World Cup Soccer Workout: Tim Howard

by Nate

in Athlete Workouts

Tim Howard Soccer Workout

Today, we continue our look at the 2010 World Cup and the soccer workout routines of the United States National Team stars with a review of U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard and his agility workout.  Howard who suffered a rib injury in the United States opening round match with England says he will be ready to play this Friday when the U.S. takes on Slovenia in pool play.

Men’s Health recently revealed the training secrets of four members of the U.S. squad, including those of Howard, with soccer workout plans for endurance, strength, speed and agility.  Our previous post featured the endurance training Clint Dempsey used to prepare for the World Cup.

Howard, who plays for Everton in the English Premier League focuses his training on speed, balance, and range of motion for his soccer workout routine. “Tim has to be able to shift his body weight and throw himself in any direction, without any preparation,” says Steve Tashjian, fitness coach for Everton.

“I’m constantly strengthening my core because that’s what gives me the ability to react faster and the stability to control my body better,” says the 31 year-old keeper.  Tim Howard also does explosive lifting, jumping drills using a Verti-Max and lots of boxing.  “Sparring accelerates my hand speed, improves my footwork, and makes my punching more powerful,” says Howard.

Test Your Agility

Tashijian recommends using the T-test to measure your agility.  Here’s how to do it:

Set up markers in a T configuration, 10 yards for the stem and 5 yards out to each side. Ask a friend to time you. Start at the base of the T, sprint to the top, side-shuffle to the left, side-shuffle all the way (10 yards) to the right, side-shuffle back to the middle, and backpedal to the start.

Average – more than 12 seconds
Great – 10 to 12 seconds
World Class – less than 10 seconds (Howard does it in 9.6)

Build World Class Agility

1. Jump Start Power
Howard can bang out 30-inch box jumps, but Tashjian recommends starting with a 12-inch box. Stand behind and to the right of the box, jump laterally to your left, and then jump straight onto the box. Step down and return to the starting position. Do a total of 5 reps from the right side, and then 5 reps from the left. That’s 1 set; do 3 sets with 30 seconds rest between each. Do this just after your warmup, 3 times a week.

TCW says…Box Jumps are great for building explosive power in your legs.  They will also get your heart rate elevated quickly and help you burn fat.  Make sure the box height is high enough where it is a challenge for you, but not so high that you can’t complete all your reps.  If you don’t have a box, use the flat bench in the gym.  People may look at you a little funny, but they’ll be envious of the results you get once you start adding these into your soccer workout.

2. Chop Your Core Into Shape
Howard uses chops to train his core, including the 4-way x-chop. Start in a split-squat stance, with your right leg forward and right knee slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell with both hands to your left side. Explode out of the squat, and rotate to lift the weight up to your right shoulder. Then reverse the movement and return to the starting position. Do 8 reps. Now switch sides with the dumbbell but keep your right leg forward and do 8 more reps. Then put your left leg forward and do 8 reps on each side. That’s 1 set. Use a weight that allows you to complete 2 sets without losing form.

TCW says…Choosing the right weight is important here.  Err on the side of going too light at first…this move will challenge your core even with the lightest of weights.  If you go to heavy you’ll risk injury to your shoulders. You may also want to try this with a medicine ball.

3. Fancy Up Your Footwork
Mark off five 2-foot squares, like a ladder. Then …

a) With both feet, jump as fast as you can sideways into every square.

b) Jump as fast as you can sideways 2 squares left, then 2 squares right.

c) Slalom: Jump into a square from the side, jump forward 2 squares, and then jump out. Then reverse: Jump in, back 2 squares, and out.

d) Crossovers: From the left of the ladder’s base, cross your left foot over your right as you step into square 1. Step to the right with your right foot and follow with your left out of square 1. Cross your right foot over the left and step into square 2, repeating the sequence up the ladder and then down the ladder.

Do 3 to 5 reps of each drill, with 30 seconds rest between each set.

TCW says…Ladder drills are a great way to increase foot speed and coordination.  The number of drills you can do with the ladder are endless.  The trick is to go slow until you get the pattern down and then work on your speed while keeping your body under control.

Peak performance tip from Tim Howard

Paddle your way to a powerful core
In the off-season, Howard rows in the gym or kayaks on lakes near his home in Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s a great aerobic workout,” he says. “Plus it works my core. My goal is to always strengthen my core.”

For more from our World Cup soccer workout series be sure to check out our previous post on Jonathan Bornstein and Clint Dempsey…and check back for more training tips from stars Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Onyewu.

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