Saddle up this summer

Dust off the bike, dig out the Speedos and return to pre-season with a head start on your team-mates – all without touching a football

The final whistle has blown on another long, hard campaign. Time to get snacking, crack open a cold one and work up a sweat making shuttle runs to the fridge.

Wrong. Instead of plodding into pre-season the size of a pregnant elephant, use the summer break to ensure you return in better shape than your team-mates, advises Fulham’s head of fitness, Scott Miller.

More after the break

“I really stress the importance of the off-season to our players,” Miller tells FFT. “When a player comes back for his first day of pre-season, it’s my job to enhance their physical condition and that job is always made easier if the player has utilised his time in the off-season efficiently.

“Seasons come around so quickly and competition for places is intense, so players can ill-afford to come back from the off-season in bad shape.”

But don’t worry: it’s not all work and no play. Miller recommends two weeks’ rest before making good use of the sunshine at least three times a week.

“During the summer I recommend players try swimming, cycling or using a cross trainer,” says Miller.

“These activities will help you build strength, increase endurance and reduce body fat. And because they’re low impact, they’ll take the strain off your joints.”

A nice relaxing bike ride sounds inviting, but Miller says you will benefit the most from interval training.

Hit a bike trail and pedal flat out for four minutes, then recover for two. Do this five times. If you haven’t passed out by this point, blast the pedals for 40 seconds, recover for 20 and then give yourself a steady ride for three minutes. Try to repeat this four times.

Tired already? Man up. Strap on your helmet, saddle up and take advantage of the summer break.

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