If you want to play football at any level, you’ll need to work on your stamina.
In a 90-minute contest, the average professional player travels over 10 kilometres. It’s no longer only about improving lung capacity; the game’s demands have grown so rapidly that being bigger, more powerful, more explosive is more important than ever.
Here’s the only football fitness training programme you’ll ever need.
Have the ability to run for days
Get on a treadmill or find a suitable open location for running. Interval training isn’t a traditional stamina builder. Still, it’s what most Premier League players do to improve their VO2 Max (the maximum rate at which a person’s body can consume oxygen during exercise), hitting top sprints at high tempo before jogging and then going all out again, allowing them to build stamina and flourish deep into added time.
The drill entails jogging for four minutes, followed by a four-minute tempo run. Combining footwork around cones with sprinting is also a good idea.
Increase sprinting speed
Previously only possessed by wingers, sprint pace is now required of players at all positions. Even modern greats like Rio Ferdinand will admit how difficult it is to play without it at the end of their careers.
Using weighted sledge pulls and parachute sprints to stretch your legs way beyond their capabilities will put your head and shoulders above the competition.
You’ll become a speed merchant if you strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps with isometric and eccentric exercises under increased strain.
Five rounds of 50-meter sledge pull, or bungee ropes, with a 30-second rest in between.
Develop a more explosive personality
While superstars like Eden Hazard appear to be able to turn a curve and be in the middle of the next week, most of it is down to hard effort. It’s all about having a lot of explosive power.
Training for this is tough for the faint of heart, and it takes maximal effort and good technique. However, the payoff is substantial, as it transforms you into a lethal number 10 with a terrifying turn of speed.
Perform plyometric activities like squat thrusters, burpees with tuck leaps, and any type of jump squat, including plyometric box jumps, to achieve this, and your opponents will be eating your dust in no time.
The drill consists of four sets of ten single-leg box jumps on each side, with the box height increasing each week.
Improve your ability to change directions.
It’s great if you’re quick, but you’ll be stuck on the wings if your speed stops at straight-line speed. Every footballer should be able to reverse direction and do it rapidly, without risking injury and while maintaining good control of the ball.
Traditional cone drills, such as slalom runs and shuttle runs, are a simple technique to develop a player’s agility. Don’t forget about the ball; the ability to sprint and turn at full speed while maintaining possession of the ball is a game-changer.
The drill: Slalom slowly over 10-20 cones in a zigzagging arrangement and back, increasing your speed each time while keeping your foot on the ball.
Establish a rock-solid core.
You’d be hard-pressed to get a player who uses every facet of his body to his advantage more than Lionel Messi. The pint-sized playmaker is on a different level than the rest of his opponents, eluding defenders with remarkable balance and speed as they all bounce off his little frame.
However, not everyone is endowed with a low centre of gravity, so how can you achieve that with a few extra inches? The key is to build a rock-solid foundation forA yourself.
But, before you start doing sit-ups and crunches, remember that true core stability comes from incorporating some hazardous activities into your workout. This may mean squatting on a Bosu ball, doing single-leg Romanian deadlifts with a T-bar, or doing plank jacks with a TRX, all of which will put your core to the test and enhance your stability while scrambling for the ball.
The drill: Six reps of any of the above, with a three-second pause.
Strength training is something you should avoid at all costs. The favourable impacts of disciplines like Olympic lifting and general resistance training have been brought to the football world’s attention thanks to advances in sports science.
Squats, deadlifts, and lunges are all-powerful compound activities that improve explosive power, overall speed, agility, and – to a degree – core stability. However, injury prevention is the most important advantage of strength training; a good resistance programme generates strength improvements in ligaments, tendons, and skeletal structures.
Do five sets of six reps of deadlifts, squats, and lunges throughout the week.
Allow for recovery time.
Footballers don’t have much time to recover, given the intense demands of the current game, which include training session after session sandwiched between games. They do, however, leave plenty of time for recovery behind the scenes. Recovery should also be a key part of your training routine, and not performing it properly could prevent you from reaching your peak fitness.
It’s critical to train to help your body regenerate. Foam rolling is particularly beneficial for preventing fascia build-up and minimising DOMS (delayed onset muscular soreness). You should also ensure that your nutrition is in order and that you stretch after the match.
Make sure you stretch or foam roll your lower body for at least 10 minutes after a workout.