If you’re serious about improving your football skills, you’ll already have added several home workouts to your off the pitch training schedule. If you’re motivated and driven, the workouts themselves won’t come as a problem, but there’s still room for improvement for many players. Here’s ten top tips to maximise those off-the-pitch training sessions and take your game to a new level:
Add High Intensity Interval Training to Your Workout
Whether it’s weight lifting or sprinting sessions, HIIT is the best way for football players to train. You’ll be raising your heart rate to 75%-90% of your max for short burst and then recovering between sets or sprints. You can use a heart rate monitor to help you if you need to. HIIT training should be short and intense. After warming up gently, Aim for no more than 40 minutes of weights or 10-15 minutes if it’s a sprint session.
Factor in Time off – Rest Is Vital for Improvement
Sleep is one of the most important – if not the most important- factor for building a strong and fit body. Aim for eight hours a night and remove all distractions in the hours leading up to bedtime. Sleep will massively aid recovery between workouts, and so will taking off days too. You should really only be training outside of football for three sessions a week and you need a day off in there too. When the season ends, take a whole month off from sport. You won’t lose muscle or skill, and will often come back fresher and fitter.
Choose the Correct Drills and Exercises
Throw away the elliptical machine and the treadmill and get outside. You’ll get a much more rewarding and intense workout by hill sprinting and using cones for agility work. Stop and go training is much more relevant to football than mindlessly treading away on a machine. When it comes to weight training, you need heavy weight, not repetitions. Go total body with heavy squats, deadlifts and presses.
Take Sensible Supplements
Most supplements are terrible. They do little for performance and mostly just hurt your wallet. Adding more protein and fresh vegetables will do more for your performance than anything else. Once you have your nutrition dialled in, seek supplements that actually have an effect, like Vitamin D or Magnesium (if you’re deficient of course). Fish oil is another supplement that’s proven to boost performance. Buy the freshest and best quality you can afford.
It sounds obvious, but it’s vital you’re having fun! There’s no point grinding yourself into the ground with your training so that you’re constantly exhausted and bored of your routines. UK Football Trials, a leading organiser of football trials agrees, saying: “It’s important to mix up your training routines to stop boredom and fatigue setting in. Variety will improve your fitness too in the long run.”
With a little planning and research, your off the pitch training can reach new heights. Keep it varied, look after yourself, and your on-the-pitch performance will soar!
Wendy Lin is a freelance writer and entrepreneur. She spends most of her time outdoors and says she totally underestimated the beauty of England’s countryside before she made the overseas move from LA.