By Playspots Dec 19, 2018

Sick of dominating games only to come off part of the losing side?
Praying to be subbed off after 10 minutes because your legs have gone and you’re gasping for air?

Fed up of controlling the game for the first half only to see tiredness and poor defensive tracking lead to conceding time and time again?

We know the feeling.

Football pitches host close to one hundred five-a-side matches per week witness technically good players struggles to effect the game due to fitness. We watch good sides lose because as the game goes on they just can’t move how their body (and teammates) need them to!

Fortunately, with some smart use of your time and the right exercises your five-a-side fitness can drastically improve!


Most footballers aren’t anywhere near as strong as they should be to meet the demands of the game.

Speed is largely determined with how much force you can put into the ground if you don’t very little force to apply you are exerting a lot of energy with every step – which is a fast way to overshadow any cardiovascular fitness you actually do have.

Aim for 1.5x your body weight for a lower body strength lift such as a trap-bar deadlift, squat or barbell deadlift.

If you aren’t at these levels then you are spending far more energy than you have to move around the pitch.

Want to get stronger?


If you want to get better at anything, you, of course, have to do it. Simple, obvious, but often overlooked.

Many people we see play in a single league match once per week and get around 20-30 min game time. These games are high intensity and often the pace doesn’t drop if you are playing against a fitter team – floodgates tend to open at this stage!

Book in another five-a-side match for some casual hire once per week and you’ll get 60 min game time.

20-30 min game time when it comes to competition will allow you to have plenty in reserve to go all out when you are actually on the pitch.


The easiest way to get fitter, faster and last longer on the pitch is to drop some unneeded body fat.

Have you ever ran or even just walked carrying a heavy backpack? You’ll know firsthand just how much quicker you get out of breath, legs fatigue and slow down.

With unnecessary body fat, you are adding extra mass to your body that you have to run around with.

Anywhere between 12-14% body fat would be great for a recreational five-a-side player.

Aim for 10-12% if you are playing at a more competitive level.

Any higher then shift this body fat and you will instantly feel lighter and fitter on the pitch.


If you are following number 1’s advice by getting stronger and following number 2’s advice by adding an extra game of five-a-sides then you are already getting 3-4 good exercise sessions in per week!

Nutrition is the only thing left, and to be honest, should be your priority when it comes to fat loss.

Keep it simple; if it doesn’t swim, run, fly or isn’t green and grows in the ground. Don’t eat it! Use this system 80% of the time whilst training and you won’t be too far off your body fat goals.


You will be lighter and stronger which means you take LESS energy per step to move around a LIGHTER body. Instantly you have preserved energy.

Add in your extra day of five-a-sides to build up your fitness capacity and you will be in a great position to let your technical skill do the business!