Pre-Season Fitness for Soccer (Apr 2019)

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      This is a 5 week program designed to improve endurance and fitness for soccer. I’m using Westside for Skinny Bastards 3 as a template and blending in a few other resources I have to make up the difference.

      Starting Stats (1st April)

      Weight: 74.2kg
      Estimated 1RM squat test: 5 x 120kg (135kg)
      Broad Jump: 252cm
      Standing Vert CMJ: 53.5cm
      Bleep Test: Lvl 9 shuttle 11
      QC Step Test VO2: 50.8
      Peak Exp Flow: 735 L/min

      Funnily enough I got Lvl 9-11 this time last year filming a comparison of VO2max tests, so that shows what my baseline fitness is when I don’t work on it at all.

      Days 1-7 are meant to be run Mon-Sun so that the Saturday aligns with potential team training, but for me this is purely an experiment to see how much it helps and so I shifted it to suit my work schedule.

      4 Apr
      Bench Press – 2 x 3 x 95kg
      Incline DB Bench Press – 17, 15 x 25kg
      A1 DB Rows – 8 x 40kg, 2 x 8 x 35kg
      A2 Rear Delt Flyes – 3 x 8 x 3.5kg
      EZ Bar Curls – 9,9,8 x 33.5kg

      5 Apr
      General warm up + Mobility
      Frequency Drills
      Grass Runs: 10 x 10m, 6 x 20m, 4 x 40m (rest 1 min, 2 mins, 4 mins)

      Really liked the grass runs, I ran 60/100m at university and I love the feeling of acceleration. Pleased with my pace too given I’m an old man now.

      7 Apr
      Hex Bar Deadlift – 2 x 3 x 130kg
      Hip Thrusts – 3 x 10 x 100kg
      Sprinter sit-ups – 3 x 20
      Conditioning – 100 Swings (20kg), 75 Jump Squats in 9 mins 48 secs

      Gassed from conditioning, I wanted to avoid hammering one muscle group too heavily so I blended two conditioning challenges into one. Hip thrusts felt strong, deadlift wasn’t that hard but the program states it’s not maximal.


        8 Apr

        Push Ups – 26, 19, 17
        A1 Chin Ups – 3 x 9
        A2 Res. Band Face Pulls – 3 x 10
        DB Military Press – 10,10,9,9 x 20kg
        B1 BB Shrug – 10 x 60kg, 10,10 x 70kg
        B2 DB Tricep Extension – 15,12,10 x 13.5kg
        Swiss Ball Sit Ups – 3 x 12 x 15kg

        9 Apr

        General warm up + Mobility
        Frequency Drills
        Grass Shuttle Runs: 3 x 3 mins (4 mins rest)

        It was humbling how tired I was after 45 seconds of the first shuttle run, my fitness is appalling despite lifting weights and looking in okay shape. If I’m honest I could have pushed it more, I accepted a level of heavy breathing but didn’t try and run myself into the ground – will make sure to do that next week.

        Overall it’s been a good week of training, I felt the sprints went really well and while I was initially concerned that the first conditioning session would be too easy that opinion didn’t last long. Ideally to maximise fitness levels I would be doing three of those conditioning sessions per week but this was designed for the amateur footballer who plays in Sunday league and doesn’t have time to do 2-a-day sessions like a pro.


          11 Apr

          Bench Press – 2 x 3 x 95kg
          Incline DB Bench Press – 15, 13 x 25kg
          A1 DB Rows – 4 x 8 x 35kg
          A2 Rear Delt Flyes – 4 x 8 x 3.5kg
          EZ Bar Curls – 12,11,10 x 31kg

          I could tell in the warm up I wasn’t as strong as last week and it showed in the lower reps on incline press. Managed a bit more volume than last week though.

          12 Apr

          General warm up + Mobility
          Frequency Drills
          Grass Runs: 10 x 10m, 6 x 20m, 3 x 40m* (rest 1 min, 2 mins, 4 mins)

          On the third rep of 40m I got to around 20-25 metres and felt my right hamstring go. I’ve had enough hamstring pulls (6-8?) over the years to know that this one was quite bad. It was a combination of dehydration from not taking water with me and the uneven surface which probably caused it. I immediately picked up all my stuff and hobbled home to ice it. Over the next day and a bit I iced it for 8 lots of 20 mins, spaced 2+ hours apart. I’m on crutches and expect to need at least two weeks before I can do a light jog, but hopefully some gentle physio work before that time.

          14 Apr

          Sprinter sit-ups – 3 x 20

          The only part of the session I could do and even then it was modified to put no strain on my hamstring. I plan to do as much of the upper body session tomorrow as I can without feeling any kind of twinge in my hamstring, likely a seated version of some exercises. I hate being injured.


            15 Apr

            Push ups – 22,19,18
            A1 Chin up – 3 x 9
            A2 Res. Band Face Pulls – 3 x 10
            Lateral Raises – 12,12,10,12 x 3.5kg
            B1 BB Shrugs – 3 x 10 x 70kg
            B2 DB Tricep Ext – 15,12,11 x 13.5kg
            Weighted Sit ups – 2 x 12 x 15kg

            I switched from shoulder press to lateral raise and did the barbell shrugs with my injured leg kneeling on a bench, making sure my torso is still perpendicular to the floor. Pleased to get through that.

            16 Apr

            Indoor Rowing (Upper body only) – 4 x 3 mins (4 mins) in 2:20-2:25/500m pace

            So pleased I can do a fitness session, and a tiring one at that. I put my good leg in the straps and kept it straight, leaving my injured leg free and bent at 90 degrees so there’s no strain when I lean forward for each stroke. Really surprised by the pace I can hold with only my upper body, biceps were tired but I got my heart rate up to 160 so it’s a great alternative to the shuttle runs. I was going to switch running for rowing if the weather was terrible but this injury has given me another reason to include it.

            I will do some lower body rehab on Friday and probably repeat the rowing machine session instead of the speed session. I’m off crutches but I can’t walk very fast and have a small limp. I tried a two leg lying bridge with no pain and plan to follow these exercises to measure my progress


              18 Apr

              Bench Press – 2 x 3 x 95kg
              Incline DB Bench Press – 15, 13 x 25kg
              A1 DB Rows – 3 x 8 x 35kg
              A2 Rear Delt Flyes – 3 x 8 x 3.5kg
              EZ Bar Curls – 13,11,9 x 31kg

              19 Apr

              Single Leg Bridge – 4 x 10

              Part of the hamstring progression, these didn’t even feel like they were activating my hamstring.

              21 Apr

              Hamstring Bridge Walkouts – 3 x 5
              Hamstring Stretch – 1 minute

              Wow, now these are definitely working the hamstring. I walked out until my knees were almost straight and I could tell I was very close to tweaking it again so I reduced the range of my steps. I like these enough to put them in as a more advanced warm up once my leg is healed, and the plan is to do some two leg work with a swiss ball in a few days time.

              22 Apr

              Stretches – Hamstring spectrum, Holding Large Globe, Long Quad, Human Pinwheel
              Push ups – 26, 21, 20
              A1 Chin up – 9,9,9
              A2 Face Pull – 10,10,10
              Lat Raises – 4 x 12 x 3.5kg
              B1 BB Shrug – 3 x 10 x 70kg
              B2 DB Tricep Ext – 3 x 12 x 13.5kg

              I’m having to pay less attention to my leg in the gym when doing upper body, and I can walk without a limp at an average pace. The stretches are from The Permanent Pain Cure, which I still fall back on to this day for some of my stretches Days of inactivity and perhaps the use of crutches has meant I feel a lot of tightness in my lower and mid back, as well as calves. I read some research that stretching 4x day means faster recovery than 1x day but I haven’t found the time yet.

              23 Apr

              Running warm up –
              Grass Shuttle Runs: 3 x 4 mins (4 mins rest)

              I am so pleased I could complete this session. The first run was a little tentative but the other two were done at the same pace as my runs two weeks ago and the fact I can’t jog very fast meant I paced myself much better. I completed one full shuttle and got to the far 18 yard box on the second run (shuttles are 18 yd, halfway, other 18 yd, full pitch). I stayed away from any discomfort and going from crutches to jogging in 11 days is faster than I expected to progress.

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