Surviving brawls, shattered bones and torn muscles, footballers are undeniably some of the fittest sports players in the world. Big-time football fans will know this contact sport is no joke. Players need to have exceptional cardiovascular health, as well as super-human strength to withstand the often brutal battles that take place on the field.
So, how do football players prepare for their sport? We’ve done some digging and put together a few awesome exercises that will help get you football-fit! Throw them into your existing workouts or create your own circuit at the end of your gym session.
A staple in all soccer training programmes, drills are also widely used by footballers. Blasting up to 250 calories in just 20 minutes, drills are great for weight loss but also help to improve cardiovascular health.
If you’re a fitness fan, then you’ll have seen ladder drills, but, if not, here’s the lowdown:
Lay out a training ladder or flat markers/cones with ladder rung spaces between them on the ground. Then, as quickly as possible, step into each space, travelling up the rungs as you go. You can do this in whatever pattern you wish – side to side, frontwards or backwards. Once comfortable with the pattern, increase your speed.
So, why is this exercise footballer-approved? Well, alongside helping to challenge your coordination and balance (vital on the field!), ladder drills also improve acceleration, perfect for speedily charging past the opposition.
Strong quads are a MUST out on the football field. Players have gotta be sturdy so they can stand their ground against tough tackles and all that running means strong legs really come in handy! So, how can you sculpt strong quads? Squats, my friend.
Kettlebell squats are easy, versatile and require limited equipment (just a kettlebell, duh).
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold the kettlebell in both hands in front of your chest and pretty close to your body. Then, keeping your back straight and chest upwards, bend your knees until they’re at a 90-degree angle and push back upwards, pressing down into your heels as you do so. Super easy, right?!
If you want to challenge yourself, go for a heavy kettlebell and throw in some pulses to really kill your quads. Wanna add a cardio spin? Use a lighter weight and add a jump into the squat – this is sure to get you sweating!
HANGING LEG RAISES
Be warned, these are killer! Targeting your abs, hip flexors and obliques, hanging leg raises are great for football players, strengthening the core and ensuring flexibility in the hips. A strong core is essential during tackles, while flexibility in the hips allows for comfortable running, cos, as you know, there’s a whole lotta running in football!
Use a frame or pull up bar to perform this move. Simply grab the bar, shoulder width apart, using an overhand grip. Keep your torso stable, engage your abs and slowly raise your legs until they’re at a 90-degree angle. Sounds easy, huh? But, trust us, these guys are tougher than they look!