The performance explained through MPEs

Oct 27, 2021 | ACADEMY, WEBINAR

“Metabolic Power Events” is part of a series of webinars held by Cristian Osgnach to go deeper on the workload analysis and the concepts of metabolic power and high-intensity through specific examples on the field.


We know that MPE is often considered a smart solution to overcome the limits of acceleration. However, this is not their main use. Power events have been designed for a better understanding of the performance from an energetic point of view, which means to get through the balance between high demanding (oxygen debt contraction) phases and recovery (oxygen debt payment) phases. Since a football match lasts more than 90 minutes, we have to deal with keeping the best intensity for as long as possible. The general use of the metabolic power approach is to provide a clear picture of the power demands and the MPEs help us accordingly.



This video, through the analysis of this particular exercise, shows how easy it is to miss out on some demanding events while monitoring the performance (i.e. three power events vs just one acceleration). The graph below (bottom panel) reports the time course of metabolic power, which allows us to get more information about the overall amount of energy required, per unit of time, to carry out the activity in question.


The three similar peaks (in the figure, marked ① in red) result from a combination of both speed and acceleration together. In team sports, high metabolic power output is required to perform actions of combined moderate speed and moderate acceleration. The overall energy needed to perform this specific exercise is represented by the red area, whereas the light blue area is the energy supply from aerobic sources. Every time the red area exceed the blue one, the subject needs energy from anaerobic sources, to perform the activity in question (i.e. MPE).
On the contrary, when the blue area exceeds the red one, the overall energy excess from aerobic sources is used to restore ATP and phosphocreatine stores (i.e. recovery phase).


MPEs energetic analysis of the performance

Fig. 1

The following video provides additional insight on high demanding actions, taking into account all the combinations of speed and acceleration below both the high speed and high acceleration thresholds, but above the VO₂max of the athlete.




Thanks to the total number of MPEs, we analyse in-depth the way the athlete alternates work and recovery. Both phases can be described through duration and intensity. With reference to the recovery phase:

  • average recovery time is the time interval between one and the following MPE. This is a very important parameter since it allows the coach to understand the time an athlete needs to (partially or totally) restore the anaerobic sources.
  • average recovery power expresses the intensity held by the athlete during the recovery phases. The higher the intensity, the more actively the athlete manage the recovery actions.

What happens during the match? If the performance between two athletes is quite similar, how can MPEs help us to make a distinction?

We will present an example in the next article.



Additional references:

C. Osgnach, “How to detect the high intensity
C. Osgnach, “A simple intermittent exercise analysis: gpexe vs traditional metrics




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