Betfred Sport

The personal trainer's guide to football fitness

Although there are other versions of the game, football is still played in two main forms, the 90 minute version and the more explosive five-a-side game.

Football requires you to be constantly on the go. Your fitness level and strength plays an incredibly important part in your game.

In a new Total Football column, Jamie Field - the managing director of Leeds-based personal fitness gyms 5 Star Fitness - will take you through the different elements of fitness training you need to focus on, to be in the best condition for your game. 

Football training and football coaching need to target the right muscles for fitness. Football is a sport that requires a multitude of athletic abilities, including:

• Explosive acceleration and fast sprinting speed

• Muscular strength and anaerobic fitness

• 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

• Hamstring and groin injuries are common in footballers due to improper balances in strength mainly between the quads and hamstrings

• Strength in the upper body, weakness in the upper body makes the player slower

• Good flexibility and range of motion

This week’s focus: Speed training and muscular endurance

To develop explosive power, aim to do this circuit no more than once a week, and certainly not on days before a match, as this type of circuit takes a few days to recover from.

Plyometric Training Circuit:
This workout is based on plyometric training, which means extending a muscle across its full range of motion before explosively contracting it again. Doing exercises that involve fast, powerful movements shocks your muscles and gets your heart rate up, which burns hundreds of calories in a short time. Studies have also shown that people who did plyometric exercises twice a week for six weeks increased their strength by 37 per cent and their jump height by 8.3 per cent.

Time per session:
40 minutes
What you need:
A medicine ball and a 400m running track

Warm up with five to ten minutes of gentle jogging, with occasional sprints and bounds to help loosen muscles and joints. Then do the exercises below in order, taking no rest between the numbered stations.
Exercise 1: Burpee x 6
Exercise 2: jacknife x 12
Exercise 3: Squat to overthrow x 8
Exercise 4: Kneel to press-up x 8
Exercise 5: Jumping lunge x 12
Exercise 6: Clap press-up x 8
Exercise 7: Lateral hops x 12
Exercise 8: 400m run

Once you have completed one circuit, rest for two minutes and then do it all again.


Shuttle Sprints
Most sprints last for between 6 and 15 metres in a match, so look at this distance for your training. Work your sprints in the following form, standing start, lying flat on your stomach start, running start, sprint forward with run back and then repeat all with a ball. Aim to have a minimum of 3 markers to turn around, not necessarily in a straight line.

Aim to sprint the width of the pitch, then jog backwards along the length before sprinting again. Once you get fitter, you can then sprint the length and jog on the width.


The Leg Circuit
If you haven’t time to do a full 40 minute work out every night, keep yourself toned and fit by doing the below exercises.
A1: Split squat jumps x 12
A2: Walk lunge x 16
A3: Alternate squat thrusts x 40

Rest 90 seconds  
3 to 5 sets

Along with this session you can do 10 second sprints rest 30 seconds repeat 12 times.

To contact Jamie or for more information, go to:

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