fit 4 football

V02 Max: The basics

By September 15, 2016 Fitness

VO2 max is the rate at which the heart lungs and muscles can effectively use oxygen for during exercise. This is usually measured in ml of o2/per kg body weight/per min.

Normative data varies between ages and sex.vo2-max

There are several ways to test VO2 max without the need for expensive equipment. Some tests can be more accurate than others, however consistency is the key to measuring initial and ensuing vo2 max readings. It would be unwise to use the Chester step test to gain an initial reading only to use the Astrand bike test on subsequent occasions. There are of number of variables which need to be taken into account such as time of day, medication and environmental factors among others.

the_stepStep tests are an excellent way of determining vo2 max, as the test is easy, quick and requires little preparation. I also find that clients are also not anxious about the test as they can sometimes be with the multi stage fitness test or Astrand treadmill test. Another reason why I use it is because the client follows the beat of the metronome and therefore external factors such as motivation to complete the task don’t play a role. The test concludes with HR being taken and rate of recovery is measured as VO2 max

Of course team players may wish to compete in a multistage fitness or intermittent yo yo test as it is more sport specific.

There are a number of ways to determine VO2 max without the need for physical assessment for certain populations. Research has found the following equations to mimic the results of the practical tests. This is especially useful if working with large numbers of people who need to be assessed quickly or with limited trainers on hand to monitor testing.

VOmax = 15 x (HRmax ÷ HRrest) Or

VOmax = 3.542+ (-0.014 x Age) + (0.015 x Body Mass [kg]) + (-0.011 x Resting Heart Rate)


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Is the secret to success all in the mind? Guest blogger Rebecca Crago

By June 14, 2016 News



Most people who have ever taken on a sporting challenge recognise that winning is as much a psychological challenge as it is a physical one. We’ve all watched sportsmen and women lose their cool over the years, even the most talented of athletes aren’t able to control their thoughts during the most pressurised of situations. The majority of professional sports players now employ a sports psychologist; it raises the question whether this can really be the difference between success and defeat? It’s about pushing through those boundaries to complete goals, never giving up even if your body is screaming at you to stop and ensuring you can turn any negative performance into a positive experience. Sports psychologists implement mental skills training, which can be essential in improving performance. These techniques are used to build self-confidence, set goals, manage stress, improve imaginary and visualization skills, and increase concentration and motivation. Many of these things go hand in hand, for example using imaginary skills to picture yourself scoring the winning goal in the 88th minute may help with self-confidence and motivation.  It’s about learning to have that concentration and keeping a calm head when your team go 2-0 down in a cup final, it’s about setting realistic and achievable goals, it’s about proving yourself time and time again. We always praise athletes for being so physically fit and strong but we often forget that they also have to have an incredibly strong and healthy mind. I don’t think psychological training can guarantee success but I’m pretty sure that it will give you a much greater chance at victory.

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Copa Mundial: The legend.

By June 1, 2016 Equipment, News


In my opinion the greatest football boot ever made. They defined a generation of schoolboys in the early nineties, only succumbing to the Predator boot. They are most definitely back in, but now for those same players playing veteran football, bringing back memories of perfectly executed Cruyff turns and Maradonna flicks. Watching veteran league football, I barely see any of the new Adidas Purechaos or Nike Mercurial. No, this match is men with beards and black boots, hipsters who wear shirts and braces post match, drink home brew from mason jars and nibble dried kale. At least a dozen are wearing Copa Mundials, the rest choosing between the main competitor of the day Puma King and an assortment of original boots delved out of the loft for a kick about.
The Adidas Copa Mundial was legendary among players. There would be rumours of having to sit in a bath with them to mould them around your foot, rubbing them with ice after a match and wearing them around the house for at least a week before playing in them. There were school ground debates on how the tongue should be worn (definitely down with laces tied over them!) and arguments between staunch Puma King aficionados or niche lotto or diadora products. I admit, I had other boots but the kangaroo leather on the Copas was by far the softest and most comfortable product around at the time.
The obvious downfall was the weight of them in wet conditions and their inability to grip in slightly wet weather, ruling out all but 3 weeks of the year. But they were a fashion statement. Players who wore these boots were widely regarded in Sunday league circles as the most skilful players on the pitch.
Although technology has made other boots more adaptable and better performing, wearing a pair of Copas means you are at least stylish whilst playing if nothing else.

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Got skills? Become a freestyler.

By May 27, 2016 News


Wow. That moment when you see a skill so good you get goosebumps. Rarely does it happen during a match situation but a generation of football freestylers are bidding to outdo one another with more and more outrageous and absorbing tricks. But how on Earth do you start out in this industry? Well I’m not ashamed to say that I am an above average freestyler in local Sunday league football. This constitutes 3 keepie-uppies and a half-hearted attempt at catching the ball on the back of the neck. Turns out this is nowhere near the level required to make a career from it.
Apparently you need to practise. A lot. My blog on becoming an expert defines 10,000 hours as a general rule. Now obviously once you have mastered the skills promotion is needed. This is where I feel I failed. By far the best way to get your name out is by creating a youtube video. Currently competing against 700,000 other videos a niche is a great way to stand out. Lassi Hurskainen uses a mix of skill and comedy to create great videos, street freestyle from the likes of Sean Garnier is popular as are skills battles like the beaut between Neymar and Mastour. Whatever direction you decide to go don’t expect to be judged on your freestyling skills alone, your scriptwriting and editing are just as important.
From 1 Sunday league freestyler to another, good luck!

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The joys of the youtube workout.

By May 25, 2016 News

I’ve never done a home workout before. I am currently 5 minutes post home workout and sweating, out of breath and mildly irate. A little at the intensity of the workout, and more so that I haven’t discovered youtube workouts earlier. It could have saved me thousands of pounds. Some people say that you miss out on the social side and that you can lose motivation, but the these niggles are surely outweighed by the positives of this type of workout. Cost effective, time-saving and a ridiculous range of workouts mean that even the biggest sceptic (me!) is blown away by the potential.

The hardest decision is choosing a workout, with just 7.55 million to choose from. Narrowing the search browse to fat burning workout from home with no equipment led me to Zeus fat burning workout, just 23 minutes long and not too showy. I was able to connect with the instructor who, unlike some aloof instructors was actually out of breath and finding some parts difficult indicating that the viewer should as well. This enabled me to finish the workout on a high, knowing that if  a super-fit personal trainer finds it difficult then I have achieved something just by completing the workout.

I will definitely be giving it another go in the days to come and if successful it may lead to the arduous job of cancelling my gym membership.

home workout

Update: DOMS has set in. It must work.



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Pre-match massage. A fair rub?

By May 22, 2016 News

Ever thought about a pre-match sports massage? The idea sounds good but I know from experience that I can get tired and lethargic after a massage. What better way to research the benefits than to have a sports massage myself. I can now tell you it was one of the most brutally painful experiences of my life. The massage therapist honestly didn’t look like she could inflict that sort of pain on anyone, and after a particularly excruciating move, I turned to see a look of hilarity/serial killer on her face. I distanced myself quickly from the sadistic therapist but I felt immediately relaxed and notably pain free.
The theory behind a pre-event massage describes a loosening of skin and connective tissue which can be a source of restriction to a performer, helping relive muscular tension and improving flexibility. A pre-event warm-up massage can increase blood circulation and body temperature, put joints through full range of movement and be sport specific by mimicking movements. By using the correct massage techniques pre-event, it may stimulate physical performance.
So it all sounds good, but the real test was my levels of performance during the match. Unfortunately, the match was called off as the opposition failed to turn up, however I felt that the alternative kick about in the garden with the kids went very well and I scored a number of goals. So if I ever needed proof that sports massage worked then this was it. Just be prepared for financial and physical pain if you decide on regular pre-match treatments.


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Plyometrics for football

By May 18, 2016 Fitness, News

Now if you think you have never attempted plyometrics you are probably wrong. It can be a simple as a game of hopscotch.
Plyometric training is a high intensity method of training to develop speed and strength. It utilises the elasticity of the muscles and trains them to contract with more speed or force, using the principle of progressive overload to make neuromuscular alternations. Recent research has indicated players can gain significant improvement in vertical jump, horizontal jump, yo-yo intermittent, T-test and maximal kicking velocity test over a period of 6 weeks, indeed Aston Villas Gabby Agbonlahor has been put on a plyometric program to quickly improve his recent fitness battles.
You might assume plyometrics don’t have a place in amateur football, however they were designed to maximise time spent training and so perfect for those with little time or little love for longer, mundane fitness drills.
Phil Davies has an excellent plyometric programme which I will be road testing over pre-season. I will let you know the results of this later in the year.

box jump


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Why shun the shin? A shin guard review.

By May 11, 2016 Equipment, News, Reviews

We all know that person who wears the smallest shin guards they can find as a fashion statement. God forbid what would actually happen if they got tackled. Well research has concluded that the standard polypropylene shin guards do not provide sufficient protection against high impact forces, however the fairly expensive carbon fibre shin guards do. These are now available off the shelf, starting from around £50 for a pair of Nike Mercurial Blade, £100 for a pair of C6 up to £130 for IXO pro model. If however you want the personal touch then go for a custom fitted pair. You might think like I did a cast would need to be taken, I would have to travel somewhere it was going to be a lot of hassle. Well actually, SAK have developed a way to customise shin guards using a bit of Blue Peter style cutting and sticking and a digital photo, all from £125. Now a company named SAK (safety against kicking) reassures me somewhat, and the fact the materials used are commonly used in the military and aerospace industries has me sold.
It is generally accepted that only an idiot with no ounce of self-respect would wear shin guards during a training session. If we are to accept training should take place at the same intensity as a match, then would it be wise to protect yourself at all costs? Time to be a trail blazer and pop on the shin guards to training, if only to get the most out of your £125.


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Perfect pre-match nutrition

By May 4, 2016 News

A packet of crisps for breakfast after a late night kebab does not constitute an ideal pre-match meal, according to Amanda Jones, a competitive runner, Sports Therapist and nutrition expert. She indicates the meal needs to be consumed approximately 3 hours before kick-off, so for Sunday morning regulars, an early wake-up call beckons. Amanda explains “too few carbohydrates in pre-match meal can lead to muscle fatigue during the game. The perfect pre-match meal not only fuels the body but trains the body to rely on blood glucose (Which is good apparently). Not only is the food important, but drink plenty of water, as just a 2% drop in body mass can affect energy production, cause fatigue and impair performance.

For optimum performance Amanda recommends:

  • Poached/scrambled eggs/beans on toast
  • Yoghurt
  • Cereal with semi-skimmed milk
  • Fresh juice
Amanda Jones, competitive runner, Sports Therapist and nutrition expert.

Amanda Jones, competitive runner, Sports Therapist and nutrition expert.


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Become a football expert (or not)

By May 3, 2016 Make it pro, News

10,000 hours. That’s what it takes to become an expert. I know some very good footballers that hardly practised at all. But all the ones I know who have played at a high level have put the hours in. Consider you start playing at the age of 7. 20 hours a week, 50 weeks a year over 10 years equates to 10,000 hours. Expert. That’s nearly 3 hours a night for 10 years. For many people an unrealistic target. But we can come close. This time does not mean training with the ball at feet. It may mean studying tactics, watching skills tutorials or working on strength. I have known players to put in these hours only to ruin it in their teenage years or give up the game after rejection.
Imagine you do get that contract. Training day in day out, that expert level seems more achievable. So maybe it’s not about being an expert to become a footballer, but having the hunger, desire and commitment to become an expert in the future.
Of course this cannot be completely down to training alone. At the age of 34 I would be unlikely to put 10 years of training in expecting to make it professional. Some things you cannot get through training alone, so before you set out on this journey make sure it’s achievable and you really, really want it.


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