To really develop and maintain your fitness level as a female soccer player requires a combination of anaerobic and aerobic training. Think about it: you need the power to jump for a header or sprint 10 yards to a ball and recover quickly—and to last the full 90 minutes of a regulation game. That's why combining anaerobic activities like jumping, sprinting and short agility drills with aerobic activities like continuous running with few recovery breaks is essential in a soccer conditioning program.
The pre-season is when soccer players develop their fitness level. Optimally, a player will spend six weeks devoting two days per week to anaerobic fitness and another two to aerobic fitness. The following training schedule (comprising Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) is a sample of how you should be preparing to be at your best next season.
Monday: Anaerobic Training
Tuesday: Aerobic Training with Interval Drills
Wednesday: Anaerobic Training with Agility Drills
Thursday: Aerobic training with Footwork and Sprint Drills
Prehab // Warm-Up - The Secret Sauce
Training is not just about getting stronger and faster. It's about injury prevention. It all ties into one another. This is Megan Rapinoe's Mini-Band Prehab Routine. Every day, Rapinoe goes through a series of prehab exercises to improve leg strength, speed and stay injury free using a mini band.
Do It: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, hips back, back flat. Place two mini-bands around your legs, one just above the knees and one around the ankles. Keeping one leg stationary, rotate the other knee in and then back out. Complete a set on one side before repeating with the opposite leg.
Feel It: Working your glutes and outer hips.
Sets/Reps: 3x10 each leg
Lateral Straight Leg Walk
Do It: Stand tall, feet hip-width apart, with a mini-band above your knees and another one around your ankles. Walk to the side taking small steps. Drive your elbows back with each step. Step with your lead leg first followed by your trailing leg. Continue for the full set. Reverse directions and repeat.
Feel It: Working your glutes.
Sets/Reps: 3x5 each direction
Do It: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides, with mini-bands above your knees and around your ankles. Initiating the move with your hips, squat down and back until your thighs are parallel to the floor. As you descend, raise your arms out in front of you. Return to a standing position by pushing through your hips while lowering your arms. Continue for the remainder of the set.
Feel It: Working your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
A Comeback State of Mind
Injuries happen to everyone, so when an injury does occur, Be patient. Focus on what you can control. There's no rushing your body, so don't put yourself on a timeline. Be patient with the healing and be kind to your body.
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