Football-based cardio workouts at home

Are you a footballer who's looking to keep up their cardio training and stay in shape? Then these tips are for you.     

Are you a footballer who's looking to keep up their cardio training and stay in shape? Then these tips are for you.

Cardio at home? no problem

When you talk about cardio training, outdoor exercises often come to mind, especially in a sport like football. But you might be surprised to learn that there are several ways of training effectively indoors.



Skipping: a tried and tested cardio workout

A key exercise for boxers, skipping is very demanding and engages a lot of muscles, such as the calves, thighs, glutes and abs. It's no coincidence that boxers make skipping part of their training routines. It is, after all, one of the most stamina-sapping sports. 

The session

Ideally, you should end up doing two to three sessions a week, each lasting ten to 15 minutes. You need to work your way gradually towards that target, however, to avoid picking up injuries or becoming disheartened. 

I recommend you start out doing sessions lasting between one and two minutes, depending on your level, and work your way up by adding 15 to 30 seconds to every session. 

For example, if you start by doing a minute on Monday, by Thursday you should be doing one minute 15 seconds or one minute 30 seconds, and by Sunday one minute 45 seconds or two minutes.

Try skipping with your feet together and then alternating between your left and right foot or bringing your knees up.

The idea is to give your body at least 48 hours to recover and for your muscle fibres to rebuild. When you engage your body in exercise, your muscles suffer micro tears, with your body needing at least two days to recover and prepare for the next bout of exercise. 

You should round off your session by combining skipping with two other cardio exercises. 


Use your stairs too! 

You can also use your stairs to work on your cardiovascular ability. 

Going up and down them provides very useful exercise. As with skipping, you'll need to work out how many times you can do it continuously to begin with. A session lasting between one and five minutes seems to me to be a good way of getting started. You can then build things up gradually by adding 30 seconds or a minute to each session, depending on your progress. 

I recommend resting for around 90 seconds between your skipping sets and this exercise, though you should always listen to your body. If you need more or less time (if you start off by doing shorter sessions, for example), then take it. It's not going to make your training any less effective. 



Mountain climbers

This exercise might sound a bit daunting, but it's very effective. It works the abs, the legs, and the arms but also improves your endurance.

Perform this exercise as follows:

Position yourself parallel to the ground supported on your hands and the tips of your toes.

Lift your right knee forwards, as if you're trying to get it to touch your chest, while keeping the tip of your right foot well anchored onto the ground, then do the same thing with your left knee.

Repeat this exercise for a minute (if you can't quite manage that, start with 30 seconds and gradually increase it by 5 to 10 seconds every session until you can do it for a minute).

I recommend a 1.5-minute rest between this exercise and the previous one (which can be adapted depending on the length of the two previous exercises).

Remember to warm up properly before the session, focusing on your knees, thighs, calves and ankles.

There are many other exercises you can do to work on your cardio fitness at home, such as burpees. Want to find out more? See you on Decathlon Coach!

More advice at decathlon coach

Football-based cardio workouts at home

This article was co-written with:

I was five when I started playing football at Stade Béthunois. When I was ten I joined RC Lens and climbed up through the age categories there until I was 22. I won a French league title with Lens at the age of 14 and I played for France at U-15 and U-16 level.

I left Lens when I was 22 to go and play in the National, France's third tier. In the meantime, I got my coaching badges. I worked as a coach with Lens' U-12s team and then I coached the Elite U-15s in Belgium. I played for six years in Belgium's first and second divisions.

I ended my playing career with Tourcoing in CFA 2 (France's fifth tier), while continuing to validate my coaching certificates and experience: state football licence, state sport for all licence, degree in mental preparation, master's in sophrology and relaxation, and validation of specialist coaching experience. I've been coaching now for the last ten years.

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