2014: Year Of The World Cup!
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Health and Wellness

2014: Year Of The World Cup!

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2014: Year Of The World Cup!

Welcome back, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday vacation and utilized your extra week off, this year. Four weeks seemed like it would be a little too long for me, compared to the usual three, but in the end, I was happy for the extra time. The transition into 2014 has brought many New Year’s resolutions and I hope each of your goals resolves in good time. The new year also brings into play a worldwide gathering of athletes in Brazil this summer… the FIFA World Cup!

While we can lounge around on the couch every day for a month in the summer, and watch exciting soccer games, the players don’t have it quite so easy. They’re having the time of their lives out there playing, but only because they’ve been working for months to attain the necessary fitness and endurance required to play so well, for so long. I thought it might be interesting to dig in and really appreciate what these athletes go through in order to perform at the top level.

From an article interviewing the U.S. men’s team fitness coach, I found some accurate information about their training regimen. While cardio workouts are, obviously, going to take precedence over every other fitness category, weight training is also very important. The players’ coach said that they regularly lift weights to minimize injuries and stretch to prevent muscle strain. I also found that the players each have their own individual workout routines, based on their individual needs, and they don’t have to abide by the upper/lower body routines.

With regard to injuries, the most common – and most focused on for prevention – include those affecting the hamstring, the adductor muscles (thighs and hips) and groin. How can these be prevented or minimized? When muscles tear or strain, they are overstretched. And so in the weight room, trainers will use “eccentric strengthening,” which involves gradually forcing muscle fibers away from each other and then letting them refold. If the players’ muscles have this somewhat gentle experience prior to being quickly strained in a game, the muscles have more of a chance of not getting stretched out too much. Thus, they can continue playing by only having to pull their legs back to their centers of gravity and normal running positions.

These guys are also running every day, leading up to June. The minimum number of miles per day is five and some players challenge themselves to run 10 on a good day, when their spirits are high. If you need some motivation for your new 2014 fitness goals, think of these players and the sacrifices they’re making to represent America.

I hope your semester has “kicked off” to a good start!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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