Soccer (AKA football) is the most popular sport in the world. Some people might view soccer as a “running” sport. But it is more than running; it also requires speed, agility, and strength. And you would be surprised at how important it is for soccer players to work on their strengths. So, why strength training is important for soccer players?
Soccer is a physically demanding sport, and your physical attributes can help you get agile, explosive, faster, and stronger. Being stronger than your opponents is a huge advantage. And winning tackles, beating defenders 1-on-1, and positioning yourself to control a ball in the air will depend on your strength. You want solid legs and a strong core and upper body.
Read on to find out the 12 reasons why strength training is important for soccer players, the best type of training for soccer players, and everything you need to know to take your soccer game to the next level.
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12 Reasons Why Strength Training Is Important For Soccer Players
Keep in mind that to build strength, you don’t need to do heavy weight lifting. Light kettlebells, barbells, dumbbell lifts, and simple bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, and chin-ups are very beneficial to help you strengthen your legs, arms, and, most important: the core. In the beginning, focus on proper form and stretching and a clean diet.
Here are the 12 reasons why strength training is important for soccer players:
1- Higher Energy Levels
Stamina is essential in soccer, and building up your core strength can significantly impact your energy levels.
When you develop your strength and have the energy to last an entire game, you can focus on winning games instead of simply making it through the game.
And, to win a soccer game, you need energy for the entire duration of a soccer game. And if you can’t perform at 100 percent for the whole 90 minutes, then you will hurt yourself and your team.
2- Decreased Risk of Injury
Strength training exercises like deadlifting and squatting strengthen the muscles that stabilize your joints, including hips and knees.
Several studies showed that strength training is essential for soccer players because it helps decrease the risk of injury.
Shawn Arent, an exercise physiologist at Rutgers University and the leading researcher, observed that when a soccer team added consistent weightlifting to their training regimen, the injury rate plummeted by 70 percent compared with previous years.
3- More Powerful Movement
All soccer movements require strength and speed. The stronger you are as a soccer player, the better you will be at striking the ball, changing direction in the field, scoring goals, and heading the ball.
Increasing your strength will help you improve your performance in specific running-based actions, such as sprinting and change of direction speed found in a study.
The study concluded that even professional players need to increase their strength to improve their games significantly.
4- Building Strength Allows Soccer Players to Recover Quickly
During the 90 minutes of a soccer game, your body will experience a lot of injuries and stress. Building strength will help you quickly recover and be ready for your next game. A strong and conditioned body heals itself faster.
In addition, recovery is also directly linked to injuries. If you don’t develop strength, you will be more susceptible to injury. The more you build strength, the lower your chance of injuries.
5- Strength Training Will Make You a Faster Soccer Player
Strength is beneficial for more than just avoiding injury. Strong muscles are also speedy muscles, according to Shawn Arent. If you are a stronger and more powerful player, that means you are faster and unstoppable.
Strength training will help you improve your balance, coordination, and posture.
From a slide tackle to arriving at the ball a split-second sooner can make the difference between a clean steal and a foul and sometimes a jarring collision with an opponent.
6- Upper-Body Strength Can Help Alleviate a Major Health Concern Among Soccer Players
Female youth players suffered greater acceleration from headers than males did, found a 2017 study issued in Research in Sports Medicine.
The good news is that upper-body strength can help alleviate a major health concern among soccer players: brain injury from repeated headers, according to Thomas Kaminski, director of the Athletic Training Education Program at the University of Delaware.
Strength training plays a huge role. It helps you build supporting musculature because strong muscles and tendons help stabilize joints, minimizing the risk of a painful twist or tear.
7- Strong Muscles Help Protect The Body From Injury Caused By Headers And Other Injuries
Excessively heading (over 1,800 headings) a soccer ball can injure a soccer player’s brain, according to a study published in Radiology.
A group of researchers investigates ways to reduce soccer’s adverse effects on the brain.
The researchers believe a more muscular neck and torso can diminish what is called the “bobblehead effect,” a situation where a player’s head rapidly accelerates when it strikes a flying soccer ball.
That whiplash can often damage brain cells. But building more muscle mass in body parts that support the spine and head can reduce acceleration.
8- Injury Prevention
Strength training on a periodized training program, intended to prepare players for the requirements of the football season tactically, has been demonstrated to minimize the chance of injury. By strengthening muscles, joints, and connective tissue, strength training enhances an athlete’s resiliency on the field.
Players who, for instance, develop the musculature required to land safely after leaping for a shot and practice excellent landing techniques during strength training are less prone to twist an ankle during a game.
Strength training and conditioning when it comes to soccer means power, speed, and overall athleticism.
Proper strength training and conditioning dramatically reduce the chances of being injured while playing soccer, including injuries like torn muscles or ligaments and potentially life-threatening ones like concussions.
A study found that most resistance training-related injuries in children and adolescents result from accidents, improper exercise techniques, or lack of qualified supervision.
9- Improve Kick Distance and Velocity
Being able to kick the ball fast and long is essential to any soccer player. But how can you make your ball kick faster and longer? Strength training is the answer. Increasing lower-body power results in increased kicking distance and vertical jump.
A study investigated the effect of plyometric training on power and kicking distance in female adolescent soccer players.
The researcher suggested that strength coaches implement once-weekly, low-impact plyometric training programs with their adolescent athletes.
10- Building Strength will Increase Your Confidence On the Soccer Field
The incredible thing about building strength is that it will make you confident.
Soccer is both a mental and physical sport, and strength training improves your confidence while at the same time improving your overall physical health.
11- Muscle Mass and Durability
Big muscles aren’t just for show—a soccer player’s bulk may have a significant impact on their safety on the field. Hypertrophy (increasing muscle growth) training not only prepares players for future strength improvements but also ensures that they are ready to endure unavoidable collisions on the field.
Hypertrophy training is completing a large number of reps at a fairly high effort, which has neuromuscular benefits for soccer players. Athletes who have acquired neuromuscular control and strength over the complete range of motion in a squat, for example, are more likely to put greater power into the ground while running.
The capacity of soccer players to be swift is directly connected to their ability to express a large degree of power. In other words, players with higher levels of strength have the potential to create more power (aerobic endurance) than athletes with lower levels of strength.
The way you plan training for your team has an impact on how an athlete develops different adaptations. Hypertrophy, for example, prepares the body for the development of strength, which is a precondition for power. Athletes will be able to optimize their capacity to create force rapidly and transmit that explosiveness to the field if they develop the right training characteristics in the correct order.
And, as the season approaches, a smart program will not only develop these athletic attributes in the right order but will also transition from general strength-building exercises to more sport- or position-specific skills to ensure the optimal transfer from the gym to the field.
What Type of Training Is Best For Soccer Players?
Now that we know the importance of strength training let’s talk about what types of strength training soccer players should do. The following are a few strength training exercises soccer players should incorporate into their routines.
Here are the best strength training for soccer players:
- Box squat
- High knee
- Simple hang power cleans
- Shoulder press
- Dumbbell rows
- Farmer’s walk
- Running hills
- Heavy kettlebell swings
- Jump squats
- Bench press
How Should a Soccer Player Work Out?
To outlast their opponents on the field, the finest soccer players must have a mix of speed, agility, dexterity, and endurance. However, if you don’t focus on adding strength and power to your exercises, you may end up on the bench rather than scoring the game-winning goal.
The greatest approach to becoming an all-around player is to strike a balance in your exercises, and strength training is the basis.
A few examples of the exercises are single-leg squats; weighted sled drags, and burpee pull-ups.
- Single-leg squats assist in creating the force you will need to push yourself forward when chasing a quick through-ball by training each leg to take the full weight of the body as it would in a sprint.
- Weighted led drag puts a lot of strain on your calves, glutes, core, back, and shoulders, which you use to drive yourself forward. When you use these muscles hard, your power production and ground reaction forces rise.
- Burpee pull-ups are great for fitness and endurance because they raise your heart rate quickly, simulating what happens when you sprint for the ball.
Adding strength training to your soccer practices will elevate your game and help make you the best soccer player you can be. With more strength and sharper skills, you will always be unstoppable on the field.
Strength and conditioning can hugely improve your soccer player’s games to the point where you will leave your opponents in the dust.