Football is a very demanding sport. Kicking a ball, running, jumping, diving and moving with swift directional changes requires energy, fitness and a huge amount of training that professional football players undergo every week to stay in the game.
Aerobic endurance fitness is a kind of training that all football players usually take. It is a great workout for the entire body. Often, team managers use cross training and blend fitness into the players’ training sessions.
A typical regime for a professional footballer would usually start in this fashion. This is an actual example of one professional football team’s former manager’s training plan for the week.
Sunday- Active recovery session. This usually means cycling for 20-25 minutes. Bicycle training boosts speed and endurance on the football field. It is also one of the most beneficial forms of activity as it increases the size of leg muscles and glutes, which gives players explosive power.
Monday- Dedicated to extended recovery session. It consists of light training, which prepares the squad to take on more intensive training for the next 2 days. These consist of squats and bench presses. Many teams and athletes are now using a muscle recovery machine to shorten the recovery time.
Tuesday- High-intensity training. This is mostly a small-sided football game with no goals, or simply a man-to-man marking match where one player must follow and block a fellow player every move. These are usually short games of five minutes each.
Wednesday & Thursday- Power development and complex training. Wednesdays and Thursdays are usually dedicated to intense workouts where players are required to do both lower body and upper body exercises. The lower body exercises include kettle bell swings and jump squats. The upper body exercises include explosive pull-ups and push-ups.
Friday- Low-intensity training. It usually focuses on tactical preparation, building speed and quick reaction times. Short shuttle runs sometimes happens at the blow of a whistle.
As much as exercising is important, eating a balanced diet is equally important. Professional football players need to be agile and athletic, so they need to eat the right foods which have a healthy mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and vegetables.
Proper nutrition matters so before the start of a match, most players eat carbohydrates like potatoes, brown rice, brown bread, pasta and cereals, which give them enduring energy. To increase their concentration for practice or a match, eating oily fish like salmon or good fats like nuts are ideal. Protein-rich foods like milk help rebuild damaged muscle tissue, and help with post-match niggles.
Apart from these, clubs monitor and keep track of its players’ fitness, both during practice and games. This data helps to structure training sessions and later be used to customize a player’s training requirement. It also gives clear data of who is fit and who is unfit to play in the next game.
Want to train like a professional football player? Well, now you know how to go about it.