be effective, players most be able to continue to work at high intensity for the duration of the Interval training. (USSF “B” Manual, 2003. Pg 43)

Six weeks preseason training (Verheijen, 2004)

Period Format Reps Intensity Sprints Intensity Rest Macro
Week 1
11v11-8v8 2×10 min Normal 6×60 mt 60 % 60 sec 2 min
Week 2
11v11-8v8 2×12 min Normal 6×60 mt 60 % 60 sec 2 min
Week 3
7v7- 5v5 4×4 min High 6×15 mt 2 sets 10 sec 4 min
Week 4
7v7- 5v5 4×5 min High 7×15 mt 2 sets 10 sec 4 min
Week 5 *
4v4-3v3 6×1 min High 4×15 mt
6×15 mt
1 set I min 4 min
Week 6 *
4v4-3v3 6×1 min High 8×5 mt
10×5 mt
2 sets 30 sec 4 min

Week 5 & 6 for 4v4-3v3 training/ 3 min rest/ 2 sets/ 4 min macro rest
R.C.EX.END= Recovery Capacity – Extensive Endurace Training
R.C.INT.END= Recovery Capacity – Intensive Endurance Training
R.P.EXT.INTERVAL = Recovery Power Extensive Interval Training

Note: Speed training guidelines should only apply to U15 and up. U12 – U14 teams should reduce the speed training distance in half. U12 and bellow should incorporate their speed training into their regular soccer training.


USSF “B” License Manual, 2003. Youth Sports Publishing (801) 297-6386

Verheijen, R. 1998. The Complete Handbook of Conditioning for Soccer. Reedswain, Michigan.

Verheijen, R. 2004. Peri erring binnen trainingsmethoden. Uitgeverij Eisma bv, P.O. Box 340, 8901 BC Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.

KNVB Coaching Course Manual, 2005. Match Analysis & Match related Training. Zeist, The Netherlands.