Soccer is the most popular and widely played sport in the world. More than 200 million people play soccer on every continent except for Antarctica. Soccer players are also among the most fit athletes due to their rigorous training and fast-paced matches. For all soccer players, ranging from sports celebrities to high school heroes, improving soccer fitness requires making wise choices on and off the pitch. Here are 5 tips to maximize your soccer workout.
Making the most of your soccer workout begins before you don your cleats and hit the field. Start by getting enough restful sleep. In fact, researchers have found that many benefits of exercise occur during sleep and deep sleep in particular. While you’re in deep sleep, growth hormone gets released and helps your body heal. Growth hormone also contributes to losing weight and building bone and muscle. So make sure you get eight hours of quality sleep to perform at your best.
Food and Water
Thinking of food as fuel will pay dividends for your soccer workout. The benefits of proper nutrition cannot be overemphasized. For an athlete, this means more than just eating your vegetables. You should design meals around your body’s needs before and after your workout.
Your pre-workout diet should vary depending on your energy requirements. Basically, vary your carbohydrates levels to match your training load, with more carbs for intense activity and fewer carbs for light days. Post workout, eat a combination of protein and carbohydrates. High impact plant protein by Tony Horton is a good choice after a workout. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated before, during and after exercising. Once you have adopted smart food choices, you will notice an improvement in your workouts.
After you’ve gotten enough quality sleep and eaten well, you are ready to hit the gym. Playing soccer is usually associated with lower body strength and agility. That observation is accurate, but for optimum performance you should work out your legs, core and upper body. Resistance training is a good activity in itself, but to make the most of your workout, you need to combine the right exercises.
For your lower body, do squats and lunges to build explosive force. Kettlebell swings work out your arms and shoulders while also hitting your core. Your core stabilizes your whole so body, so add some planks to ensure you can twist and jump., For your upper body, bench presses and dumbbell rows will give you the power to hold your own in crowd of opponents.
Soccer players spend 90 minutes running up and down the field each match. So, cardiovascular health is key to winning games. To make the most of your cardio work out, follow the well researched advice of elite trainers and do high intensity interval training or HIIT.
HIIT involves alternating between high and low intensity exercise. Athletes usually start by doing intervals of 30 seconds sprinting followed by 30 seconds exercising at a moderate pace. As you build endurance, raise the interval times equally or start to spend more time going harder. A variation of HIIT is to use intervals of distance instead of time. HIIT will give you great results for your effort.
So far, all the workout advice has been to prepare you for actually playing soccer. When you’ve had enough sleep, fortified your body with good nutrition and strengthened your heart and muscles, you will dribble, pass and shoot at your best. These skills need to be practiced to be mastered, so make a plan to maximize your soccer work out.
For dribbling, weave through a line of cones while maintaining control of the ball with the inside, outside and top of the foot. To practice passing, kick a ball back and forth with a teammate from running and stationary positions. Finally, take shots on a goal from different angles with and without a goalie.
Maximize your soccer workouts by focusing on all components of your health. You’ll become a better player, which means you’ll make your team better.