The aim of this study was to evaluate the application of the Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test level 2 (Yo-Yo IE2) to elite female soccer populations. Elite senior (n = 92), youth (n = 42), domestic (n = 46) and sub-elite female soccer players (n = 19) carried out the Yo-Yo IE2 test on numerous occasions across the season. Test-retest coefficient of variation (CV) in Yo-Yo IE2 test performance in domestic female players was 4.5%. Elite senior female players' Yo-Yo IE2 test performances were better (P < 0.01) than elite youth, domestic and sub-elite players (mean ± standard deviation; 1774 ± 532 vs 1490 ± 447, 1261 ± 449, and 994 ± 373 m). For elite senior female players, wide midfielders (2057 ± 550 m) had a higher Yo-Yo IE2 test performance (P < 0.05) than central defenders (1588 ± 534 m) and attackers (1516 ± 401 m), but not central midfielders (1764 ± 473 m) or full-backs (1964 ± 522 m). Large correlations were observed between Yo-Yo IE2 test performance and the total and high-intensity distance covered (r = 0.55; P < 0.05) during elite senior soccer matches (r = 0.70; P < 0.01). A large correlation was also obtained between Yo-Yo IE2 test performance and (r = 0.68; P < 0.01). Performances in the Yo-Yo IE2 test were greater (P < 0.05) in the middle and the end of the season compared with the preparation period for elite youth female players (1767 ± 539 and 1742 ± 503 vs 1564 ± 504 m) and in elite senior female players, Yo-Yo IE2 test performance increased by 14% (P < 0.01) after completing 4 weeks of intense training prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals (2049 ± 283 vs 1803 ± 342 m). The data demonstrate that the Yo-Yo IE2 test is reproducible and is an indicator of the match-specific physical capacity of female soccer players. Furthermore, the Yo-Yo IE2 test illustrates sensitivity by differentiating intermittent exercise performance of female players in various competitive levels, stages of the season and playing positions.
Sports Medicine, 2014, Vol 24, Issue 1, p. 43-54
Adolescent; Adult; Athletic Performance; Exercise Test; Female; Heart Rate; Humans; Physical Endurance; Physical Fitness; Reproducibility of Results; Soccer; Young Adult