Meet a super-fit shot-stopper
Preston custodian Chris Maxwell reveals how calisthenics training is helping him to keep clean sheets
Goalkeepers aren’t exactly known for their muscle-bound physiques, but FFT may have found football’s fittest shot-stopper.
Preston North End’s No.1 Chris Maxwell has turned himself into a lean, mean goal-saving machine after adding calisthenics training to his off-pitch programme.
The discipline is designed to build strength through the mastery of various bodyweight exercises, such as handstands, pull-ups and even hanging from walls.
“I wanted to try different strength training and came across The School of Calisthenics on Instagram,” says Maxwell.
“Exercises like handstands help to build up your shoulder stability. When you dive at full length and save with one arm fully extended, you need to be strong in that area.”
Maxwell is so powerful he can now perform an exercise known as a flag, an elite move in which the body is held statically by the arms on a pole or wall.
The 27-year-old’s gym skills are paying off on the pitch, with the Deepdale side pushing for a Championship play-off place in 2017-18. And Maxwell, who won promotion to League One with Fleetwood Town in 2014, believes it has given him an edge.
“We talk a lot about marginal gains in sport and goalkeeping’s all about marginal gains,” he says. “One save can make the difference between winning and losing so it’s important I do what I can to make a difference.”