• Football Training Mesocycle, from zero to hero

    by Puma




    If you ask me, what is the only thing that is keeping Europe united – there is only one true answer – Soccer, more commonly known as Football. Forget about European Union, Shengen or other pacts, Football is the only true thing that is everywhere. No matter where – streets of Manchaster, Madrit, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Paris, Kijev or Moscow – every young guy is playing the game of champions! Wanna be a modern pitch gladiator, a Football player? This mesocycle is designed for you.

    What is the “common knowledge” about football players? Stereotypical attributes: fast, strong legs, low IQ, low to non-existent muscle mass, spending most of the time on injury bench, drunk, pimp. That is rather sad description. If you want to be successive player you must be complete opposite.


    WHO EXATCLY IS A PLAYER – USE CASE SCENARIO


    Let us make empirical research, what are the key attributes that player must develop in order to become a superstar?

    A player is a guy playing with the ball. That is rather obvious. But first he must acquire the ball, so:
    -must be faster than the enemy in order to get the loose ball; Ergo need to ran fast
    -must be faster than the enemy with the ball and be able to take it from him; Ergo need to have the ability to perform agility move during max speed
    -must be faster with the ball than the enemy without the ball; Ergo need to have high speed while controlling the ball
    -must be able to outmaneuver the enemy during ball possession; Ergo need to perform agility move during his high speed ball control

    Let us resume the basic attributes to develop:
    -Basic motor coordination to perform agility moves
    -Vmax for free sprint
    -Vpos for top speed during ball possession
    -Agility during Vmax
    -Agility during Vpos
    From the beginning we see that a player must master two different running speeds. The basic one is classical top speed – free run sprint – the faster the better. The second one is not so obvious. Vpos is the top running speed bind to ball possession. It is much slower than Vmax. You can’t run faster with the ball than your ball possession ability allows you because you will lose the ball or the enemy will take it from you - like taking a lollipop frmm a baby. Ball control run is permanently correlated to your dynamic agility. In order to progress you must master both attributes simultaneously.

    You also need to master two different agility aspects. Agility move during Vmax, and agility move during Vpos. That is not the same. These are two different speed zones. One is all out, the second is only as fast as your ball control agility. Your body will act differently. More than that – your body will have different positions during both runs. The more closely you run to your Vmax the more your hip will go forward. The slower you run – the more forward your upper body will be. And that is a world of difference!

    Now, let us take a closer look at shooting. Typical situations for ball kicking:
    - Kicking the unmoving ball; as in the beginning of the match
    - Kicking the unmoving ball while running; as in a free kick or penalty
    - Kicking the ball while running Vpos; typical scenario
    - Kicking the ball after Vmax; as in after outmaneuvering the enemy
    - Kicking the moving ball in random situation; enemy made an error
    What is a ball kick? It is a simple move. You generate a power and pass it on the ball via feet. As we see from above, there are five different power levels that need to be mastered.

    Generate a power from a deadstart, generate a power from your preferred stretch, generate a power during Vpos, Generate the power during Vmax, being able to generate a power after turnaround.

    The power is a key. But where is the origin of the power? In HIPS! Not in the legs. Hips are generating the power that is passed on legs. The more powerful is the hip extensions – the more powerful is kick. Ofcourse knee extension will add aditional power, but it is a secondary force. As a player you need to generate power form both static point, contracted point and stretch point during Vpre [preferred speed for free kick]], Vpos and Vmax. Not so simple ‘run and kick’, huh?

    Let us talk about running. Simply saying – what is the single most important body part in football player body? It’s the hip area. The more powerful hips muscles area – the stronger the kick. But also – the more conditioned the hips are – the faster you run. Remember – hips are the center of “football mastership gravity”. Frankly speaking – gluts are your best friends!

    Let’s take a closer look at muscles. Why does a player need muscle mass?
    -To generate the power
    -To achieve different speeds
    -To accelerate and decelerate
    -To survive the kick/impact of enemy player
    -To avoid injuries
    Player needs to build functional muscle mass which is necessary in performing his role. Everything nonfunctional is a waste of time and possible destroyer of yours agility and speed. You must build everything that will promote you football attributes and throw out everything else.

    Typical bodybuilder trains for muscle mass to look good. You don’t need to look good. You need to perform good on the pitch. You need to develop your attributes – muscles are the byproduct of your specialized training.

    Typical strength enthusiast trains to squat big. You don’t need to squat 400 kg. You need to acquire strength level that will promote yours playing style. You will never squat on the pitch. But you will often use your body max force, max power or speed strength. You need strength – but usable strength for your goal. Squat is great – but performed in zone of your usability.

    One more, but often forgotten reason to possess the muscle mass is your safety. Injury in football often means end of career or half year on the bench. You need to build practical body armor that will shield you during a match. But still – this armor can’t interfere with your speed, agility and coordination.


    Power Shoot comes from the hip

    Conditioning factor


    We know that you must be fast at many speed ranges, agile at many speed ranges, powerful and build with functional muscle mass that will promote your key attributes. There is still one factor that is missing. And that is your conditioning level. You can have one hell of a kick, speed of a sprinter and expert coordination – but if you can’t survive 90 minutes under constant fatigue – you are a looser. Endurance is a must.

    The biggest mistake that a soccer player is doing is training only his aerobic capability. During a match you will sprint, jog, chase, run away, turn, maneuver and kick.

    Top player must develop:
    -Aerobic conditioning
    -Anaerobic conditioning
    -Interval conditioning
    -Ability to perform and be focused under high fatigue level
    There is only a short period of time during a match when you will play fresh. The first few minutes. After this time – after first action - everything will be done in post-fatigue state till the end of the match. Keep that in mind. 99% of the game is played with high fatigue level. You can be master at kicking/sprinting/maneuvering while fresh – but still you will suck on the pitch. You need to master the work during fatigued state. And trust me – your body will act differently after Vmax sprint. Another world of difference.

    Sole aerobic capability will not give you top speed.
    Sole anaerobic capability will not give you 90 minutes of running.

    You need to develop both, and the third one – interval capability. Because that is a real football. Chase, run, turn, accelerate, kick, decelerate, return to position. Jog, sprint, jog sprint, use power, sprint, use agility. Constant changes of speed. U need to build one hell of conditioning to the level where you are regenerating NOT during stop, but during aerobic action. Full stop is a blessing – but it will not happen often if you play in a front line.

    The last aspect that I would like to teach you is ability to shift the center of gravity. Typically in the gym, while performing any kind of big exercise the center of gravity is directly under you. Most of exercises promote stable point center. The problem is – during dynamic match you will often switch the center of gravity from rare to front, from left to right. Your body – muscles and joints must be able to work at differently applied force vector. Lack of ability to safely [and fast!] change the center of gravity is a very common reason of knee, hip or ankle injury. Your workout must promote this factor. Max effort -> safe and fast turnaround -> again max effort. It is a typical scenario to master. Your body must stand and learn it. Your joints and muscles must be conditioned to perform it safely.

    Center of gravity constantly changes during a match



    Basic Soccer Mesocycle


    This mesocycle is designed for a beginner football player or a player not evenly developed. Built exclusively to promote your discipline preferred attributes. It is fully scalable. Just pick the level that suits your actual conditioning level.

    It's composed of three different phases. Each develops two key attributes while maintaining overall stable progress at others. Each phase should last between 3-6 weeks. Your body decides when to switch. If you will max-out the progress in phase one, switch to phase two etc.

    I would like you to run the whole mesocycle two times in the row. By doing this you will achieve your top overall performance. After that you must switch to a more specialized routine for your function on the pitch [attacker, goal keeper, defender] in order to progress even further.

    Typically – one mesocycle will last between 9 and 18 weeks. Two times in the row means 18 to 36 weeks to maxout your basic attributes. Please read the instructions very carefully cause many things will differ from common applications.


    Mesocycle Composition


    Phase One: Hypertrophy + Strength + Post fatigue aerobic + Post fatigue interval
    Phase Two: Explosiveness + Strength + Post fatigue aerobic + Post fatigue interval
    Phase Three: Power + Speed Strength + Post fatigue aerobic + Post fatigue interval


    Week Schedule

    Schedule is the same for every phase. Post fatigue aero/interval sessions must be performed directly after gym.
    MON: LOWER BODY + AEROBIC BALL CONTROL
    TUE: UPPER BODY + INTERVAL TRAINING
    WED: off
    THU: LOWER BODY + AEROBIC BALL CONTROL
    FRI: UPPER BODY + INTERVAL TRAINING
    SAT: off
    SUN: off


    PHASE ONE HYPERTROPHY/STRENGTH

    Lower body training

    1. Front Jump Squat / Ramp 3 reps/ Explosive
    2. Front Squat / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    3. Snatch 3 / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    4. RDL / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    5. DB Lunge star - Center / Ramp 6 reps / Strength
    6a. Barbell Hip Thrust / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    6b. DB Hip extension / Ramp 15 reps / Hypertrophy
    7a*. Standing extensions / Ramp 20 reps / Hypertrophy
    7b*. Seated extensions / Ramp 20 reps / Hypertrophy
    7c*. Reverse extensions BW / Ramp 20 reps / Hypertrophy
    AFTER: AEROBIC BALL CONTROL [see progression table]


    Upper body training

    1a. Push Press / Ramp 5 reps / Explosive
    1b. Chin up / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    2a. Plyo Push Up / Ramp 5 reps / Explosive
    2b. Power Dip / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    3a. One Hand DB Row / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    3b. One Hand Standing Press Ramp / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    AFTER: INTERVAL [see progression table]


    PHASE TWO EXPLOSIVENESS/STRENGTH


    Lower body training

    1. Front Jump Squat / Ramp 3 reps/ Explosive
    2. Front Squat / Ramp 5 reps / Strength
    3. Snatch 3 / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    4. RDL / Ramp 5 reps / Strength
    5. DB Lunge star feet extended- Center / Ramp 5 reps / Strength
    6a. Barbell Hip Thrust / Ramp 8 reps / Strength
    6b. DB Hip extension / Ramp 12 reps / Hypertrophy
    7a*. Standing extensions / Ramp 15 reps / Hypertrophy
    7b*. Seated extensions / Ramp 15 reps / Hypertrophy
    7c*. Reverse extensions BW / Ramp 20 reps / Hypertrophy
    AFTER: AEROBIC BALL CONTROL [see progression table]

    Upper body training

    1a. Push Press / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    1b. Chin up / Ramp 5 reps / Strength
    2a. Plyo Push Up / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    2b. Power Dip / Ramp 5 reps / Strength
    3a. One Hand DB Row / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    3b. One Hand Standing Press Ramp / Ramp 7 reps / Strength
    AFTER: INTERVAL [see progression table]


    PHASE THREE POWER/SPEED STRENGTH

    Lower body training

    1. Quarter Front Squat / Ramp 3 reps/ Power Partial
    2. Front Squat / Ramp 3 reps / Power
    3. Snatch from knees / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive Partial
    4. RDL / Ramp 3 reps / Power
    5. DB Lunge star feet extended- Front / Ramp 3 reps / Speed Strength
    6a. Barbell Hip Thrust / Ramp 6 reps / Strength
    6b. DB Hip extension / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    7a*. Standing extensions / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    7b*. Seated extensions / Ramp 10 reps / Hypertrophy
    7c*. Reverse extensions BW / Ramp 20 reps / Hypertrophy
    AFTER: AEROBIC BALL CONTROL [see progression table]


    Upper body training

    1a. Push Press / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    1b. Chin up / Ramp 3 reps / Speed Strength
    2a. Plyo Push Up / Ramp 3 reps / Explosive
    2b. Power Dip / Ramp 3 reps / Power
    3a. One Hand DB Row / Ramp 5 reps / Speed Strength
    3b. One Hand Standing Press/ Ramp 5 reps / Speed Strength
    AFTER: INTERVAL [see progression table]


    AEROBIC BALL CONTROL PROGRESSION


    Aerobic ball control is a free jogging run with permanent ball control. Simply saying you perform normal jog with stable aerobic tempo while kicking and controlling the ball in front of you. Start form optimal level and build your aerobic capacity. If you master for example 20 minutes, next time switch to 25 minutes. If you master 25 – switch to 30 minutes. Progression ends at 60 minutes. Remember – its post fatigue aerobic session. 45 minutes + up to 60 minutes of work.

    Progression Table
    1. 15 minutes
    2. 20 minutes
    3. 25 minutes
    4. 30 minutes
    5. 35 minutes
    6. 40 minutes
    7. 45 minutes
    8. 50 minutes
    9. 55 minutes
    10. 60 minutes
    As you see – it is not a rocket science. But still – it is a jog run – not sprint or interval run. And of course – it is a free run, not cycling or treadmill. You are a player, not a hamster!


    INTERVAL PROGRESSION


    Interval run is a high amplitude run. You switch running stances between jog and sprint. Simply perform max sprint then drastically turnaround, then jog, than drastically turn around. That is one round. One round lasts one minute. You must perform given amount of rounds in a row in order to progress further – no rests – pure constant action. Sprint is all out sprint from start to the end, jog is stable jog tempo, dynamic acceleration and deceleration – there is no medium speed – either max or slow, nothing between. Intervals are exhausting – don’t try to make it harder cause you will hit the wall to soon.

    Progression Table
    1. 5:55 x 10 rounds
    2. 10:50 x 10 rounds
    3. 10:50 x 15 rounds
    4. 15:45 x 15 rounds
    5. 15:45 x 17 rounds
    6. 15:45 x 20 rounds
    7. 20:40 x 22 rounds
    8. 20:40 x 25 rounds
    9. 20:40 x 27 rounds
    10. 25:35 x 27 rounds
    11. 25:35 x 30 rounds
    12. 30:30 x 30 rounds
    13. 30:30 x 32 rounds
    14. 30:30 x 35 rounds
    Intervals only look likes easy. It is a baby face killer. Pick your starting level wisely. First try the level 1. Progress only if you will master it. Intervals are not aero – you can harm yourself!

    5x55 x 10 – it is 5 second of all out sprint, fast turnaround, 55 second of jog run, fast turnaround. 10 rounds means it is performed 10 times in a row with no rest. It is equal to 10 minutes.

    It is not so uncommon to fail at first during level 1. Just practice and progress will come.


    DB LUNGE STAR


    Lunge star is a complex exercise that will fully develop strength, speed and coordination of your lower body.

    One set [PAHSE ONE - ramp 6] is composed of:

    Six long lunges to the front, alternating legs [left/right, 6 reps per leg]
    Six long lunges to the sides, alternating legs [left/right, 6 reps per leg]
    Six long lunges backward, alternating legs [left/right, 6 reps per leg]

    Its 36 reps. Keep in mind you do them with dumbbells. Progress slowly with weights. The center of gravity is directly under your hips. Tempo: Fast concentric phase, slow eccentric phase.
    Lunge = lunge + return to position. No walking here.


    One set [PAHSE TWO - ramp 5] is composed of:

    Five medium lunges to the front, alternating legs [left/right, 5 reps per leg]
    Five medium lunges to the sides, alternating legs [left/right, 5 reps per leg]
    Five medium lunges backward, alternating legs [left/right, 5 reps per leg]

    Its 30 reps. Keep in mind you do them with dumbbells. Progress slowly with weights. The center of gravity is directly under your hips. You are standing on extended feet whole the time – the reason is to build your performance during fast ready-to-action stance. Tempo: Fast concentric phase, slow eccentric phase.
    Lunge = lunge + return to position. No walking here.

    One set [PAHSE THREE - ramp 3] is composed of:

    Three medium lunges to the front, alternating legs [left/right, 3 reps per leg]
    Three medium lunges to the sides, alternating legs [left/right, 3 reps per leg]
    Three medium lunges backward, alternating legs [left/right, 3 reps per leg]

    Its 18 reps. Keep in mind you do them with dumbbells. Progress slowly with weights. The center of gravity is directly under your front feet. You are standing on extended feet whole the time – the reason is to build your performance during fast ready-to-action stance and to emphasis fast pace turnaround. Tempo: Fast concentric phase, fast eccentric phase. Limit ROM to top 50%.


    Calves Training


    Skinny calves equals injury

    Calf training tri-set is optional. Use it only if your calves are not growing by performing big exercises and runs. Well build calf is a must for your safety. But keep in mind- unnecessary calf development will slow you down when it will come only from direct calf work. Use with caution - ONLY if needed.


    Rests


    Explosives - up to 180 seconds
    Power – up to 180 seconds
    Strength - up to 120 seconds
    Super setting - up to 15 seconds between exercises, up to 120 seconds after superset
    Hypertrophy - up to 60 seconds
    Progressions - only ramping is allowed.
    How many sets - as much as your body is demanding on that particular day.


    Meanings


    Explosive - max acceleration. Explode with the weight. Only after you achieve full speed [you don't feel the weight] you can add more load. It's not max load.
    Power - max power, max weight, AFAP on up, control on going down. It is max load. Fight with weight.
    Strength - stable tempo, 1s up, 3s down. It is max load in prolonged rep range.
    Speed strength – stable tempo 1 up, 1 down. Fast conctentric, fast eccentric. Shortened ROM.


    RULES


    You must log every workout. Written log is only reliable measure of progress.
    Every rep/weight/time must be recorded on daily basis.
    Only weight ramping is allowed. Every exercise need weight progression except for plyo push up.

    Learn the differences of first, second and third phase. Execution of tempo is different.
    Don’t always do the same thing. Explode during explosive exercises, go all out heavy during power, go fast during speed strength. That means picking different weights – not direct progression phase to phase – don’t get yourself fooled by ego.


    Short guide 'how to destroy mesocycle'

    Don't take measurements
    Don't use high protein diet
    Do more workouts
    Go all heavy on explosive exercises
    Go harder than 25% 1 RM on jump squat
    Every time try to beat your best RM [do it when you feel it's good day]
    Don't use percentage system when changing phases
    Use no warm up
    Use idiotic warm up
    Stretch before workout
    Don't stretch after workout
    Don't use added weight for dips/chins etc.
    Do any exercise with idiotic/dirty technic
    Try to rush everything at once [stable progress]


    Tools


    1 RM = 100 % of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 100% 100 kg
    3 RM = 92,5% of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 3 RM 92,5 kg
    5 RM = 87,5% of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 5 RM 87,5 kg
    7 RM = 82,5% of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 7 RM 82,5 kg
    10 RM = 75% of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 10 RM 75,5 kg
    20 RM = 50% of 1 RM. EX: 1 RM 100 kg, 20 RM 50 kg


    Final Notes


    Do whole mesocycle two times in the row. Your strength, power and speed strength will progress up the roof. But be honest and don’t cheat. Don’t rush – just try to be better training to training. Little stable steps will give you great gains in longterm. Regulate mass gaining/fat burning with your diet. Proper dieting with high amount of protein will burn your fat fast during this mesocycle. But for god sake – eat properly! Low amount and low quality of food equals no progress.

    If you’re training in FC, please consult training plan with your coach to get simulative gains. If you are training for yourself without a club – keep in mind that you must also train your ball playing abilities on your own.

    Got any questions? Discuss with author and other users HERE



    Beautiful soccer girl for ours patient readers


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