top of page

Sports Research at Pro Football Club

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

KUPS is the main Pro Football Club in the city of Kuopio Finland. KuPS players are known for using scientific methods in their approach.

Researchers pushed Center Back player Diogo Tomas hard, while measuring oxygen uptake and muscle behaviour.

The test is purposed to determine the Running Speed on a weekly interval exercise.

The Kuopio Sports Medicine Research Institute tests the players of both the KuPS men's and women's league teams every year. Players are tested specifically for their ability to absorb oxygen. There is no room for laziness even during the Christmas holidays. Based on the results, a weekly interval interview is prepared for the players. Running training begins immediately in January.

We followed how KuPS’ Center Back Diogo Tomas copes with a gradually increasing Running Test supervised by exercise physiologist Heikki Pentikäinen. Pentikäinen increases the difficulty every few minutes. The data related to breathing gasses is transmitted to the screen when the aerobic oxygen run exceeds the anaerobic threshold.

The very last minutes of the exercise are the hardest. The heartbeat runs at 180 times a minute as the body is under extreme strain. “Football players run weekly, 15 seconds work and 15 seconds rest. The workout lasts about an hour. Based on the test, we individually determine the running distance. That way, the footballer develops the right endurance for sports”, explains Heikki Pentikäinen. “Keep going, you’re just about to exceed your time of last year”.

After warming up, a tube is inserted into Diogo's mouth, from which several wires are connected to a computer. Pentikäinen notifies the runner each time he increases the workload. Another researcher takes blood samples during the run. One can notice how the heart rate level rises whenever Pentikäinen increases the workload. At 15 minutes, the heart rate approaches 160 beats per minute, and at around 25 minutes, the heart beats as fast as 180 beats per minute. Towards the end, the exercise physiologist starts to seriously encourage and motivate the subject. The entire medical team claps in rhythm at the most difficult stage of the run. The athlete must generate the maximum power he can out of his body.

- Keep running, sharp and relaxed. Acidity in the blood is rising. Good rhythm. Now go all in! Don’t give up. Keep working, soon you will exceed your value from a year ago! Your results are great for a big Center Back like you.

Eventually, Diogo collapses on the treadmill frame. The big man can now start his recovery.

Diogo says a couple of jokes to Brazilian Gabriel Bispo, to KuPS latest hire who watches the test. He receives feedback on the data from the researcher, but also verbal evaluation.

- At this time of the year, your results are excellent for a large striker like you. Your score is as good as that of any national-level endurance athlete.