Strength Training for Soccer

The beautiful game… played by millions of people all across the globe. It has the capability to unite fans, players, ignite passion, and show off some of the most elite forms of human performance… but can these players become more elite? Well believe it or not, among the most popular sports in the world, soccer has some ways to go in terms of improving on field performance and I’m going to outline a few things to focus on in training, including some exercises to perform.

In almost every sport I can think of, power and strength are of utmost importance when developing and strength and conditioning program. Looking at the needs of a soccer athlete, you will quickly notice that aerobic capacity, agility, reaction time, and muscular endurance are also extremely Important. Power is important because it allows you to kick a ball harder and faster, start sprinting quicker and improve acceleration. Strength is important because it allows you to become more powerful.

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It’s always a good idea for a team or individual athlete to hire a strength coach or personal trainer whose qualified to train them as they will be able to make an appropriate and safe program to improve performance. I’ll give you a list of great exercises you can do to improve your own soccer skills.

strength training for soccer2

– Injury prevention:

It’s very important for athletes to remain healthy throughout a season and there are many exercises you can perform that will decrease the chance of injury. The hamstrings are one of the most frequently injured muscles, here are a few great exercises to help strengthen them:

1. Nordic curl – these help prevent injury by eccentrically working the hamstrings. A study showed that pulled hamstrings during a game due to weak hamstrings were one of the most prevalent injuries and people who performed eccentric hamstring training had far less injuries 3×6-8

2. Walking lunges – these help promote a balanced ratio of hamstring:quad activity which is improves strength and prevents overuse injury. These can be performed in any rep range, try 3 sets of 8-12 reps to start.

3.- Strength: 2 of the most important exercises for developing strength are the squat and deadlift. BB back Squats – start light and as you improve technique and get comfortable using weights, slowly increase the weight till you get to the 3-5 rep range. This is the best rep range for beginner-intermediate lifters to increase strength. Deadlift – another full body compound movement that is great for increasing strength, this one focuses on the posterior chain. Same rules apply as the squat for rep ranges.

– Power: You can increase power by working on your SSC (Stretch Shortening Cycle; this involves plyometric exercises) and by working on Olympic lifts such as the clean and the snatch. One of the most basic and important exercises to master in a plyo workout is the “depth jump”. This will also help improve your running economy as well as power output. Try 3 x 8/leg Jump squat: start with just body weight for 3 x. 5 and slowly add weight till you hit between 40-50%. 1RM. Add in any of these exercises to your workout regime and watch your performance on the field sky rocket. You might not match up with Messi just yet but you’ll be a step ahead of the average joes!

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