Fitness for a box-to-box midfielder

SAQ expert Glen Thurgood has worked with Notts County and Northampton Town; he explains the best way to build box-to-box fitness

“Football is a physically demanding sport, with professional players covering up to 11km during the course of a 90-minute match. 


More after the break

To outrun your opponents you need a multi-energy system, including aerobic fitness – the ability to pump oxygen-rich blood around the body, as long-distance runners do – and anaerobic fitness: the ability to maintain maximum running speed over and over again.

On top of that, you also need an efficient creatine phosphate system. In layman’s terms, that is a system that helps power short-term, high-intensity activity for a longer period.


The high-intensity stop-start nature of football places a lot of demand on the body. Research has shown that midfielders can experience up to 1,300 changes in exercise intensity during a 90-minute game, and just as many changes in direction.


Instead of going for a long run, mark out a running track of 60 metres. Try to complete the distance in 12 seconds. Repeat this four times in a minute.” 

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