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Blood, Sweat and Guts – Football Pre Season fun is back!!

It might just feel like yesterday you were watching Barcelona give Man United a lesson in football in the last game of the season, but believe it or not – the new season is a matter of days away! Thank God! Saturday nights will once again be filled with the best action from the weekend on Match Of The Day, and Tuesday and Wednesday nights will once again give you the chance to witness the best talent across Europe in the Champions League. Its been 75 long, boring, lonely days – but football is back. Roll on the next 9 months.
BUT, as well as the professional season starting up again, in a few weeks time, the amateur and semi professional leagues will start rolling in to full flow, so dont underestimate the importance of a good pre season under your belt. Be the fastest out of the starting blocks, and gather the momentum throughout the season. Dont be the sluggish one struggling to find form and fitness until early November – by which time youre already in the relegation scrap or mid table hopefuls. Give yourself the chance to be running rings around the people who didnt give pre season training the respect it deserves!
A properly structured pre season programme can make all the difference whichever level you play at. Just dont leave it too late!
Your lungs are burning and your grasping for air. Your face matches your teams red shirt and your heart is trying to beat its way out of your chest….
The first match of the season is only 10 minutes old, and youre beginning to regret your summer rooted on the sofa, or the bar stool, watching paint dry…I mean cricket, and eating microwave pizzas and BBQs.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. 
Football players cover large distances over the period of a match, does this mean that a long distance run is effective training for the upcoming season? This will have some benefits, but will they be football specific? The answer is, simply, no. On average a Premier League footballer covers 12.5km per game, but these are covered at varying speeds. Footballers tend to work in short, high intensity bursts with small periods of rest. Players rarely work at high intensity for distances over 20 meters and use a combination of aerobic and anaerobic fitness during the game. Football fitness sessions therefore should take this in to consideration and give both systems a good workout.
So, I hear you ask, whats the programme to do?
The programme is dominated by strength, power and endurance. A lot to take in? Dont worry; it wont be a complicated programme and not a whole lot to take in.
Weight Training
The weight training will be a simple 5×5 programme performed 3 times a week, consisting of a push, pull and leg day. For the main exercises the sets and reps will be 5×5, and try to keep the same weight throughout all 5 sets. You will also do accessory sets of 3×10-15. Progression is key, so make sure you try and increase the weight (even if only by 2.5kg) every time you come in to train.
Monday – Push
Bench Press – 5×5
Military Press – 3×10-15
Lying Triceps Extension – 3×10-15
Wednesday – Pull
Power Clean – 5×5
Bent Over Row – 3×10-15
Weighted Chin Ups (close grip) – 3×10-15
Romanians – 3×10-15
Friday – Legs
Squat – 5×5
Front Squats- 3×10-15
Standing Calf Raises – 3×10-15
Hanging Leg Raises – 3×10-15
  
Cardio Training
Here comes the fun bit. Well be working on a combination of sprinting and endurance work and will be performed 3 times a week. Whichever day is up to you, but try not mixing your weight sessions with your cardio sessions as you want to be able to give maximum effort for both. Nobody said pre season was going to be easy!
Day 1
Day 1 will see a bit of sprinting mixed in with some endurance work. Start off with fewer sets, building up over the weeks. Youre going to sprint for 50 meters, and then immediately jog for 150 meters. The sprinting portion will work on your sprinting ability, obviously, and the longer distance jog will aid the endurance and recovery time. Once youre running more than a mile in these little intervals, take a 2 minute break between miles. The distances should be as follows:
50m sprint/150m jog x 8 (total distance 1 mile) – do this for the first 2 weeks
50m sprint/150m jog x 12 (total distance 1.5 mile)
50m sprint/150m jog x 16 (total distance 2 miles) – this should be when your feeling at your peak
Day 2
After a lazy summer, if you’re pretty out of shape, day 1 would have taken enough out of you (not to mention the weights as well) and this is a day you should be dreading. Simply, run a certain number of miles as fast as you can, aiming to beat your previous best every week. The distance should be increased every 2 weeks, starting from 1 mile, hitting a 4 mile run at your fittest. Enjoy, and dont be ashamed to let all your insides come flying up. The hard work will be worth it. Being sick now only means you wont be the one being sick on the side of the football pitch in the first few games of the season!
Day 3
For day 3, were going to be doing something called plyometrics. Plyometrics are different jumps, hops and throws that will greatly develop lower and upper body speed, agility and power. You must be careful with plyometrics though, because the risk of injury is high if you dont do these things right. Ask a member of staff to make sure you’re doing everything right, or search online for these exercise (see links after description). First Ill explain the exercises before putting them in a little day 3 programme for you.
 Depth Jump – Stand with your toes at the end of a box, and drop down off the box and immediately squat down and explode up as high as you can. (http://videos.bodybuilding.com/watch/14691/depth-jump-video-guide)
Ricochets (right) – Mark a 2 foot wide square on the ground (use tape, chalk or markers). Jump from corner to corner as fast as you can, going to a different corner every time.
Lateral Hurdle Jump – Jump back and forth sideways over a low hurdle as fast as you can. If you dont have a hurdle, just use a line on the floor and make sure you get a good 2 foot jump off the ground. Back and forth is counted as one rep. (http://videos.bodybuilding.com/watch/14141/box-jumps-side-to-side)
Chest Pass – Find a partner, or a solid wall, and grab a medicine ball. Pass it by explosively pressing your hands out from your chest.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9-16ln9LmA)
Depth Jump – 4×10
Ricochets – 3×20
Lateral Hurdle Jump – 3×10
Chest Pass – 3×10
And there you have it, the programme to make you hate pre season. Its intense, but you will become a much better athlete for it. Lift heavy, and push yourself hard during the cardio.
Good luck, and thank this programme when your picking up awards left, right and centre at the end of the season,
-Rhodri Carlos Queiroz Williams
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