The nation has fallen in love with football again following Gareth Bale and the boys’ incredible performances in the European Championships in France.
There is a real hope that Wales’ progress this summer will inspire the population and boost participation in leagues of all standards up and down the country.
With this in mind, we spoke to our fitness gurus at Simply Gym Cwmbran about how you can get fit for football and emulate your International heroes this preseason.
Getting in shape might be tough, but if you put the work in now you will be on top of your game come the start of the season. This 4 week plan is inspired by preseason at professional football clubs, so make sure you allow yourself enough time to build yourself up properly.
The key is to ease yourself in after a long break so start back up with some running. The first time you go out try and run for anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes. Work up a sweat and a moderate heartrate, but don’t push yourself too hard at the start.
During the rest of the week you need to encourage mobility in your body through sessions in the swimming pool, on the exercise bike or on the rowing machine, for example.
It is vital at this stage that you are stretching regularly. Stretching your major muscle groups will encourage flexibility and build the strength back up in your muscles, so be sure to stretch before and after exercise.
Now that you have eased yourself in it is time to step things up through interval training. Find an open space such as a football pitch or field and run as fast as you can sustain for three or four minutes. Once you are done, take the equivalent time resting. Doing this several times over is really good for your fitness and more importantly, replicates the shorter runs that you will have to make in a match.
Football is not just an aerobically demanding sport. With this in mind it is time to introduce some functional training to prepare your body for the various demands of a football match.
Functional training is all about the training of movement rather than muscles. For footballers, functional training can lead to better joint movement, balance, strength, agility and endurance. In week two you need to develop and implement a functional training plan that will increase your ability to sprint from standing, jump, head, tackle and change direction quickly.
There is a large variety of exercises out there, so we would recommend speaking to a qualified specialist who will help you to develop a plan that optimises your training time.
In week three you have to shorten your intervals but run faster! Run as fast as you can for one minute and then dropdown to a gentle jog for the next minute. Try and repeat this exercise ten times.
This is a really important session as it will allow you to maintain intensity during matches, but it can also be one of the toughest! Try and fit this session in twice during the third week, alongside more functional training.
Week three is also the time to get back on the football pitch. Try and organise a five-a-side match or a kick-about and get back to the game. Despite all the scientific advancements in football today, some professional footballers are still adamant that the best way to get fit is by playing football.
Now it is time for shuttle runs — short sprints that increase in distance each time. For example, place a marker 10m away and then sprint there and back. Next move the marker so that it is 20m away and sprint there and back. Finally repeat at a distance of 30m. If you can, try and repeat this exercise five times.
Try and fit in another game of football on top of a few sessions of shuttle runs as this should help you to build your speed, match sharpness and power.
Following this four-week plan should be enough to have you ready for the season ahead, but if you have even more time keep up the functional training and shuttle runs on top of a game or two of football.
No matter what your fitness goals are goals this summer, the team at Simply Gym are offering to develop a free personal exercise programme for everyone who joins. Our qualified specialists would also be delighted to put together a functional training plan to help you get fitter for football.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org