Five-star fitness

Make sure you’re built to boss the small-sided pitch with these essential workout tips

Burst away from opponents

“You need to be able to change direction explosively and efficiently on the 5-a-side pitch,” explains Michael Watts, Aston Villa’s head of strength and conditioning. “Mark out a square with four cones, measuring three by three metres. Number the cones 1 to 4. Stand in the middle of the square, and when your partner calls out a number between one and four, spring to the corresponding cone and touch it before returning to the middle. Work for 30 seconds. Complete three sets.”

Build blockbuster legs

“Football’s primarily played on one leg, so you need strong pins,” says Watts. “To build all-round mobility and power, lunge forwards, sideways and backwards and then perform squats. Do 8-10 reps on each leg and 10 reps for the squat. Rest for 90 seconds in between 2-3 sets.”

More after the break

Hold off any opponent

“There are a lot of collisions on the 5-a-side pitch,” says Watts. “To withstand these you need shoulder stability and strength. The long arm lever plank into a long arm lever side plank will help. Assume a press-up position, then rotate your body so that you are holding your weight up on one arm and your feet are stacked. Raise your other arm and create a T shape with it. Hold for a few seconds, then return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Plank for 20-40 seconds on each side.”

Mitre Star is an online hub designed to improve your 5-a-side game. It has expert tips and useful advice to help you and your team in 4 key areas: tactics, technique, fitness and nutrition. For more tips and advice see #mitrestar, @mitresports, and

For more 5-a-side tips see:
Speed up your attack
Control the ball under pressure
Supercharge your reaction speed
Fuel for 5-a-side
Boost your speed off the mark
Build explosive change of direction
Keep possession in tight spaces
Improve strength, balance and agility

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