Have you missed out on your football games for a while? Are you worried that you’d lag behind due to your lack of match fitness? Are you looking for a simple but effective workout routine to use on your off-days or as a warm-up? Then you’re in the right place!
Try these basic exercises which can be done anywhere and don’t require any complicated equipment or a gym. They will help you strengthen your core and improve your leg power. They will also help you engage all your muscles better which in turn will help you give your best performance on match-day. For all the exercises (except planks), start with 10 repetitions and progress to 15-20 repetitions as you get stronger.
Classic body-weight squats are the best exercise you can do to target all your leg muscles simultaneously. They will build a strong foundation for other exercises and help you cope with the constant stress on your legs during a match. To perform a squat, stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and point your toes slightly outward. Look straight ahead and keep your eyes rooted to a spot during the whole movement. Begin by flexing your knees and sitting back with your hips. Do not round or curve your back, remember to always maintain a neutral, straight spine. Continue to full depth or till wherever you can and then reverse the motion to the starting point. Do not let your knees cross the imaginary line running up from your toes when you squat. Extending it too forward puts undue stress on your joints.
Lunges are another classic exercise that will help you develop immense lower body strength. To perform lunges, lower your hips until both knees are bent at approximately a 90-degree angle. Your front knee should not extend over your ankle, and your back knee should not touch the floor. Keep your weight in your heels as you push back up to starting position. Repeat on both sides. Always maintain good balance.
Step-ups are a low-risk but effective exercise for improving balance one leg at a time when done in a controlled manner. To start, place your entire right foot onto a bench or chair. Press through your right foot as you step onto the chair, bringing your left foot to meet your right so you are standing on the chair. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the right foot, then follow with the left so both feet are back on the floor. Repeat the motion with your left foot.
Planks help develop strength and stability in your core, they work virtually every muscle in the core region. It can be performed using your forearms or with arms extended. To perform planks, get into a push-up position on the floor. Rest your weight on your forearms by bending your elbows. Your elbows should be beneath your shoulders. Your body should be aligned in a straight line from head to feet. Hold this position for as long as you can. Even though there isn’t any movement, you are constantly keeping your abs flexed to hold the position. Aim for 30 seconds to a minute in your first attempt and progressively increase your times as you get tougher. Planks are a great pre-game warm-up for an intense game of football.
5) Frog jumps
To perform a frog jump, stand with your hands behind your head, and squat down keeping your torso upright and your head up. This will be your starting position. Jump forward but not unnecessarily high. As your feet hit the floor, absorb the impact through your legs to jump again. This exercise will help you build your lower body and generate explosive power.
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