Training7th June 2018

Functional training for footballers

Football moves millions and with good reason. It’s challenging, fast-paced, engaging and its players have earned the recognition as sports stars, long gone are the days when footballers would smoke or drink alcohol. The level of proficiency is as demanding as in any professional sport and football “Olympics” are here. World Cup is taking centre stage and grabbing everyone’s attention and there is no reason your workout shouldn’t get in the mood.

At EVO we understand the importance of optimizing efforts to bring about the best results. So if you’re a footballer looking for an alternative workout or just wanting a feel of a football-themed workout, this plan is for you.

Move skillfully – Train agility and speed with the right “stepping stones”. Push yourself by timing your performance while dodging obstacles.

Coordination and balance – You’ll need it. Train the constant inversions, sudden changes in motion and interruptions. These can be practised against a wall with a medicine ball, with a bosu and at the kinesis Station.

Strength – when you push yourself with extra weights in practice you’ll feel an extra boost of stamina when facing real competition without the added effort. Ankle weights or barbells “supporting” your squats and lunges will be the extra push that will make everything else seem easy.

Proprioception – Understanding where you are in the game at all times, knowing your relation to others, your location in the field and in relation to the ball are all instant information pieces that the brain captures and that is mandatory for a good performance. Awareness of the surrounding environment can be trained.

Play – the best thing about football is that it’s a game. It’s fun. There are no repetitions of tedious sets – there is the constant challenge and the brain loves creativity and dare. Keeping curiosity and investing in innovation in your workout will keep you wanting more so go for different. Mix yoga or wall climb in your circuit to keep it interesting.


Ankle Mobility

This exercise will be needed for all other movements of this plan.

Lateral jumps

In the game, the so-called “cutting” is a rapid slow down of the body while the body’s centre must equilibrate to move further into another direction. Required is mobility in the ankle and/or hip joints and core strength. If your upper body moves further then your braking foot there is a lack of core strength. Don’t rotate your feet external, it will put wrong shear forces on your knees and you’ll be slower.

Suspended Lunge with hop

Jumps require a mixture of strength and speed. These dynamic exercises activate the central nervous system and activate the fast-twitch muscle fibres (which contract quickly) to work more easy and efficient. So-called plyometric movements use the stretching and shortening cycle, which is a stretch reflex of rapid elongation of the muscle followed by a rapid muscle shortening. The SSC use this reflex to generate powerful movements out of this stored elastic energy.

Side Shuffle

Furthermore, plyometric training improves the ability to coordinate movements especially shift in directions. If you save and release elastic energy you generate far more pace and strength while decreasing energy expenditure and increase endurance.

Bunny Hops

Most training methods for athletes and hobby sportsmen/women take place in an upright position (like exercises before). The so-called ground-based exercises and workout flow on the ground are a beneficial alternative for every training program. These exercises are postures and movements that are not performed standing. They are done for instance by horizontally or crawling.

That’s why they’re called animal athletics, too. Postures and patterns of early childhood phase and animals are part of the training, as examples consider the locomotion of crabs, monkeys or lizards.

It provides a better movement intelligence, control and dynamic. The reactivation of former patterns, which we once learned and now unlearned, again is a central part of this diversified body weight training. As mentioned above functional movement is controlled by input of proprioceptors.

The position and location of the body are communicated in fractions of seconds via feedback loops to the spinal cord and the body reacts. Benefits of ground-based Training:

  • Maximized activation of receptors
  • Increase of mobility
  • Conscious usage of gravity
  • A minor load of the spine
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Improved digestive system
  • Improved Respiration

Side to side shuffle with floor touch

If you move well in lateral jumps this exercise adds some new proprioceptive Impact.

High Hurdle Jump

This is another plyometric exercise with an obstacle. You will learn to put as much force as quickly as possible into the ground in a very challenging exercise.

MB twist slam

If you have a lack of strength and speed medicine ball slams improve your performance. It trains your explosiveness (rapid strength). The medicine ball can be used to better your skill to transfer energy from one end of the body to the other end, the so-called kinetic chain.

Lunge Jump

Include, mix and add some more of these movements in your plan to keep your football inspired training system interesting throughout the entire World Cup.

Workout developed by EVO expert Bardo Tschapke, Evo Le Flair Düsseldorf

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