Bayern Munich, Germany’s most successful soccer club, has a 121-year history of excellence. Soccer is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, so it’s not surprising that one key to this team’s success is a shared commitment to supreme fitness. But not all their training takes place on the field. Balancing soccer-specific workouts with other forms of exercise is a great way for pros and amateurs alike to avoid boredom while keeping fit.
One of Bayern Munich’s top players, Thomas Müller, is renowned for his outstanding fitness and, consequently, his resistance to injury. Whether you’re an aspiring professional or simply a fan of the sport, you can improve your own health and fitness by following some of the crosstraining tips that help Müller and his teammates stay at the top of their challenging sport.
Jump Into Swimming
Scientific research has discovered that one of the most important components of peak athletic performance is neuromuscular coordination, which enhances the ability to coordinate body movements while maintaining balance. Müller and his Bayern Munich teammates train extensively with various activities such as jumping, sprinting, and performing rapid changes in direction to optimize their neuromuscular coordination. But there are times when the body needs a break from those exercises’ pounding effects, and swimming provides the perfect respite.
Swimming provides a full-body workout that strengthens core muscles, increases flexibility and balance, and improves cardiovascular endurance, all with a very low risk for injury. The ideal way to benefit from aquatic workouts is with your own backyard pool. While it may seem like a luxury, installing a pool may be more economical than you imagined, especially if it allows you to get fit in your own backyard. Research inground pool cost and see if it might be an option for you.
Increase Metabolic Performance
Another major contributor to the world-class athleticism of Thomas Müller is the development of metabolic performance. Metabolism is the cellular-level process that turns food into energy. Metabolic performance is the optimization of metabolism so that the body more efficiently consumes oxygen and exerts energy. Muller and his teammates work hard at increasing their bodies’ efficiency through both diet and exercise, and you can, too.
Most experts agree that the best diet for athletic performance is high in lean protein with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and minimally processed foods. While it is important to eat healthy most of the time, remember to leave room for a special treat here and there. Thomas Müller has been known to prepare and enjoy a traditional Bavarian dish called Käsespätzle, a cheesy baked delicacy that is comfort food at its finest.
Exercise To Prevent Injury
Running is obviously a central element of soccer, and players like Muller spend a lot of time running drills to keep their skills at their peak. Müller’s relatively injury-free career is due in large part to careful and consistent conditioning. FIFA offers an injury prevention basic warm-up that combines running drills with plyometric exercises that any player at any level can use to increase fitness and reduce the risk of injury.
To reduce wear-and-tear on your joints, consider adding some sessions of pool running. Also known as aqua-jogging, this high-resistance, low-impact exercise is a great way to work your muscles without breaking a sweat.
Take It Easy Sometimes
Unlike some other professional athletes, soccer players generally do not attempt to bulk up with highly-developed muscles. In fact, Thomas Müller has stated that having fewer muscles is better for his body and performance. So instead of crosstraining with a lot of weightlifting, consider options like cycling, kayaking, and yoga. These activities offer great workouts that add variety without overly taxing your body.
Whatever crosstraining endeavor you choose, remember to take it slow and steady. These activities should be an enjoyable supplement to your higher-intensity training, so reduce your effort level and have fun. Whether you’re an aspiring soccer star or an enthusiastic fan, Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller is a great role model for getting fit and staying healthy.