From their training to their diet and even their sleeping patterns, every aspect of the elite footballers training will be planned to the exact detail. They have an army of experts on hand to track every minor change in their mental and physical condition to guarantee they’re at their best on match day.
You might not be able to commit as much time and money to your training, but there are techniques and styles that the top football coaches use that you can adopt to ensure you’re at the top of your game (even if you’re competing for glory and pride rather than the ultimate trophy).
Follow these tips below to improve your game, increase your fitness and train like the world’s best.
Be prepared to put in the hours at the gym
Footballers spend a lot of their time at the gym ensuring they’re in peak physical condition. Footballers run up to nine miles over the course of each match, meaning their cardiovascular fitness has to be in top condition, and they need to ensure they have a solid base of fitness throughout their body to build speed and power.
Building strong, powerful legs is essential for all pro-footballers, and you can guarantee that the world-class athletes will have put in the hours at the gym before jetting off to Russia. Get started with this routine to increase your fitness, power and improve your overall game.
Holding two dumbbells at your side, complete 25 consecutive squats while concentrating on maintaining a speedy tempo.
Start small when it comes to box height (you can always increase the height as you improve) and do one set of 10 reps.
Lunge walk with medicine Ball
Stand holding a medicine ball and place resistance bands on your ankles. Step forward into a lunge position, and then rotate your upper body and medicine ball to the opposite side. Repeat 10 reps on each side.
Run 60 seconds on full sprint / 60 seconds off five times.
Harness the power of yoga
When you think of a yogi, a top-tier footballer is probably not the first thing that springs to mind.
Despite that, scores of them swear by the practice to help with strength, balance and injury prevention. Ryan Giggs is a fan (even releasing his own yoga DVD )and Gareth Bale practices it. We can guarantee that throughout the cup, there will be a number of elite players saluting the sun when they wake up.
Sports yoga is a worthwhile practice for all athletes and has huge benefits for footballers in particular. It strengthens your muscles, improves your flexibility and helps with muscles stiffness and recovery after a full 90-minute game.
Sarah Ramsden, yoga teacher to a number of top athletes (including Giggs), said:
“When you explode with pace or kick a ball, you need flexibility and strength and the yoga really helps to build that.”
Yoga is the perfect exercise to undertake on your rest days. Check out our range of yoga classes and see what we have on offer at your local club.
Fuel your body
Sticking to a carefully chosen diet throughout a competition is just an important to performance as a thought-out training regime. Players need to eat a healthy mix of vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates with every meal, but will probably change and amend their diets before and during the tournament to ensure maximum performance.
Before a match, most players will carb-load with potatoes, brown bread, brown rice, cereals and pasta, which provide long-lasting energy. As well as this, because the brain is over 60% fat, fatty acids found in foods like nuts and seeds will help footballers stay alert and switched on.
If you want to be as fit as the elite footballers, the key is getting your diet right day-to-day by cutting out processed foods, increasing your portions of fruit and vegetables and balancing that with enough protein and good fats. Then, you can concentrate on working out what pre and post-game foods work best for you. Check out our range of healthy and nutritious recipes for some inspiration.
Get your kit right
Every team will have a kit and football boots designed to maximise comfort and performance. Every single detail will have been thought of, from the fit to the materials, to the positioning of the studs.
You may not be able to get your kit tailored exactly to your needs, but you can wear the same football kit as your favourite players. From England to Brazil, Holland to Croatia, we’ve got all the team kits you could want. So even if you’re not playing in the tournament, you can still look the part!
If you’re loving the tournament and want even more sports action, check out our guide to the ultimate summer of sport.