In this first of four sections, we look to create a weight training programme for you guys to follow – muscle by muscles. Over the next four weeks, we will be slowly but surely covering every major group of muscles (legs, chest, shoulders, back) and what exercises you should be doing at the gym to get stronger on the field! In this article, we cover the basics on what exercises to do, and why they are beneficial. Keep on reading to find out more..
Please note: If you are under 17, then please do not lift very heavy weights. It is dangerous. And always ensure you’re with a partner at the gym to ensure your technique is correct.
The squat. I have rambled on about the squat in many of my PEP Talk articles, but I cannot stress the major importance of this exercise. It not only works the muscles in the legs, but also engages your core. If you don’t know what I mean by the core, then keep an eye out for a future article on creating a core workout explaining everything you need to know to get a powerful torso!
The squat itself is an interesting topic. Many professionals recommend you do a heavy weight, and 4 sets of 6 reps. This will help increase both your vertical jump height (allowing you to win those headers) and increasing your acceleration. No doubt, this exercise is absolutely vital in helping you run faster, and so must be formulated into a weight training routine.
Major muscles used: Gluteals, Quadriceps, Hamstrings
Reps/Sets: 6 reps with 4 sets
The deadlift is an exercise that works on all of the major muscles in your body (seriously), and especially the ones in your legs and back. However, it must be considered that it is a difficult exercise to do and so must not be done by beginners. If done though, it is one of the best exercises for overall body strength and is a cornerstone to being a powerful player.
How it changes to the squat is the fact it doesn’t induce explosiveness, but rather it’s an exercise that will make you stronger physically and allow you to kick the ball harder. This makes the deadlift extremely useful for footballers as it relates across to football.
Major muscles used: Glutes, Quadriceps, Calves
Reps/sets: 8 reps with 4 sets (lighter weight than squat)
3. The Lunge
This exercise is the one you want to be doing to help kick the ball further. It strengthens the quadriceps (which is used when snapping the knee straight to kick the ball) and also works the surrounding muscles. It differs from the deadlift in the dynamic way that it is performed, and so is more relatable to football than deadlifts. It also works the core muscles, which are the most important set of muscles in the entire human anatomy for physical performance.
Major muscles used: Glutes, Quadriceps, Core
Reps/sets: 10 reps on each leg, 3 sets (max)
4. Calf raise
The final exercise in this starting post. The calves are the one muscle in the legs that often doesn’t receive much attention. Believe it or not, your calves will already be pretty strong. They are lifting your body thousands of times every day, whether you’re walking, running or climbing stairs. But strengthening them can help prevent injuries, and so it’s pivotal that calf raises are a part of your weight lifting routine.
Major muscles used: Gastrocnemius
Reps/sets: 10 reps on each leg, 3 sets
This is the first article of several where we will cover every body part. Weight lifting is becoming an important aspect of football, and many amateur players overlook it. But with more people joining gyms than ever, now is the correct time to discover what exercises to do. For the time being, leave your thoughts and comments below.