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Football training advice

Good conditioning is essential if you want to play football. It is played on a large playing field, lasts 90 minures, and only has one scheduled rest period.

At a competitive level, football players typically cover 8 - 12km during a match, which is a mix of walking, jogging, sprinting, even moving backwards. Interestingly, during the course of a game you will only be in possession of the ball for around 2% of the time!

In tests, football players typically have a VO2 max of between 55 and 70, which is at the upper end of cardio fitness.

To train for soccer means first establishing a cardio base - you can do this by running, cycling, swimming, or using the cardio machines in the gym, but given the nature of the game, running is the best option.

The typically prescribed 20 minutes of cardio will not properly prepare you for a 90 minute match, so you'll want to include some longer runs, of 30 minutes to an hour.

In addition to building a good base of aerobic endurance, you'll need to improve your anaerobic capacity - that means sprints! These should duplicate game conditions - repeated short sprints with active recovery, where you jog slowly in between.

Finally, you should consider the benefits of strength training. However, rather than following a general weight training program, work with a coach to develop a program that will translate strength gains into soccer-specific power.

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