Modern soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, but only those who have stepped on the green grass of glory know what it takes to emerge victorious from it. Namely, soccer puts a tremendous amount of strain on the entire body: it is a high-intensity activity with quite a lot of start-and-stop demand. Hence, athletes have no other option than to get into top shape and endure all the hardships of a long season.
Bouncing off the gym walls
In soccer, players are put through a set of multifarious physical trials and tribulations. They have to master a wide range of motions, mount enough endurance to maintain peak performance throughout the championship, and achieve solid strength for duels with opponents. There is a lot of contact and fighting for position, which means that strong muscles can give you an edge over your opponents. As a result, regular training programs no longer cut it, and more and more players now possess a gym membership.
Although pros usually focus on lower body muscles, it pays off to take a holistic, balanced approach. While weightlifting poses a perfect off-season routine, a sound training plan also consists of leg presses, deadlifts, squats, hamstring curls, etc. The best way to start the training process is with lower weight and a higher number of reps. On the other hand, the weight must not be too low: you want to challenge your body and experience muscle fatigue within 90 seconds.
So, for example, when performing leg presses, stick to three sets of eight to ten presses with an appropriate weight. As you progress, you may step up in the weight department and at the same time lower the number of reps. Also, note that a great weapon for the soccer arena comes in the form of explosive strength: it is required for quick and powerful moves towards the ball, lunges, and tackles. The aforementioned leg presses aid in developing explosive strength, but this is also true for exercises such as box squats.
Furthermore, athletes must be able not only to display strength, but also to use their muscles for prolonged periods of time. A soccer game last for 90+ minutes and running out of steam will land you on the bench. Muscular endurance exercises differ from strength training, as they harness the power of more reps in combination with light weight. The circular workout is the cream of the crop, targeting all major muscle groups, increasing both their strength and endurance. Typically, it includes series of different exercises, with eight to ten reps each.
The demands put before athletes also involve reactive or plyometric strength. This refers to the ability to coordinate multiple muscle groups when moving or executing blocks and headers. To obtain this kind of strength, opt for exercises like jumping off and on a box. Other examples involve giant steps, skipping, and sprinting. Finally, during the big match, you also need to recover your breath quickly and stay on top of the game. This is to say that soccer is an aerobic discipline that can benefit much from conditioning training.
It most often kicks in during the off-season when players start hanging out around treadmills, exercise bikes, and rowing machines. This equipment is best utilized with lower resistance, which lets you work at a high intensity for up to 90 seconds, with two-minute rest periods. Just bear in mind that an essential component of fitness success is recovery. Thus, rest for 24 to 48 hours before stressing your body again. Also, pay attention to sleep patterns if you want to maximize the gains. The final ingredient of stellar success is nutrition, one which is bustling with wholesome food.
On the ball
There are many moving parts of high-performance soccer training, yet neglecting a single one of them is not advisable. One must get into strength and conditioning, increase power and responsiveness, target various muscle groups, and prepare for any situation that might arise on the pitch. Each component calls for a specific approach, so train smart and hard and you should be able to forge a physique capable of withstanding even the most demanding matches.