Gym Exercises to Boost your Football Performance
Football is undoubtedly the nation’s most beloved sport — and very likely the world’s, too.
Millions of people enjoy watching matches each year, and a pretty large chunk of us also enjoy getting stuck in and playing the game in person, whether in the form of casual weekend competitions with friends, or as part of a local club.
Football, of course, is physically demanding. Having great technical skills sure doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t mean much if you find yourself panting for breath and struggling to see straight 10 minutes into a game.
For any football enthusiasts out there looking to improve their performance on the field, certain gym exercises and routines can be a godsend.
Here’s a quick list.
- HIIT ‘sprints’ on an exercise bike — being able to chase the ball down or sprint past the other team’s defence is a major benefit in any match. High-intensity interval training conditions the body’s anaerobic system to pull that off. HIIT on a bike is lower-impact than HIIT on a treadmill or a track, meaning you can train more often, with less wear and tear on your joints. Aim for something like 7 rounds of 30-second “sprints” followed by 90 seconds of slow-peddling recovery.
- Barbell front squat — squats are often called the king of exercises, because of the sheer number of muscles that get trained by the movement. For football-specific training, barbell front squats have several additional benefits. For one, they place more emphasis on the quadriceps muscles, which are the primary muscles used when you kick a ball. They also force the core to engage to a greater degree, which aids overall athleticism.
- Planks — planks are a bodyweight exercise which do a great job of conditioning the muscles of the core. The core muscles play a vital role in all athletic activities, as they are essential for stabilising and coordinating the rest of the body. Having well-conditioned core muscles will greatly improve your balance and stamina when running around the field and performing sudden turns and manoeuvres.
- Treadmill jogging — with the rise of HIIT, ‘steady state’ cardio has largely fallen out of fashion. As the thinking goes, why jog for 30-60 minutes when you can do intervals for 10 instead? At the end of the day, though, some steady state cardio is essential for conditioning your body’s aerobic systems.
Sprint intervals are great, but they don’t prepare you for the steady-grind of jogging around a field for most of a game. Football involves a lot of mid-level aerobic work, so getting on the treadmill and jogging for 30-60-minute stretches is a must for your overall conditioning.
- Barbell deadlifts, or hex-bar deadlifts — deadlifts are an essential exercise for any athlete looking to increase their power on the field. This exercise trains the entire ‘posterior chain’ — a series of muscles including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, trapezius muscles, and rear delts. These muscles come into play in virtually every movement you perform in life or sport, and often play an essential supporting role in moments of serious exertion.
All forms of deadlift will do a good job of strengthening the core muscles, which makes them that much more valuable for athletes.