My fitness levels

For any training session to be effective, it should be of high enough intensity to overload the body systems of an individual. If, during circuit training, everyone does the same thing; the same number of reps or the same amount of time, then individual fitness levels are not being taken into account. Some people will be trying to work at levels above their fitness and others will be working at levels beneath their fitness level. Performers can be tested on each activity to determine their maximum score, or how much they can do in a fixed period of time.

This score is then halved and these half scores become their training amounts. Three circuits are completed, with each performer working at their own level. A time is recorded when the three circuits have been completed, with each performer working at their own level. An improvement on this time serves as a new target for the next training session. Individuals are re-tested at regular intervals.

A warm up: – For every sport there is a specific type of warm up and it may even differ depending on the position you play in. For football a light jog for 5 minutes will be ideal. The jog should vary by including side stepping, running backwards, touching the floor with each of your hands once u reach the corners of an area, heading at a certain point e.t.c. This would be a good pulse raiser. Next you should do some stretches involving all the muscles, ligaments of the body but mainly on the muscles that will be put under pressure during the match. A simple procedure of stretches from head to toe will be great. You can start off by rotating your head to the left and holding it at that position for a few seconds, and then doing the same to the right. This process will stretch the trapezius and the platysma muscle in your neck. Next you can swing your arms forwards and backwards to get the shoulder joints moving. Do this for 8 seconds and swinging your arms backwards as well.

Next you pull your right arm past your left shoulder and hold it in a fixed position with your left arm so that your right arm is pointing to the left. Do this with your left arm and hold both of your arms in this position for about 8 seconds. This stretch will help stretch your deltoids and it is essential for goalkeepers as they will have to make saves that involves diving and jumping and even landing in awkward positions. The next part of the body you can stretch is the waist. This is important because there will be a lot of friction between the femur and the pelvis with the ball and socket joint. Another stretch that will help to prevent injury near the waist is the hip extension.

Firstly you take a large stride forward as possible and keeping your back leg straight and the body upright, sink down by bending the front leg: hold in the lowest position for 8 seconds and change the leg and repeat this two times. Another stretch where u can stretch the hip is the hip abduction. You first take a large stride as in the hip extension exercise, but face the front again, keep one leg straight to your side, body straight, bend the other leg and sink as low as possible. Hold in this position for 8 seconds and repeat it twice with both legs. Stretching this waist will make sure that the ligaments and tendons do not tear especially in the hamstring.

This is the next stretch where we make sure that the hamstring does not get damaged during the game of football and during the training in the circuit. The hamstring stretch is as follows- sit on the floor, legs together and out straight in front and bend forward to try and touch your toes. Try to keep in the position with your hands reaching as far as possible towards your toes or further if possible and hold it for 8 seconds. Then do the same process with your other leg and repeat twice. The next stretch will be for the quadriceps. This can be done in two ways.

1) Sit on your heels with toes pointed and knees on the ground. Try to lean back as far as possible to produce a stretching along the top of the thighs. Hold for 8 seconds whilst using your hands to support you behind at first, but if you can manage without, so much the better. (2) The second way is the more popular way, where you stand on one leg and you hold your other foot. If you are holding your left leg, then use your left arm to hold it and vice versa.

The next stretch will be to the calf muscles and the Achilles. The first step is to make sure that you are standing upright with both of your feet together. Then you place your right foot over your left foot beside it. Once you have done that, you bend down but very slowly until you feel the stretch in your calf muscles. Once you feel that you cannot bend down any further you must stay in that position for 8 seconds to have an effect.

Do this twice with both of your legs. Next you can also do circulations with your feet/ankle to make sure that you do not twist it. You just need to continuously rotate your ankle in both directions for 8 seconds. Do this with both of your ankles. The benefit of doing stretches is so that you stretch the muscles as far as possible after the warm up and before the game so that you don’t pull any muscles during the game. Doing a stretch before a game of football will decrease the probability of having an injury caused by overstretching, however it does not make the chances of being injured by reckless challenges any smaller.

Now that a warm up and the stretches are completed you may want to do a skills practise and in this case that would be related to football. To start off the skills practice, you will need a few small cones and a football. You will need to set up the cones in a straight line and about 1-2 metres apart from each other. If you are on your own then you can try dribbling in and out of the cones. First try it with your preferred foot and with the inside of that foot. Do this twice and going round once also includes coming back. Once you have done this twice, try dribbling the ball around the cones with the foot that you do not prefer with inside of that foot. Next you can go back to your preferred foot and try dribbling around the cones twice using only the out side of your foot. Once you have done the same thing with your non-preferred foot you can try dribbling past the cones twice with both feet and using the outside and the inside part of your foot.

If you have at least 4 other friends, then one skill practice you should try is piggy in the middle. For this practice you need 4 small cones and 1 football. One of the 4 players will need to be randomly picked to be the defender in the middle. The middle will be in the area of the 4 cones laid out as a square. The rest of the 3 players must pass the ball around making sure that the defender in the middle does not intercept and get the ball. The presence of the cones are there to make sure that the 3 players notice that there is a square. This is important, as the players are not allowed to move anywhere but on the lines between the cones. Only the defender in the middle is aloud to move around in the area. The best strategy is for the 3 players between the cones to form a triangle all the time. This will give you more options. If the defender gets the ball off the players then he will have to swap positions with the player that gave the ball away to the defender.

Another process that you must include is a cool down, which must be done after a period of work as training or a football game. A cool down will prevent your muscles hurting the next day. Your muscles hurt and become stiff because of the build of lactic acid in your muscles after an intense activity, when the demand for oxygen can outstrip the supply. A cool down after an intense football match will get rid of some of the lactic acid in your muscles. The best way to do this is not to just stop working but to take a very slow jog or walk and stretch off your body muscles. Once the vigorous movements cease, the body breaks down the lactic acid by using up extra oxygen to do so. Panting after exercise is an automatic mechanism to ‘pay off’ the oxygen debt.

By looking at the circuit, I will start off with some simple step-ups. This station will help to improve the quadriceps. This is one type of muscular endurance and aerobic fitness involving mostly the leg muscles, which will gradually build and tone. This is an important station, as it will improve your cardiovascular endurance (health related fitness) and at the same time the station will work on your quadriceps and to improve your stamina.

The next station is press-ups. This station will have an effect on your biceps and deltoids. This will improve an athlete’s muscular endurance and will gradually increase the size of the biceps and its tone. This is one type of strength, which is applied when the athlete is not moving. We call this static strength. In football strength isn’t the most important factor but it does effect how well you withstand physical pressure from other players. In the game of football there will be times when players will try to pull you down, push you down or simply try to foul you for personal reasons. In order to prevent falling you must have the upper body strength to withhold the pressures. This station is health related fitness and it improves your strength as a component of fitness.

The next station is the shuttle run station. This station will be concentrated mainly on the legs and is one type of cardiovascular endurance and anaerobic fitness. Shuttle runs are very important that they are included. Shuttle runs will help to improve your agility and speed. Shuttle runs will help your capability of moving around off the ball. A player needs to be good off the ball, especially midfielders and strikers because there are the same amount of players on each team in the game of football (unless a player has been sent off), you are most likely to be marked. This is why it is important that your are good off the ball and can make or find space by moving/running away from opponents and turning quickly to put them off balance. This is why agility and speed is important, which are exactly the components of fitness shuttle runs help you to improve. This station is health related fitness.

The next station will help build your abdominal muscles. This station will be focusing on the abdominal muscles by doing sit-ups. Sit-ups will improve your muscular endurance and will gradually build up the abdominal muscles and tone those muscles. This will be an advantage in football because you build up your upper body strength, which aids you to hold off defenders or vice versa. This station again is health related fitness and it improves your strength.

The next station is called burpees. This station involves you to start at a position as is you were doing some press-ups with your arms straight and not bent. You need to move into 2 positions. From the starting position, you bend in your legs as if you were about to start a sprint race. Then from this position, you jump up with your arms pointing upwards. These 3 steps have to be done in one completely swift movement. This exercise is very tiring as it involves many muscles. Burpees are health related fitness and it will increase the strength in the quadriceps, calf muscles and decrease the risk of having hamstring problems.

The next station in my circuit is skilled related fitness. Its called kick ups and the exercise involves you to keep the football off the ground by kicking it up continuously. This is a test to see how much skill you have to keep the ball off the ground. This station will help to improve you static balance, and reactions if any. This is a good practice to make sure that in a game of football you are able to perform this skill and it also helps to improve your ‘first touch’, which is very important if you are a striker. If the striker scores a goal and it was because he/she received the ball before shooting, then it is very likely that the first touch was a good one.

Strikers need to have a good first touch to put the ball into an area in front of them to both run on with the ball and get away from the defenders or to make another pass with the first touch. The next station is also skill related fitness and involves you to keep up the ball using your head. This is skill related fitness. The components of fitness that this exercise involves are co-ordination and static balance. The main objective is to keep the ball up by using your head only and to see how many headers you can to in one minute. This exercise will obviously become harder and put more strain on your neck every week, as the amount of rest time is decreasing by 5 seconds each week.

If you feel that the training is not effective enough (too easy) or if your fitness level had already improved then there are many ways to increase your fitness level. Firstly you can increase the number of stations in your training circuit. This means that it will take longer to make your way through one whole circuit and you will have one extra station to get through, which increases the amount of training in one revolution of the circuit. Another way to increase ones fitness levels is to increase the amount of time spent at each station. This will increase your fitness level because you will be spending more time on the stations and therefore improving the muscle groups on those specific stations.

You can also increase the number of repetitions at each station to improve your fitness level. Finally you can complete a greater number of circuits. It is also important that you include stations that they are varied so that you do not get bored of doing the same types of exercises/stations. However there is a more important reason why the stations should vary in type. The main reason is to prevent fatigue and the best way to do this is to make sure that the circuit is designed in a way that the same muscle group stations do not follow one after the other.

Evaluation: – I have produced a table of results representing my fitness over a 5-week period. The table shows my progression If any over a period of 5 weeks. Overall I believe my training circuit was a success because it tested all the areas of fitness, which needed to be tested for a football player. There was no real problem with equipment as I designed my circuit/types of exercises in a way so I did not have to include much equipment. The only equipment I needed was a small stool to do the step-ups and obviously a size 5 football for the kick-ups and heading station, which helped me to improve my skills.

My first station developed the endurance of my quadriceps and hamstrings. I did not improve on this station over the 5-week period, as there was not enough time for me to get use to the exercise and also I did not increase the time of work. The next station was press-ups, which improved the muscular endurance in my biceps, triceps, and the chest. In this exercise there was a slight improvement towards the end of the 5-week programme. This is because the muscles that were involved in this station could now cope with the stress put on them. During the end of the 5-week programme the result backs up this as I did more press-ups and I could feel the effect the circuit was having on my muscles.

The third station was the shuttle-runs and this really helped to improve my agility and speed towards the end of the 5-week period. It also improved my cardiovascular endurance and endurance of my quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. My table shows that towards the end of the 5-week period there was a sign of progression as I ended up doing more shuttle runs than the previous week. Next was the sit-ups station and this station was very tiring and you can see that, as there was increase in the amount of sit-ups I did in one minute, but all there was a gradual decrease. However I did increase the muscular endurance in my abdominal muscles and I could feel them getting stronger. Normally after a work out, you can see a slight increase in the size of your muscles but that is only because there is a lot of blood in those muscles. But after about 34 weeks I could feel and also see a slight increase in the size of my abdominal muscles.

The next station was burpees, which improved many area of fitness for me including cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance of my quadriceps and hamstrings. I found this exercise the hardest of all the other exercises and the most tiring. Station 5 was the kick-ups station. This station improved my control of the ball and also my balance. In the end of my 5-week period I increased the control of my left foot by a great margin but only slightly improved my control of my right foot, as I was already good at doing kick-ups with my right foot. Another reason for this is that I am a right-footed player.

The next station was heading the ball. I did this well during the first week because I have great accuracy and eye co-ordination. But as I developed through the 5-weeks I realised that that was not important, as I started to feel the strain on my neck. I felt the strain on my neck because I don’t usually do this exercise and also the time of rest was decreasing every week so by the time I got this station I had done 6 other stations and I was really tired.

If I was to do this circuit again I would make the rest time decrease by the extent I did this time. This would insure me to do better next time, as I would not feel as tired. Another way I can make the circuit a bit easier is by decreasing the work time. I started off with a work time of 60 seconds. Maybe the next time round, I can start off with 50 seconds. By looking at the results table you can see that I did not improve my fitness in some exercises.

The main reason for this was because to make any improvements in your fitness the frequency must be of at least 20-30 minutes a day, 3-4 days a week. You should also try to work at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate, which I did. Another main factor is that it will take you 2-3 months of intense training to make any improvements in your fitness levels. I did not have that much time, which is why there was no increase in my fitness levels.

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