It’s coming home! Or at least England are going to a FIFA World Cup with a young, talented squad and a healthy realism about their chances of lifting the trophy.
Football is the most popular and most played team sport in the world and, the forthcoming World Cup is likely to be the most watched sports event this year.
Which is why we decided to put together a training programme to help you get as fit as Harry Kane, Dele Ali or Danny Rose.
The first thing you need to ensure for good football fitness is a good endurance base. The average professional player now covers about 10 kilometres in a 90 minute match. That is a combination of sprinting to latch onto a pass, running to get into position or jogging back after an attempt at goal.
The best form of stamina training that meets football’s specific requirements is interval training. This will help you improve your body’s efficiency when it come to using oxygen, meaning you can keep going at a harder pace for longer.
Warm-up by jogging and side stepping for 5 minutes
Do four minutes of jogging followed by four minutes of hard running (not quite a sprint but near to full pace). Repeat this five times.
Cool down for five minutes.
Speeding down the wing
Developing sprinting ability
The second football fitness strand that footballers need is explosive speed. The ability to race into a good position, whether it be to make a tackle or get onto a cross in front of the opposition’s goal. You are looking for the speed that will give you that split second advantage over an opponent. To gain that extra burst of explosive speed you need to perform plyometric movements such as burpees or jump squats.
Warm up by jogging for five minutes.
Do 10 burpees, 10 squat jumps and 10 single leg box jumps (10 on each leg) with no break between each exercise.
Recover jog for two minutes before repeating four more times.
Warm down recovery jog.
Changing the game
While speed is essential, being able to change direction quickly is just as important. Every footballer should be able to change direction at any second, without the risk of injury. Think about the twisting and turning a defender must do to shadow his or her opponent.
Warm up jog for five minutes.
Dribble a football through 15-20 cones, placed in zig-zag fashion covering about 50 metres in total. Spring straight back with the ball.
Repeat this 20 times, increasing your speed as you get more competent.
Recovery jog for five minutes.
A rock-solid core will make you a much better balanced and strong footballer. Think of Lionel Messi as he twists and turns past players. His balance and ability to withstand crunching tackles is largely due to the core strength of the diminutive Argentinian player.
This session can be added to any of the previous three sessions. Core strength work should be central to your weekly training regime.
Core stability is best achieved by adding unstable exercises to your routine.
Cardio warm up for 10 minutes.
10 x deep squats on BOSU-ball.
20 x Bird-Dog (kneeling with hands and knees on floor in table-top position, lift left hand and right leg so they are parallel. Hold for three seconds then change sides).
20 x Russian twists (sitting on the floor with your legs raised in front of you. Holding a weight in both hands, take it to one side of your body and then the other, keeping your legs off the floor throughout the movement).
20 x side plank (10 on each side). Lie on your left side, take your weight on your elbow and foot and lift your body off the floor so there is a straight line from head to foot. Hold for three seconds and then lower. repeat the movement 10 times in total and then swap to the other side.
The FIFA World Cup kicks off on 14 June in Russia. For variety in your workout, incorporate our training for football fitness into your own regular schedule.