Welcome to Fuel For Football's 100 days of Christmas. For the 100 days leading up to Christmas Day (December 25th) we will be releasing new content, tips, advice, promotions and more every day.
As a part of Day 1 we have produced this poster to help players better understand what to look for as a pre-match drink.
Why are resistance bands useful?
The bands challenge your muscles by creating resistance in multiple directions. You must stabilize against this resistance to maintain the correct movement pattern for each exercise. The result is increased strength in the targeted muscle group. As an added bonus, stabilizer and support muscles, which are often neglected during traditional training, are also strengthened.
No Gym Necessary
Resistance bands are small and compact enough to fit almost anywhere, making them easy to transport. Plus, the bands are extremely cheap. You can use them to create an effective workout at home, in school or at the gym.
Your entire body can get a workout with resistance band exercises. Using the bands forces your body to maintain stability throughout an entire movement. This engages multiple muscles simultaneously, so your entire body gets a workout in a short period of time. For example, wrap a resistance band around a pole and perform Resistance Band Chest Presses. Or stand on a band for Resistance Band Squats.
Resistance bands are one of the more versatile pieces of workout equipment, because the resistance can easily be adjusted. For a harder workout, use a thicker band, add more bands or simply stretch the band more. Perform the same exercise for strength with a heavy band or for endurance and conditioning with a light band. For football-specific exercises, perform movements at game-time speeds.
Resistance band training is low-impact and easy on the joints. For in-season players, who are already taking a beating from competition, this type of training tool is perfect for maintaining strength. Also, increased stabilizer muscle strength protects joints and keeps them pain-free.
Substitute some of your standard exercises with their resistance band counterparts to achieve your strength and appearance goals. Perform each exercise for three sets of 10 reps.
Below: photo of @ksmudgehabsxo (Instagram) using a resistance band during training.
Below: Useful resistance band exercises. Band Hip Extension & Fireouts
Day 3 is heavily centred around adequate sleep, which is incredibly important for elite players.
At 1pm every afternoon, players have 2 hours to sleep at Real Madrid's Valdebebas training ground.
Stanford University testing by Cheri Mah on basketball players showed increased sleep duration to improve players accuracy by 9% as well as leading to faster sprint and reaction times.
More facts and statistics can be found here:
Considering the data shown below from The Physio Room on English Premier League injuries last season, we can see that Hamstring injuries are an extremely common football injury. Located muscle strengthening can help prevent hamstring injuries and are often used in rehabilitation. We have featured a few exercises, thanks to sportsinjuryclinic.net that can be used to strengthen the Hamstring muscles.
Enjoy a 30% discount on our plan for improving speed, acceleration and power, 'Building Speed'.
Players should consider other factors that are important when planning gym sessions, for example, recovery times vary dependent on exercises used. Many exercises that are suitable in the off-season will be hard to use in workouts during a hectic in-season schedule. To learn more check out our Gym Work page and use our pre-designed workouts (click below).
Enjoy this workout from our Upper Body Workouts for free as a part of day 7 of '100 Days of Christmas'. As a part of the plan you would receive information on when best to complete this exercise as well as information on what each part means. The first 5 visitors to read this and message us on Instagram @fuelforfootball are eligible for a £5 discount on the plan. Sometimes it pays to read the full paragraph! Good luck.
We often post plyometric exercises on our Instagram as a form of speed training. Here is some great information on how plyometrics work.
The way in which plyometric exercises increase muscular power utilises the natural elasticity of the muscle and tendon, as well as the stretch reflex. When we jump, in the landing phase our quads must contract eccentrically (lengthening, to resist gravity), to slow the movement. This increases the elastic energy in the muscle and tendon as the muscle lengthens. This energy is then stored in the muscle. Following the eccentric, landing phase, with an immediate concentric contraction (such as jumping up again), causes the stored energy to be released. This increases the total force produced.
The stretch reflex is the bodies response to a muscular stretch. This response, which is involuntary, is initiated by the muscle spindles (stretch receptor organs within a muscle). The muscle spindles detect the speed and intensity of a stretch and so during plyometrics, detect the rapid stretching of the quads (when landing). Their response is to protect the muscle from over-stretching by increasing the activity of the quads (the agonist muscles) and so the force the muscles produce.
Plyometric activities can be broken down into three parts:
The eccentric phase, or landing phase, where the agonist muscles are contracting eccentrically to control movement
The amortisation phase, or transition phase, which is the time between eccentric and concentric contractions
The concentric phase, which is the jumping phase, when the agonist muscles contract concentrically
The amortisation phase, the time between the eccentric and concentric contractions, must not be too long. as the energy from the contractile parts of the muscle which is produced during the first eccentric phase, dissipates very quickly. Therefore, the subsequent concentric contraction must occur as soon after the eccentric phase as possible, to get the most benefit from the exercise.
To learn more check out http://www.teachpe.com/speed/plyometrics.php
Antioxidants For Recovery
The function that antioxidants play in aiding your recovery from matches and training is the inhibition of free radicals produced during exercise. Any time you play, free radicals are produced in the body that damage muscle tissue. Having an adequate supply of antioxidants about an hour or so before you play can greatly reduce the muscle damage caused by free radicals, hence, improving your muscular recovery.
Some of the most potent sources of whole food antioxidants are berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries), cherries, acai fruit, various teas (green tea, white tea, black tea, and red tea - a.k.a. rooibos tea), nuts, seeds, red and black beans, purple potatoes, grapes, red wine, cinnamon, and dark chocolate or cocoa. There also some great supplements such as Cherry Active.
Often the biggest problems of performance for players are mental: confidence, focus or drive. These commonly work in negative spirals, with a worse mentality leading to worse performance then in turn having a further negative effect on mentality. There are a few different ways to train your mind-set.
Try positive self-talk
“Research proves that how you talk to yourself affects the chemistry in your brain and your hormones, Negativity and criticism is associated with the stress hormone cortisol, which reduces the ability of the frontal lobe to function effectively. Positive, energised language releases dopamine, which is linked to certainty and confidence, as well as noradrenaline and DHEA which enable your prefrontal lobe to fire more effectively. As a nutritionist advises you not to eat rubbish before matches, we advise players not to fire the wrong chemicals and hormones through their brains. In training, we ask them to practise capturing negative thoughts and converting them into positive ones. We call this ‘squashing ANTs’ (Automatic Negative Thoughts).” - Bradley Busch of Inner Drive
According to a study published by the Journal of Sport Behaviour in 2010, this self-talk really does make a difference. The study showed that the introduction of psychological skills, such as self-talk, at half-time improved the performance of midfield players in the second half in at least two of the three performance components measured (passing, first touch and tackling.)
“A player vulnerable to anger on the pitch might say ‘Ice’ to remind them to stay in control when things get heated. Your brain finds it much easier to handle one evocative image than complex processes. Your reactions can only take a split second to get out of control, so speed is crucial.” - Busch
Enhancing an individual’s focus could help to prevent mistakes in the first place. “The pre-frontal lobe is vital for concentration but it struggles to consciously process multiple things,” explains Busch. “So we tell players to focus on three things only. They have to be things you can control. A striker can’t control goals but he can control his movement, energy, and the quality of his strikes. It sounds simplistic but it’s about using the machinery of the brain in the right way.”
Focusing on simple goals can also lead a player to identify and seize more opportunities. “There is so much information out there that the brain filters out what isn’t necessary. A part of your brain called the reticular activating system draws your attention towards things you deem important,” explains Busch. “That’s why, when you want a certain car or phone, you start to see it everywhere.” So, if a striker regularly thinks about the bottom corner of the net, he will instinctively start to see it more often through the forest of legs and bodies during games. Similarly, if you write down your personal goal – to save money, meet more people, or take more jogs – you’ll soon start to see more windows of opportunity during the day to make it happen. All thanks to your reticular activating system.
Several top players enlist the help of qualified coaches to train them mentally in preparation for games. However this can be costly and unsuitable for most players. Recently a group of coaches who most commonly train NBA players have created an app for athletes preparing themselves mentally in their sport. The Lucid app allows players to train their wisdom, confidence, drive and more. Click the image below to learn more.
Understanding Pain & Nociceptors.
Information flow is present at multiple levels in humans. Info is received by our bodies from sensory receptors. One such receptor is the nociceptor. It is the nociceptor that indicates pain to your brain following a knock or injury. Drugs such as ibuprofen work by masking nociceptor signals. While pain may cease with such drugs, they do not heal the problem. It is rare for a player to be 100% fit every time they play with small aches or niggles often being present. Despite this, you as a player must make judgement calls on the severity of injuries. It is better to stay fit than cause extra unnecessary damage.
Suggested Instagram Accounts
Here are several accounts we suggest following to help yourself progress in football.
Technical Improvement Drills