Witness the fitnessFor these guys training doesn’t end when the balls are taken away. These are soccer’s shredded stars and how you can emulate them.
They don’t just play hard on the pitch. These soccer stars hit the gym like they hit opponents and they’ve got the bodies to prove it. Here are the players who give fitness tests a new meaning.
He’s got the body to match the ego and the Real Madrid superstar is not shy about showing off his physique. It’s become the Portuguese international’s trademark post-game celebration to whip his shirt off. That’s a lot of topless time given the amount of goals he scores.
How to copy Ronaldo: work, work, work. Ronaldo wasn’t a natural talent like Messi. He arrived at Manchester United as a teenager with explosive potential but countless hours on the pitch and in the gym have made him, for many people, the best player in the world.
The Bayern Munich and Poland forward is one of the Bundesliga’s most prolific goalscorers. Not only does he have lightning bolts for boots, but the striker has a six-pack to rival body builders. No wonder he keeps himself in such good shape; his father was a former soccer player and judo champion. His mother played volleyball while his sister is a Polish international. His wife Anna is a karate competitor and personal trainer.
How to copy Lewandowski: behind every successful man is a strong woman. This has never been more true than with Lewandowski. So keep this in mind when looking for your future wife.
He’s endured a rough season for Aston Villa but Micah Richards would still earn a place in a Premier League selection for most bulked-up backline. At 5ft 11, Richards is not the tallest defender but he’s one of the strongest. Protein shakes and fish oils help keep him in shape and he needs more than other players because of his bigger muscles and need to recover quickly. Richards was named Man City Young Player of the Year in 2006 and won the Premier League in 2012, the same year he represented Great Britain at the London Olympics.
How to copy Richards: work the big guns and keep the fuel coming. You’re going to need it for your next power workout.
Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, better known as Hulk, is a cult hero for the Brazil national team. His father named him after the famous The Incredible Hulk TV series starring Lou Ferrigno, and with his jacked appearance, he’s lived up to the name. A fan favourite in his homeland, the powerhouse had spells in Japan and Portugal before landing at Zenit St Petersburg where he finished the 2014/15 season as top scorer.
How to copy Hulk: Squats, squats, and more squats. They were so obsessed with Hulk’s backside in Brazil that during the 2013 Confederations Cup he was measured on live television. The result: a circumference of 43.7 inches. Bigger than Kim Kardashian, apparently.
Who wears short shorts? The Arsenal star has brought his own sense of style to North London since arriving from Barcelona in 2014. If he’s not rolling his shorts up his thigh, he’s wearing a smaller pair to begin with. At just 5ft 6, he’s small but dazzlingly creative on the pitch. And the Gunners talisman doesn’t just possess athletic lower limbs; despite his small stature, the Copa America champion with Chile in 2015 also boasts a powerful upper body.
How to copy Sanchez: Never skip leg day.
His playing days may be over but Clarence Seedorf is considered one of the best Dutch players of his generation. A Champions League winner with three different clubs, the former Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter and AC Milan midfielder spent his final two years in Brazil with Rio de Janeiro outfit Botafogo. Seedorf proved in his time there that he had the kind of abs and arms to rival anything seen on Copacabana beach, despite being in his late thirties.
How to copy Seedorf: think sit-ups are just for twenty-somethings? Think again.
The Wimbledon striker doesn’t look like a typical soccer player. At around 224 pounds, he should be tackling rugby players not defenders, but Adebayo Akinfenwa is not nicknamed “The Beast” for nothing. The FIFA 15 video game called him the world’s strongest player while he’s said to bench-press 180kg and has his own clothing range called Beast Mode On.
Despite people’s doubts, Akinfenwa has proven them wrong by carving out a career in soccer. “People said I’m too big to play soccer,” he once remarked. “One hundred goals later, I’m not. There are no limitations to what you want to do.”
How to copy Adebayo Akinfenwa: turn on your beast mode.