Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spice Up Your Workout with Soccer Drills

Somehow I got suckered into agreed to help coach my bosses' daughter's soccer team. No pressure. I just have to take a group of fourteen chatty 7th and 8th grade girls and mold them into fierce soccer players. No biggie, right? Don't scoff, we've won our first 2 games. All thanks to the coaching, I'm sure of it. 

I know, I know...winning isn't everything. Bah. I can tell you one thing, there's nothing more empowering to a group of impressionable young women than the sweet feeling of victory. What are we teaching our youth when tell them that winning isn't everything? We're teaching them to be lazy and to settle for less than their best. If you're not first, you're last, right Ricky Bobby?? :) Ok, rant over. 

To celebrate the beginning of soccer season, (my fave time of the year - leaves are changing, our Indian Summer is coming to an end, the excitement and nervousness of pulling out the old muddy cleats) I came up with some soccer drills you can incorporate into your regular fitness routine to shed inches and pounds faster than Brandi Chastain can rip her jersey off. (That's a soccer reference for all you non-futbol followers). 

Stacy's Soccer Workout

Do these moves 1-2 times a week on non-consecutive days. 

Equipment needed: Stopwatch, soccer ball

Start with 30 seconds of each move at high intensity (as hard as you can go) then gradually add 15 second increments as you get stronger, working up to 90 seconds. Recover for 30-60 seconds between moves. Repeat the sequence. 

1. High Knees - Hold hands out in front of you waist-high and lift knees as fast as you can, bringing knees to palms. Keep hands at waist-level, don't let them drift downward.

2. Squat Jumps - Holding a soccer ball above your head, jump up then lower into a squat, still holding ball above your head. Maintain good form, completing jumps as quickly as possible. Be sure your knees don't extend over toes on the landing, this will protect those knee joints! 
Variation: bring the ball down to waist-height in front of you during the squat, or side-ways in front to work obliques.

3. Fast Feet: Standing with feet slightly wider than hip width apart, run in place as fast you can, swinging both arms together forward and back. Turn direction every 10 seconds without stopping your feet. 

4. Ball Hops: Place ball on floor, positioning yourself to one side. With feet together, hop side to side OVER the ball, being extra careful not to land ON the ball. (I've done this, not fun!) Hop as quickly as possible. Variation: hop forward and back on the repeat.

5. Burpees: Everybody's favorite! Begin in standing position, hop down into push-up position by extending legs behind you as you lower. Hop legs forward and jump up as high as you can, reaching arms straight up. This completes one rep. Variation: On the repeat, try a Mountain Climber. Begin in lowered burpee position (hands on floor, legs extended behind you) and bring legs in toward hands one at a time quickly, then extend behind you quickly, like you're climbing a mountain).

This is a fast but effective way to torch calories while improving athletic skills like quickness off the ball and overall stamina. Do these as recommended and you will blast inches too!

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