How to sharpen your change of direction

Strength and conditioning coach Sam Pepys puts you through a core workout that will help you to twist and turn at speed

Plank walkout – 4x30 seconds
Hopefully you won’t be spending too much time on your hands and knees on the pitch, but it is a surefire way of strengthening your core. “This is an advanced version of a normal plank,” says Pepys. “By putting your hands out in front of you, you are placing more stress through the abdominal area.”  

More after the break

Cable press - 3x12 reps each side
Having a glistening set of beach-ready abs is not enough if you want to bob and weave at speed. “This movement works your anterior sling, which is a group of muscles from your groin on one side, to your abdominals on the other. When you change direction, everything needs to work in tandem.”

Frontal pallof hold - 3x30 seconds hold each side
Sometimes you need more than a stepover to beat a defender – this exercise will help you to hold off your opponent and then dart clear. “When you change direction, you are not just moving forwards and backwards. Your core needs to be strong in different planes and be able to resist external force from challenges.”

Cable wood chop - 3 x 12 reps each side
Have you ever woken up the day after a game with a sore back, hips or obliques? That is your core’s way of telling you that it is not strong enough. “Your core needs to be strong enough to hold a set position, but also to express strength as well. Using a cable with a small amount of resistance trains that ability.”  

Medicine ball toss - 3 x 6 reps each side
FFT loves nothing more than giving our opposition a shove and then sprinting off before we receive retribution. You can learn to do the same. “It is important to have enough core strength to apply force at speed. Throwing a 3-6kg medicine ball in an explosive fashion will develop that ability.”

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