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Can you pass the US Men’s Soccer fitness test?

The US Men's Soccer team fitness test | are you fit enough to make the cut?

Though the United States fought hard against Belgium, they did not make it past the quarterfinal stage in this year’s World Cup in Brazil. While few expected them to be a real competitor in the tournament, perhaps the thing that surprised soccer fans and critics most was the phenomenal shape and insane athleticism of each and every one of Jurgen Klinsmann’s – the USMNT head coach – players. At one point, the USA’s Michael Bradley led in the World Cup for miles run.

Although Jurgen Klinsmann’s staff never released a detailed workout schedule, back in January 2013 they did allow media to watch the “highly unpleasant activity” player Michael Bradley has supposedly mastered – the fitness test.

According to MLSsooccer.com, Klinsmann and the team’s head fitness coach, Masa Sakihana, used the following four-part, two-hour test to get an idea of where the players were physically. Note: the different parts of the test are for full-time athletes, so if you are going to try it at home, be very careful (and perhaps check in with your doctor).

  1. Warm-up: dynamic stretching. A mixture of lower body exercises such as shuffles, leg raises, and “open the gate“.
  2. Explosiveness: 5-10-5 agility cone drill. The purpose of this drill is to see how quickly players change direction. The player sprints left for five meters, right for 10 meters, and back for another five.
  3. Speed: timed 30-meter dash and a series of vertical jumps. Linear sprinting is important for all positions and aggressive jumping is important for players trying to win a ball in the air.
  4. Endurance: a VO2 test. The most grueling of the tasks, an air mask is strapped to the player’s face and monitors each breath as he goes from a light jog to a 10 MPH pace. (More about VO2 max.)

At the end of the test, athletic trainer Jeremy Hassler had the players participate in a functional movement screening, which monitors a player’s susceptibility to injury.

Finally, the players all meet with the director of performance nutrition, Danielle Lafta. Lafta formulates a nutrition plan tailored to each player based off of their likes and dislikes. The plan is so specific that it details what food should be eaten on training days, off days, and even game days (fun fact: the team travels with all of its necessary food to foreign countries).

If this is just a routine test, imagine how grueling the Klinsmann’s workouts must have been!

Written by Riley Nelson / Photo Creative Commons image search

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