Once you become a professional footballer, the hard work does not stop. In fact, it probably gets even harder. And as a Premier League player it is vital they continue training off the pitch in order to see the positive results on it. Here are some snippets of how certain players improve on their strength, speed and avoid stiff muscles. Courtesy of FourFourTwo.
Players need to have a solid base of strength throughout their body, giving them a platform to build speed and power from. This includes, weightlifting, core strength and suspension training.
Players like Harry Kane and Frank Lampard would never be the fastest, no matter how much they train. But it is still possible to improve on your speed, and be faster on your feet. They both trained hard at it and made significant improvements.
Lampard said, “When I was younger my dad told me I wasn’t the quickest and that I had to work hard on it, so ever since then I have done a lot of speed work. For example, I do five 10-yard sprints from a standing start to work on my speed off the mark. Lampard then explained how important it was to be quick in the mind. “I think if you’re one step ahead mentally you can have the edge. Try to read the game: watch your opponents and team-mates so you can anticipate their next move. When you haven’t got the ball, look around you – know what you’re going to do with it before it arrives.”
Getting over stiffness
It is even more difficult to continue this training towards the end of your career. Once you are into your thirties, everything becomes a little bit more difficult. Stiffness is a lot more common and it takes longer to recover after matches than it did previously.
Phil Neville experienced this towards the end of his time with Everton, and he found Yoga and Pilates hugely beneficial during this period. It was the first thing he would do when he woke up and again once he got to the training ground. “I get up and perform five sun salutations [yoga] for around three minutes. The movements warm up every part of my body. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and feel stiff, and these essential exercises send energy to my muscles.”
“The first thing I do when I’m at the training ground is a 30-minute yoga session with a couple of the other players. Yoga has 26 poses, and our teacher will concentrate on five or six tailored for the movements of football. I pay particular attention to my hips and my groin.”