Interval Speed Training
Interval speed training is a great way to increase your heart rate through a series of different movements to keep your body guessing, increase speed and build muscular endurance. During soccer matches, players rely on short, high-intensity bursts of energy propelling them to execute any type of play.
Interval speed training involves quickness drills with constant motion alternating between walking, jogging, backwards running, sprinting and any number of fast-paced leg movements. Here are three interval exercises and a few variations to mix into your off-season training routine.
You’ve seen every team from the football field and soccer pitch, to the basketball court and baseball outfield, run field sprints as a team or individually. This is a great way to loosen up and get your heart rate up for the workout ahead. Start with a two-minute jog, after two-minutes begin a 30-second sprint, transition into a 30-second jog and finish the interval with a 30-second sprint. Complete this routine three to four times for a sufficient warm-up.
Intense Side Games
Playing one-on-one or two-on-two is a great way to spend extra time before or after practice but is also a great way to receive a strenuous interval workout. If you’re training with a few other people, try playing a serious round of keep away for 60- to 90-seconds straight. Start with one player keeping the ball away from two and alternate rest times. Complete this five to 10 times for an exhausting workout that also focuses on your dribbling.
Swedish Speed Play
The Swedes call this drill “fartleks” meaning speed play in Swedish. The drill is similar to field sprints but can incorporate any kind of movements, from walking and sprinting to backward sprints to carioca. Combine any kind of running or footwork exercise into a three-rep interval with each rep lasting between 30- and 60-seconds, perform four to five sets.
Shuttle runs are another commonly seen running drill with a few variations. Starting at the goal line, run to the six-yard line and back, then to the 18-yard line and back, to midfield and back, to the 18-yard line and back and finally to the six-yard line and back. You can also run shuttle runs the full length of the field for a more exhaustive workout. During the full-length runs, make sure to go half-speed and take a 10- to 15-second rest after each length. End this drill with your preferred footwork, passing or dribbling drill.
Incorporate all or some of these interval speed training drills into your offseason workout routine and make sure to check back with the Semper Soccer blog for next week’s fitness and training tip.