Strength training for football players
From Vincent Kompany’s key role in Manchester City’s defence to Christian Benteke’s power in Liverpool’s attack, strength is a key component of many top footballers.
Whatever your position, become a force to be reckoned with by reading MaxiNutrition's guide to effective strength training for football players.
A circuit training programme that develops strength in your legs is effective as a single session can work your adductors, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps. Strengthening these muscles will help you when racing around the pitch.
To get you started, incorporate these exercises into your circuit and carry out the training at least twice a week but never before a match:
Dumbbell squatsHow to do them:
- Hold two dumbbells to the side of your body — one on each side. Choose a comfortable weight for you.
- Squat down until your posterior is level with your knees.
- During this motion, your arms should stay straight to the side of your body, your head should remain looking straight ahead and your feet should point forwards and be flat on the ground.
- Slowly rise to the starting position.
- Repeat steps one to four.
Walking lungesHow to do them:
- Lunge forward using your right leg.
- Your right leg should be bent at 90 degrees with the kneecap facing towards the sky and your left leg should also be bent at 90 degrees but this time with the kneecap facing towards the ground in a kneeling position.
- At the same time, your right foot should be pointing forwards and flat on the ground and your left foot also pointing forwards though in a tip-toe position.
- Once at the bottom of the lunge, drive the left leg upwards.
- Follow the motion straight through into your next lunge, this time with the leg left in front of the right.
Used by a number of top football teams, suspension training is great in that a single piece of kit — consisting of a pair of heavy-duty straps, hand grips, foot cradles and attachments — offers up to 400 different exercises.
Designed to attach easily to an anchor on a wall or the frame of a door, your own bodyweight acts as a training aid in each exercise. The result is the ability to achieve better balance, develop lean muscle and participate in fluid movement patterns like those you would expect on the football pitch.
Here’s a few exercises to try out with a suspension training kit, all of which are designed to improve your skills and endurance during a game:
Squat and flyHow to do them:
- Attach the suspension training kit so that the hand grips are hanging just above shoulder height — from a ceiling if indoors or a climbing frame if outdoors, for example.
- Grab the hand grips securely and squat down until your posterior is level with your knees.
- Keep your head straight and your feet pointed forwards and flat throughout.
- After a second of being in the squat position, drive your body upwards, maintaining your balance and spreading your arms apart as you do so. The further your arms are spread apart, the more the exercise will be working your rear deltoids, helping to enhance the muscles around your shoulders.
- Repeat steps two to four.
Hamstring pull-inHow to do them:
- Attach the suspension training kit so that the hand grips are hanging at around knee height — from a wall anchor or a door frame, for instance.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended and place your feet through the hand grips, resting your heels on the cradles.
- With your arms stretched out in a T-shape, lift your hips to align your body from the shoulders all the way down to the heels.
- From here, bend your knees so that the hand grips are pulled towards you. Your arms and head should remain in the same position throughout.
- Once your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, hold the position for a second and extend your legs back out until you reach the stating position again.
- Repeat steps three to five.
Mountain climbersHow to do them:
- Attach the suspension training kit so that the hand grips are hanging at around calf height — from a wall anchor or a door frame, for instance.
- Drop into a press-up position and place your feet through the hand grips, resting your toes on the cradles.
- Begin the exercise by lifting your right knee up towards your chest. Your hips should remain elevated throughout the entire move.
- After holding at the top of the lift for a second, lower your right knee back to the start position while driving your left knee up towards your chest.
- Repeat steps three and four.