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Score For Fitness

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Even if you don’t play football, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be as agile as a football player. Dev Goswami & Shirley Mistry tell you about some unique exercises that will make you as fit as a footballer

Football is one of the most intense sports, for which you need stamina, agility, body balance and sprinting power. So, it’s no surprise that footballers are some of the fittest people in the world. Today, we tell you about some common exercises that footballers perform to stay in shape. This is not a set workout — each of the different exercises have their own benefits. Most of them work your legs, but some also give you better balance, agility and stamina. If you’d like to work on these areas, incorporate these exercises in your workout:

Get-ups
This is a fairly simple exercise to perform. However, it is quite intense, as you’ll discover after you perform a few rounds of get-ups. It increases your agility and gives your legs the power to explode into a sprint at a moment’s notice. Apart from that, it also works your abs, back and thighs.

  • Lie down on your back.
  • Keep your body relaxed — there is no set posture/ starting position for this, except lying down on the ground.
  • Count 1-3 and as you reach three, get up as quickly as possible and without wasting a second, sprint for few meters.
  • Rest for a few seconds and then repeat.

Hurdle run
You’ll need props for this one as well —cardboard boxes will work fine. This exercise helps improve your stamina and increases your ability to run faster. It will also work your gluteus, abs and arms.

  • Set the boxes in a straight line at intervals of 4-5 feet. Set them in a way that the thinnest side of the box is facing up. The thinner the box is, the better it is.
  • Jog towards the first box and quicken your pace as you come near it.
  • While moving over the first box, lift one leg (whichever one is in the air) as high as you can. Try to get your thigh parallel to the ground.
  • With the next box, repeat the same motion with your other leg.
  • While moving over the box, move your arms vigorously in their natural running motion.
  • Once you reach the end, keep up your pace, continue sprinting for five seconds and then slow down to a halt.

Medicine Ball Squats
This exercise will give your legs, shoulder and core an explosive boost of power.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, stretch your arms and hold a medicine ball in front of your hips.
  • Now, go into a low squat, with your weight on the back of your heels.
  • In one swift motion, come back to the starting position, bend your arms and bring the medicine ball close to your chest.
  • Now, jump and throw the medicine ball towards the ceiling, stretching your arms straight above your head.
  • As the ball comes down, snatch it while it’s in mid-air and use the momentum of the ball to return to a squat.
  • Repeat around 10-12 times.

Zig-zag run
The zig-zag run is an intense form of running, where you’ll be working your calves and thighs. The benefit of this exercise is that you develop superior balance and agility. While the name is self-explanatory, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

  • You’ll need to use a prop to make this exercise easier — big stones, empty boxes, anything will do.
  • Set around 5-6 empty boxes (or stones) in a straight line, approximately five feet away from each other.
  • Stand a few feet away from the first box and start jogging towards it.
  • As you near the first box, increase your running pace to a sprint, pass the box on your right and then suddenly move into the gap between the first and second box.
  • Pass the second box on your left and move into the gap between the second and third box.
  • Keep running in and out, till you reach the last box, where you have to take a U-turn and repeat.
  • Run as fast as you can to get the best results, but remember that if you turn with too much momentum, you might sprain your thighs.

Hops
This exercise uses the same set-up as the hurdle run. It is slightly more difficult and gives your calves an intense workout apart from improving your coordination and stability.

  • Use the same line of boxes that you set up for the hurdle run.
  • Jog towards the first box and instead of running over it, hop over it, keeping both your feet close to each other.
  • Once you land, hop over the second box again without separating your feet.
  • You need to keep your feet together for the duration of the exercise.
  • To increase the intensity further, do a zig-zag run after you’ve hopped over 3-4 boxes.

Sprinter sit up
This exercise gives your core, shoulders, arms and hamstrings a great workout in one move.

  • Lie down on your back, with your arms by your side and your elbows bent at a 90° angle.
  • As you sit up, twist your upper body towards the left and touch your left knee to your right elbow, and swing your left arm back.
  • Come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat it on the other side, touching your right knee to your left elbow and swinging your right arm back at the same time.
  • This completes one repetition, so perform the exercise 4-5 times.

Drawing alphabets
This is one of the best exercises to improve balance and stability. It will also work all of your leg muscles, especially your butt.

  • Stand on one foot with the other foot extended out, in the air, as pictured above.
  • Use the foot that is in the air to draw imaginary letters. Start with A and make your way to Z.
  • Draw as many letters as you can before you feel like you need to put your leg down.
  • The aim should be to complete the alphabet without shaking too much or putting your foot down mid-way.

Box Jumps
Box jumps work your knees, core, hamstrings and calves, giving your lower body an intense workout.

  • Place a sturdy box that is around a foot or two feet high, one step in front of you.
  • Assume a squat position, swing your arms and use the squat to propel yourself as you jump and land on the box.
  • As this is an intense exercise, start with one set of three repetitions and work your way up.
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