Atlético Madrid Circuit Training - Complementary Training
Atlético Madrid Circuit Training

Atlético Madrid Circuit Training


In the video above  Atlético Madrid is performing some form of circuit training on the field. This video triggered some pretty heavy comments on the physical preparation in soccer in general and this video/team in particular. Although I tend to agree with these comments, let’s first clear up what we don’t know about the video:

  • This is just a snapshot of training
  • We don’t know what are the objectives of this training
  • We are not familiar with what is done before, after or weather this is just a warm-up (doubt it)
  • Maybe this is 2nd “strength” workout in a week, and that’s why it is done in circuit mode
  • Maybe this is recovery/regen training after a game or done in dense competition/friendlies schedule

Taking these assumptions into account, it is hard to make an overall claims. Atlético Madrid is VERY successful team that had a great last season. But being big, successful, rich (and beautiful) by no means is a proof that someone knows what the hell are they doing (or as Nassim Taleb book would say don’t be “Fooled by Randomness“).

I have done circuit trainings, mostly in pre-season as a second “strength” workout, but usually against my will, or because of the lack of facilities/equipment/time. To be clear, I would have rather spent that time doing “real” power/strength training.

Without going deeper into soccer specific ~ culture specific issues (please read this POST for more info on the topic), I would say that the goal of the physical preparation training is to remove identified [physical] performance limiters (more HERE), or in plain english, to improve physical qualities. If it doesn’t improve/maintain/hit physical qualities, calling it “soccer specific” is just an alibi training.

If you are regular reader of my writings, you probably know that I think in complementarities, like develop~express (more HERE) – one cannot just “mimic” the game (which is usually flawed/biased: average bias, on the ball movements bias, etc), but rather one needs to ‘overload’ certain movements and energy systems for the athletes to reach higher level of performance and increase the performance limiters. Yes, this needs to be ‘transformed’ and the athlete needs to learn how to use/access/pace these new qualities, which makes this process complementary. Yes, you probably need some balance exercises, single leg exercises, resisted “soccer” moves – think about Big Rocks analogy.

Since 2007, I have written two “manuals” regarding physical preparation in soccer, and I am thinking about writing one more, just to sum up and organize the thoughts flying in my head and take into account recent experiences. Examples like the one above just motivates me even more. Busy schedule at the moment, but definitely on the to-do list.

Anyway, in the video below this is how guys working in more physical sports like Rugby, Aussie Rules Football, Ice Hockey, American Football see the above clip – “soccer crossfit” [LOL]


I am a physical preparation coach from Belgrade, Serbia, grew up in Pula, Croatia (which I consider my home town). I was involved in physical preparation of professional, amateur and recreational athletes of various ages in sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball, martial arts and tennis. Read More »