Micah Richards is built like a tank. A player of his size should struggle to twist and turn with speed and control, but the burly defender demonstrates agility more akin to a nimble winger.
Richards is a 21st century footballer. Part athlete, part player - combining brawn and agility.
More after the break
Innate athleticism coupled with astute gym work have enhanced his ability to shift his hefty frame with the speed of welterweight boxer.
One of the exercises that forms part of Richards’ gym work is a hurdle step. This exercise helps activate hip mobility and stability and replicates the sprint position.
“The mobility around the hip joint is really important for a footballer. Micah is a strong, powerful player so we need to keep him mobile and make sure he can reach the range of motions he needs to perform out on the field.
“The actions in this exercise are used all the time on the field. Players actually get themselves in some quite extreme positions out there.”
As Richards testifies, it’s exercises like this that have helped him cope with the Premier League’s swashbuckling wingers.
“Because I’m quite a fast player, working on my agility and running technique has helped me massively,” he told FFT.
“If I didn’t have that it would be a little bit harder to track the wingers because they’re smaller, they have a lower centre of gravity and it’s easy for them to go left and right.”
Learn more about the technique and benefits of the hurdle step exercise by watching this video.
Micah is an ambassador for If U Care Share, a charity that encourages young people to discuss their problems: www.ifucareshare.co.uk
Build explosive power
Boost your hamstring strength
Add an extra spring to your leap
Build bigger and stronger pins
Build knockout knee strength
Build a rock-solid core
Switch on your glutes for 90 minutes: Part one
Switch on your glutes for 90 minutes: Part two
Fire up your hips for action: Part one