Read on to ensure you're ready this season.
You may have been on holidays for a while, or been playing matches on a casual basis with a couple of friends. But now, pre-season and sign-ups are here and you need a solid plan for getting match fit.
We've got you covered. Here's how you can get straight back into the game.
Assess your current fitness level
The first step to determining if you're match fit is to assess the fitness level you're starting at. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most basic is to calculate your resting heart rate, body mass index (BMI) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Your resting heart rate is an indicator of how healthy or fit your heart is, your BMI is the percentage of fat in your body in relation to the lean muscle mass and your BMR is the number of calories you burn when your body is at rest.
There are many fitness level calculators online that you can use to calculate and evaluate these fitness levels or you can get a professional assessment from a personal trainer.
Building up your fitness
The next step is to use this data and build out your plan.
Some people think the quickest way to improve their fitness is to jump on a treadmill and keep going at it for 30 minutes or so. That may increase your strength, but will do little to build the aerobic capacity that all matches require.
Here's what we suggest:
- 6 reps x 4 mins running, with 2 mins rest in between each rep
- Slowly work up to 8 reps x 15 secs sprinting, with 15 secs rest intervals.
This calculates to about 4 mins of workout, mimicking that of a match, where an average person plays for 4 mins at high intensity and then at lower periods of intensity.
Once you've reached your desired levels, the best way to maintain your match fitness is to focus on getting your speed up by gradually intensifying your interval training, and building your strength. Maintaining match fitness involves a workout with an increased sprint speed, but decreased run time.
Here's what we suggest:
- 5 reps x 20 secs sprints with 20 secs of rest between each rep
- Follow with 8 reps x 15 secs sprints with 15 secs of rest between each rep
- Follow with 10 sets x 10 secs sprints with 10 secs of rest between each rep.
You can also run at full effort for 30 secs then drop down to a jog for 4 mins. Do this for 4 reps, 2 to 3 times a week to build on your pace and endurance.
During season time, make sure you also hit the gym twice a week. Spread the workouts apart so that you have enough time to recover.
Try this simple lower and upper body split week workout routine:
- Tuesday: squats, deadlifts, calf raises, seated leg curls and hanging leg raise - each 3 sets x 10 reps
- Friday: lat pull downs, chest press, cable biceps & triceps bar, and seated cable row - each 3 sets x 10 reps
Make sure you exert yourself to about 60 to 70 per cent intensity, and up your weights if you can do more than 12 reps in a row.
Being match ready
The final step might be obvious but it is to play more matches. These don't necessarily have to be full matches but rather, short, challenging and effective matches that last about 30 mins.
This should include a full body warm up before and cool down after each session. But don't forget - it's also about the recovery time you give your body. Allow the body to rest for 24 to 48 hours before you get on to your next strength training session.
You should see significant changes to your performance if you're consistent for at least a month.