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Football training in the gym

Football training in the gym

While most of the action we see happens on the field, behind the scenes there is more to football training than drills. The most elite players train 6-7 days a week, with regimes that include ice baths, hurdles and multiple games of football.

So, want to train like a footballer? In the gym there are four key areas to focus on:

1. Muscle Building

You’ll need to build some muscle to increase your overall body strength, especially in your legs, but there’s no need to start piling on the weights. Low weights with high reps are the best place to start, especially if you are fairly new to the gym. Aim for three sets of 8-10 reps. Adjust the weight so that you experience fatigue on the last 1-2 reps of each set.

2. Explosive Strength

Explosive strength is what allows your favourite footballer to strike the football as hard as they do, it’s also what give your team’s goalie the ability to go from a stand-still to a goal-saving lunge in a heartbeat. To build explosive strength you need two things, your body weight, and a hard surface. One of the best explosive strength training movements is the box jump. A cross fit favourite, the box jump is a simple exercise in theory, but requires a massive burst of strength – an explosion even.

3. Reactive Power

Reactive or plyometric power describes your body’s ability to coordinate more than one muscle at a time. Training your reactive power will improve your agility and (not surprisingly) your reaction time on the field. One of the best and most accessible reactive power training items is the humble skipping rope, and skipping has the added benefit of improving your fitness levels. Which leads us nicely into our fourth and final football training element…

4. Cardio... Lots and lots of cardio!

A football game is 90 minutes long, and a lot of those 90 minutes are spent running from one end of the pitch to the other. So if you want to train like a footballer, you are going to need to be able to run like a footballer; a lot. The treadmill is the obvious choice here, but there are plenty of cardio machines in the gym to help you mix up your training regime. Whatever type of cardio you choose, the best way to improve your fitness levels is through interval training. Performing 30-90 second sprints, with two minutes periods of rest in between will train your body to recover both in the gym and on the field - as well as mimicing the short, sharp bursts of energy that are demanded of footballers.