Fitness: Get in shape with Reebok's football classes

By Rob Virtue on January 29, 2014 7:54 PM |



"Don't get me started on footballers," says a fictional fat bloke leaning on a bar, in a scene carried out for real countless times across the country each day.

"They get paid a fortune for 90 minutes' work each week just because they know how to kick a ball."

Or in the crowd during a match comes the shout from an even rounder man: "Run then! Chase it, you lazy..."

Perhaps Fat Bloke and his friend should take a jog down to Reebok Sports Club in Canada Square and find out from an ex-Premier League player just what makes a footballer.


Darren Kenton (right) played in the top flight for Southampton and also starred with Norwich City, Leicester City, Leeds United and Cheltenham Town.

A serious injury while playing for Rochester Rhinos in America ended his career prematurely.

"I tried the States but within two months I broke my leg quite badly," said Darren.

"I couldn't do anything for 18 months. I was 31 and thought 'now football's over for me what do I do now?'.

"All I had known since I was eight was football, athletics and rugby and then, when I chose football, that was my sole focus. I could have looked at coaching but I just thought I was done with football. I did a personal training qualification, which led me to Canary Wharf when I joined Reebok in September.

"I've now also gone back into football, training with the under-13s at Norwich but I love the PT side of things as well."

That first-hand knowledge of training as a pro footballer was much in evidence when Darren ran the first of his monthly sessions in Canary Wharf.

The classes provide a flavour of the kinds of challenges Premier League players tackle during their daily workouts and so are perfect for armchair pundits to find out if they have what it takes.


After a gentle warm-up, the fun begins. Against the resistance of a giant elastic band around your ankles participants jump and stretch their way around Reebok's sports hall.

Then there's some plyometrics, jumping and hurdling static objects, before dragging a partner across the hall.


Jumping, push-ups and sprints are thrown into the mix and, just when you're looking for a quick lie down, a ball comes out and it's time for some five-a-side.

It's a rigorous workout and the fact footballers have to put up with this will give even the loudest man in the pub or stadium pause to think.

But, as Darren says, the life of a pro is (almost) certainly worth the hard work.

"I was at Premier League stadiums playing against Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Scholes. The best players in the world," he said.

"I had a good career. It could have ended at 19 as it does for many people but I got 12 or 13 years out of it.

"Of course I miss it, even the pre-season training. Maybe the only thing I don't miss is being on painkillers for 10 and a half months each year to get over the aches. Football takes its toll on all players."

Football Drills With Darren Kenton take place monthly on a Wednesday between 6.30pm and 7.30pm in the Reebok sports hall.

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