Whether it’s semi pro standard or weekend five a side, everyone’s keen to improve their performance on the pitch. Penalty practice and drills are of course important, but there’s a lot of work you can be doing in the gym to support your development as a well-rounded player. Make the first eleven or just impress your mates. Hussle’s got you covered.
Build stamina & endurance
Often used together, stamina and endurance are actually slightly different. Stamina is your ability to continue going at maximum capacity. Endurance is your ability to continue going for a prolonged period of time, but the capacity is not defined. Think being able to start a sprint after the ball from your teams 18-yard box and keep going all the way to theirs. That’s stamina. Being able to last the entirety of a 90-minute match without fatiguing. That’s endurance. In football, you need both. Any cardio will help you achieve increased aerobic fitness. Take running for example. Including workouts that involve running for a prolonged period as well as practising your sprints with interval training will help support your stamina and endurance on the pitch. No Messi-ng around.
Plyometric training can be described as explosive actions that lengthen and then shorten the muscles. Think maximum force in short bursts of time. They aim to increase your speed strength, which is an important component of football. In a fast-paced game where things change quickly, you need speed strength to keep up. Think kick speed and power. Think rapid changes of direction. It takes a certain type of exercise to develop your speed strength or power. Tuck jumps, Squat jump, box jumps, reverse lunge with knee ups. All these types of exercise will help you work on your power.
Increase the intensity
High intensity interval training (or HIIT) increases your cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance and muscular strength. All these types of fitness are required for football, so HIIT can provide an extremely efficient full body workout to help your performance on the pitch.
There are many types of HIIT workouts you can do either in a class, or on your own.
- Start by setting a time limit. 30 minutes is plenty.
- Pick a free weight. A set of dumbbells can provide lots of exercise variety.
- Choose two high tempo exercises like mountain climbers and burpees.
- Now three weighted compound exercises that give you a good full body burn. Double movement ones for increased efficiency. Squat with an overhead press, lunge with a rotation, push up to bent over row.
- Work through the exercises in succession. 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off.
- Repeat the round of exercises 4 times, taking a 60 second break in between
Focus on the lower body
You lower body is much needed when it comes to football. Understatement of the article. Lots of people, particular males, are keen to work on their upper body strength. Segmented days of the week dedicated to arms, shoulders, back, chest. It takes up a lot of training time. It’s important not to neglect the lower body as it will provide the majority of the support you need on the pitch. Muscular strength is increased by the load or weight of your lifts. Muscular endurance is increased by the number of reps you’re doing. Work on both. It’s important to apply progressive overload if you want to see the benefit of your workout.
Pay attention to coordination
The need for coordination in football is an obvious one. So, we won’t spend time telling you why it’s worth improving. To get technical, your coordination skills and also your balance rely on proprioception. This means the sense of your body in space. The way it moves, where parts of it are, your distance from things. It’s an innate awareness that develops as we get older. Both strength training and plyometrics can be used to develop this sense and thus increase coordination. But there are some extra hacks you can try to improve further. Try doing exercises with your eyes closed to heighten and focus on your proprioceptive senses. Try Yoga. It’s a great way of being present and aware of your body and develop strength and skills you didn’t know you were missing.
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