Components of fitness guide will give you a step by step method of getting peak fitness for a try out, season, combine, or just wanting that soccer body you've seen on TV. In the components of fitness, i wont give any information out that i wouldn't, or havent used for myself.
I group my physical shape for soccer into 3 different categories: Fitness, Strength, and Technique. In this guide we will only be talking about Fitness and Strength.
Getting your lungs and legs ready for the extreme haul of a 90 minute soccer match is going to be the hardest, and most mentally challenging part of this guide. With solid mental toughness, you'll get through it and by the time you are finished, you will be more than happy that you pushed through it.
The key idea for respiratory fitness is not so much what you do, but that you continuously day by day be doing some type of running. So if you have things you already prefer doing in this category, then by all means, do your own thing, but remember that days off should be very minimal when it comes to fitness.
Day 1: Since you have just begun you fitness regimen, we are going to work on a bit of long distance running so you can have a base for the more physically demanding running to come. Get outside on the side walk and run at a slow pace for 10 minutes. Stop to stretch for 5 minutes make sure you hit all of your leg muscles with 15 second stretches. After you are done continue your run for another 10 minutes at a faster pace. Once again stop to stretch, this time for 2 minutes. Now we are going to pump it up a bit and i want you to run for 5 minutes straight at 60% of your top speed. after the 5 minutes is up, go ahead and slow down to that slow jog you started with for 1 minute, so you can catch your breath, then go hard at 60% of your top speed for another 5 minutes, then slow down to a jog for 1 minutes. This is called interval running, and it will be key to getting you into shape for soccer matches where stop and start is the beat at which we play by. Do that cycle 4 times, ending with a nice deep 10 minute stretch. Thats all for today. Remember, if you find yourself getting dizzy or feeling faint, immediately stop and sit down, not everyone is the same, and no one was born with iron lungs, this is something that you will build up over time.
Day 2: The second days running will consist of more sprint work. Your going to need 4 cones, or 4 markers of any kind (shoes, bags, strange looking twigs) i want you to pace out 10 steps in front of you, place a marker. then pace out 10 more steps and place a marker. then keep doing that until you've exhausted the 4 markers you are using. By now you may realize what we are going to be doing. These are called Shuttle runs. You will start at the first cone, sprint to the second cone, then sprint back to the first cone, then sprint to the third cone, then back to the first, then turn and go to the fourth cone, turn again and come all the way back to the first cone. That will be one shuttle. I want you to do 4 of these. Take a minute between each if you need, but push yourself hard on this day, because it will only last 10-15 minutes (depending on how long you take for a breather). That is all for today. make sure you get a good stretch after you've finished.
After one week of going between the two days i want you to make the following changes:
Day 1: pump up the speed in the interval section to 100% as hard as you can go, but now only go for 30 seconds. Then take a 1 minute break and then go again. Do this 5 times, and end with a 10 minute 70% run.
Day 2: spread the markers out a step or two further, and instead of doing this 4 times i want you to do this 5 times. We are also going to add a second drill to Day 2. Take 3 markers, place one where you stand, then pace out 50 steps, place a marker, then pace out 50 more steps and place another marker. Start at the middle cone, a sprint to either cone (it does not matter which direction you start) once you get to that marker, turn around and sprint passed the middle marker all the way to the far marker. Turn again and finish with a sprint to the middle cone. Do 2 of these. That will be the skeleton of your fitness regimen, scale up or down the workouts however you see necessary .
Regardless of what some people may say, not every soccer player is small and skinny. I spent over a month on trial at Burnley FC, I am 6ft 180lbs and I was well below the size of most of my team mates. Strength is KEY in soccer. And i'm not talking about huge biceps and pecks, i'm talking about full body strength. Below, I will outline the workout routine I have compiled from my time working with football trainers in England, and here in the US.
My routine is split up into 4 days: 1 Lower body, 2 chest biceps, 3 back triceps shoulders, and the fourth day being a rest day.
Day 1 Lower Body:
clicking here will take you to BodyBuilding.com which is what i use when i have a question about any type of physical fitness. If you dont know what the lifts below are, just follow that link, go to the search bar, type them in and you'll get a detailed description with a little video. real nifty :)
Romanian Deadlift: 4sets of 8reps - Do a little research on this lift before you do it, because i've never seen anyone do it right on their first try, and it is easy to hurt your lower back when doing it. Start with a very low weight (15lbs on each side) and make sure your form is good, and perfected before you go up in weight.: 4sets of 6reps - When letting the weight come down, make sure you keep your back flat against the pad and not let it start to round.
Lying Hamstring Curls: 4 sets of 8 - It is important to pause at the top and hold for a count of one before lowering back down slowly than you originally raised.
Hack Squat: 4sets of 6reps
Quadricep Extensions: 4sets of 8reps - When extending at the peak of the lift (leg is straight out in front of you) make sure you flex your quad as hard as you can.
Seated Calf Raises: 4sets of 12reps - Weight should be low and the reps are higher than on the standing calf raise. This one is going to burn so make sure you get your 12 in and dont quit.
Standing Calf Raises: 4sets of 8reps - Weight should be high and reps should be low. When rising explode up and hold at the top squeezing your calf muscle as tight as you can, then after a count of 1 lower yourself at about half the speed you went up, making sure you drop your heel getting a good stretch
Day 2 Chest, Biceps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4sets of 6reps - Go light on these at first
Flatbar Bench Press: 4sets of 8reps - Slow and steady, dont jerk, and only go down so that your arms are at a 90 degree angle. Any further can cause shoulder problems. Try and always have a partner with you when you bench press.
Seated Cable Press: 4sets of 6reps - Get a nice squeeze in the middle by turning your palms inwards towards each other when your arms are fully extended in front of you. Flex your pecks at that point and you'll feel a nice contraction.
Hammer Curl: 4sets of 7reps - Go one arm at a time making sure the dumbbell hits you on the shoulder at the top.
Barbell Curl: 4sets of 6reps - If you are getting pain in your wrists, you can switch to the EZ bar. The bends in the EZ Bar will help do lower the the stress on your wrists by rotating then a bit.
Standing Bicep Cable Curl: (Reverse Grip): 4sets of 8reps - If you click the link, it will show you the regular grip method, i want you to reverse your grip so that your palms are facing down. When you grip the bar, dont use your thumbs to hold it. Instead, use just your four fingers, and have your thumbs resting on top of the bar.
Day 3 Back, Triceps
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown: 4sets of 6reps
Close Grip Lat Pulldown: 4sets of 6reps - Lean back a bit and pull it down close to your chest.
Seated Row: 4sets of 6reps
Lying T-Bar Row: 4sets of 6reps - If your gym doesnt have one of these, then just go back to the seated row machine, switch the attachment from the one that was on there before to the one that you used for the wide grip lat pull down and place your hands on the straight part of the bar just before the bend.
Reverse Grip Tricep Pulldown: 4sets of 6reps
Skull Crushers: 4sets of 6reps - keep your elbows in and do not let them flair outward.
Bent Over Dumbell Extensions: 4sets of 6reps - it is important to get a good squeeze at full extension, and hold for a count of 1. Start with a really low weight at first. Like 2 or 3 pounds is fine, its more about the squeeze than the heavyness of the weight at first.
Whether you are trying out for a team, getting in shape for a try out or professional combine, none of this will matter unless you are touching the ball constantly working on your technique and close control with the soccer ball. This guide is based purely on physical fitness for the sport but dont ever disregard your education as a soccer player by substituting ball work with a gym session.
Good luck, and thanks for reading!