This time of year, soccer is capturing the globe’s attention. Are you one of the many who’s finding yourself captivated and impressed by the agility, speed, and endurance of the world’s best soccer players – not to mention those ripped physiques?
In order to be like the pros, you have to exercise like the pros. Use this workout guide to build your athletic prowess and get your body in crazy-good, futbol-worthy shape.
Before Your Workout
Soccer stars and casual exercisers alike know that warming up your muscles before exercise is crucial to having a successful workout. In addition to increasing flexibility, stretching is known to improve your athletic abilities and reduce the risk of injury.
To get your body prepared for the intense soccer workout that’s about to follow, begin by performing some active stretches, such as leg swings, arm swings and lunges. Pay special attention to the legs, groin, hips, and lower back when you’re stretching, as these are the areas that tend to give soccer players the most trouble.
After your dynamic stretches, go for a light jog or fast-paced walk for 5 – 10 minutes to help loosen up.
Run, Run, Run
Excelling at soccer means having the ability to endure an hour and a half of running nonstop.
In order to not wear yourself out early on, try running at around 80% of your full intensity level, as opposed to running as fast as you can. By running at a slightly lower intensity, you are building muscles and working on increasing your lung capacity and stamina. This also decreases the chances that you will get hurt or fall.
Hit the Weights
The weight room is your key to increasing your strength and muscle size. Soccer pros emphasize work on the legs and core – these powerful muscle groups allow you to kick the ball with more force. Use a variety of objects like free weights, medicine balls, kettle balls, and stability balls to target your abs. When it comes to the legs, perform a series of leg presses, squats, and leg curls.
Don’t forget your arms and chest – push-ups, chest presses, dips, and rowing are all effective ways to define and build some serious muscle.
Practice with a Team
Last but not least, getting some real on-the-field time can greatly improve your game. You don’t even need a real team – just enough people to throw together a pick-up game of three-on-three soccer on the front lawn, at a nearby park, or on a real soccer field.
Work on your kicking, passing and scoring (don’t forget goal-keeping) skills. Give it your full effort, and channel your inner pro player. When the big teams scrimmage against their own teammates, they’re playing with the intent of winning, and so should you. By pretending that you’re playing in a real match, you’ll become more confident in your soccer moves, and before you know it, you’ll have yourself feeling and looking like you’re one of the pros!