Speed Training World Cup Soccer Workout: Jozy Altidore

by Nate

in Athlete Workouts, Exercises, Workout Routines

jozy altidore workout

Next up in our 2010 World Cup soccer workout series is United States National Team striker Jozy Altidore and his speed trainingMen’s Health recently revealed the soccer workout secrets of four members of the U.S. squad, including those of Jozy Altidore and his teammates Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu, with soccer specific training regimens for building endurance, strength, speed, and agility.

Altidore, who is currently on the Hull City roster, on loan from Villareal is one of the premier strikers in the world and his speed training is a testament to his commitment to success.

Jozy Altidore “can run through you, past you, and around you. Jozy’s a monster to contain, whether it’s on the ground or through the air,” says Scott Piri, director of soccer for Athletes’ Performance, which oversees fitness for the U.S. men’s team.

Altidore uses a Bullet Belt while doing sprint exercises, which helps him work on developing explosive strength and quickness in his first step.  “By doing drills that overload the acceleration phase, you train the muscles to be stronger and the nerves to fire faster,” says Piri.

“I need only one step,” says Altidore. “One step–that yard of space–and bang!”  Here’s how to get your soccer workout up to par with Altidore’s.

Test Your Speed

Try this test recommended by Ermanno Rampinini, head of Italy’s Mapei Human Performance Lab.  You’ll need a stopwatch for this test.

Mark out 20 yards on a field. Sprint to that line, bend down to touch it, turn, and sprint back.  Do 6 sprints total, resting for 20 seconds between each. Average your times for your score.

Average – 8 or more seconds
Great – 7-8 seconds
World Class – under 7 seconds

Build World-Class Speed

1. Ignite Your Thrusters
“If a muscle is tight, it functions on only half its length, so you’re producing half the force,” says national team fitness coach Pierrre Barrieu. “If you become more flexible and use 100 percent of your leg muscles, then your thrust will be better.” The U.S. team’s warmup consists of 20 exercises performed consecutively, down and back over 15 yards. Barrieu streamlined it to serve as a warmup for any sport: high knees, butt kicks, single-leg hops, backpedals, carioca, dynamic and reverse lunges, A and B skips, dynamic abductions and adductions, forward and backward jumps, and lateral bounds.

TCW says…Dynamic warmups routines like this one are the best way to prepare for a speed training soccer workout….or any training session for that matter.  Static stretching should be reserved for after your soccer workout.  With a dynamic warm your focus is on raising your core body temperature, getting blood flowing to the muscles while elongating them, and awakening the central nervous system.

2. Accelerate and Brake Faster
Doing intervals with 180-degree turns works muscle harder than doing regular intervals, according to a French study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Pros do 30-second intervals, but Piri recommends shorter ones. Set up three cones 5 yards apart. Sprint to the second cone, touch it, and sprint back to the starting cone and touch it; repeat the sequence to the third cone, and then to the second one again. That’s 1 rep. Start with 5 reps with 30 seconds rest, and work up to 10 reps. Add this into all your workouts, says Piri. “As long as you do it as fast as you can, this is going to help first-step quickness and speed.”

TCW says…These change of direction speed training intervals will challenge your legs much differently then doing straight forward sprints and require more coordination.  We are huge supporters of varying your interval training and this drill would be a great way to improve your quickness.  When doing interval training make sure you allow yourself enough time in between sprints to allow your muscles to recover so they can provide a consistent level of output during the sprint phase.  As a general rule you should allow two times the length of the sprint phase for rest time.  So if you are doing a 30 second interval you would rest for 60 seconds before repeating.  However, as we said, we like varying the length of the sprint and rest phase from workout to workout and have seen some great results from shorter rest periods such as in Tabatas.

3. Push Your Speed
If you don’t have a trainer handy to hold a Bullet Belt harness, you can achieve the same results while pushing against a wall, says fitness coach Shad Forsythe. With your hands flat against a wall, straighten your arms so your body is 45 degrees to the wall. Raise your right knee to your chest in an explosive marchlike movement, then your left knee. Do 2 sets of 20 reps on each side. Next connect three steps in a running motion–right, left, right–as fast as you can. (You should end up standing on your left foot with your right knee raised.) Aim for 3 to 5 reps on each side. Do this exercise three times a week.

TCW says…There’s the key right there…get creative!  If you can’t afford the expensive equipment for your soccer workout and speed training find a way to modify and get the job done.

Peak Performance Tip from Jozy Altidore

Take small steps for giant gains
Altidore says he’s on a constant quest to feel lighter on his feet. One drill that helps instill this ephemeral quality is the rapid-response 2-inch run, says Barrieu. Start in an athletic stance and move your feet as fast as you can in microsteps–2 inches up and forward–for 5 seconds. Swing your arms and stay on the balls of your feet. Repeat twice, with 30 seconds of rest in between. Add this to your workouts three times a week to build acceleration.

TCW says…The speed training drill sounds easier then it is, but it does take some technique and practice.  Here’s a good video demonstration.

For more from our World Cup soccer workout series be sure to check out our previous posts on Jonathan Bornstein, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey.

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