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World Cup Special: Football Fitness


Despite England's loss last night we're still feeling the world cup spirit. In tribute we decided to look at the fitness complex fitness requirements to succeed in the beautiful game, dispelling the myth that footballers do little more than kick a ball around for 90 minutes.

Football players require high levels of fitness that enable them to run long durations with small rapid sprints throughout a 90 minute period or even longer in match finals if extra time awarded. Training is a key element in today’s modern game, with professional players needing to be of a higher level of fitness in order to keep their place on the team for 90 minutes.

The game requires a multitude of athletic abilities, aim to make improvements in the following to improve your game:

Explosive acceleration and fast sprinting speed.
Muscular endurance and strength in the lower body.
Muscular balance and high levels of neuromuscular co-ordination.
Body awareness and agility, the ability to know where your body is, and be able to move it.
Discipline to take orders and decisions, as well as putting the team first.
Good flexibility to avoid injury, football players are prone to poor hamstring flexibility.
Correct balance between your quadriceps and hamstrings, as well as strength imbalances between your left and right leg.

Football players work on improving their cardiovascular condition throughout the season. One of the ways this is done is with interval sprint training. Coaches line their players up at the goal line and sprint to the 10-yard line and back, the 20-yard line and back, the 30-yard line and back and then the 40-yard line and back. After completing these sprints, players get a one-minute break and repeat the sprints. All football players lift weights and do exercises to get stronger. Lifting free weights helps players build explosive strength, and some of the top strength-building exercises include the bench press, arm curls, dead lifts and lunges. Players also do pushups, burpees and bear crawls to build strength that can be used in games.

The most effective players are the ones who have the most speed and quickness. Increasing speed can be done by running hills, running with resistance and plyometric training. Hill running will build strength and power when you run uphill and balance and technique when running downhill. Resistance training can be provided by running with a parachute attached to your back. Box jumping will give you a significant plyometric workout and build up the key speed-building muscles in your calves, hamstrings and glutes.

Footballers are therefore highly trained athletes with excellent aerobic and anaerobic fitness, their strict training offering many health benefits.