Football Fat Loss Workout

Illustration of man using football to exercise with
(Image credit: Men’s Fitness)

To celebrate the start of the new season, we've come up with a football-based circuit. It'll blitz calories and protect against injury, and it'll take you less than half an hour to do. In the spirit of the thing, we recommend you do it with a football but if you haven't got one or you're in a gym, a medicine ball works just as well.
You'll find that the sprints at the start of the workout get your heart rate up, while the plyometric exercises help you produce more power when you're playing or when you want to dance around in the pub like a loon because one of your summer signings has just scored. There are also moves to help you strengthen your ankles and core, and improve your balance, which will make you less susceptible to injury (in either environment).

Once you’ve progressed past this session, try these fat-loss workouts or nail pre-season training with these football fitness drills.

Football Fat-Loss Workout

Do all the exercises in order with as little rest as you can between each move. Once you have completed one circuit, rest for two minutes before repeating it.
Workout length: 25 minutes
Calorie burn: 450
Warm-up: Warm up by jogging on the spot, skipping and doing some burpees for five minutes until your body is warm and raring to go.
Warm-down: March on the spot to bring your heart rate down, and do some static stretching to encourage your muscles to dispose of the lactic acid build-up in the body and prevent stiffness.

1 Burpee into fast feet

Time 60sec  

 Get into a press-up position with your hands on the football. Bring your knees towards your chest and then jump up off the ground, lifting the ball above your head. As you land, run on the spot as fast as you can, counting for ten before performing another burpee.  

It's working when the movement of your feet is a blur and your heart rate is through the roof.

2 Football hand tap

Time 60sec  

 Get into a press-up position with your hands on the football and your arms straight. Keeping your abs braced and arms straight, lift your right hand, place it on the floor, then return to the start. Repeat with the left hand.

It's working when your core works hard to keep the ball still.

3 One-footed jump

Reps 30  

Jog a few paces, then take off from one foot as if you were leaping to head a football. Land on the same foot, run for a few more paces then leap again. Alternate your jumping foot until you have completed the reps. 

It's working when you use your leg muscles and glutes to leap high into the air and land with a soft knee to absorb the impact.

4 Joining crunch

Time 60sec 

Lie on your back holding the football above your chest. Raise your legs off the ground and lower the ball behind your head. As you bring the ball back to the start, crunch your knees into your chest. Straighten your legs as you lower the ball again.   

It's working when your stomach muscles are tensed at all times and your legs and arms move in harmony.

5 Jump squat

Time 60sec 

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the ball at chest height. Lower into a regular squat, touch the ball to the floor then jump up as high as you can while lifting the ball over your head. Upon landing, lower your body into the squat position and repeat. 

It's working when your legs and lungs are burning.

6 Hinge

Time 60sec 

Kneel on the floor holding the ball close to your chest. Keeping your body in a straight line, slowly lean back. Hold for three seconds, then return to the start.  

It's working when your core is tight and your head and spine stay in line with your thighs.

7 Split jump slam

Time 60sec 

Stand with your right leg forward and your left leg behind you in a split squat position. Hold the ball above your head. Bend into a lunge, rotate your torso to the right and slam the ball on the ground outside of your right knee. Jump up, switch legs in mid-air, catch the ball and bring it back above your head. 

It's working when your quads are burning while your shoulders, core, glutes and calves co-ordinate the move.

Jon Lipsey

Jon Lipsey worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Jon was deputy editor and editor from 2007 to 2013. He returned as editor-in-chief from 2016 to 2019. He also co-founded IronLife Media and the New Body Plan