Follow these 6 Steps to Become a Faster Footballer:
(Make sure you read the whole article and don’t skip around. You may find a Free 1 Month Gym Program somewhere ($600 Value for Free))
Homie! Hope you’re having a great week so far and you’re feeling great!
What do Mbappé, Haaland and Vinicius have in common?
They’re all top professionals of course and probably some of the best to play the game, but what quality do you think sets them apart from the rest of the crowd and makes them unique?
I hope you guessed it.
If not, you’ll have to watch some more games:
Their speed is what makes them different!
Of course, all three are exceptional technically and tactically, don’t get me wrong.
Yes, I do believe technical attributes should come before physical ones.
But that blistering pace is what helps them gain the edge, make huge differences for their teams, and ultimately help their team win football matches.
Last week, we discussed how to become a better fullback…
A fullback’s worst nightmare is an unpredictable, tricky and FAST winger.
Speed wins games!
If you’re faster, you automatically become a threat to the opposing team: you can win more 1v1 situations, beat players more often, defend more effectively …
And the list goes on.
And of course, speed isn’t just for offensive players..
It’s crucial for every single player on the pitch.
Whether you’re a defender, midfielder, striker or even a goalie (I know there’s plenty of you following me!), speed is massively important!
In this article, we’re going to cover 6 steps to become a faster footballer.
I’m going to share the tips and general methods I’ve personally used to get faster, as well as the methods I’ve used with my 1-on-1 clients, including some top professional players worldwide!
Plus, I’ll share a surprise for you guys at the end that I’m sure is going to help you a ton 🙂
Ready? Let’s get started!
Step 1: Stop Blaming Genetics:
I get it: you probably wish you were as fast as Mbappé or Vinicius.
We all do..
I’m sure you even might have called them “lucky” to be in their position.
Now, of course, genetics do play a role in speed for footballers, and any athlete for that matter.
There’s just no getting around that.
Some physical features also vary depending on the environment you’ve grown up in…
You’ve probably noticed that South American players like Neymar and Vinicius just move so freely and fast.
Beyond genetics, this can be attributed to Brazilian culture: dancing, spending more time barefoot (on the beach, on the street…) and overall being less crouched and seated than individuals from other areas of the world such as Europe.
This isn’t necessarily an advantage, because everyone can get into dancing and spend more time walking barefoot.
It’ll do wonders for your mobility and strength, which could help you become faster as a footballer.
My main point is: stop blaming genetics and other external factors!
Because you can’t do anything about it or to control it…
Focus on what you can control!
I see too many players just giving up on improving their speed and athleticism, because they think you’re either “born with it” or not.
That just couldn’t be further from the truth…
I’ve worked with hundreds of footballers from all around the world, from many different cultures, and all of them have been able to improve their physical ability, especially their speed with the proper programming and smart training.
Personally, I wasn’t “blessed” with genetics.
Remember, losers find problems, winners find solutions!
You decide what type of person you want to be… If you’re a winner, let’s keep going!
2-Develop Proper Sprinting Mechanics:
Technique OVER everything!
As with anything, you should always start with the fundamentals.
And the fundamental principle of becoming faster as a footballer and an overall athlete is to improve your sprinting technique.
This is the same principle when we talk about lifting or improving your ability on the ball.
Before getting into more advanced exercises and adding volume/ intensity, you need to begin by mastering the technique of the actual movement.
Basically, if your sprinting mechanics are off, you won’t be able to maximize your speed potential.
Think about this analogy: trying to improve your sprinting without focusing on your form is just like trying to drive a car fast with a flat tire.
You might be able to make some improvements, but there’ll always be that small detail holding you back from reaching your top speed.
“You are only as strong as your weakest link!”
Thankfully, there are some common sprinting mistakes which can be easily adjusted to make sure you’re giving yourself the best chance to become faster as a footballer.
But before we get into this, the main goal of improving your sprint speed and getting faster is improving your rate of force development.
How hard can you push off the ground while taking your body in the forward direction…
Anything that dissipates your ability to generate force or take your body in the forward direction should be eliminated from your “sprint toolkit.”
Let’s start from the bottom up:
The goal with your feet is to be pointing them in the direction you want to run towards.
If you get your feet aligned properly, the rest of the body will fall into place.
Then obviously, when we combine it with the rest of your body, especially your knee drive, we want to make sure that you’re driving off the ground and pushing off the ground as hard as you can.
Like we talked about, you are trying to generate as much force as possible down and back with your feet!
Now, the second thing is knee position.
This is massive, and so many footballers and athletes get it wrong.
To generate as much force as you can, you want to drive your knees up and forward and high with each stride. Not just up like you’re doing high knees, but you want it to be up and forward!
You want to aim for about a 100-120-degree angle when pushing the knee up: this will make your strides longer, help you produce more force and help you cover more ground faster.
A cue that I like to tell my clients is:
“Drive your knees through a mitt in front of you!”
We want your hips and your “belt buckle” to always be pointing in the forward direction. Your foot position will directly help with your knee and hip position so you don’t have to worry about this too much because your feet will take care of most of it.
But, you want to have in mind:
Hips need to face forward and not veer off sideways!
Your goal is to coordinate the arms with the knee drive: make sure your arms swing opposite to your legs.
Your arms should reach shoulder level when going up, and slightly past hip level when going down.
Another cue I like is:
“Swing your hands through your pockets!”
As I always say, it’s important to understand the WHY behind all this technique.
And like I briefly mentioned, the whole goal with proper sprint technique is to direct the power you generate in the right direction, which is horizontally.
If your arms don’t move properly, if your head is super stiff and facing down, or your knees are nowhere near driving high enough, that’ll create imbalances in your body.
Except, if one side of your body is taking more load, some of the force you’re generating will go sideways instead of forwards, which means you won’t be as fast as you can.
Lastly, we want to make sure your head is upright but not pointed upwards so it “juts and hurts” your neck.
We want it to almost be in neutral with the rest of your body.
If it’s too far forward or too far back, it will interrupt with the forward direction we want your body to move in.
The goal is to have your ear in line with your hip, which is in line with your knee, which is in line with your ankle.
Of course, you also want to be looking in the direction you want to go: FORWARDS!
I see a lot of players putting their head down or moving it from side to side when sprinting: which makes your entire body less balanced, which means one side could be taking on more load than the other.
Not only does this dissipate the force you generate, but it has your body going sideways instead of forwards which is the main goal!
This could also lead to injury by putting stress on a select few muscle groups, which we don’t want.
So overall, make sure your posture is good when sprinting to maximize biomechanical efficiency.
Align your head with your shoulders and hips to really improve that sprinting posture and become faster.
Cover Short Distances Quickly!
As footballers, you’ll come across loads of situations when you’re needing to sprint for 10-20m, so every stride counts!
A 2011 study by Jean-Benoît Morin titled “Technical Ability of Force Application as a Determinant Factor of Sprint Performance” (check it out here) really emphasizes the huge difference sprint technique makes when looking to become faster.
In fact, it insists that “sprint performance is related to the technical ability to produce high amounts of net positive horizontal force”.
SO do yourself a favor and apply the few principles we covered to make sure the force you’re exerting is going horizontally and not vertically! We don’t want to lose any bit of force that will help us become faster!
As promised, before reading further, you can check out my Free 1 Month Gym Program and Free “How to Become a Pro Masterclass”.
If you want to become more confident on the ball, become faster and stronger on the pitch, and eventually play in the top leagues in the world, this is exactly what you’re looking for and it’s FREE! ($1500 Value for FREE). Just enter your email below:
Do some technical sprint specific drills
Technical sprint drills are a fantastic way to build up muscle memory and develop proper sprinting form, which obviously helps you to become faster as a footballer.
As a matter of fact, a 2016 study conducted by Thomas Haugen titled “The Training and Development of Elite Sprint Performance: an Integration of Scientific and Best Practice Literature” (full article) really stresses this muscle memory aspect as a key foundation to developing speed.
It states that “Motor learning research tells us that for positive reinforcement of the technique to occur, the biomechanics used in practice must closely resemble those used in competition”.
In simple terms: repeating simple sprint technical exercises and doing them consistently with proper form WILL help you develop speed on the pitch!
As the study suggests, these exercises include slow drills such as walking/running high knees, skips, straight leg bounding etc.
These focus on posture, high hip positioning and foot placement, which we mentioned before are key elements for speed.
Here are a couple of key exercises you can do consistently to work on your sprint technique, which are low impact and can act like a warmup before getting into actual sprint work (which is the ultimate thing that will make you faster!)
Exercise 1- Sled Pushes:
Focus on really driving the ground away and creating the horizontal force we’ve been talking about!
Exercise 2: Barbell Sprint Drives:
Focus on really driving the ground away and creating the horizontal force while focusing on being “poppy” and working the tendons.
-Obviously, this is an isometric so you aren’t moving but you want to envision sprinting and driving with maximum force and intent.
Exercise 3: Banded Stride Length Drill:
-This works on long and explosive strides and having the ability to feel the ground and push away!
Exercise 4: Deceleration to Acceleration Transition:
Exercise 5: A-Skips/Pillar Skips:
-Focus on staying up and tall, keeping a 90-degree angle with the knee drive + elbow position, and slightly leaning forward.
Exercise 6: Forward Bounds:
-Focus on driving the foot back into the ground using your hamstrings.
-Keep this for the end of your warmup.
Remember, it’s not about the reps, it’s about the quality of your reps.
I would go for 1-3 Sets of a couple of reps of each exercise, with quality.
As always, start slowly, get the groove and point of the exercise and then progress to making it more complex and moving more intensely!
Get Some Help!
There’s always someone who’s more knowledgeable than you are.
I’ve been a coach for about 10 years now, and have coaches hundreds of clients, but I know there is always room to get better and learn more.
That’s why I also have a coach!
I know that I can apply whatever my coach gives me to make myself better on the field but also to make my clients’ better on the field, so in essence, it’s a WIN-WIN!
Moral of the story is: be humble enough to get some help!
Reach out to a track or sprinting coach so they can critique your form and give you specific feedback. This will help you tremendously.
You can even film yourself in slow motion sprinting and compare your technique to that of elite footballers and athletes.
3- Get Stronger in the Gym
Chase speed gains, not personal records!
As we always talk about, your first goal in the gym is to use the strength you gain and use the work you do to improve your match day performance.
There’s no use looking to improve your ability as a “gym goer” if it doesn’t transfer to improved force on the field.
You’re a footballer who has to last 90 minutes on the pitch with multiple changes of direction.
You’re not going to oil yourself up (at least I hope not ;)) and pose on stage for judges.
You’re not in the gym to improve your max lifts every single time.
You’re not an Olympic sprinter who is just working in the forward direction and doesn’t have to worry about decelerating and cutting.
In other words, you can take some of the training techniques from those methods and adapt it to our sport.
You don’t want to be hitting personal records on your squats and deadlifts every single week.
Trying to push the weight too quickly and not focusing on technique is a fast and sure way to get yourself injured, especially if you’re in season.
When you’re playing games week in week out, you can’t expect to be lifting super heavy all the time!
Your goal should be to focus on compound movements in the gym first and foremost.
We want to cover all aspects of the force-velocity curve below, which shows the relationship between force and velocity: both aspects are essential for speed training.
(Credit Sports-Science Insider)
There are building blocks to developing speed as a footballer. The foundation of speed is raw strength, which focuses on your ability to produce more force.
This represents the top of the force-velocity curve above.
This is what’ll help you generate force when pushing off the ground or jumping during a game.
Now let’s cover what to focus on to generate more force and build a base to become a faster footballer.
For the lower body:
Focus on front squats, back squats, trap bar deadlifts, forward lunges, reverse lunges, Nordics, etc. These will give you the most bang for your buck as a footballer in terms of building raw strength.
The goal is to gradually increase the weight on these exercises from session to session.
Technique > Weight!
But as we always talk about, please be smart with it. There is no need to rush the weight just because your coach said that improving your strength improves your speed.
Like we talked about in the second tip, if your biomechanics and technique are off and you’re not putting the force in the horizontal direction, strength training appears to be useless.
No matter who you are, I guarantee you would beat most powerlifters (who can lift more than you) in a sprint just due to the fact that you are much more used to repeating sprints consistently.
Speed/Tempo of Movement:
There is a time and place to move weight slowly and completely overload your system and there is a time and place where you want to move weight very fast and have less focus on the weight you’re using.
Generally, with my 1-on-1 clients, we use heavier weights in the off-season and build the base about 1-3 months out of season (depending on their level and experience) and as we get closer to the season, we move more into a power phase where we are moving “lighter” weight fast!
When we get closer to the season, our focus is transferring the strength we gained in the off-season to the field, which is why we incorporate more plyometrics and more explosive training with dumbbells and the barbell.
If you were using 100kg on the squat to improve your maximum strength…
As we move into the season, and into our power phase, we move you into 5 quality reps at 60-80 kg where you’re still getting strength gains, but moving the weight with maximum intent, control, and explosiveness.
Of course, this also applies to your upper body. Don’t be that guy trying to impress the chick walking by the bench press by putting 3 plates on each side on bench press and blowing out your shoulder as a result.
Work with a weight you can manage for 3-5 sets of 2-8 reps with proper form, so you can move the bar explosively and with quality.
If you can manage a weight for this number of sets/reps, consider moving up the weight for your next session.
This method will ensure better transfer to the pitch and avoid unwanted injuries because you’re not pushing yourself all the way to your 1 rep max every week.
For the upper body, focus on complex movements such as:
Bench press (or dumbbell press), pull-ups, rows, military press, etc.
Check out this YouTube Video for 25 specific upper body exercises you can use:
As I always talk about, it’s important to properly plan your strength training.
I know you may get tired of me saying this….but you have to plan your training based on your as an individual, your past injuries, your training experience, your goals, where you are in season, etc.
There are so many variables that come into play!
Your body is one single chain
You want to keep your body balanced. Your whole body functions as one single chain, meaning all muscles need to be strong to work together as effectively as they can.
Sprinting is one of the most energy-taxing activities an athlete can perform.
You are only as strong as your weakest link!
You can be as strong as you want in your primary movers, but if you have weak links (adductors, tibilias, glute medius), you will not be as fast as you can be!
You should never neglect the smaller muscle groups such as the adductors, hip flexors, soleus, glute medius and/or the tibialis!
Keeping these healthy and strong is crucial to develop speed and biomechanical efficiency.
Of course, squats, deadlifts and bench press are sexier workouts for Instagram and YouTube – and they are essential for raw strength – but the reality is these smaller connecting muscles will make a huge difference when it comes to speed, and believe it or not, most people are not doing them, so it will give YOU an edge!
Since we’ve covered the upper and lower body, we need to also make sure you’re training your core because that’s the connector between your upper and lower body and it acts as a force conductor.
The power you generate through the midsection is transferred through the core and out of the limbs!
A weak core will limit your muscles’ ability to work effectively for maximum speed, and will also probably lead to some unwanted injuries…
If you need some core workout ideas, check out this video:
4- Combine Plyometrics and Sprint work
Strength is super key for footballers, like we just spoke about!
If you want to increase your speed, there’s no replacement for workouts where you’re training with maximum intent working your hardest to lift heavy weights fast!
However, plyometrics are what bridges that gap between the gym and the field and helps to transfer that raw strength that we’ve built into velocity (SPEED), which creates that explosive speed you’re looking for on the pitch as a footballer.
Plyometric training has been shown to significantly improve maximal power output during sport-specific movements!
Once you’ve built that raw strength and solid base, you can move on to the plyometric work to really become explosive.
What are Plyometrics?
“Jump Training” that involves rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of the tendons and muscles, designed to increase strength, explosiveness and power.
Plyometrics include explosive exercises to activate the quick response and elastic properties of the major muscles.
The goal is to develop maximum force in as quick of a time as possible using the stretch shortening cycle of the tendons.
Why are plyometrics beneficial to footballers?
Plyometric training has a beneficial impact on explosive actions, such as sprinting, change of direction and jumping which are the most important athletic actions to win matches in football.
When jumping and working on plyometrics, you want to think of being as fast and explosive as you possibly can on the concentric part of the movement (the “up” portion of the movement).
This allows your muscles to contract at a faster rate, which basically means your fast-twitch muscle fibers get more elastic and develop a quicker response!
When it comes to planning, sports performance scientists actually recommend “4–6-week cycles where emphasis is first put on hypertrophy, then maximal strength, and finally explosive strength/power/plyometric training!”
Like I constantly talk about, plyometrics are very intense and very strenuous for the entire body, especially the nervous system (which allows you to move quickly!)
Therefore, a young footballer looking to get faster must take the plyometric slowly and build up to higher volumes, higher heights, and higher distances.
This is where a good coach comes into play:
First goal should be to get your body working together in unison by searching for imbalances and finding ways that you can improve that imbalance via specific strength exercises, and correctives.
Second goal is to build quality muscle tissue that you can build strength and raw power from.
Third goal is to improve your max strength with compound lifts moving as heavy of a weight as you can with proper technique.
Fourth goal is to start incorporating power-based and ballistic movements where you’re moving lighter weights fast!
Fifth goal is to incorporate plyometrics where the goal is to move as quickly as you can.
Sixth goal is to combine everything together and periodize it based on your season, and your goal!
That sums up the force-velocity curve we were talking about, it’s all about building those blocks progressively.
If you’re interested in specific plyometric exercises for footballers, check this video out:
As you’ll see, the focus is on explosive jumps with maximum intent (while not trying so hard) and being as quick of the ground as we can while focusing on generating force from our tendons via the stretch shortening cycle.
You want to think of replicating similar explosive movements from the pitch into the gym. Remember, since we are on our fifth goal of building speed, we can now work on more football specific movements.
The Stretch-Shortening Cycle:
You actually get faster with plyometrics via the stretch shortening cycle.
Again, it’s important to understand that plyos are VERY, VERY taxing on the body and the nervous system.
This is why you should include your plyometric exercises at the beginning of your workouts, when your body is most fresh and the most power.
If you are not fresh, it makes sense to skip them that day!
This will not only enable you to get more out of them and get faster as a footballer, but also avoid potential injuries: you NEVER want to do plyometrics when you’re fatigued.
Also, as always, if you’re a beginner, start very slow and get the technique before moving onto harder movements and adding volume. Get the help from a professional coach if needed.
This may seem obvious… But if you’re looking to become a faster footballer, you need to practice sprinting and running fast!
This is the bottom part of the force-velocity curve, with sprint work being 100% velocity-focused. It’s an essential piece to the puzzle when training for speed as a footballer.
Combining that with plyometrics will definitely make you faster.
There’s no need to overthink sprint work: get yourself on a pitch or track, get a very solid warmup in to avoid any injuries, and get into it.
Build Up Sprints:
A great way to start is with progressive sprints (or build ups): place a cone at 10m, 20m and 40m.
Start at 70% of your max speed up to 10m, 80% from 10 to 20m and finish off with a max effort sprint for the 20 remaining meters.
After a full warmup, make sure you include some sprint technique exercises we mentioned earlier.
This will activate those fast-twitch muscle fibers and get them ready to fire.
Go for 1-4 reps at varying distances depending on your experience with these types of workouts.
In a study done by Thomas Haugen, titled “The role and development of sprinting speed in soccer” published in 2014, Thomas Haugen explains that “recent studies of soccer players have shown that linear sprint performance is significantly reduced already after 3-4 maximal repetitions”.
There’s no point going over 3-4 reps, just make sure the quality is high!
Change of Direction:
Secondly, you want to work on your change of direction to make you a faster footballer.
For this, I recommend shuttle sprints.
Again, don’t overcomplicate it: sprint from the end of the pitch to the 6-yard line, go back, sprint to the penalty spot and back and then sprint to the edge of the box and back.
Repeat this 1-6 times with proper rest in between.
Lastly, focus on just full out sprints on a 10-40m distance, for 2-6 reps.
You should also sprint out of multiple positions:
- Pushup Position
2. On Your Back
3. Lean to Sprint
4. Backwards to Sprint
5. Sideways On
You can also try out hill sprints and go for similar reps.
The added incline will force your muscles to generate even more power to get up the hill, which will make them more elastic and have a quicker response on the pitch.
Overall, when it comes to plyometrics and sprints…
PLEASE remember less is more!
Focus on quality rather than quantity, and don’t push yourself until exhaustion because these workouts are very intense on the body.
If you want to be a fast and explosive footballer, don’t treat sprinting and plyometrics like you’re doing a HIIT workout.
When you’re looking to improve speed, you don’t want to “rest as little as possible.”
You actually want to do the opposite!
Your goal should be to rest as much as you need to in order to make sure you are fresh and ready for your next sprint.
At the end of the day, the thing that will make you the fastest is your ability to sprint at maximum intent each and every time.
Therefore, it may require 1-3 minutes in between each sprint.
Remember, QUALITY/SPEED over QUANTITY!
Finally, properly plan your speed workouts and give yourself at least 2-3 days rest in between these types of workouts to fully recover, whether you’re in season or the offseason.
5- Don’t Forget Mobility Work :
Mobility and range of motion is a very under looked aspect of speed which can unlock athleticism in a lot of players.
You could be lifting 150kg on the bench press or 300kg on squats, but if your hips and other key muscles are super tight and you have no range of motion, you’re simply not going to maximize your potential when it comes to speed training.
Something many footballers don’t know is that you actually generate most of the sprint force from your hips and glutes, which happen to be two of the tightest areas for footballers!
I’ve been studying mobility and range of motion for years now, and lately I’ve had the opportunity to learn from one of the best in the game : Guy Voyer.
This man knows it all when it comes to myofascial stretching, range of motion and mobility : he’s worked with top footballers during his journey, and was the strength coach with Olympique de Marseille for about 20 years, a Champions League level French team.
A study titled “Mobility Training for the Young Athlete” was published in 2013 by Toby Brooks and Eric Cressey. It covers how vital mobility is for sports performance, and sprinting in particular.
“Poor Hip flexion mobility (HFM), hip extension mobility (HEM), hip abduction mobility (HAM) and hip external rotation mobility (HERM) are four of the factors that limit performance and sprinting ability in young athletes.”
Especially nowadays, where we spend most of our time sitting down (hip flexion), our hip mobility is really decreasing…
Don’t let this be a factor that stops you from becoming a faster footballer!
Now of course, although the hips are a huge factor in generating force during sprints, you also want to focus on other under looked aspects like ankle mobility, scapular stability (better posture = better sprinting technique) and shoulder mobility.
If you don’t know how to structure a mobility session, you know I have you covered.
I just recorded a 20-minute follow-along mobility session as well as a 30-minute full follow along mobility session.
You can check those out here:
Start gradually, especially if you’ve never done mobility work before.
When you get used to it and the body responds well, you can implement this several times a week.
Trust me, your athleticism, speed and performance on the pitch will improve significantly if you stay consistent with it!
6-Make an Individual Plan:
To each their own
There are several principles that come into play to improve speed for footballers, but every player has their own unique situation.
Of course, any player can improve their strength, agility or mobility. And your goal should be to improve your weaknesses and make your strengths even stronger.
But, what I mean is that not everyone’s body is the same. Not everyone’s goal is the same.
Like I always say, there is no one-size-fits-all program, especially when it comes to physical training.
Player A vs Player B:
On the one hand, Player A might have tremendously strong legs and a tall figure but lack mobility and agility.
In this case, the goal of focusing on getting stronger might not be the best tactic.
-I’d rather have him focus on plyometric work and consistent hip mobility to transfer his raw strength to the pitch.
Player B, on the other hand, might be extremely agile with a lower center of gravity, but has never lifted a single weight in his life.
In this case, of course, the goal would be to increase the players’ strength with compound exercises and put on a bit of mass to enhance his top speed and supplement his natural ability to be agile.
See what I mean?
We’re all footballers, but we all have different needs when trying to improve speed.
Hire a Coach:
So, the first step is really having a deep understanding of your own situation as a footballer to tailor a plan that works for you and make you faster.
You can use all of my free content to structure your own plan but you may need some expert help..
That’s where a coach may come into play!
More often than not, getting the help of an experienced coach that understands football and your needs is key.
Trusting someone who’s been studying the body for years and knows how to get results can really help you achieve your goals faster and more effectively.
Timing is also crucial when it comes to training your speed : if you’re in season wanting to stay fresh for your next game, or coming back from an injury, speed workouts can really take a toll on the body… A good coach will guide you through this!
I know there are tons of players around the world that don’t need a coach to hold their hand, but they need a blueprint to follow.
They need a plan that they know will get them results if they follow it.
That’s exactly why I started the RicFit 1-on-1 Exclusive Online Program in the first place!
I have worked with hundreds of footballers around the world..
Including over 50 in top divisions to help them become the best player on their team.
One of my 1 on 1 clients, Pablo Sabbag, is one of the best strikers in South America at the moment
My goal is to help as many footballers as I can reach their goals and fulfill their potential.
If you want to work with me 1 on 1, you can schedule a personalized call with me here to see if you’re the right fit:
Bonus for You:
As you know, you ask the questions, I always provide the solutions!
Here’s a sample week of speed workouts you can implement to become faster as a footballer:
Lower Body Gym Workout:
1-Bike Warm Up (10mn)
→ Goal is to mentally switch on, get warmth + blood flow to the muscles and get a sweat going.
2-Lower Body Mobility and articular movements
- a) Feet in/out (10-20 reps)
b) Knee circles (10-20 reps)
- c) Psoas activation
d) Hip in and Out (10-20 reps)
- e) Hip Swings (10-20 reps)
- f) Open/ Close the Gate
g) Anterior/ Posterior (10-20 reps) – my favorite 😉
h) Side Lunges (10 reps)
- i) Spinal Translations (10 reps)
- j) Bodyweight Squats (10 reps)
- k) Windshield Wipers (10-20 reps)
- l) Active Prayer Stretch (10 pushes)
- m) Hip Flexor active stretch (10 reaches each side)
- n) Band Activation (Forward and Backward Walks, Front/Side Kicks)
→ Prepare the muscles, joints, ligament to perform optimally during the exercises.
Check out this YouTube Video for a demo of this warm up which I perform before training, games and gym sessions! Don’t neglect this!
3- Complex 1:
Barbell Squat (3 sets of 5-8 reps)
Dumbbell or Bodyweight Jumping Lunges (3-5 sets of 10 reps)
→ Once you’ve warmed up, go for a challenging weight, but make sure your form is solid and you move the weight explosively when going up to get speed/ explosiveness benefits.
Once you’re done with the squat, go straight into 10 jumping lunges. This is a plyometric exercise: jump as high as you can with these and be explosive as you can off the ground.
This superset is called contrast training: where you go from a heavy weight to an explosive movements. This is very effective for speed gains!
4- Complex 2:
Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlifts (3-4 sets x 6-10 Reps Each Leg)
Jump Rope (3-5 sets 60-120 Seconds)
→ For the Dumbbell Deadlifts, no need to go too heavy: the goal is to feel the contraction in your glute and hamstring, be stable on one leg, and be explosive when going up.
Be bouncy and ballistic off the balls of your feet with the Jump Rope exercise (plyometric exercise).
5- Complex 3:
Tibialis Raises (3 sets of 10-30 Reps reps)
Single Leg Calf Raises (3 sets of 10-30 reps Each Leg)
→ Here the goal is to focus on other stabilizing muscles that shouldn’t be overlooked when working to become a faster footballer. The soleus muscle (in the calf) generates a lot of power during a sprint, so don’t overlook it!
6- Static Stretching
→ At the end of your session, stretch the lower body muscles to cool down and get into a parasympathetic state (relaxed).
In between supersets, make sure you rest for at least 1-3 minutes : these movements are taxing on the body, so you want maximum energy levels when going into the next set!
Upper Body Gym Workout :
1- Treadmill Warmup- Light Jog (10 minutes):
2- Mobility and articular movements:
Follow the upper body activation movements from this video (00:25 to 02:10)
3- Complex 1:
Bench press (3-5 sets of 2-8 reps)
Plyo Push Ups (3-5 sets of 5-8 reps)
→ Similar to the lower body session, after a proper warmup, go for a challenging weight that you can move explosively and with proper form.
Be explosive with the plyo push ups!
4- Complex 2:
Barbell Bodyweight Row (3-5 sets of Maximum Reps)
Med Ball Slams (3-5 sets of 5 reps)
→ Same as before. Excellent strength exercise for the back, and explosive plyometric exercise with the med ball slam. Focus on your form. Combining these exercises will help you become a faster footballer.
5- Complex 3:
*Side Note: I like to call these accessory because they’re not “necessary.” If you feel too tired, it’s ok to skip them. These are just for looks and for you to look good in your jersey…
Like I’ve covered before, they won’t directly contribute to you becoming a better footballer but they will help you look better in your jersey which will give you more confidence, which will lead to you playing better!
Dumbbell Complex (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
Tricep Cable Pushdowns (3 sets of 10 reps)
→ The focus here is on specific muscle groups (biceps, triceps, shoulders).
The Dumbbell Complex goes as follows : 1 curl, 1 lateral raise, 1 front raise = 1 rep.
You can go for a lighter weight for this, just for “a pump.”
Follow these stretches (from 7:29 to 9:29) at the end, to relax your muscles and cool down.
Sprint Work (on a grass football pitch if you can)
1- Warm Up
→ Do a full typical pre-game warmup + go through the articular warmup from Monday’s workout + follow the technique exercises we mentioned at the beginning of the article to get the body nice and ready.
2- Progressive/Build Up Sprints (2-6 reps)
→ Place a cone at 10m, 20m and 40m. Start at 70% of your max speed up to 10m, 80% from 10 to 20m and finish off with a max effort sprint for the 20 remaining meters.
This will get the fast-twitch muscle fibers ready. Focus on driving the ground away with the ball of your foot and driving your knees like you’re “smashing a mitt” combining it with coordinating your arms with your legs (when your left leg is up, your right arm should be in front). Technique is key here!
1-3 Minutes Rest in between reps.
3-Shuttle Sprints (2-4 reps)
→ Focus is on change of direction and explosiveness.
Sprint from the end of the pitch to the 6-yard line, go back, sprint to the penalty spot and back, sprint to the edge of the box and back.
1-3 Minutes Rest in between reps.
4-10-40m Sprints (1-4 reps at different distances)
→ Start in different stances to add an explosive component.
For the first rep, do a normal sprint. For the second one, you can start on your knees (and jump up as you go into the sprint). For the 3rd, start in a push-up position and get up as quick as you can. For the last rep, start with a normal stance and give your max effort.
1-3 Minutes Rest in between reps.
5-Light Cool-Down Jog and Stretching
As for all these workouts, make sure you rest in between in each rep for at least 1-3 minutes to make sure you have max effort and quality.
It’s not about the quantity of sprints, it’s all about quality!
As always, if you feel any pain, stop immediately.
Don’t ever push through joint pain, listen to your body!
The ideal time to go through this week of workouts is during the off-season, when you can push your body more and not worry about being fresh for the weekend.
To Sum Up:
I really hope this article helped you. It only took me about 35 hours, but I’m it for the people as you know! 🙂
Like I always say, never make excuses, get to work, be consistent and you will see results!
Discipline beats motivation every day of the week, and that’s very true when it comes to improving your speed as a footballer.
Be patient, stay consistent and apply the principles I’ve shared in this blog post according to your specific needs and goals.
Depending on your training and game schedule with your team, you may be able to get 1-2 speed sessions per week, but always listen to your body and don’t overdo it!
The best time to get some intense speed work done is during the off-season where you can allow yourself to push the body because you don’t have to perform and be “fresh” for the weekend.
During the off-season, you can get into the gym at least 4-5 days per week and onto the field 2-4 days per week for speed work!
I know I sound like a broken record (but it’s something I wish I knew when I was younger and constantly ‘grinding’!)…
You want to be fresh and avoid injuries during season, so, sometimes less is more!
You’re a footballer, not a track athlete, playing games and getting experience on the pitch playing the game is what’ll push you to the next level.,
SO be smart with your speed work, and get the help of a trusted coach to make a tailored plan for your own individual goals!
Apply all of the tips from this blog post consistently and expect to maximize your speed potential !
Have a great week and keep crushing those goals man !
The Homie Ric