Soccer matches are at least 90 minutes long, often longer. Players looking to participate in the sport must have the endurance to last a full match, which can send participants running as much as 8 miles, and can be draining without proper practice. In order to develop the stamina necessary for completing soccer endurance workouts, you must practice endurance exercises that help you develop your ability to run, jog, kick a ball around and maneuver around other players for the full duration of the match.
Emphasize cardiovascular exercise
As a soccer player, you will need to expend vast amounts of cardiovascular energy. Developing the stamina necessary for a full match requires performing regular and intensive cardiovascular exercise to continue running and passing the ball for more than an hour and a half. However, a 1997 study found that the average player spends 40 to 60 minutes a game either running or jogging. This means you don’t spend the entire time running around, so you don’t necessarily need to prepare for 90 minutes of endurance. Your cardiovascular activity—ideally, running or jogging—should last between 30 to 60 minutes a workout, which can help you develop the necessary stamina to run or jog throughout your game.
If you’re looking to develop endurance, you should use a heart rate monitor to ensure you’re expending the right amount of energy for your exercise. For endurance development, you should have a heart rate between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, and the majority of the exercise should keep your heart rate between 65 and 70 percent. This range helps increase oxygen transportation, blood volume and capillary density.
Use repeated fast runs and quick rests
Although cardiovascular exercise is critical to improving your stamina, the trick to building your endurance also lies in fast exercise with brief breaks in between. Practicing sprinting, for example, will help you prepare for approximately 10 to 15 percent of your match. In order to improve your sprinting, practice doing 10 to 15 sets of 20-Yard Dashes with a 30-second rest between to acclimate your body to starting and stopping quickly.
You can also use this idea to practice dribbling. Dribble the ball for 30 to 40 yards, leave the ball and continue running another 30 to 40 yards very quickly, then turn around, run back to the ball and dribble it another 30 to 40 yards. Rest for a minute to two minutes, then do five more reps. This can help you quickly move between dribbling a ball and running independently and help you from tripping over a ball during a game. Trips and falls are a key issue leading to legal liability for many training facilities so it’s important to be extra vigilant with these exercises.
Practice running around the pitch, taking different speeds for every side to work on quickly adjusting speeds. Take one side at nearly full speed, then slow down to a jog for the next side. Speed up to medium speed, then full speed for the final side, then take a jog again. This training, which focuses on changing your actions quickly, helps you adjust to the constantly changing physical demands during a game of soccer.
Use interval training
Using interval training will help your soccer skills significantly. This is when you alternate between activity levels throughout an exercise, giving your heart rate a chance to recover periodically. The best interval training actually alternates between very low energy exercise (low intensity, a slow jog) and bursts of high energy exercise. This helps your muscles train and condition without straining them unnecessarily, and also helps push your physical capacity to improve your strength or speed without excessive wear and tear. Top athletes follow the 80/20 exercise rule: 80 percent of their exercise is low impact, while 20 percent is middle to high impact.
When you’re preparing for soccer, the best thing to do is train your body to adjust to rapidly shifting situations. You will be jogging, sprinting, dribbling, pacing and standing still at various points throughout the game. Rather than training by going on a cross-country run, train by teaching your body to jump between various activities quickly and with ease. This can help you last the duration of your next match.