World class footballers worldwide spend hours in the gym adding that extra strength and fitness required for top level football. The major reasons for ‘bodybuilding’ is to increase your strength on the ball, in the air, increase shot power, increase sprint speed and improve balance. Players who succeed the most on the pitch perform a balance between aerobic and strength gym work.
Depending on the position you play, you may require different strengths and as long as you can maintain or improve your aerobic strength and then provide some additional bodybuilding principles your performance will vastly improve. Bodybuilding for football has its limits and that overdoing it will result in reduced flexibility and endurance. A balanced diet is also key as nuts, lean meats, pasta, eggs and milk and some players might like to try bodybuilding supplements for a boost.
Breaks between strength work outs are also very important for mass building as they allow your muscles to rebuild. Speed squats, leg extensions, leg curls, stiff leg deadlifts and calf raises are important in gaining strength and speed in the legs. Central defenders focus more on chest and bicep work outs which help for pushing players off the ball. Strikers perform leg curls and leg extensions to increase their shot power and wingers and wing backs focus more on speed squats, calf raises, stiff leg deadlifts. Although a combination of all these strength work outs will drastically improve your performance.
Manchester United and Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia is a good example of bodybuilding in football. Valencia moved from Wigan Athletic to the Red Devils in 2009. Valencia mentioned in an interview last year that he had gained 8kgs while playing for United. In April 2011 Rio Ferdinand said “I saw Valencia in the gym today…the guy throws the weights around like how I threw Robbie Savage about!”. Valencia sums up the word ‘wing’, he has the ability to beat a defender with his strength and pace and is one of the strongest wingers in the game. His determined attitude has helped his strength and speed and it has been praised by Sir Alex in recent months.
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