The TRUTH About Training Cardio For Goalkeepers

The TRUTH About Training Cardio For Goalkeepers

If you’re a goalkeeper, you need to be physically fit. That’s obvious. It’s the same for any athlete looking to reach the top of their game. So what do you do?

That’s right, you go for a long run with the rest of your team because you know that’s a great way to stay in shape. The faster and longer you can run the better, right?

If that’s you then you’d be wrong. It’s a huge myth amongst many new keepers.


“Why?” you ask. Well, that’s a fair question but the answer is quite simple. As keepers, we aren’t running up and down the pitch all game and putting in the miles. We only need bursts of energy but we need it fast.


Think of it like cars: Do you want to be a hybrid, that can run for 300 miles on one tank of gas but is limited to 90mph or would you rather be a sports car who can do 0-60mph in 3 seconds with a max speed of 200mph, but will run through it’s tank of gas much quicker than a hybrid?


If you’re a keeper then you NEED to be the second.

We need those short, sharp bursts of energy to close down an attacker, make a huge save or backtrack to the goal quickly whenever we’re caught out of position.

Because it’s different for keepers, we need to adapt our training to suit. That’s where high intensity interval training (or HIIT) comes in. This trains our body to be most effective in those short bursts of energy and allows us to be the most effective in those specific situations.

Let me explain:

  1. HIIT allows us to use big muscle groups explosively.

    By training those big muscle groups and getting them used to reaching high intensity in a short amount of time, this allows us to go from 0-100 much faster than people who are training for endurance. Much more suitable for a goalkeeper who spends most of his/her time standing between the posts.

  2. HIIT enables a keeper to work closer to their maximum level.

    Training for endurance is designed for just that - it enables someone to do what they need to do for extended periods of time. Perfect for a midfielder who is constantly up and down the pitch giving support to the back line as well as the strikers.

    On the flip side of that, endurance trainers rarely reach their maximum level because fatigue holds them back. We each have a limited amount of energy and we can either stretch it out over a longer period of time at a lower level or we can burn through it quickly and exactly when we need to.
    The TRUTH About Training Cardio For Goalkeepers
  3. Enables higher agility.

    Because we’ll be working on explosive bursts, agility training can be a natural part of HIIT which is perfectly suited to goalkeeping. Things like medicine ball drills, burpees, ladder drills can all be integrated into a HIIT workout as well as some of your regular goalkeeping drills.

Now you know the truth about WHY cardio for goalies isn’t in the slow-burning long distance endurance training you need to know WHAT to do instead right?

Well keep an eye out for the next post as that’s exactly what I’ll be covering.

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