To become an elite soccer player, you need to have passion and drive. You have to constantly be working on your game and willing to take your physical fitness to the next level. After all, you need enough stamina to be able to run for 90 minutes during a match, while still thinking the game at a high level. You also need to have explosive power to sprint, jump, and maneuver around the field, speed, agility, and quickness to accelerate, decelerate, and change directions, and power and strength to win physical battles against opponents. That’s why it’s so important to build your physique, especially in the off-season.
So, let’s take a look at some strength training exercises that you can do in order to become a more powerful soccer player. These workouts are designed to target and strengthen specific areas and parts of your body that you need to develop in order to enhance your soccer skills. By building and conditioning your body, you’ll have the necessary endurance, strength, power, and agility to dominate on the field.
For A Strong Core: Kettlebell Swings
Strong core muscles are crucial for soccer players as they serve a base for endurance, posture, strength, power, and coordination. Since Kettlebell swings work out your core, hips, glutes, shoulders, hamstrings, and the muscles in your back, they’re a great exercise for soccer players. Kettlebell swings also help with explosive power movements, too.
To do Kettlebell swings, start with the kettlebell on the floor between your feet, which should be positioned about shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and get into a squat-like position, while keeping your back flat. Then grab the kettlebell with both hands. While using your legs and glutes, explosively extend your hips as you swing the kettlebell between your legs and bring it up to eye level. Make sure to really focus on using your legs and hips to push the movement when you do this exercise. Do 10 to 15 continuous swings.
For Powerful Legs: Dumbbell Step-Ups
If you want to get more power from your legs on the field, you need to strengthen your hamstrings. Dumbbell Step-Ups can help you do just that by strengthening your legs, hamstrings, quads, thighs, and glutes. They also develop the same muscle group that you’ll be using when you go from a sprint to a jump.
To do Dumbbell Step-Ups, start by standing in front of a solid, stable bench while holding dumbbells at your sides. Bring one leg up onto the bench (making your thigh parallel to the floor). Then step up onto the bench, while keeping the dumbbells at your side (leaving your trailing leg just off the bench). Step down, and then repeat for 10 to 15 repetitions.
For A Strong Posterior Chain: Romanian Deadlifts
In order to be able to run, change directions, and jump, soccer players need a strong posterior chain. The posterior chain refers to all the muscles on the backside of your body, with the primary posterior chain muscles being the gluteus (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus), hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris), calves (gastrocnemius and soleus), and erector spinae (the muscles along the spine). A strong posterior chain can increase power in explosive movements, boost athletic performance, help to maintain posture, and potentially prevent injuries. For any soccer players who need to strengthen their posterior chain, Romanian Deadlifts are an ideal exercise for you to do. They also target your hamstrings more than standard deadlifts.
To do Romanian Deadlifts, grip the bar with overhand grips, and your hands about shoulder-width apart. Stand with the bar in your hands and your feet hip-width apart. Stand up tall, pull your shoulders back, and stick your chest out. There should be a slight bend in your knees. Then while keeping your arms straight, push your hips back as you slowly lower the bar toward your feet. You should begin to lean forward, allowing the bar to slide down your thighs. Keep the bar close to your body and lean forward as far as you can comfortably go. Then to reverse directions, press your hips forward to come into a standing position with the barbell in front of your thighs. Keep in mind that the movement is coming from your hips when you do this exercise. Do three sets of eight to 12 reps.
For Powerful Kicks: Goblet Squats
Goblet squats will help strengthen your lower body, which will add more power to your kicks. This exercise will also make your hips more flexible and improve your endurance.
To do Goblet squats, stand with your spine tall, feet shoulder-width apart, and grip a kettlebell in front of your chest. Then sit back and down (as if you’re lowering yourself onto a chair). Go until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees and toes pointing forward. Press your weight back into your heels and midfoot. Then push your heels into the ground to return to the start. That’s one rep. To enhance your endurance, workout with a lighter load, but do more reps. To increase your strength, do less reps, but use a heavier load.
For Endurance: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) On A Treadmill
Soccer is nonstop for 90 minutes and the pace is constantly changing. So, to mimic the rhythms of a real soccer game in which you might have to sprint, jog, and then sprint again, you can do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on a treadmill. This will condition your body to quickly switch from the aerobic to the anaerobic system and back again.
To do HIIT on a treadmill, set the incline on the treadmill to 1% and then gradually build speed from a gentle run for 10 minutes. Once you’ve reached medium effort, run for 30 seconds at your maximum speed. Then return to jogging for 3 minutes. Repeat this sequence four to six times.
For Agility: Lateral Hurdle Sprints
Lateral Hurdle Sprints will help you improve your footwork by ensuring that your feet are not only quick, but also accurate. And the hurdles will force you to lift your legs higher than you normally would, preparing you to dodge slide tackles without losing momentum.
To do Lateral Hurdle Sprints, place a mini hurdle on the ground at each side of your body. Lift up your right leg and quickly step outside of the right hurdle, bringing your left foot over to join it. Then move your left foot back over to the middle with your right foot following. Then repeat on the left hurdle. Repeat this exercise, while keeping up a high pace.