What sort of soccer player is Landon Donovan? How does he train and what are his workout secrets? How does he fuel his body? These are the questions everyone is now asking about the man that became the USA’s most popular soccer player after an outstanding performance during the 2010 World Cup Finals.
Landon Donovan was born in 1982 and at 28 years is at his prime in international soccer. His club team is Los Angeles Galaxy and he is one of the few USA players that play for an American club – most of the USA soccer team play for European teams. He has been with Galaxy for 5 years now.
Donovan is a striker that can also fall back and play wide in midfield. He is the USA’s top goal scorer of all time and also has been involved in more assists than any other US player. Landon Donovan is the best soccer player the USA has produced to date and it seems that it will be a long time before he is replaced.
Donovan’s soccer career almost came to a sudden end when he was training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. While playing a post-training round of golf he was attacked by an alligator and almost had his feet bitten off.
Fitness Training and Workouts
Donovan’s fitness training is planned by Pierre Barrieu, the USA team coach. Pierre works his soccer players hard to produce lean, but powerful athletes that are quick and have a high level of muscular endurance. Strength training became a key part of Landon Donovan’s training since the 2002 World Cup. Pierre says of Donavan;
“Landon improved every aspect of his body—it was truly amazing. He always had the speed, but the strength training allowed him to play at a higher level and stay healthy. Landon’s improved strength has increased his confidence in his physical abilities. He refuses to back down from any challenge.”
Pierre’s training regime also builds mental focus and self belief so that his players are always performing to their maximum potential.
Pierre’s fitness training routines generally follow this format, and this is the system that has got Landon Donovan so fit today:
- Speed warm up to start. After a brief loosener speed training is performed. The idea is to build muscle memory in the fast twitch muscles, so that you can draw on your speed at any time.
- Then the training moves on to the various traditional soccer fitness exercises such as skipping while swinging the arms, side shuffles, ham kicks, skips steps, knee raises.
- Then plyometric exercises are performed, which are designed to build explosive power in the legs.
- These are followed by more soccer exercises such as bounding steps, jumping hurdles, various other agility training routines.
- Conditioning is then done by focussing on high intensity training with fast sprints to increase lactic acid threshold.
- Pierre tests his players by measuring their body fat percentage – he uses this as a guide to see how hard they are training. The target body fat percentage is 6.9%.
- About 1 hour of cardio training is done per session.
Weight Training Workouts
Weight training concentrate on the lower body and core, so there are squats, lunges, lateral jumps and Olympic weight lifting exercises, such as hang cleans and push presses.
Core stability exercises include the plank and single leg squats. All round strength training is done with emphasis on build solid functional muscle that is explosive and durable. Strength training also helps with injury prevention, this is a key part of sports conditioning.