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Soccer, or football for our European friends, is arguably one of the most uniquely and physically demanding sports on the planet. At the professional level, athletes are expected to play many games in a span of nine months. To add to that, this physical toll is increased tenfold, as they’re required to travel around the country – often times even abroad. Additionally, soccer players always need to be in their top form, both mentally and physically. Elite Daily’s Joseph Milord even went as far as saying they’re the fittest amongst all athletes. The writer does have a point, so for now, let’s shift our attentions away from the physical side and into the mental aspects of what makes a supreme athlete.
Aside from the physical requirements of soccer, the sport also – as what we’ve established earlier – has a mental side. Live Science contributor, Marc Lallanilla, says that experienced players tend to have “impressive brain functioning and executive-level cognitive skills.” In other words, their brains are more equipped to sort out visual cues and execute even the most complex brain-based challenges. Additionally, soccer players have better eye-muscle coordination than other human beings – athletes and non-athletes alike. They can physically and mentally endure running an average of 6 miles per match, as well as perform at a high pace for 90 minutes.
Getting physically and mentally ready is one thing, maintaining this level of fitness is a whole different story. Stephen Tudor, a pundit who also pens articles on Betfair’s Champions League section of the soccer site, claims that athletes are similar to Formula One engines. Throughout the years, they’ve become finely tuned players, because of state-of-the-art training methods and dedicated diets. All players, from Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, understand this need, which is why it has become a premium. By now, some of you might be wondering how soccer superstars reach and uphold this top-level condition. For that, we’ll give you a simple rundown of the basic physical movements and the proper mentality so you can incorporate this to your fitness regimen:
Choose Interval Training over Cardio
Since we now live in a world of advanced practices, the days are over of us putting in the roadwork to improve our cardio. There’s now this so-called High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, that closely mimics an actual game, conditioning our bodies and minds to the challenges of it in the process. At its core, these exercises go for 20 minutes in total, spread out to four or five sets of intense four-minute workouts.
By developing strong glutes, soccer players are able to run not just at a high pace, but also faster and stronger. With this, it’s imperative to turn to deadlifts for a lot of purposes. It’s a type of exercise that also targets other muscle groups, so it’ll be like hitting several birds with one stone. You can start by doing single leg Russian deadlifts, eight reps for each leg, three to four sets. These, in a way, reflect the importance of having a strong base.
Strengthen Your Core and Balance
Speaking of the significance of improving your base, another sure fire way to accomplish this is by working on your core muscles. You can practice planks by placing your forearms on the mat, elbows under your shoulder. Make sure to straighten your posture as you raise your body upwards, legs together, and hold for 30 seconds for three to five sets in total.
Of course, there will never be a substitute for hard work and dedication. All these sport sciences, nutritional information, and fitness gadgets will be all for naught if you don’t put in 100 percent of your time and effort.