Football players typically play two games every week, with several training sessions in-between them. Not to mention that each game lasts ninety minutes, where you’re expected to sprint, stop, take long runs, jump and fight for every ball.
In order to be able to do that at the top level and maintain your best game day-in and day-out, as a football player you need endurance. You have to be able to sprint even in the 889th minute, when you’ve already been running for several kilometers. If you’re not, then you just won’t make it very far in the sport.
With that said, one of the myths about endurance training is that it’s always monotonous, boring and simply a workout that no one wants to do. Well, we’re here to prove that theory wrong. In this article, we’re going to talk about endurance training for football players – why it’s important and what are the best ways to incorporate it into your training regime.
So without keeping you waiting any longer, let’s get started.
Why Is Endurance Training Necessary for Football Players?
Endurance is a must for top level football players. That’s because it’s the one thing that will help with recovery after games and also allow you to keep performing at your very best, even when you’ve played matches back-to-back and your body is longing for the necessary rest. And even if you’re still not at the very top of the game, ensuring that you can last the entire 90 minutes in top notch condition is the one thing that will separate you from many wanna-be professionals that are getting gassed 60 minutes into the game.
How to Improve Endurance as a Football Player
Now that we’re clear on why exactly endurance is fundamental for footballers, let’s talk about how you can improve it in the best way possible.
Everyone hates running, but the truth is that this is the most accessible form of cardio exercise that will improve your endurance overtime. It’s also the form of cardio that you will be doing most of during a football match, after all you’re expected to be able to run for 90 minutes.
If you truly dread running long distances, the best way to get over it is by starting small. Start with a 3 mile run, then slowly work up your way to about 10 miles. During that process, you will not only increase the capacity of your lungs and your aerobic endurance, but you will also ensure that your legs can take being in movement for prolonged periods of time.
As a football player, there are going to be days when you just want to let the legs rest. After all, if you spend the entire week running in practice and during games, it’s highly likely that your lower body will have taken a beating and will need to recover. However, that doesn’t mean you still can’t do a bit of endurance training.
This is where rowing comes in the picture. It’s a fantastic way to not only get your blood pumping and your heart racing, but to also include your upper body in your endurance training. The only slight downside to rowing is that you will have to get a machine, or go to the gym in order to do your training, unlike running which can be done literally anywhere. Having said that, if you want an even lower impact rowing workout, you can go for a water rowing machine – that way you will feel way less impact on your joints and it will be an even greater exercise for your recovery days.
One of the greatest footballers of all time – Cristiano Ronaldo is an avid fan of swimming and is said to have an indoor pool in each one of his houses. We all know that CR7 is known for his fantastic form and his ability to still perform at the top level, even at age 38 and so if he’s doing something, there must be a reason why.
Swimming is the most low impact sport for your joints and it allows you to work your aerobic capacity and your muscles, without putting extra pressure on your joints, which is what makes it a terrific exercise not only for football players, but for all athletes. You can start by only swimming for 20-30 minutes and slowly work up to longer distances – you will certainly feel the way your body is changing and improving.
Endurance training is a must for football players, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring and difficult. Hopefully, our training recommendations will inspire you to switch your training routine and try other forms of cardio that bring you joy and improve you as a player at the same time.