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Train Like A Footballer

2 MIN READ • 6th February 2023

Fitness expert Dean Hodgkin ( shows you a couple of footie-based exercises to introduce into your workout routine to ensure you’re match-fit, whether you play the game or not...

  • Ladder drills
    While the pros have the use of ‘soft’ ladders for just this purpose, you can easily make your own in only a few minutes, just as we’ve done here, with nothing more than a roll of tape.

    • Firstly, lay down two long lines about half a metre apart, then place the struts at roughly equidistant intervals, and you’re ready to go.
    • Running forwards, shuffling sideways, hopping the length and jumping in and out of the ladder with one or both feet are all ways to improve your agility, co-ordination and dynamic balance. At the same time you’ll burn calories and enhance your cardio fitness level.
    • Try to be creative and think up different ways of travelling the length of the ladder, but always make sure you balance the exercises by repeating every drill with both your right and left leg leading.
    • Focus on fast feet, a high knee lift and accurate foot placement.
    • Work in intervals of 30 seconds slow to master the drill, then straight into 60 seconds full speed, repeating this cycle three times for each drill, as you will speed up as your skill level improves.
  • Headers
    A vital skill within the game, being a key weapon in both the attacker’s and defender’s armoury, the header is often the planned route to executing a number of set-piece moves, such as corners and free kicks.

    • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and begin by squatting, ensuring your knees and feet remain pointing forwards and your backside pushes out behind.
    • From your lowest point, powerfully contract your leg and buttock muscles to drive you up into a jump, reaching your arms in front of your body and slightly arching through the length of your spine.
    • When at the peak height of your leap, contract your abdominals and simultaneously pull your hands back to drive your head and shoulders forward, as if powering into contact with the ball.
    • Finally, land quietly by softening your hip, knee and ankle joints, lowering straight into the next preparation squat, as soon as your feet touch down.
    • Aim for 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.

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