5 Top World Cup Soccer Training Tips

The FIFA World Cup of Soccer is huge, whether you like/understand soccer or not.  The Cup is drawing record attention this year with the coverage that ESPN is providing.  In fact, soccer is the #1 sport worldwide.  If you want to get in great physical shape, try training like soccer players (especially for cardio exercise).  

Playing soccer is great fat-burning interval cardio exercise and will help you avoid the boredom that is inherent with cardio exercise.  It helps to keep exercise fun as much as possible. If you hate doing exercise, you will quit at some point.

Playing games is one of the best forms of exercise because you're focused on the game and not on the exercise, especially if you are in shape to play.

Here are 5 tips to train like a World Cup soccer player:

1. Sprinting will burn major calories and fat. Research has proven that the benefits of anaerobic exercise (like sprint interval cardio) is superior to aerobic exercise for fat loss, fitness and heart health.

Sprinting activates your bulkier, shapely fast twitch muscle fibers. These fast twitch muscle fibers lie dormant when you do slow-paced cardio sessions. Sprinting will really burn the fat on your butt, hips, thighs, hamstrings and lower legs. Fat will also be burned on your upper body. You don't have to be fast, just run as fast as you can.

The progression of your cardio exercise should be low-intensity aerobics to moderate/high-intensity aerobics to high-intensity anaerobic exercise.

2. Soccer is great for developing agility (change-of-direction skills) and balance. This adds more intensity to an otherwise intense form of exercise. Soccer will improve your dynamic balance, power and coordination.  Running shuttle drills is a must form of cardio exercise.

Two shuttle drills you can try:

Speed Shuttle Drill or 5-10-5 Cone Drill - Place three cones in a straight line, 5 yards apart. Start in a 2-point or 3-point stance at the middle cone.

Run as fast as you can to the left cone (5 yds) and touch ground with your hand, run as fast as you can to the right cone (10 yds) and touch ground with your hand and finish running through the middle cone. That's one repetition. Rest 1 minute between sets. Do 8-10 sets per workout session if you are doing this for cardio exercise.

Speed Endurance Shuttle Run - Place cones at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 yards. Sprint to the 5 yard cone and sprint back to the start. Then, sprint to the 10 yard cone and sprint back to the start. The same would be done at the 15, 20 and 30 yard cones. That is one set. Rest for 2 minutes between sets. Do 5-6 sets.

Growth hormone elevations during this type of exercise have been shown to decrease body fat.

3. You should jog (between sprints) when you play soccer.

You could do some metabolic training to get in shape to play. Metabolic training is a popular and effective method for sports teams. You would also lessen your chances of injury. Many weekend warriors get hurt because they aren't in condition to play a sport at full speed.

Soccer requires constant running---jogging, half-effort sprints and maximum effort sprints. You could simulate an actual game by training this way.

4. Run backward (back pedal) and forward and you will challenge your body in a different way and see more fat burning results.

Running backward (see picture above) and forward is an interval cardio routine that I do often. As a defensive back in college, I was running backwards, sideways and every other way all the time.

This is how it works (do this rotation 5 times without rest):
  • back pedal 10 yards, fast (pump arms fast and lean shoulders over the feet)
  • sprint forward 10 yards (keep your feet pumping between the transition from back pedaling to running)
  • walk 1 minute between rotations
  • do the rotation 9 more times (20 minutes total workout time)
5.  Don't forget strength training.   Running, by itself, will not make you stronger and leaner.  Muscle mass is your top fat-burning tool.   Just download the free program below to train hard and smart.

Mix up your training methods and get faster fat-burning results.

Be sure and download your Free Bodyweight 500 Metabolic Fat Burner Workouts and start shaping your body faster!  It has 3 levels:  beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Start at the level you can handle.

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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About Mark


Mark Dilworth is a Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and since 2006 he has owned Your Fitness University, Her Fitness Hut, My Fitness Hut, Sports Fitness Hut.

Mark has helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle changes that lead to better long-term health, which includes acceptable body fat and ideal body weight.He does not recommend fad diets, quick weight loss gimmicks, starvation diets, weight loss pills, fat burner supplements and the like.