A 30-minute swim in the morning, during your lunch-break or after work is perfect. The pressure of the water will encourage blood flow around the body – taking more oxygen to the muscles, helping them to repair after Sunday’s game. It’s low impact which is what the muscles need after a match. Finish with a stretch in the pool – don’t worry about the curious looks you might get – and you’ll be set for the next day’s training.
Time to up the intensity. Do a half-hour weights session concentrating on total body strength – so upper and lower body exercises. Aim for four sets of no more than five reps. Follow this up with 30 minutes of high intensity interval runs. Run for four minutes at three-quarter pace, then rest for two. Repeat.
Take it easy at this point during the week. Vary your workout with a 30-40 minute moderate intensity session on an exercise bike or cross-trainer. Resist the urge to push too hard.
Replicate Tuesday’s workout, but focus the weights session on strength and power exercises. Look to do heavy weights, with lower reps. Follow this up with high-intensity, interval running. This will improve strength and endurance.
Day off. It’s important to give the body time to recover and repair ahead of the weekend’s game. Focus on hydration and nutrition. Load up on carbs and protein with pasta, white meat and fish. Steer clear of the red meat. Stay off your feet and relax.
Hit the treadmill with sprints of 15 seconds, and rest periods of 20 seconds. Six runs per set, for 3-4 sets. Then go for a light swim followed by some stretching. Get all this done before 11.30am to give your body time to recover for Sunday’s match. The night before a game keep it simple with food – don’t experiment. Aim for white meat and pasta. Avoid caffeine and get a good night’s sleep. Try not to watch TV in bed or going on your laptop before going to sleep.
For more football tips see:
Wayne Rooney: Big match preparation
Theo Walcott: Big match preparation
Gary Neville: Become a master of mentality
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