Teen Fitness: High Intensity Intervals Best for Soccer Endurance

Becca Borawski Jenkins

Managing Editor

Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Martial Arts, Cooking and Baking


A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research revealed traditional methods of training endurance may not be the best for teenage athletes. Using a sample group of teenage soccer players, researchers trained half the group with high intensity interval training (HIIT) for approximately 30 minutes at 90-95% of their maximal heart rates.Teen Fitness: High Intensity Intervals Best for Soccer Endurance - Fitness, strength and conditioning, teen fitness The traditional, high volume training (HVT) group trained for approximately 60 minutes at 50-60% of their maximal heart rates. Both groups did the same skill training and regular soccer training that they do in preparation for every soccer season. After 5 weeks soccer players in the HIIT program showed an increase in oxygen uptake of 7%, while players in the HVT group improved only by 1.9%. In addition the HIIT group showed a greater improvement in their 1,000m running times. 


This is an important discovery because high intensity training is a better fit for training teenagers due to their busy schedules. Shorter practice times allow more leeway for school and recreational activities. The short nature of this study (five weeks) also demonstrates coaches can get their athletes in shape quickly as the sports seasons changeover during the school year.



Possible Benefits of HIIT for Soccer Players:

  • Increased ability to intake oxygen
  • Improved running times
  • Increased sprint performance
  • More efficient – fits into teenage schedules


Also noted in the study is the fact no athletes demonstrated signs of overtraining or increased incidents of injury. Traditional school of thought has been that long slow training is best for endurance, but this study shows that high intensity interval training benefits teenagers on multiple levels. 

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