Lionel Messi Workout
Messi. Have you heard of him? There’s a good chance you have, but maybe you haven’t. Well this guy is an absolute animal. At only 5’7”, the Argentinian soccer phenom has to put every ounce of strength and finesse into his slight frame. With perhaps the quickest feet in soccer, and the grace of a modern-day Maradona, Lionel Messi is one of the most explosive stars in the soccer world. And let me tell you, he has worked for it. It starts with his workout training routine.
As a forward, Messi has to rely on short bursts of rapid speed when converting a short pass or a long ball into a goal. In order to do this, the footballer has two separate workout programs to focus on. One of which deals with strictly linear speed, and the other with multi-directional speed. Each individual workout is divided into three specific sections: movement skills, plyometrics, and movement preparation to make the most of his soccer skills and explosiveness.
For his first workout, Messi starts with linear speed and movement. He’ll do a series of stretching exercises that also combine flexibility and mobility. These come in the form of knee hug lunges, split squat jumps, and hurdle hops, and skips. Doing these exercises allow Messi to maintain his limber composure, and get his legs adjusted to moving in all sorts of steps and patterns so that he is comfortable on the field in any situation.
After this series of warm-ups, Messi will engage in short sprints. Some of these are done with the ball, and others without. In the acceleration wall drill, Messi will grab onto a goal post or a wall and alternate raising his legs in a raised forward position. This driving pattern simulates the running and jumping motion that he will use in a game to edge out a bigger defender.
In the second workout, Messi will deal with multi-directional movement. This begins with movement preparations such as forward lunges, multi-directional lunges, and pillar skips. Pillar skips involve moving forward while raising your legs in a skipping pattern as high as they can go while still keeping your other foot on the ground. This works with range of motion and flexibility.
Plyometrics follow in the second part of the second workout. Messi prefers lateral bounds, which is where he takes off of one leg and jumps horizontally to the other, then back again. This strengthens quadriceps, calf, and hamstring muscles. Next, he’ll engage in hurdle hops which are done laterally, in the same sense as the lateral bounds, but taking off on two feet, and landing on two feet.
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The final bit of Messi’s second training session involves movement skills. These motions deal with foot quickness and step precision. The three-hurdle drill is common in this section of the training program, and can be done by stepping laterally over cones or ladder rungs. This allows Messi to practice the speed of his steps, and gives him good practice for stepping over and around opponents’ feet and legs.
In this video, you can see how Messi’s training pays off in regards to his quickness, speed, and agility when ousting defenders who are much bigger than him. Thankfully, if you’re quick enough, size is not as much of a factor in soccer (known as football to many) as it is in a sport like basketball
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