Is 5-a-side tougher than 11-a-side?

A new study has revealed playing small-sided games requires greater physical fitness and is more demanding technically than 11-a-side football

It doesn’t matter how fit you are, a fast-paced game of five-a-side will leave your lungs burning and shirt dripping with sweat.

New research has now revealed small-sided games are even more physically taxing than 11-a-side football and could help you get fit for your weekend game.

More after the break

A study in Human Movement Science compared the physical and technical demands of four-minute, small-sided games compared to 11-a-side matches.

Players completed three different 4v4 games, (one touch, two touch and free play variations) as well as two friendly matches, with their heart rate, perceived exertion and technical performance analysed.

Compared to match play, total distance covered per minute, high-intensity sprints, number of duels and lost ball possessions were significantly higher in the four-a-side games.

Heart rate was also higher, while the number of successful passes and ball possessions were lower, showing the greater physical and technical demands of smaller sided games.

Check out some of our links below on how to get five-a-side fit – it could help your lung-bursting box-to-box runs on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Recommended stories

Four steps to five-a-side fitness

Arsene Wenger: How to improve your five-a-side

Five skills for five-a-side

Improve your futsal for five-a-side

Promo sitewide