When it comes to football heroes, there is only one name on everyone’s lips these days: Chloe Kelly, the England striker who scored the winning goal against Germany in the Euro 2022 final on Sunday. The image of Kelly waving the shirt over her head has gone viral, and for good reason: it was her goal that brought the England football team home their first major trophy in 56 years.
However, things are not going well for the 24-year-old as she suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury that jeopardized her career. In May 2021, Kelly injured her anterior cruciate ligament, an injury that takes at least 12 months to recover. This forced her to miss the Tokyo Olympics last year and meant she would have to race against the clock to be fit for the Euros this summer.
So how did the Lioness manage to return to her playing form? Lots of hard work and physical training. To find out more, I checked out one of her leg workouts and it wasn’t easy at all. Read on to find out what happened.
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How does Chloe Kelly train her legs?
It goes without saying that Kelly and the entire Lioness team will go through a lot of workouts to get in shape, but a quick look at her Instagram revealed she did a gym workout that focused on leg strength. Football involves a lot of running, but also a lot of balance and agility as the players change direction and race around the opponent at speed. It’s likely that Kelly’s workouts will focus on cardiovascular endurance as well as strength training to build strong, toned leg muscles that are more resilient to injury on the pitch.
The workout also focuses on unilateral or unilateral strength, which is important in sports like football or running where you put your entire body weight on one limb at a time. Most people will have the stronger side, and during bilateral exercises like squats where you engage both sides of the body, the dominant side often ends up doing more work, increasing the strength mismatch. For injured athletes like Kelly, strengthening the weaker side is even more important.
So, let’s start training. While it’s unclear how many reps she did for each exercise or what weights she lifted, here’s what her leg workout looks like:
- One leg press on each side
- Romanian deadlift
- Deadlift in a checkerboard pattern on each side
- Jump Squats
- Static lunges on each side
- Bulgarian split squat per side
I tried Chloe Kelly’s leg workout – here’s what happened
As mentioned above, no reps or weight, I had to come up with a bit here. I ended the workout after an easy five mile run as I’m sure the Lionesses would also prioritize cardio or strength training around the time on the field and since I haven’t played football since I was a toddler running seemed safer option.
I decided to do three sets of 10 reps on each exercise, doing 10 reps per leg on each of the single leg exercises before moving on. At the end of the set, I rested before moving on. In terms of weight, I went for a total that was heavy for the last few sets, but also one that didn’t mean I had to compromise on my technique.
As a runner, I am lazy when it comes to strength training, especially the unilateral exercises in this workout. I soon noticed that my left side was much weaker than my right side, and I found that the leg press on that side was much harder. I also felt that working one leg at a time forced me to engage my core to help me balance.
While I definitely won’t be scoring for England anytime soon, this workout reminded me that I need to put more time into working on my weaknesses in the gym in order to run harder and faster.
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