Gym Training for Footballers
Professional level footballers are generally discovered at a very young age and often sign big money deals before they’ve even left school (that’s some serious pocket money right there.) Football is predominantly a skill based sport, which means those who perform at a world level are often born with this apparent god given gift. However, that’s not to say these godly players can’t improve their skill set. Strength training and conditioning will do more for your game than a £200 pair of boots that weigh less than a snickers.
It’s common knowledge Cristiano Ronaldo changed the culture at Manchester United by being the first in to train and the last one to leave. It’s not coincidence he’s one of if not the best footballer in the world.
Manchester United’s Strength and Conditioning Coach Mick Clegg was assigned to his role after scouts witnessed the power and strength of his two sons. It’s safe to say there is more than winning the genetics lottery to making a good footballer.
But what can you do this summer to ensure your performance next year is more Iceland than England?
ANAEROBIC OVER AEROBIC
One issue with many footballers is the fact they focus too heavily on improving their aerobic energy systems – likely due to the distance covered over the course of a 90 minute match. However, the majority of a game is spent sprinting, followed by walking or jogging back to their position. Obviously this is different for midfielders but the issue here is the same. Heavy focus on aerobic conditioning reduces the body’s ability to perform high intensity activities like sprints, jumping and kicking. The best way to maximise your abilities across the board is to focus on anaerobic work – sprints, hill sprints, circuit training, etc.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RESISTANCE WORK
‘I don’t need to train my legs. I play football.’ I don’t even want to comment on this statement for risk of offending people or blowing this blog out to dissertation sized proportions. Full range squats will develop more kick power than leg extensions. They’re also kinder on your knees and have more crossover to sprint power. Developing a strong core, improved power and balance will help general gameplay, stability and strength in the tackle to shake off opposition.
MOBILITY IS THE KEY TO LONGEVITY
Ryan Giggs attributed the longevity of his career to his regular yoga sessions. This improved mobility will reduce chances of injury, improve recovery, reduce stress and will generally keep you on the field injury free. Repeated bouts of distance running can be very taxing on the ankles, knees and hips, so anything to limit the impact of this will be beneficial to your performance on the pitch and your life off the pitch.
- SQUATS – 3×8 for 2 weeks, 4×6 for 2 weeks, 5×5 for 2 weeks
- ROMANIAN DEADLIFTS – 3×10
- BARBELL GLUTE BRIDGES – 3×10
- MED BALL THROWS – 4×5 each side
- 5 × 60s on / 60s off 5-15% – INCLINE SPRINTS (DEPENDING ON FITNESS) for 2 weeks
- 10 × 30s on / 30s off 5-15% – INCLINE SPRINTS (DEPENDING ON FITNESS) for 2 weeks
- BARBELL CLEAN AND PRESS x 10
- DUMBBELL RENEGADE ROW x 10
- SQUAT JUMPS x 10
- SIDE PLANK LEG RAISE x 10 each side
2 mins off x 3-5 rounds
OPTIONAL LOWER INTENSITY WORKOUT
10-20 mins steady state bike / rower / running – Ideal for midfielders or any other position that’s a bit chunky post summer holiday!