Let’s talk about some soccer strength training tips. One of the best parts of this article is you’ll learn how to better protect your body from home. You don’t need to spend 1 hour a day strengthening your body. Each week you can spend less than 1 hour keeping your body from injury. Strengthening your body makes you stronger and faster yes, but just as or more important is the injury prevention.
Core strengthening benefits and exercises
Your core is by far one of the best muscles to strengthening. The reason is because it helps support everything around it from your back to the quads and hamstrings. There have been times in my career where my back or quad were slightly hurt. When doing a light jog during warm-up I could feel a little pain. As I would contract my core (stomach) it helped with the pain.
When the core is strong it helps the other muscles not have to do as much work, therefore protecting them.
2 core exercises: (less than 2 mins total)
- Mini crunches are easy on the back and great for your lower abdominals. Start by doing 50 per day. Work your way up to several hundred. You can even split them up where you do 100-200 in the morning and 100-200 in the evening.
- Side crunches get (you guessed it) the side of your abs. Start with 25 on each side and work your way up. Even if you stuck with 25 per day that’s going to keep you stronger than doing nothing.
Another good core exercise is your traditional crunches where you bring your upper body up. For some people it’s extra strain on the back, so do what’s best for you.
Why quad muscles are so important for soccer players
Soccer players kick the ball a lot. The muscles that have to do the most work are the quads, hip flexor and core. Unfortunately many footballers pull their quads and when they do it’s often from kicking with power.
- Wall sits are amazing to build soccer strength. Start with 30 seconds or 1 minute.
Ages 13-18 work your way up to 3 mins. To build muscle endurance start by doing 1 min, 3 times per day (morning, afternoon & evening). Then 90 seconds, twice a day. Once that’s easy, do 3 mins straight.
College and pro work your way up to 5 mins straight. Help increase your muscle endurance by doing 90 seconds, 3x per day (morning, afternoon & evening). Then get where you can do 2.5 mins, 2x per day. After a week or two, you’ll be able to get 5 mins straight.
- Lunges are also good for strengthening the quads. Simply start by doing 10 – 20 steps (lunges). You don’t need to do a lot. Just enough to help reduce injury and keep your muscles strong.
Hip flexor exercises
The hip flexor is one of the top 3 most important muscles. Two other muscles are the (quads and abdominals) which surround the hip flexor.
- These 3 hip flexor & groin strength exercises will help you prevent injury, plus there’s no equipment needed.
Hamstring soccer strength exercises
One of the muscles that helps us run faster is the hamstring. Players that pull their hamstring usually do it from sprinting or jumping. Too much playing (games/training) along with weak supporting muscles are two things that contribute to injured hamstrings.
- Crabwalk is a good and easy way to strengthen your hamstrings and several other muscles. No equipment needed for any of these exercises, therefore saving your money. Start by doing 10 yards, 3 times/sets forwards and backwards. Note: You’ll probably feel your wrist working. Don’t worry about the speed. Just take a nice and easy walking speed like this vid. Moving forwards (feet first) is going to work the hamstrings more. This exercise will also strengthen your arms and quads.
Soccer strength for gluteal muscles
There are different muscles in the gluteal region. The smallest one is the piriformis muscle, which is one that helps protect your pelvis from not being supported the way it needs.
Glutes are also a big component to help you run and sprint faster. Learn how to improve your sprinting form to increase speed.
- Squats help build glutes. You don’t need to lift heavy weight, instead you can simply use a broom stick or something light to hold on you. This can help you keep good form. Your body weight is enough to help you gain soccer strength.
What soccer players should eat and drink
Eating and drinking the right foods and liquids will help you build stronger muscles and recover faster. Foods like grilled or baked chicken, pasta, green veggies, banana are some of the most popular foods for soccer players.
Hydration is a must! Water is always best, but during the hot Summer seasons I recommend sports drink. There are drinks with zero sugars you can buy, which I like.
For recovery chocolate milk is good. Just make sure you don’t have a game 2 hours away from when you drink it. Studies show how drinking chocolate milk 4-6 hours before your 2nd event/game will help with performance. Read more on when and what to eat before and after games.