The only weight you need: Your body

Bulging biceps and perky pecs might impress those at the gym, but it won’t get you far on the pitch. You need to be a lean, mean, footballing machine – and you can become one at home

The next time the gaffer prods your beer belly and orders you to get to the gym, tell him it’s bad for you.

OK, that’s not strictly true, but a little white lie never hurt anyone. The truth is, if you want to boss the football pitch you want to be lean and strong, not big and bulky.

More after the break

The more muscle mass you have, the more blood and oxygen your heart has to pump around your body to keep you motoring.

“Lifting heavy weights can add unnecessary bulk,” says Michael Watts, Aston Villa’s head of performance. “Extra weight – fat or muscle – puts a lot of stress on the ankles, knees, hips, back and even the heart.

"Just 1kg of additional weight can add 7-8kg of force to every step made during a high-speed run.”

But don’t think you can get away with churning out this fact every time you want to skip a workout.

You’ve still got to condition your body – you just don’t need to spend hours at the gym. Instead, you can tune up in the comfort of your own home.

“We like all our players to be lean and athletic,” says Watts. “It’s crucial to have strong muscles, to reduce the risk of injury. The best place to start is by being able to control your bodyweight, then you can do such exercises in your lounge.”

For more fitness tips see:
Turn a park into a gym
Desk-jockey fitness
The living room workout
In the gym with Tom Cleverley
Super Mario's fight club workout
Float your boat
Beach fitness

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