Interval Cardio Training

The ability of a player to conserve energy throughout a 90-minute soccer match while consistently performing at the highest level separates good soccer players from the greats. Soccer is a taxing game and in order to be physically and mentally prepared to compete throughout the match, it’s important to follow a strict cardio workout routine. In the past, many soccer players focused on long-distance running for their cardio workouts. Now, interval cardio training is thought to be the best for soccer conditioning.

Interval training focuses on high-intensity exercises that emulate the changes in speed and direction a soccer player endures throughout a match. Stop-and-go movements matched with brief bursts of speed and short periods of light, restful activity provide players with countless conditioning benefits, including:

  • Quicker in-game recovery: When athletes are competing, the body produces a natural build-up of lactic acid to help repair swollen joints on the spot. Light-activity resting periods mixed into interval training allow the athlete to become accustomed to the lactic acid build-up, resulting in quicker recovery time during the game.
  • Increases mental preparation: During the waning moments of a match, some players are so exhausted it’s difficult to muster the strength to perform at a high level. Interval training replicates this feeling and gives players the opportunity to overcome it every day during training.
  • You have to train fast to be fast: Interval training incorporates all kinds of exercises and pushes players to train at game-speed. This increases aerobic power, anaerobic capacity and recovery time.

As you begin interval training, follow a 3:1 rest-to-sprinting ratio to give your body time to rest and get used to the strenuous routine. Over time, try to decrease the ratio to 1:1. Here are a few of our favorite interval training routines at Semper Soccer.