Strength training is a key element of soccer conditioning, as it helps prepare your muscles for a fast-paced ninety minutes. Soccer can be physically demanding, and requires a great deal of both upper and lower body strength.
When you’re dribbling the ball, and an opponent tries to tackle you, you need to be strong enough to brush them off and keep going. There are also times when you need to be explosive so that you can outrun your opponents.
Here are a few strength conditioning exercises:
Great for building muscle in your legs and glutes, squats should be an important part of your soccer training sessions. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. Stick your butt out slightly, keep your spine straight, and slowly lower yourself until your knees are just past a 90 degree angle. Then slowly bring yourself back into the starting position. Complete 10-12 repetitions per set, for 3 – 5 sets.
Push-ups are great in strengthening your chest, arms and shoulders, and if done correctly will also improve your core (abdominal muscles). They’re relatively easy to do, and can be performed anywhere. To begin, lay face down, using your arms to hold your weight and body off the floor. Keep your arms shoulder width apart and slowly lower yourself until your chest grazes the floor. Using your arms, push yourself back up, keeping your stomach muscles tight so your body is straight. Complete 8 – 12 repetitions per set, for 3 – 5 sets. You should feel a deep stretch in your triceps and chest.
Soccer requires great cardiovascular conditioning because you’re running for such a long period of time, at various speeds.
- Uphill Sprints
Soccer requires great cardiovascular fitness, and uphill sprinting is one of the most effective forms of cardio you can do. Plus it also helps to strengthen your lower body. You can do this on a treadmill, or preferably outside, anywhere there happens to be a hill. Start at the bottom, and run to the top as fast as you can. Slowly and carefully jog back to the bottom, and sprint to the top again. Complete for 6 – 10 repetitions.
- 2 Circuit Training
Circuit training is a great way to get your heart beating, and burn calories at the same time. You can perform bodyweight circuits incorporating push-ups, squats and sit-ups, or you can develop something similar in the gym using machines and free weights.
- Beep Test
No soccer training would be complete without the “Beep Test”. The beep test requires you to run to a marker, usually placed 20 metres away. The objective is to hit the mark before you hear a loud “BEEP”. When you hear the beep, you have run back to the starting point before the next beep.