The most popular sport in the world is soccer. I spent most of this summer in Los Angeles and soccer was being played everywhere. There aren’t too many articles that talk about strength and conditioning for soccer. How do athletes prepare for their season? What kind of training should they do?
To me fitness level is the number one component for an athlete but this is especially true for a soccer player. Soccer players are always on the move. Soccer movement patterns are sprint, walk, and jog. There aren’t any timeouts or stoppage in play very often, so the fittest players have a clear advantage.
Soccer players have to be mobile, skilled, explosive, and have the ability to change direction at any given time. They don’t need to be built like football players. A sound soccer-training program should reflect this. Soccer players don’t need the same load or volume as football players and even basketball players, but they still need to be strong. Olympic lifting, squats, dead lifts are all used in a soccer programs, however the bench press isn’t as important of an exercise for soccer, so not much emphasis is put on that type of weight training.
Dumbbell work is a large component of training for soccer. DB Circuits, DB Super Circuits and overall Bi-lateral exercises are essential to create a sound soccer program. Every athlete will always do the core lifts to establish a strong base (Squat, Dead Lift, and Cleans). However, for soccer the emphasis is much more on the lower body than the upper body. If a soccer player can’t move they won’t be very good at the sport. There really is no place to hide on the soccer field and their inability to move efficiently will get exposed. In many other sports you can hide players or put players in positions that require less movement.
Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning is the key for soccer. The best shape I was ever in was when I played soccer. All I did was run. So it’s essential that the fitness level of each athlete is very high in order for optimal performance and injury prevention. Fatigue and injuries have a direct correlation when it comes to sport. In a fatigued state your muscles don’t work as efficiently, your mind is slower and you lose postural integrity. When all these 3 factors are present at a high level an injury can occur. The way to combat this is to teach the mind and body how to maintain postural integrity during a fatigued state while in the weight room. Work Capacity Circuits are a great way to train soccer players. Also, tons of posterior chain work is important to do for a soccer player because pulled hamstrings happen quite often. RDL, Glute Ham Raise, Manual Glute ham Raise S-L RDL, Hip Thrusts are all great exercises to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. Below is a great DB Super Circuit for soccer players. Use 10-15% of your BW and you cannot ever put the dumbbells down until you finish the set. It will get your heart rate up and work on maintaining postural integrity in a fatigued state