Soccer is about more than ability and technique. It also involves strength. You won’t be a complete soccer player until you focus on your strength. However, some people think of soccer as a “running” game where you need only to develop stamina, as strength training will lead to building big muscles that would slow a soccer player down. So, what are the best strength-building exercises for soccer players without building big muscles?
The best strength-building exercises for soccer players are as follows:
- High knee
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT)
- Simple hang power cleans
- Heavy kettlebell swings
- Jump squats
- Bench press
- Shoulder press
- Dumbbell rows
- Farmer’s walk
- Running hills
Read on to find out the best exercises for soccer players to build strength, explosiveness, agility, and speed to take your soccer game to the next level.
Table of Contents
Best Strength Building Exercises For Soccer Players
Becoming a faster, stronger, and more flexible soccer player requires building strength, and here are the best strength-building exercises for soccer players.
Deadlifts are among the most effective strength-training workouts for developing maximal jump performance, suggested research.
The deadlift is a broadly used compound weight exercise involving picking up a weight from the ground by bending your waist and hips and standing back up.
Deadlift workouts use the largest muscles in your lower body, which will help you run faster, kick the ball harder, and overtake defenders.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform a deadlift properly.
The squat is a dynamic strength training workout that requires several muscles to work together simultaneously in your upper and lower body.
Many of these muscles help power you through soccer movements, such as running and jumping to kick the ball.
A study examined the effects of jump squat training done 3 times a week over 8 weeks.
The researchers concluded that jump squat training simultaneously improves many different athletic performances, such as explosive strength and sprint time.
The video below will show you how to perform squat workouts properly.
Practicing at least one hour of yoga per week will help you tremendously. Yoga will help you prevent cramps and muscle soreness and help you recover faster.
Check out this article to find out the six yoga poses for building muscles faster.
4- High Knee
High Knees are a cardio-intensive workout you perform at a high intensity.
High knees workouts engage your core, strengthen your legs’ muscles, and improve momentum, coordination, and flexibility.
The video below will teach how to properly perform high knees.
5- High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT)
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods.
Generally, a HIIT exercise will vary between 10 to 30 minutes in duration.
HIIT workout improves aerobic capacity and exercises tolerance, which is essential for soccer players to win 90 minutes of games, showed a study.
The main benefit of the chin-up is to increase the strength and definition of your upper arms, specifically the biceps and latissimus dorsi muscles of the back, which can come in handy for head kicks and speed.
In addition, doing chin-ups and holding on to a bar helps develop crushing grip strength, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACER)
Check out this article to find out if Doing Chin-Ups Will Increase Your Height.
7- Simple Hang Power Cleans
Hang cleans are among the best Crossfit movements to improve athletes’ power, strength, and speed.
Simple hang power cleans are effective ways to develop high force and have many additional benefits, including:
- Increased power and strength
- Improved metabolic function
- Improved balance and coordination
- Increased speed and agility
Watch the video below to learn how to perform simple hang power properly cleans.
8- Heavy Kettlebell Swings
The kettlebell swing is among the foundational movements of kettlebell workouts. This exercise can help you burn fat and increase your fitness, and improve postural reactions.
Tips to Get Started:
- Start with 15-20 swings
- Add 10-20 swings each day
- Do 5-10 rounds of 30-50 swings
You can also mix them with another exercise, such as:
- 30-50 swings
- 10 push-ups for 10 rounds.
Watch the video below to learn how to do heavy kettlebell swings correctly.
9- Jump Squats
Jump squats ( AKA squat jumps) work on your glutes, lower abs, and leg muscles.
In addition, squat jumps and their variations help tone your legs and improve strength and balance.
A study found a strong correlation between maximal strength and sprint and vertical jump height in elite male soccer players.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform jump squats correctly.
10- Bench Press
Bench presses are an exercise that you can use to tone your upper body muscles, including your shoulders, pectorals, and arms.
Bench presses can be an effective strengthening exercise for various sports, such as soccer, sprinting, hockey, and American football.
Other benefits of incorporating bench presses into your strength training program include the following:
- Improving muscular endurance.
- Increasing upper body strength.
Watch the video below to learn how to perform bench press workouts correctly.
11- Shoulder Press
The shoulder press targets various muscles of the upper body and offers many benefits that improve daily functioning.
You can perform this exercise with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or even machines. To correctly perform the movement:
How to Perform Shoulder Press
- Stand or sit with a weight of choice in each of your hands at shoulder level and with your elbows flexed.
- Align your back, stabilize your abdomen, then press the weights over by lengthening your arms.
- Gradually and slowly return to the starting position.
12- Dumbbell Rows
The dumbbell row targets many muscles and can help increase your back strength and posture.
It helps you build a strong back and take your soccer game to the next level.
The video below will show you how to perform dumbbell rows with proper form.
Lunges develop muscle mass to build strength and tone your body, especially your legs, core, and butt.
If you perform lunges regularly as part of your soccer practice, you’ll notice results in building muscle mass and toning your body.
The video below will show you how to perform lunges with proper form.
14- Farmer’s Walk
The farmer’s walk is a full-body workout that can develop muscle strength, power, cardiovascular health, and endurance.
The farmer’s walk is especially effective at developing grip strength. And developing muscle strength and power can help in other sports, such as soccer, American football, baseball, basketball, and tennis.
The video below will show you how to perform a farmer’s walk with proper form.
Push-ups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders and are excellent for building upper body strength.
In addition, push-ups are an effective exercise for building strength quickly.
Check out this article to learn more about push-ups and their benefits.
Plyometrics develops your entire body, burns calories, and improves cardiovascular health.
Additionally, plyometrics boosts your endurance and metabolism by rapidly stretching your muscles, allowing you to move more efficiently during your soccer games and practice.
Check out the video below for ideas of plyometrics exercises to incorporate into your soccer practice.
17- Running Hills
Hill running will make you a faster, stronger, and healthier soccer player.
In addition, other benefits of hill running include:
- Improving your leg-muscle strength
- Accelerating your stride
- Developing your cardiovascular system,
- and protecting your leg muscles against soreness.
Check out this article to find out the benefits of running.
Overall, these are strength-building exercises for soccer players. To get started, choose 2 or 3 exercises and gradually incorporate them into your soccer practice.
I would recommend you start with a clean diet and healthy lifestyle and the following strength training workouts:
- Simple hang power cleans
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT)
- And Yoga