Becoming the best footballer that you can be requires a high threshold of physical fitness, an understanding of game tactics, and the ability to work perfectly with the teammates around you. During a 90-minute match, your body can be pushed to the limit and this is why training in the gym is a real benefit.
Gym routines can help footballers strengthen their bodies in a number of different ways, allowing them to perform better on the pitch. But with so many exercises, and pieces of gym equipment available, which is best for footballers? Let’s take a closer look.
To Increase Your Speed
One aspect of their performance that footballers are constantly looking to improve on is their speed. Increasing your speed on the pitch allows you to not only get to the ball faster but also manage to move around with it more easily, creating more space and opportunities for your team.
Ultimately, most of the power behind your speed comes from your legs, so your gym routine should have a section focusing on working these muscles. Include exercises such as single-leg squats, bar squats and weighted sledge drags into your routine to see positive results.
These exercises are great at focusing on the quad, glute and hamstring muscles that are essential for pushing your body forward and increasing your pace on the ball. When completing these exercises – particularly the single-leg squats, you may discover that one leg is weaker than the other and may require more work.
In addition, there should be a combination of both strength training and endurance training.
To Increase Your Stamina
If you are starting for your team and don’t get subbed off part of the way through the match, you could be running up and down the pitch for 90 minutes straight. This means that you will need to build up your stamina, so that your performance at the end of the match, matches your performance at the start.
One of the best ways to increase your stamina during workouts is through high-intensity training. This could be on either the treadmill or an exercise bike. High-intensity training is perfect for building stamina as it means that at some points you will be running at a fast pace, and at others, a lighter jog – just like you will be during a match. It trains your body to be able to switch more easily between these two levels of intensity and helps increase your anaerobic respiration.
To Increase Your Agility, Balance & Flexibility
As well as being fast and powerful, there is also a level of flexibility and agility that is required on the football pitch. This will allow you to move more easily around opposing players, change direction sharply and reach the ball if it is that little bit further out of the way.
Some of the best exercises to build into your routine for agility and flexibility include different types of sprints with obstacles. This could include sprints with hurdles (as this also works on your flexibility), or backward sprints around cones to increase your agility and awareness.
A great exercise to help with balance is push-ups with a medicine ball. This is because these exercises work to build the strength of your core, and with a stronger core, your balance will improve.
Finally, stretching before your workout is vital, not only to increase flexibility but to reduce the chance of injury.