Saints’ Under-21s paid a visit to Southampton Solent University for their pre-season testing ahead of the 2015/16 campaign on Thursday.
Members of Martin Hunter’s squad took part in a series of tests to check their fitness levels ahead of pre-season training getting under way on Monday.
As well as looking over their health and well-being with dental and eye tests, the players took part in the grueling VO2 max test, which pushes them to the limit in terms of maximum exertion.
Professor Stewart Bruce-Low, who works at Solent University, explained just what data the test provides: “We get a top value which is called the VO2 max. That’s the amount of oxygen the human body can take in and use for energy.
“We’re also measuring blood lactate, which is a waste product of exercise but gives us indicators of training zones and that’s very useful for when the players are training.”
Alek Gross, Head of Sports Science, says the test pushes the players to the limit both physically and mentally.
“The boys have to run until they can’t run any more,” Gross explained. “It builds up quite slowly. The first few minutes are quite easy but at the back end it’s all about how far they are willing to push themselves.
“It’s very important they do that so we can get the correct information to provide the correct training. The boys understand that they need to go as hard as possible.”
After completing his test, Under-21s captain Jason McCarthy said that it provides the ideal starting point ahead of pre-season training.
“It was really tough, but we’ve had a month off now so it’s time to start getting our heads back on and thinking about pre-season,” he told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“There’s no better way to prepare. There’s a big season coming up with a lot of games. We’re going to have to be fitter than ever.”
Another to complete the test on Thursday was Sam McQueen, who believes it’s not just about showing your physical strength.
“It’s a max fitness test so it’s up to us how hard you’re going to push yourself,” McQueen said. “It’s a good test and I think I pushed myself to the limit. It’s about mental strength as well as fitness.”
The Under-21s will return to the Staplewood Campus on Monday as they begin their preparations for the 2015/16 campaign.