Most recreational soccer athletes focus on agility and speed circuits during training; however, elite athletes know that pre-season conditioning requires all types of leg strength, upper body power, and trunk mobility. Learn how to develop your skills with this two-part series. In part one, we discuss lower body improvement.
Soccer involves the lower body during running, kicking, sprinting, jumping, tackling, and dribbling. The latter exercises involve strength and power movements, while the running component can be considered an active rest when the ball is not in your zone.
Lower Body Soccer Skills: Endurance, Explosion, and Speedier Skills
“…kicking, sprinting, jumping and tackling all require different types of strength. Dedicating one or two workouts a week to specific strength training will enhance your performance on the pitch.” - Robert G. Price
Mr. Price has it right. Sometimes the fate of a turnover or a penalty lies within an athlete’s ability to sprint quicker to the ball, jump higher for a “trap,” slide tackle more precisely, or dribble more quickly, and other times it lies within the player’s endurance to just keep going.
Either way, training muscle strength and power a couple days a week will provide you with a better base to improve the above skills. Additionally, periods of active recovery will improve your endurance. After all, you are only as strong as your weakest training link!
Using Intervals to Build Strength
Below you will find an interval workout, followed by lower body exercises to improve gluteals, quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors, adductors, and plantar flexor strength, power, and endurance.
Interval Workout for Soccer
Arc Trainer Intervals
- Goal: improve speed, explosion (dribbling, running, sprinting, jumping, lateral moves) and active recovery (endurance) for your position.
- Soccer Position? Striker
- Length of time it take you to run your territory? 50 yards = 10 seconds
- What time would you like to run that territory in? 6 seconds
- Average active recovery on the field: 30-40 seconds
Arc Trainer Workout
- Warm Up: 5 minutes
- Intervals: less than 10 seconds
- Active Recovery: 30 seconds.
- Repeat: Intervals and active recovery starting at 30 minutes and progressing over several weeks to the duration of a game.
- Cool Down: 5 minutes
Lower Body Exercises
- Leg Press: 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps of 60% of your 1 RM
- Goal: Strength Training
- Leg Press Jumps: 3-4 sets of 30% of your 1 RM to target the explosive muscle fibers of the lower body, especially the plantar flexors.
- Goal: Power Training
In the second part of this series, we'll discuss how to improve your trunk and upper body strength for soccer skill development.