If the only training you’re doing for soccer season is on the field, odds are that you’ll soon be benched. Rather head to one of the Viva Gyms near your pitch and make your game stronger by making your body stronger.
If you don’t believe the advice of someone who can barely get foot to ball, check out Sergio Rumes’ gym routine or be inspired by Real Madrid champions. The beautiful game requires a beautiful athlete, and supplementing your outdoor field time with indoor gym time helps to build muscle and train your heart and lungs for the “high intensity, start-and-stop demands of soccer”.
Here are some of the areas to focus on when you’re indoors at your local Viva gym:
1. Baby, you’re a firework:
Explosive strength is one of key factors in a successful soccer player, to put on those bursts of speed needed to get ball in goal or make one sharp movement as goalie to block it. Two exercises that help build dynamite legs are box squats and leg presses. You could also try jumping onto a box or bench and immediately off again like a kangaroo – and you know their legs can kick!
2. Let your legs be towers of strength:
The need for lower body strength is fairly obvious as soccer is a game where the importance of the bottom half is tops. Target your quads, calves, hammies and hip flexors with squats, hamstring curls and leg presses designed to build legs of granite. It’s a good idea to start with lower weights (60% to 70% of your capability) and higher reps (this can also form part of your muscular endurance training). As time goes on, and your legs become like iron, man, you can increase the weights and lower the reps. Check out some variations to the ordinary exercises, and try some Turkish get-ups which not only build lower body strength but also increase shoulder mobility and core strength to help with speed, agility and power.
You could also include single leg balances or linear and lateral hops into one or two of your week’s workouts, as most of the game is spent on one leg or the other. For more details on how to do these exercises, check out this article or ask one of Viva’s expert trainers.
3. Let those towers stand the test of time:
Muscular endurance training is also important, as 90 minutes (one way) is an awfully long time for any man to last. As well as lower weights and higher reps, you might want to consider adding some circuit training into your weekly programme as this will target all large muscle groups with both resistance and aerobic intensity.
Jumping up to head a ball or lunging to block a shot requires the coordination of more than one muscle – something known as reactive power or plyometric strength. Exercises which help coordinate a number of muscles build this strength, such as skipping, sprinting or taking giant steps.
Here, a Viva class that combines aerobics and coordination might help – such as step (or even Zumba if you’re in the mood for some South American flavour off the field). You can check out more options to find a class that benefits your game.
5. Getting to the core of it all:
It’s not all in the legs – a strong core improves balance, posture, power, and overall functionality as well as agility, endurance and speed. “The stronger you are, the faster you’ll be—core strength is a big part of that,” says Paul Caffrey, fitness coach and director of sports performance for Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo. Read more what Paul has to say on this article.
Some dedicated activities to build core strength include front and side pillars (variations on the plank position), but weight-bearing exercises such as goblet squats and kettlebell swings also help harden that core even while building lower body and shoulder strength. You might also try a Pilates or Bootcamp class which incorporate a number of core strengthening activities.
6. Swap the downers for uppers:
It’s easy to believe that your upper body bears no weight in this game, but a strong chest and shoulders can be vital for pressing through defence. Spend at least one workout day a week on building some strength in your upper body with weight-training such as bench press and one-arm dumbbell rows.
7. Run, Forest, Run:
Cardio fitness is vital. If you took the time to watch the videos above, you will have seen world-class soccer players spending a big proportion of their gym time either on the treadmill or cycling, or doing other cardio training. 90 minutes is a long time, and 100 metres is a long field to run up and down on.
You need a high level of fitness, with special emphasis on interval training. Whether on the treadmill, elliptical, exercise bike or rowing machine – set it to high intensity for a minute then slow for two minutes. This mimics the start-and-stop nature of the game and also helps to build that explosive strength.
8. Bend it like Beckham:
Often, flexibility is forgotten in favour of speed and strength – but soccer requires not only all-round fitness, but a certain elasticity as well. Being supple not only allows a player to reach for the ball but can help to prevent injury. Always include stretching as part of your routine, but you could also amp up flexibility (as well as hardening your core) by joining a Viva yoga class.
If you’re serious about soccer and done clowning around, in other words if you want to go from Ronald McDonald to Rinaldo, then join Viva gym online. If you feel the need to check it out before putting a ring on it, you can download a free pass instead. Make your game even more beautiful with help from our dedicated staff at the best gym in the business.