Soccer players rely on cardiovascular fitness to get them through 90 minutes of on-field action. Soccer players are running throughout the game and they need to be able to transition from jogging to quick bursts of speed as the ball comes their way. You can use a treadmill to improve your cardiovascular fitness for soccer along with building muscles that will give you the power needed to beat your opponent to the ball or smash it past the keeper.
As with all forms of running, sprinting improves cardiovascular fitness. It also is a muscle-building exercise that can provide extra strength to your legs. In particular, sprinting works the fast-twitch muscle fibers of the quadriceps and hamstrings that give you an initial burst when trying to get past an opponent or beat them to the ball. Interval training builds power while improving cardiovascular fitness. Spend 10 to 12 minutes increasing your pace from a walk to a fast jog, and then alternate between two minutes of sprinting at top speed and two minutes of walking 0.5 to 1 mile per hour.
Soccer players don't just go at one pace or in one direction. The nature of the sport requires that players quickly transition from walking to running, cut sideways quickly and even move backward. One way to train for this on a treadmill is with a Fartlek running program. This is a form of interval training that uses walking, jogging and running for random lengths of time. Use the speed controls on the treadmill to cycle between walking, jogging and sprinting during random intervals.
Hill running is one of the most effective ways to improve leg strength. Using a treadmill set at a sharp incline of 12 percent or more allows you to get the benefits of uphill running while staying indoors or if you live in a flat area without hills to climb. You can combine different levels of inclines with interval training to mix up your workout.
Backward and Sideways Running
Soccer players spend a significant portion of the game moving in a direction other than straight ahead. You can use the treadmill to simulate the different types of actions you will do during a game. During your treadmill sessions, spend time running backward instead of forward or moving from side to side.