When training for soccer most outsiders probably think of two things: endurance and technical skills. In reality soccer athletes should be doing much more than that. Some levels of coaching as well as time commitments limit what types of training athletes are exposed to.
Many athletes outside of the “professional” range put time and effort into training during the “off-season” futbol. But in reality, one should be training year round to reach their full potential. Introducing training that revolves around strength, speed, agility, and flexibility can take the athlete’s health and ability to the next level.
Aerobic Fitness for Soccer
Many people first consider the aerobic exercise with soccer. It is a very important factor, and how you do it can also speak volumes for your actions on the pitch. Varying intensities and distances of walking, jogging, and sprinting can improve their aerobic capacity. While doing these type of exercise, one should also consider change of direction and jumping movements.
Strength Training for Soccer
But where does strength come into play? Soccer players need upper body strength to hold off challenges, shield off defenders, and be able to take contact in the air. Athletes should start with a mix between upper and lower body workouts combining compound movements where you recruit large muscle groups during the exercises.
Strength within futbol players can help with recovery time and the availability to train. It allows players to win and be comfortable going into 1 on 1 situations. Increased strength can give you more power which in turn should give you more force. One can then take the increased performance to the pitch and have maximal control of their body. One should not be concerned with how much weight they can lift, especially when starting, but can you do each exercise with proper technique. Adding weight to the movements comes with time and practice.
Speed, Power & Agility
What about speed, power, and agility? Soccer players cannot rely solely on endurance alone. They have to be able to sprint to the ball and beat their opponent to it. Combining the strength from training with your speed will give you power. This allows athletes to become more explosive, react faster, and more agile when needed. Agility exercises can place tons of stress on the knees and joints; which is why we strength train to make these joints and fibers stronger. Strength and explosive exercises while training can hopefully lead to increased mobility and stability during training and matches.
The Warm Up
Before training I would also recommend incorporating some kind of warm up or dynamic movements that will prepare your muscles for use during the training or match. It will allow blood to circulate throughout the areas that you intend to move the most. Dynamic warm ups and stretching over time can allow one’s flexibility to increase and reduce the stress placed on the muscle during exercise. It can also help reduce the risk of injury while performing because muscles are more supple.
Weekly Soccer Training Plan
A weekly training session in season could be set up something like this:
I like athletes to perform agility ladders and footwork before all strength training sessions; I usually have athletes perform 3 to 4 sets of each exercise with a rep range of 6-8
1) Barbell Squats superset with Pull Ups
2) Hex Bar Deadlift superset with Bosu/Stability ball Push Ups
3) Jump Squats superset with Medicine Ball Slams
1) Split Squats (foot on bench)
2) Box Step Ups
3) Box Jumps
4) Jump Rope (minute intervals)
1) Dumbbell Sumo Squat superset with Chin Ups
2) Barbell Hip Thrust superset with Feet Elevated Push Ups
3) Single Leg Deadlift superset with Bodyweight Dips