PHYSIOTHERAPIST NICK WORTH OFFERS HIS ADVICE ON MAINTAINING FOOTBALL FITNESS
Maintaining Football fitness during the Corona Virus home isolation
Whilst you are stuck at home listening to regular updates about when (or if) the season is going to be concluded, keeping fit is vital.
But how can you keep match fit whilst at home?
There are a lot of You Tube or Social media clips doing the rounds – or reports of Premier League players all being issued with Watt bikes to use. The use of wearable technology such as GPS that can be monitored by their Sports Science teams is great – but how can I achieve the same aims without the expensive kit?
There are a few simple tips that may be of help:
- Warming up and cooling down may feel a bit of chore when you are at training with a coach barking instructions, but its essential to prevent injuries when working out at home. Take time to raise your heart rate for a few minutes to start with and stretch where you can. It all helps.
- Exercise is very specific. Whilst there is some carry over between types of exercise, primarily, if you spend hours on a Watt bike – you will become very good…on the Watt bike! This is great for cardiovascular fitness but only a little help for a football fitness. The same applies to pumping weights.
- Wherever possible (taking social distancing into account) get out and run. Not necessarily just pounding the streets but try and include movements and loads similar to playing such as shuttle runs or multi-directional sprints. This will maintain the tensile strength in muscles and tendons which may prevent injuries when you return to training.
- When doing any resistance training, try and use activities that mimic football type movements. This may be kettle bell work, theraband work or plyometrics. Vary the speed or repetitions as opposed to just doing ‘3 sets of 10’ of everything! Often working to fatigue is a good way of setting yourself challenges – but make sure that you keep the movements under control when you’re getting tired. Poor ‘form’ doing an exercise is a frequent cause of injury.
- Don’t underestimate the mental aspect of being unable to train normally. Your body is used to being physically challenged regularly and this has an effect on your mental wellbeing. Take time to find techniques for positive mental health. This may be time just walking alone, listening to music, reading a book or working up a sweat doing your home training to keep you on an even keel. Understand that this is a different time for all of us, so take care of those around you who may be having a tough day. Supporting others can be a great way to boost your own feelings of mental wellbeing.
- Take the time to focus on any ‘key’ areas you need to work on. Maybe you have had a niggling injury that just won’t go away? For example, if you often get calf strains during a season, then try and work out a rehab plan that addresses those areas of weakness.
The best way of keeping fit and preventing injuries is to be training fully. As you are unable to at the present time, there will be the need to do some football specific training prior to the season being completed (or not!). Returning to match play without adequate fitness will drastically increase your risk of injury when you return.
Don’t worry though – all those hours you spend now targeting your fitness will all be ‘in the bank’ when football returns.
Doing regular smaller sessions will help pass the time and allow you to focus on your quality of movement and rehab.
Get in touch with Nick via FMPA Register.