Cristiano Ronaldo has gone back-to-back.
The soccer superstar led Real Madrid to the Champions League trophy in 2016 with a dominant performance on the pitch, and he did it once again in 2017 to help his club go back-to-back, the first time a team has done that. After getting past Atletico Madrid in the semifinals, Ronaldo and his teammates matched up against Juventus in the final round—and they dominated.
Ronaldo has a claim as the best soccer player in the world, but, even if you think Lionel Messi deserves that crown, one thing’s for sure: Ronaldo is the most shredded soccer player in the business. It may be just for show, but Ronaldo has a rock-hard six pack and some ridiculously muscular legs:
One reason Ronaldo has been so dominant on the pitch is due to his hard work off of it in the gym. Ronaldo’s focus on single-leg moves and workouts has helped him get this far in the Champions League, and it has also helped him stay healthy.
“It’s very common for soccer players to suffer from muscular imbalances in their lower body due to the nature of the sport where they favor their anterior muscles,” Keita Minikawa, C.P.T., of Focus Integrated Fitness in New York City told Men’s Fitness. “This is why it’s common to see knee and hamstring injuries among soccer players. Over-dominant and tight quads—coupled with weak glutes and hamstrings—will often facilitate these types of injuries. Many players work on strengthening their lower body using leg presses on the machine or performing Bulgarian split squats to work on their quads.”
Ronaldo works hard to keep his lower body—and his six-pack—strong, and that helps him burst through defenders on the pitch. Here are five moves that help the superstar stay in such great shape:
5. Wall sits
Ronaldo has some of the most valuable legs in the world and he helps keep them muscular with wall sits and squats. The do-almost-anywhere exercise is something that can work your legs to exhaustion and get your lower body fired up for your workout.
It has served Ronaldo pretty well:
Want to build muscle and power in your legs? Try these exercise options from Men's Fitness:
“This is more of a Pilates-type workout,” Minikawa said. “By having the cables around his feet, he is working on stretching out the glutes and hamstrings.”
Build muscle in your glutes with these exercises from Men's Fitness:
3. Core strength and stability
“Here, Ronaldo’s working on core stability,” Minikawa said. “The band around his neck is pulling him down so he needs to stabilize his core muscles to prevent spinal flexion, and, in addition, he is using the stability ball to perform lunges with rotation to incorporate some anti-lateral flexion of his spine. This will mainly utilize his internal and external obliques, quadratus lumborum, and erector spinae, while also working the smaller muscles including the rectus abdominis, iliopsoas, and the semispinalis.”
Blast your core and get some abs of steel like Ronaldo with this workout from Men's Fitness:
2. Hip and oblique strength
“Ronaldo is using a Pilates ring to isometrically work his hip adductors, the adductor magnus, minimus, brevis, and longus muscles,” Minikawa said. “The smaller gracilis and pectineus muscles also get worked during this exercise. In addition, he may also be doing some situps/crunches or Russian twists with the medicine ball to work on his spinal flexors, the rectus abdominus, and the internal/external obliques.”
Want to boost your leg power? Try these stretches from Men's Fitness, and stretch out your legs, keep them limber, and prevent injury:
1. Stability ball situps
Ronaldo carves out his core and strengthens his glutes and thighs with this workout.
Want to bring a ball into your workout? Try one of these 50 core exercises that use a ball from Men's Fitness: