2 Important Reasons Why Every Footballer Needs Strength & Conditioning
Regardless of your playing level, you need S&C as a footballer.
Gone are the days of the old school traditional training methods, running people into the ground hoping they will get better. Sure it’s still around in some coaching circles, but mainly in old school coaches who aren’t willing to adopt science based training methodology or don’t have a care for it. I remember growing up playing football and the mentality towards injuries and strength training was “work through it” and "don’t do weights it’ll make you slow and bulky". Sure some coaches were different but a large percentage weren’t, athletes were scared to admit an injury due to fear of being dropped.
Just take a look at the biggest football teams in the world (Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea) and their approach to: athlete preparation, warm-up/cool down, mobility/flexibility, conditioning, hydration management, nutrition and more. They’re always learning, they are willing to listen to new strategies on how to improve their players. Yes there’s a lot of other factors which make them successful but the main argument here is they use sports science/strength & conditioning, they use science based applied training and to the benefit of their athletes. They use basic strength & conditioning concepts so why hasn’t that had a flow on effect for semi pro teams? If it’s good enough for the pro's, its good enough for the semi professionals.
I could go on about how good the big clubs are at all these things, but they know that. I’m not writing for them, I’m writing to the semi pro footballers looking to make it and amateurs who may not have been exposed to applied strength & conditioning.
1. Injury prevention
ACL, MCL, hamstrings, calf injuries and others have a high prevalence in football. Why? There are a number of reasons but it mainly boils down to ineffective warm-ups and weak athletes. Sure you can’t help it if an opponent fly’s in with a two foot knee high challenge and ruptures you’re ACL, but you can decrease the risk of a hamstring tear due to an ineffective warm-up. I understand there are many other injuries and why they occur in football, but how many can we prevent with a combination of: myofascial release (foam roller etc.), mobility/ flexibility and “football specific strength training" ? A good percentage. What If there was a structured warm-up instead of a small sided kick about before a match, would that be worth doing instead of having athletes out for months with a preventable injury. Sure I can understand that not every semi pro/amateur athlete has the motivation or desire to strength train in his or her own time but it can be incorporated into on-field training. Better than nothing.
2. Improved performance
We all know the story of the complete beast in the weight room who can squat a house but is a terrible player, being a gun in the gym doesn’t necessarily correlate to on-field performances, we know that. But having the strength, power and injuries resilience can give you that bit extra and may be the difference between winning and losing. Imagine if an entire team had that? Mind blowing… There are numerous studies which prove squat strength is correlated to sprint speed, power and change of direction ability. Get better in the weight room, be a better athlete, be a better footballer. Simple, right? Kind of.
If every young Australian footballer left our shores to try and make a career overseas, do you think they would benefit from being stronger, faster and more resilient to injury? The question answers itself.
Throughout this blog, I could have bored you to death with scientific facts about injury prevention, sports performance, strength, power and squatting. But I didn’t, I kept it simple. Find a basic pre training/game foam rolling/movement preparation routine below.
Tim Frey MS.c
Helix Sports Performance
Perth strength & conditioning and sports performance
· ITB- 30 SEC PER SIDE
· GLUTES- 30 SEC PER SIDE
· PIRIFORMIS: 30 SEC
· VMO TO ADDUCTOR; 30 SEC PER SIDE
· FIRE HYDRANTS X10 PER SIDE
· BUTT KICKS X10
· BODYWEIGHT HIP THRUSTERS X20
· SQUAT TO STAND X10
· HIP FLEXOR STRETCH (LUNGE W/ OVERHEAD REACH HOLD) X 30S PER SIDE
· THE WORLDS GREATEST STRETCH X10
· WALKING LUNGE W/ OVERHEAD REACH X10
· REVERSE WALKING LUNGE W/ OVERHEAD REACH X10
· INCHWORMS X10
DOWNLOAD THE FILE TO GET A SPREADSHEET INCLUDING LINKS TO EXERCISE DEMONSTRATION VIDEOS: