Thursday, 11 October 2012

Aerobic Exercises for Soccer

The demand for exercise as a means of acquiring health-related fitness spawned the form of exercise known as ‘aerobics’. Its popularity developed alongside ‘sport for all’ campaigns and health-promotion drives to participate in physical training for recreational purposes. It was recognized that exercise programmes, especially when combined with dietary regimens, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorders and aid recovery from circulatory problems.

Exercise training should engage major muscle groups in continuous activity for
20–30 min a day, 3 days a week for positive physiological benefits to be induced. The intensity of exercise should be within 50–80% V.O2 max or in excess of 60% of the maximal heart rate. In calculating the exercise heart rate that elicits a training stimulus to the circulatory system, the formula of Karvonen (1959) has been adapted. This specifies that the exercise heart rate should be above 60% of the estimated heart-rate range (maximum minus resting heart rate). Thus for an individual with a maximum heart rate of 180 and a resting rate of 60 beats·min 1 the training threshold is 132 beats·min 1. Where the maximum heart rate is not known, it is estimated by the formula 220–age in years, although in a minority of cases this formula overestimates the ageing effect on the maximal heart rate. The heart rate response to exercise programmes has been used to assess their suitability for training the oxygen transport system in so-called ‘aerobics’ programmes.



   The original form of aerobics consisted of a long sequence of exercises performed to music. High-impact exercises induced injuries and are generally avoided in programmes tailored to individuals of low initial fitness levels. Commercially available videos provide exercise regimens for participants to follow in their own homes. Many of these programmes are not designed on ergonomic principles and do not match the capabilities of those using them.

   Circuit weight-training has also been promoted as a means of improving the
capacity of the oxygen transport system. The individual rotates around a series of exercises set out in a circle, usually 8 to 12 separate exercises being involved. Muscle groups engaged are varied between work stations, the purpose being that local muscular fatigue is avoided whilst stress is maintained on the cardiovascular system. A suitably designed programme can have relevance for soccer players.

   Various exercise modes have been employed over the last decade for aerobics’training. These types of exercise include cycling, jogging, swim-aerobics, deep-water running, ladder-climbing and stepping. These activities have been supplemented by use of sports equipment such as rowing ergo-meters and ski-simulators. Their effectiveness depends on product design and flexibility for the individual to raise the exercise intensity. Recreational and amateur players may benefit most from these forms of ‘aerobics training’ although they can have value at all levels on ‘recovery’ days.

Aerobic Training Exercises:
Aerobic training is intuitive to most people. You need to find an exercise that will keep your heart rate between 65 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes. Activities such as jogging, riding a bicycle, using an elliptical machine, swimming or using a rowing machine can help achieve an increased heart rate for a proper length of time. During the off-season, choose non-impact exercises to maintain aerobic fitness and help prevent repetitive injury. Preseason and in-season conditioning should use exercises that most simulate a soccer game.

Ball Control:



Soccer players need to develop their dribbling skills while working on their aerobic conditioning. To do this, mark off a 15-yard by 15-yard area with cones. You should be using about eight cones to mark this area. Take a soccer ball inside the area and dribble it to the inside of the first cone you reach and then to the outside of the next cone. Continue in this manner until you get to the starting point. Then reverse direction and continue to dribble in this manner as you go in the opposite direction.

Change of Direction and Shoot:



Start off about 25 yards from the goal. Dribble at top speed to a cone located 15 yards from the goal. Then dribble to another cone located eight yards to the left of the first cone. Then speed dribble diagonally to a spot five yards to the right of the goal. Then shoot for the far corner of the net. Get back to the end of the line and do this drill at least three times.

Shuttle Sprints:



Shuttle sprints help you prepare for the explosive running required in a soccer match. Set up cones at the 15-yard mark, the 30-yard mark and the 50-yard mark on a soccer field. On the coach's whistle, sprint 15 yards up and back, then 30 yards up and back and then 50 yards up and back. Take a two-minute break and then repeat the set.


Conditioning Drill:



Having excellent endurance pays off when you sprint, jump and fight for contested balls during a competitive game. Set out five cones as you cross midfield. The first cone should be 10 yards past the midfield line and the other cones should be placed every 10 yards from that point. Start off by jogging from the first cone to the fourth cone and then sprinting to the fifth cone. At that point, take two dribbles with a waiting soccer ball and try to score. Then go back to the starting line, jog from the first cone to the third cone and then sprint to the fifth cone before taking another shot on goal. Go back to the starting point, jog from the first cone to the second cone, sprint to the fifth cone and then take another shot on goal.

Long slow distance training:



Long slow distance training, usually shortened to LSD training, is the term used to describe low intensity aerobic exercise. LSD training can take the form of jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing or any other easy paced cardiovascular exercise. As soccer players need to be effective runners, the most sports specific form of LSD for soccer is jogging or slow running. LSD training develops stamina, increases your ability to burn fat for fuel and also increases capillary density. LSD training should last 30 minutes or more and your heart rate should remain between 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Fartlek Training:



Fartlek, meaning speed play in Swedish, is a form of aerobic training that uses a variety of running speeds within a single workout. Fartlek places similar demands on your body to a soccer match and is therefore an effective type of workout for soccer players. Fartlek sessions are normally 30 to 45 minutes long and involve variable periods of walking, running and sprinting. A fartlek workout should be randomly organized so that the intensity and duration of your efforts mimics the mixed demands of a soccer match. Simply alternate randomly between bursts of walking jogging, running and sprinting over various distances for the duration of your workout.

Fast Continuous Running:



Fast continuous running, FCR for short, is also called tempo or threshold running. FCR is the fastest pace that you can sustain while remaining aerobic. The aim of FCR training is to improve your lactic acid threshold or, in simpler terms, increase your top-end aerobic fitness. FCR workouts are shorter and more intense than LSD and fartlek training -- 20 to 30 minutes at 90 percent of your maximum heart rate is ideal. The aim of a FCR workout is to work as hard as you can but avoid working so hard that you have to slow down. FCR workouts can be performed using most forms of cardiovascular exercise but running is the most sports-specific method for soccer players.


Interval Training:

Soccer is a start-stop sport where players chase the ball or an opposing player at top speed and then walk or jog back to their position on the pitch. Interval training is a structured workout that mimics this type of activity. Interval training describes periods of high-intensity exercise interspersed with periods of low intensity recovery. Some interval training sessions involve very short, hard bursts of activity while others use longer, more moderate levels of work. Long and short intervals are useful for soccer players. As a general rule, the work to rest ratio used in interval training ranges from 1:1 to 1:3. As you get fitter you can increase the length and intensity of the work periods or reduce the length of your recovery periods.


Continuous Runs:



The purpose of a continuous run is to improve cardiovascular endurance and increase fat utilization, improving the muscles' ability to spare glycogen for the high-intensity sprints during a game. Continuous runs are particularly useful in the off-season to build up your fitness for more intense training. The intensity of a continuous run is low enough to carry on a conversation about 70 percent of your maximum aerobic capacity. The duration of these runs should range from 30 to 60 minutes, and you can do three to five of these per week in the off-season, perhaps reducing this to two to three per week during the soccer season as you add more intense training and games.


High-Intensity Interval Runs:



High-intensity interval training is specific for the series of short sprints followed by easy running or walking in soccer. After a 10-minute warm-up jog, increase the treadmill speed and sprint for 60 seconds. Jog for 60 seconds. Repeat this pattern eight to 10 times. To mimic a soccer match even more closely, vary the interval duration and recoveries in a random fashion, keeping each duration approximately 30 seconds to five minutes and holding a faster pace on the shorter intervals. Jog slowly for five minutes to cool down. You should do one or two of these per week, and only after several weeks of continuous runs.

Interval Runs With Plyometrics:



Incorporating power-building plyometric exercises between interval runs will train the muscles to produce power while fatigued, such as when soccer players sprint to meet and immediately kick the ball. After a 10-minute warm-up jog, increase the treadmill speed and sprint for 60 seconds. After the 60-second sprint, immediately perform 10 squat jumps. Rest or jog slowly for two to three minutes, then repeat the cycle until you have completed 30 minutes total. Cool down with five minutes of easy jogging. You should do no more than two of these per week, and no more than one if you do the high-intensity intervals described previously.

Running On An Incline:



Although there are no hills on the soccer field, running on a moderate incline provides additional cardiovascular intensity for a given speed, and incorporating part of your distance run or intervals on an incline can help prevent boredom and increase the intensity. Add one to three-minute bouts at a 4 percent to 5 percent incline during your easy runs, decreasing the speed to keep your intensity moderate. For interval training, you may need to reduce the speed slightly at first to maintain your pace at the higher incline. However, you should not raise the incline higher than 6 percent or 7 percent, as this may compromise your running form and speed.

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