How to Train like a Professional Footballer | MuscleSquad

icon May 11, 2023 - Think Shaw

How to Train like a Professional Footballer

Sport is in our DNA at MuscleSquad. We’re massive football fans, regularly travelling across the country to catch the latest fixture or watching along from home. We’ve also worked with a number of professional athletes and sports clubs to build bespoke training facilities for them, so beyond enjoying sport we also know what it takes to train like a top-flight athlete. Take a look at our commercial range with the gym we built for Luton Town Football Club to see exactly how we used the Phase 4 product line to supercharge their training.

Luton Town Football Club Training Facility Designed and Built by MuscleSquad

With a rare insight into what it takes to train like the pros, we’ve broken down our five most important rules for getting into athlete-level fitness, along with an explosive workout routine at the end that’ll help sharpen those muscles for when you hit the pitch.

Rule #1: Balance

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of what it takes to train like a professional athlete, we need to stress the importance of balance. We’re not talking about your balance on the ball (though this is important!), but rather how crucial it is to have a balanced lifestyle.

  • Do spend time with family, friends and your hobbies
  • Do take the time to rest and recover
  • Don’t over-train to the point of injury risk
  • Don’t shut down other aspects of your life in favour of sport

Rule #2: Nutrition

There’s an argument to be made that nutrition is as crucial for performance as training is. We don’t expect you to count every calorie, macro and gram of food you consume, but there are some habits you should stick to.

  • Do prioritise healthy, whole foods that are good for your body
  • Do meal prep and take other food shortcuts to make nutrition easy to stay on top of
  • Don’t engage in too many cheat meals
  • Don’t over-indulge in alcohol

Rule #3: Mentality

As we’ve mentioned, the world of professional sports is gruelling. There’s constant comparison, critique and expectation coming your way, so you need to go into your training with the proper mentality. Expect more from yourself each week but don’t set unrealistic demands. Show up to training, follow your coach’s advice and work on becoming the best athlete that you can. When you know you’re putting 110% in, it’s a lot easier to blank out the external noise.

  • Do set regular goals
  • Do schedule your days to get the most out of your training and recovery time
  • Don’t listen to your inner critique
  • Don’t compare yourself to other athletes

Rule #4: Planning

When you think about the best sports people in the world, their entire life is dedicated to their craft. This likely isn’t the same for you, so you’ll need to be efficient with your planning to make sure you create enough time each week to get your training in.

  • Do schedule your week’s activities in advance
  • Do try to follow your schedule as closely as possible
  • Don’t kick yourself if you miss a training session; instead, reschedule it for later
  • Don’t cram too much into a week

Rule #5: Recovery

Behind every training session is a well-deserved rest period. Be sure to give your body time to heal in between physical activity.

  • Do engage in active recovery like walking to get your blood flowing
  • Do eat at least 2kg of protein for every 1kg of bodyweight
  • Don’t neglect your sleep habits; aim for 6-8 hours each night with a regular bedtime
  • Don’t let your hydration slip; drink at least 2 litres of water each day

That’s all well and good to know, but what exercises should you be doing if you’re looking to build the sort of fitness that can hold up on a football field? Well, we have just the routine for you.

Building your base with functional fitness

Exercise #1

Staggered stance jump squats

Jump squats are great for practicing your vertical leap and aiding with acceleration. Adding some dumbbell resistance gives you an extra challenge and will prepare you to jump high when challenging for those headers on the pitch.

Slam balls are another great tool for footballers. They allow you to add weight to a movement and are tough enough to be thrown down, which makes them ideal for training your upper and lower body in tandem.

Exercise #2:

Rotation slams

Grab a slam ball in an athletic stance on your left side, pick it up over head and rotate using your core to slam it down on your right side. Repeat this by pivoting on your feet and keeping the movement as dynamic as possible. This exercise will hone your balance and coordination by strengthening your core.

Exercise #3:

Shuttle runs with change of direction

Shuttle running is the perfect way to challenge your speed and agility. It allows you to practice acceleration from a static start, and with the added changes in direction it allows you do recreate “in-game” movement scenarios. You could even try adding a resistance band to an anchor point and tying it around your waist as you sprint. This increased resistance mirrors the type of physical contact you’re likely to experience in a game.

Exercise #4:

Intermittent sprints

Treadmills are best known for a nice evening jog, but there are so many combinations of workouts you can use them for. Try out some intermittent sprints where you run flat-out for 20 seconds and then walk for 40 seconds. Repeat this for 5-10 minutes and you’ll have worked up a serious sweat while improving how fast you are off the mark.


Now you know how to train and maintain like a professional athlete, we’d say it’s time to go out there and seize the day. Every great sports person started from somewhere; who says the next great can’t be you?

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1 comment

May 30, 2023 • Posted by Malick

Well said that “Dumbbells are a great tool to challenge both core strength, speed, & agility. They allow you to train unilaterally (only using one) as well as bilaterally (using both). The advantage of this is that you can challenge your core stabilizers and the smaller more overlooked muscles, but they also allow you to take up some more athletic stances.” Anyone can search here for the best quality fitness-related product. https://www.maskura.co.uk/collections/fitness

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