Make your gym program work for your sport

  • Date: 06 June 2017
  • Category: News
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If you love your sport, the gym is where you can really develop your strength, stamina, and mobility to help you perform at your best.

While practising your sport develops the required skill set, today more and more people include proper strength and conditioning regimes to improve at the game they love.  

Below are some of the popular winter sports, and exercises you can introduce to your regime to help become a better-rounded gun at your sport of choice. To find out more about these exercises, or to develop your own training program based on your sporting goals, please speak with our friendly Personal Trainers and Gym Instructors.


Bench press
Whatever code of footy you play, having a strong upper body is key. Bench press is a fantastic movement to develop your pushing power, building your chest and arms will ensure you can fend off opposing players and make strong tackles. Also consider variation, adding in three to five second pauses at the top and bottom of each movement. And make sure that barbell touches your chest!

Romanian deadlift
Hamstring injuries plague professional football in Australia. Often the reason is overuse, however in today’s game it is in part due to improper care of these major muscles. The Romanian deadlift, sometimes known as a stiff leg deadlift, pushes your hamstrings and hips to stretch while under load. This movement not only builds muscle, but also improves flexibility.

400m – 1.6kms interval runs
If you ever watch a game closely, you’ll see players run certain patterns on the field. Depending on the position you play, running intervals is better for the type of cardio you perform. Think shorter bursts for forwards and backs, and longer stints for on-ballers.


Box jump
Focus on being explosive, and try different variations of the box jump (e.g. from a seated start). You could also introduce jumps under load by using a weight vest. There is no need to do large sets either. Think three to five reps per set, ensuring you step down safely from the box. You don’t want to risk overworking your Achilles tendons by not dismounting properly.

Zig-zag sprints
Acceleration is the aim of the game. Map out a 10-20m distance with markers to zig-zag around. What you’re looking to do here is come out fast after each turn, then being able to decelerate to turn. Up and back maximum efforts are recommended.

Shoulder press
You need to be strong overhead to catch, throw, and hold onto the ball as you deal with defenders. Start with a barbell version of this movement before progressing to dumbbells. To change it up, introduce a 5-10 second hold at the top of the movement. This will help with overhead static strength.


Back squat
Strong legs are needed to tackle and kick. However, don’t just focus on the squat to build muscle. You will also need to deal with large amounts of lactic acid. You could start with sets of 8-12 reps, then finish with 15+ at a lighter weight to really feel that burn! 

Kettlebell swing
This is all about your posterior chain. The kettlebell swing builds your glutes and hip strength, and considering how crucial these muscle groups are in soccer, introducing the kettlebell into your regime is a winner.

Sit-up variations
Core strength is important in any game, but especially soccer. Generally players look down when they have the possession and don’t see opposing players coming. Being strong over the ball means you need a strong midline. Conventional sit-ups are great, but variations like v-ups, tuck-ups, and hollow rocks can make your workout more intense.


High intensity workouts
Imagine if you could train for a run without needing to run?! Technically you will always have to hit the pavement a bit, but performing high intensity workouts will prepare you for almost anything thrown at you.

Running intervals
Putting in harder efforts over shorter distances is great preparation for a long distance run. Running similar distances at the same intensity doesn’t have the desired results. Introducing intervals into your running training is crucial to preparing for your next big run…

If you’re looking for a fun run to train for, and want to be part of one massive celebration, check out the YMCA Father’s Day Fun Run! Held on Sunday 3 September this year, you can come run, walk and play around the 5km or 10km courses in Melbourne’s CBD. 

Article written by Ashley Perez, personal trainer at the YMCA-managed Waurn Ponds Fitness Centre