Physical and physiological characteristics of elite Indian national footballers

Document Type

Journal Article




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Kulkarni, K., Levin, G. T., Penailillo, L., Singh, A., & jaspal Singh, S. (2013). Physical and physiological characteristics of elite Indian national footballers. Journal of Athletic Enhancement, 2(6). Available here


Purpose: The characteristics of professional footballers have been well documented however, research into elite Asian particularly Indian players, remains relatively unknown. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the characteristics of elite Indian footballers and compare the results according to outfield playing positions. Methods: Twenty-eight current and past Indian under 22 years national players (height 1.73 ± 0.03 m; body mass 71.8 ± 2.5 kg; age 25.1 ± 1.1 years) underwent a series of anthropometric, physical and physiological assessments including skinfold assessment, isokinetic knee extensor and flexor strength, vertical jump, maximal ball kick velocity, Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test, Illinois agility test, and sprint performance. Results: Outcomes varied according to playing position with forwards displaying the lowest percentage of body fat (16.0 ± 0.7%) compared to midfielders and defenders (p<0.01). Midfielders obtained the highest knee extension and flexion strength (p<0.01) and were also most aerobically fit players (p<0.05). Significant correlations were found between body fat and several variables such as agility (r=0.59), isokinetic knee flexion strength (r=0.63), isokinetic knee extension strength (r=0.71). Conclusion: The results obtained suggest that currently Indian players are not meeting physical and physiological standards expected for professional international footballers. Nonetheless, consistent with previous findings position specific characteristics appear to exist and need to be considered when coaches and sports scientists design team and individual training programs.