How To Train Like A Professional Footballer

How does a professional footballers training schedule work, with so many games and little time in-between?

You would not be condemned to think players just just get in the gym 5 times a week and try to get stronger/bigger/quicker to compete at optimal level, then play Saturday and rest on Sunday.

A footballer competes at least every Saturday/Sunday for 35-40 weeks of the year.

Sometimes even more so depending on the level they play at.

Considerations need to be made for domestic cups, European competitions and international competitions.

How The Season Schedule Works

  • Preparation phase 1 (Start of pre season)
  • Preparation phase 2 (Middle of pre season – including friendly matches)
  • Competition phase – During the season
  • Transition phase – End of season and before next pre season begins

Preparation Phase 1

Preparation phase 1 will be a slow progression. Week on week, an increase in volume and intensity mainly focused on improving fitness, endurance and just ‘blowing away cobwebs’ which will last for about 4

Preparation Phase 2

During preparation phase 2, (with the inclusion of friendly games in the latter stages) it’s time to reach peak fitness. Then the intensity and volume of endurance training tails off to focus more on tactical/technical work and more time in the gym improving strength & conditioning protocols.

Competition Phase

During the competition phase the general rule of thumb is an undulating training model which may progresses in intensity each week up until week 4, whilst maintaining a medium-high level of volume training to then drop off again to start the process again.

This gives the players chance to recover and allows their body to adapt to overload and stress, which result in becoming a better athlete.

This method can increase the physical condition of the player throughout the season without them burning out and still be able to perform effectively throughout.

Transition Phase

This is when the players recover, relax and enjoy themselves a bit. Depending on the individual not all players will keep a training schedule and some will work harder than others. But this is the required level that would be ‘expected’ from players.

The type of training will differentiate, dependant on the demands of each individual player.

A lot of full body workout methods will be used, lower body particularly to build strength and endurance.

Then a lot of field work such as agility, speed and football specific technical drills will be undertaken.

They would not spend time doing too many bicep curls and building muscle which looks good, but will not have much effect on performance and uses up more valuable oxygen that needs to be used during the game.

There a few exceptions – Akinfenwa for example.

Again, it can depend on the player.

A nimble winger would not train the same a 6ft 4in brute of a centre back.

Each have different levels of fitness and ability as well as specific requirements.

But training individuals specifically to their needs is all part of the strength & conditioning, medical and first team staff.

There is lots of detail put into recovery, outdoor sessions, indoor sessions, nutrition and psychological aspects too.

Nonetheless is an insight as to how players might train at the top level.

Any enquiries, comments or just any questions can contact me directly or send me an email.

Feel free to just use these graphs for your players or yourself and add the training details in yourself.

When you do go back for pre-season, be cautious not to push it too much straight away.

Just remember to use these graphs as guideline and pay particular attention to preparation-phase 1&2 when restarting.

Published by Thomas Jackson Smith

Personal Trainer. Qualified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Exercise Referral specialist, Football coach and entrepreneur. Interested in health and fitness, exercise prescription, football, nutrition, injury prevention, recovery and mindset improvement. Any views are my own and from my own experience. Looking to build links within the blog community, replying to feedback and offering support so we can learn and grow together!

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