Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Could You Pass A Premier League Medical?


The transfer window is now shut, so what did it mean each time Jim White revealed news of a star undergoing a medical at a new club? And how do you pass it?

To find out, we visited the Perform Human Performance Lab at The FA National Training Centre, St George’s Park, to investigate the core components behind an elite footballer’s rigorous medical. "Players don’t really pass or fail medicals,” says Perform clinical director Dr Charlotte Cowie. “Usually there’s a list of problems and it’s up to the club whether they want to take on those. Clubs are interested in injuries that might have a knock-on long-term effect.”

So if it’s a challenge for even elite footballers, what is it like for a normal man? Follow our tips and you can feel like a pro.

Underlying dangers

Making sure there’s no hidden damage, an MRI scan can decipher whether joint wear and tear might become a problem. “Some clubs only MRI, CT and X-ray joints if there’s a reason to,” says elite physiotherapist Steve Kemp. “If a player has had surgery or a previous injury, we’ll scan to see if there’s been degeneration.”

Try this: If you’ve suffered a break or fracture, decrease the risk of future injury by avoiding overdoing it. Adopt proper form and increase exercise gradually. Opt for soft, flat exercise surfaces.

Cardiac and blood testing

“Players are young and fit, so have a relatively low cardiac risk,” says Cowie, “but we conduct an ECG – an ultrasound look at the anatomy of their heart – and a stress test, monitoring them during exercise.”

Try this: Get a strong footballers’ heart by undertaking frequent cardiovascular exercise, raising the heart rate for a minimum of 30 minutes three to four times a week.

Isokinetic assessment

“If you’re imbalanced, you’re more likely to develop injuries,” says Steve Kemp about footballers who are either left or right dominated. Providing markers of strength, endurance and power, the Biodex Isokinetic Dynamometer assesses the ratio between the quadriceps and hamstrings to highlight any strength differences.

“You want quadricep power to strike a ball, but hamstring strength to slow that limb down and avoid hyperextending,” warns Sports Scientist Nathan Miller. “If one muscle group is weaker than the other, and the difference is more than 10 per cent, players are at a greater injury risk.”

Try this: Nordic hamstring exercises can prevent hamstring and ACL injuries. Kneel with a training partner anchoring your ankles, and slowly lower yourself forward towards the ground as far as you can, before projecting yourself back up using your arms. Start with two sets of five reps, before increasing weekly sessions and sets of reps.

Aerobic fitness

Sports science lead Carl Wells explains that the treadmill-based VO2 Max assessment is a key way to measure a player’s aerobic capability. An advancement on the bleep test, oxygen consumption and demand can be measured over a speed incremental protocol.

“Within a time frame of 12-15 minutes, we start [speed] at 8km/h, rising 1km/h every minute, reaching up to 20km/h, telling us what a player’s maximum aerobic running speed is,” says Wells. “If a player runs more than 1km each game at or above 19km/h, you can see why speed is relevant.”

Try this: To become aerobically fitter, Wells champions interval training. “Work for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds, keeping a high heart rate. Because it’s only 30 seconds’ work, you can run at a faster speed, more applicable to a football match.”

Perform St George’s Park is the official healthcare provider for The FA National Training Centre; spireperform.com/sgp



Football Manager Stats To Be Used By Real Teams


The biometric gym shirt


Boost Your Tricep Training


Five reasons why you don’t have a six-pack


Balotelli And Bolt Star In Puma’s Troublemakers Ad


Football’s Most Awkward Handshake Snubs



#Pogba Lost His Head to the Emoji Keyboard Yesterday

When the Theatre of Dreams became the Theatre of Content

by James Bird
16 Jan 2017

Rio Ferdinand's reaction to Ibrahimovic's equaliser is perfect

He certainly enjoyed this one

16 Jan 2017

Remembering Pierre van Hooijdonk, the original football ‘striker’

What really happened at Nottingham Forest?

by Dave Fawbert
13 Jan 2017

People are remembering Graham Taylor's defence of John Barnes

"You're talking about another human being"

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Fifa has voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams

More fun or devaluing the competition?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Jan 2017

Football's most mortifying forgotten social media profiles

The Bebos and the MySpaces they thought were lost to history

05 Jan 2017

The ultimate six-pack guide; how to get washboard abs

by Sam Diss
03 Jan 2017

"I was the goalkeeper that should've been chipped by Cantona in 1996"

by David Preece
22 Dec 2016

Watch Bayern Munich's Thiago play a weighted pass to Santa

Santa Baby, put the ball in front of my run, for me

by James Bird
22 Dec 2016

Football Manager scouts brutally assessed our crap lunchtime kickabout

Would our childhood dreams be ruined by the world's most popular football simulator?

by Tristan Cross
20 Dec 2016