This Article is About
functional strength
muscle structure
basketball players
beautiful game
tight spaces
tennis players
day of rest
rigors
misconception
Strength Training For Soccer
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Strength Training for Soccer

There's a bit of a misconception when it comes to athletes and strength training. Most think that running off to the gym a few times a week, lifting as much weight as they can as often as they can, then taking a day of rest between sessions to let the body recover is all there is to it. Unless they have a trainer or a coach in their ear dictating a specific type of routine there isn't a second thought given to it, and more often than one would like to think that voice in their ear is working off of information that's either wrong or that's simply too general to be of use. My focus is very specifically related to strength training for soccer, since there is a rather large void of information floating around out there.

It stands to reason that strength is strength, and while that may be true to a certain extent there are very specialized types and ways of building it that are quite targeted to what you're doing. For instance, how many tennis players are built to survive the rigors of football? How many basketball players develop the muscle structure to survive in hockey? Each sport has its own set of disciplines and guidelines. Each sport has its own specific ways and areas in which to develop that strength that make it specifically relevant to just that sport.

Building strength relevant to the "beautiful game" can be a bit tricky. The temptation is to want to add it in ways that are visible and obvious for all to see, to bulk up. There's a major flaw in this though, as there's a direct trade off between bulk and agility. The goal is to be a footballer, not a football player, and the ability to cut and accelerate away out of tight spaces is the foundation of the game. You don't want to be a post standing out there--strong is good until it starts tot take away from the other aspects of your game.

The goal is to find a balance, to build functional strength specific to soccer without sacrificing quickness or agility. So ask yourself what do you utilize the most when playing?!? Legs are key obviously, but you need to look deeper. Exercises designed to build power and explosion at the same time should be focus of your efforts, things that involve movement are of particular benefit (i.e. plyometrics), but you want something that can be done repeatedly as well so that you building muscle stamina as well. If you go the weight route you'd want to use a more moderate weight, one that still makes you work to move it or offers reasonable resistance, but not so heavy that it leaves you straining.

Fluidity of movement is pretty big when you're trying to maintain your agility. There is a time for the max-out type of training, but for the most part you'll want to stick to the moderate version to ensure you build the lean type of muscle that soccer so requires. Granted, the strength will build a little more gradually, but it's a far more functional strength because of it.

So what else? Legs are obvious, but you need to be able to ride tackles, to hold defenders off, to protect yourself in the air, and you definitely need a good engine to keep yourself going. The method is already there for you; you just need to apply it. Just take the same principles you applied to your legs and apply it to your shoulders, your back, and the engine (your core).Building strength for soccer is simple provided you put in the work and follow the basic guideline of trying to maintain movement with it.


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Thom  

Nice article. Thank you for sharing :)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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