December 02, 2009

Iker Casillas to Men's Health

Iker Casillas talked to Men's Health magazine about the work a goalkeeper does on a daily basis at Real Madrid.

When do you train?
We train every morning between 10:30 and 12:30. We then spend 45 minutes in the weights room.

How much do you train on the pitch?
I’d say I spend 60% of the first two hours with my team-mates doing physical workouts and so forth. I do specific goalkeeper exercises the other 40%.

In what are your goalkeeper workouts different from the rest?
You have to take into account that I run an average of 4 km per game while the rest run around 10. We don’t focus on endurance so much, but we work on jumping and on our legs’ reactions.

Saving a shot especially depends on how strong your legs are.
How do you strengthen your legs?
We tackle plyometrics such as jumping with weights, doing a succession of jumps, etc. These are typical exercises one does to strengthen his or her legs. The machine we use exclusively is the leg press.

How many weights do you use?

I think the most we use is 140 kg. You don’t need any more. It’s important to be fast.

What do you to exercise the upper half of your body?
Most goalkeepers exercise the upper half of their bodies and they are stronger than most of the other players on the team. I actually hate doing weights. I don’t like to be ‘big’.

You’ve hardly been injured. Do you do specific exercises to avoid injuries?
No, I don’t. I’ve been lucky so far. I hope I continue to be lucky.

You need excellent reflexes to be a good goalkeeper. Do you do some work on your nervous system?

Not at all.

How do you work on reflexes then?

We do what has always been done: we try to save shots with our backs to the ball and turning in time to grab or clear it. We do other exercises too. It’s the same stuff I did as a child. We don’t use any machine of any sort to boost our reflexes.

Do you do any psychological work?

No, we don’t. I know they can be very useful in other sports, but we don’t have any psychologists. We had one once on the Spanish national team and we were eliminated in the first round.

What do you eat?

I used to eat a bit of everything and my body didn’t react badly to any of it. I now have to watch out; I’ve reached an age in which I must eat better.

What do you avoid?

I don’t have carbohydrates for dinner and I try to eat small amounts of food. I watch out for fats too.

What other sport do you practice?

I like to play padel tennis in the summer and I also play football with my friends, but not as a goalkeeper (laughs).


  1. why Saving a shot depends on how strong your legs are???

    1. Having strong legs is extremely important in saving shots because it makes you faster and more capable of getting to the ball first. Besides just keeping the ball out of the net, a goalie's #1 concern is to keep possession of the ball for your team. And you can't keep possession if you aren't on the ball every time. Also, having strong legs helps you dive faster and higher.