As a soccer player, you likely focus your independent workouts on speed and agility, but strength training should not be overlooked. Strength training can improve your power and speed — two essential components for every position on the soccer field.
If you’ve ever heard your coach yell “Don’t get pushed off the ball!” you should probably look into weight training. Strength training can help you shield the ball. By gaining muscle mass, you are less likely to be pushed around on the field.
Strength training is also essential for injury prevention. The stronger you go into a tackle, the less likely you are to get hurt. There are plenty of exercises to strengthen your knees and ankles to prevent ACL tears and ankle sprains. Always focus on good form to prevent injuring yourself even further.
Use the following workouts and recommendations as a guide to improve your game.
As a soccer player, you are likely aware of great leg exercises. Focus your workouts on your quads and hamstrings. To gain muscle mass, use heavier weights and fewer reps. Start with a weight you are comfortable with and do three rounds of 10 reps. As you get more comfortable, start adding more weight. If you start to feel knee pain, stop immediately.
While you’re doing these leg workouts, take note of your form. Always keep your core tight and your body squared up. For squats and lunges, keep your core tight, chest up and bend your knees to a 90-degree angle. Keep your knees directly above your feet. Sloppy form in any of these workouts can lead to injury.
The following workouts can help improve your speed and power:
Soccer players often overlook upper-body strength training. Strong arms can help you when you are shoulder-to-shoulder with an opponent. This is essential when trying to win a corner kick or trying to shield your opponent from the ball. It can also help you have more powerful throw-ins.
Arm workouts are a no brainer for goalkeepers. Throwing the ball out from the 18-yard box is much more accurate than punting, and can help your team keep possession of the ball. By improving your arm strength, you can deliver the ball farther and quicker to your teammates.
Use the following exercises to improve your upper-body strength:
Your core is an integral part of stability and power. When you strike a ball, that power starts at your core and travels to your legs. Core strength is also beneficial for balance. By strengthening your core, you are less likely to get pushed off the ball.
If you have a weak core, you are more likely to get injured. Without core strength, players are likely to go into tackles weak and overuse other muscles. By strengthening your abs, you can improve your agility and poise to lessen your chances of getting hurt on the field. Because of how common ACL tears are among soccer players, strengthening your core to prevent these types of injuries is a no-brainer.
Practice these exercises to strengthen your core muscles. Use a medicine ball with these exercises to increase the difficulty.
Don’t overdo it, and always remember to stretch. Trying to lift too much weight can cause injuries. Only lift a weight you’re comfortable with, and always have a spotter.
Strength training for soccer players has so many benefits — from greater power and increased speed to lessening your chance of injury. By strengthening your legs, arms and core, you’ll be on your way to becoming a better soccer player. Talk to your coach about exercise plans and see if your teammates would like to join you. It’s always more fun to work out with friends.