Football isn’t just the most popular sport in the world it’s also one of the most physically demanding team sports you can play. Players require a unique combination of endurance, strength, dexterity, agility and speed in order to excel at the highest levels of the game.
While focused coaching from the professionals at justfootballacademy.com.au can help you make exponential improvements in the technical and mental sides of your game. You can make the process of learning new skills far easier, if you develop a strong physical base to develop from. Here are some great conditioning exercises that will help you get started.
Building Cardiovascular Endurance
The average outfield player can run as much as 11 km per game! That’s a lot of laps to make around the pitch, even without the added responsibilities of dribbling, heading, shooting, tackling and positioning factored in.
The best way to achieve a high level of cardiovascular fitness is incorporating high intensity interval training into your routine. Start by warming up for about 15 minutes (important for avoiding injuries), then sprint for 3 minutes at your maximum speed, to get your heart rate elevated, then return to a normal jogging pace for 3 minutes and allow your body to cool down.
Repeat these 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off patterns about 4 times, to increase fitness in a more effective manner. The varying pace will also better reflect the different demands the average football match will place on your body.
While football may not allow as much physical contact as rugby, or AFL increased physical strength can still provide many advantages on the pitch. Stronger players have better balance, greater acceleration, improved agility and they can recover quicker after a game.
Avoid putting too much focus on machines, as improperly monitored routines that isolate certain muscle groups can cause imbalances to your muscles, that resulting in injuries down the line. Instead focus on full body movements such as lunges, squats, push-ups, pull-ups and burpees.
These compound exercises will help balance the opposing muscles of your body, and help you develop the kind of functional lower body, and core strength needed for football.
Agility and Flexibility
Being able to stretch and manipulate your body to perfectly cushion a high flying ball, or to make a last-ditch challenge is a necessary skill for any footballer. Increased flexibility also helps protect your body from picking up tears, pulls and other muscle related injuries.
A committed warm-up routine is an essential part of any training session; this should incorporate dynamic stretches such as walking lunges, bull-body squats, high knees, leg swings and arm circles.
After a training session you should always make sure to properly cool down by engaging in static stretches. These include hamstring stretches, side bends, groin stretches and hip/thigh stretches.