On Saturday, football returned from its Coronavirus-enforced lockdown. It was in the Bundesliga, Germany – a country that has handled the pandmeic better than most – and to an empty stadium. In England, the Premier League returns to training today, while Italy and Spain are also making tentative plans. So, the big question for every footballer right now is just how quickly they can regain match fitness?
“Being away from football for an extended period of time leaves players at an increased risk of injury,” Says Dubai-based celebrity trainer, Coach Nic. “It’s vital to transition back into games gradually – and a big reason why you should generally stay as fit as possible in off-times.
“Most people focus on getting their conditioning back, but too many players neglect getting their explosiveness and speed back to playing level,” says Nic, who has worked with the likes of Real Madrid star Karim Benzema and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold. “While it is really important to keep your strength and conditioning high, it’s also paramount to include quick and dynamic workouts.”
“Arguably the most important aspect of your at-home programme right now should be plyometrics, agility, and sprinting, to keep exposing your muscles and tendons to fast loading speeds. This will help you avoid a spike in injuries when you get back to playing.
“You also need to be doing daily conditioning if you hope to come back and get in game shape in short order. Ideally, players should do small group training sessions or games, but if that’s not possible it’s still important to try and replicate game-type stresses in your workouts. That means you should include strength training, plyometrics, sprinting, agility, and conditioning; players should also try to do some drills with the ball out on a pitch a few times a week to keep their nervous system sharp. Your body needs to remember the feeling of contracting the proper muscles at the right time, and the best way to do that is to replicate game-like situations.
“If you’re a football player and you’re wondering how to train with minimal equipment during quarantine, here’s a home workout that I recently created for some of my professional players. Note that this workout isn’t for beginners, so if you haven’t been training you should start with something more basic and build a strength base.”
Coach Nic’s football-ready workout
Instructions: Start with a dynamic warm-up first to prevent injuries and optimise performance.
Aim for three sets of each circuit. Take 30 to 45 seconds of rest in between exercises and three minutes in between sets.
Use a backpack full of water bottles as a weight to increase the difficulty.
- Bulgarian Split Squats (put the backpack on one shoulder) x 6 each side
- Nordic Hamstring Curls x6
- Dead Bug x10 each leg
- Split Squat Jumps x6 each leg
- Skater Squats x6 each leg
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts (use backpack) x 10 each leg
- Copenhagen Plank x 20 seconds each side
- Lateral Bounds x8 each side
- Lateral Band Walks x12 each side
- Wall sprint drill 5 times 5 steps
- Sprint 20 meters
Coach Nic is a fitness trainer that has trained professional athletes and celebrities for 15 years. Follow him on Instagram and download a free copy of his new Ebook here.