Football is a game which demands peak conditioning of all the body’s muscle groups. Football players are in constant motion, between full-blown sprints at top speed and running at steady state cardio. This continuous motion requires all of the body’s muscle groups to be working perfectly in sync.
Football requires speed, agility and a lot of stamina. All this compels your body to be in peak working condition. Doing strength training will help your body in staying strong and powerful and will also help build up your thighs, core muscles, and hips, giving you an added oomph to your shot. So make sure you never skimp on going to the gym and lifting those weights.
Football requires your lower body to be in perfect shape, and your upper body needs to be able to be in sync with and support your lower body. Thus strength training for footballers is essential and should never be neglected in favor of cardio only. The primary focus for football players should be on toning their bodies while adding lean muscle. It’s important that all your muscle groups are strong and can hold up your body for the whole 90 minutes or more if you go into extra time.
Here’s a list of 5 reasons why strength training and lifting weights are important for footballers.
1. More Stamina And Higher Energy Levels
If you focus only on cardio and not on strength training, your body will be able to perform well but only for short bursts of action. Football requires you to be on your feet all the time and constantly running in competition with the other players for the ball. Such an active sport requires peak physical conditioning. Strength training will help you improve efficiency and mechanics within running and also sprinting movement patterns. If you can’t play at your ultimate potential for the whole 90 minutes of the game and get tired as the game goes on, then you’re hurting both yourself and your team.
Your body needs strength, power, and resilience to perform to the best of its abilities. Thus it’s important to combine your cardio workouts with strength workouts as well. Strength Training can train the body to endure incrementally greater amounts of stress and it also helps the muscle groups to adapt and recover, something that is critical when intense practice and training camps begin.
2. Preventing Injuries
It’s obvious that stronger players suffer fewer injuries than weaker players and are more regular members of the team. Unless you’re tough enough, you might find yourself viewing the game from the sidelines rather than being on the playing field. Knee-extension torque is very important in football, and strong hamstring muscles and quadriceps are crucial to preventing untoward knee injuries.
Muscle strains and injuries that occur while playing can be otherwise avoided with better strength training. By building up the strength of your muscles, you allow your body to take on more hits than it otherwise could. Football is very often, a contact sport. You come in contact with the ball and other players. Having a muscular physique will go a long way in helping you endure those hard tackles and collisions in the penalty box. A powerful physique will also enable an attacker to charge and make his way through walls of defenders.
3. Better kicking Ability
Football is more than just a sprinting competition for the ball. A player’s worth is determined by his ability to control the ball, his kicking power, and accuracy. Most of the 90 minutes are about kicking the ball, long passes, and shots. When kicking a ball either over the football pitch or into the goal, your shots need to be strong and accurate. There is a direct relationship between your foot velocity and the velocity of the football.
The speed of your foot depends on several factors, primarily your hip rotational torque, the strength of your quadriceps, calves and your hip flexor muscles. Very simply, stronger players take stronger shots which are more likely to turn into goals. Thus, working out your glute and hip muscles in the gym is absolutely essential. Make sure you get in enough reps of various strength exercises like step-ups, weighted deadlifts, and side lunges. These exercises don’t just work your lower body, they are also very good for your back and core muscles. So don’t wait around and hit the gym now.
4. Faster Recovery
You put your body through the ringer every time every time you play a game or take part in an intense practice session. If you haven’t had sufficient strength training, you could go into the next game at only 80 percent of your full capacity or even lower. Strength training makes your body stronger and more resilient. Thus you will be able to recover from a game much faster, with plenty of time left for your next game. Doing strength exercises will do wonders for post-game soreness as well. Because your body is used to quickly recovering from exhaustive weight-lifting sessions, it will very quickly rejuvenate itself after a game as well, in only a day or two.
This benefit of strength training will extend to other areas of your life as well beyond football. After a long and tiring day either at the pitch or somewhere else, a strong person will recover from it much faster than a weaker person. A stronger person will also approach a new day and a new match with a lot more vigor and enthusiasm.
5. Confidence And Mental Strength
An important reason for football players to take up strength training is the opportunity to enhance not just the bodies, but also their minds. For example, when it is late in the game (80 minutes down), and a player has given it all that he had and is absolutely exhausted, his mental strength will give him the added boost he needs to get through to that final whistle.
Lifting heavy weights repeatedly is tough and doing this over and over will help an athlete develop mental toughness and grit – qualities which are both highly valuable on a football field. A mentally strong person will never give up when his team is losing or even in the face of overwhelming odds, simply because he believes he has it in him to turn things around and bring home the victory for his team. Football is tiring, and it is even more tiring if you have a hurt leg or if your team is losing or if the crowd isn’t on your side. There can be several other factors, like the weather which might make it very hard for a player to perform well on a certain day. However, if you’re mentally and physically strong, you can be sure you’ll be able to take on everything that life throws at you.
All image credits to GIPHY