198, 199, 200! Oh didn't see you there, just finishing my set, weight training for soccer isn't about showing off or lifting the most but creating a foundation for all the other physical components your body needs to play at the highest level. Weight training is so underrated due to its ability to help you increase your speed, strength, agility and injury prevention and not just looking good at the beach.
If your'e just getting into weigh training for soccer then here you will find tips, advice and simple exercises that will help you get started, if this is old news for you then use it as a refresher and see how many of these tips and exercises you're sticking to to ensure your body and game stay at the highest of levels. Some of us are just missing that one piece to take our game to the next step and weight training might just be the one you need, no matter where you're at look into some weight training programs to get started on raising this part of your game.
Oh before I forget! Learning to lift weights properly is a skill you need to develop just like kicking the ball or dribbling around opponents, it takes time, practice and your complete concentration so take it slow Arnold and get your form perfect before anything else.
1. Technique Is Everything - To get the most out of every workout you want to be sure you aren't compromising other parts of your body with bad technique. As a rough guide always keep a straight back, pull your shoulders back and bend with your legs and knees when lifting, if you follow those simple rules you'll be off to a good start.
2. Have A Plan - Just showing up and lifting random weight, doing random exercises for a random amount of time won't get you exactly where you want to go. Sure it may be better then sitting at home but you can be so much more efficient with your workouts if you have a strength training plan with every day planned out including rest days for optimal performance day after day.
3. Heavier Does Not Mean Better - I know we all want to look like we're lifting a lot of weight at the gym but this can get you into some serious trouble. Use the weight that is stated in your strength plan, if it seems to heavy scale it back a bit and work up to heavier weight should you need it. Typically when weight goes up so does technique and this is how injuries start to happen as your body compensates for the extra pounds. Don't be a hero and lift the appropriate weight, for the appropriate exercise for where you are in your body is at.
4. Lifting Is Not Just for Strength - We always think weight training for soccer is to make us stronger to shield the ball or increase shot power, although those are true increasing your strength with weights has so many other benefits we often don't think about. Developing leg power to increase are speed and muscle to support our joints and ligaments to prevent injury are two of the other common ones.
5. Looking Good Helps Your Confidence - Weight training for soccer not only helps the physical side of the game but of also the mental side of it. Lifting weights and increasing your physique has several emotional benefits such as increased energy and of course a rise in self confidence in everything you do on and off the pitch.
1. Faster Is Not Better - Take your time with each rep, technique should be your priority not how quickly you can pump the weights up and down. This is the easiest way to get injured so take it slow and do it right.
2. Weight Lifting Everyday - Lifting weights everyday is not only not a good idea it's actually counter productive to what you're trying to accomplish. Not only will lifting everyday fatigue you for the next workout it will severely increase your chances of injury on the pitch.
3. Not Asking - We all need help learning things we aren't great at so don't be stubborn if you don't know how to do a certain exercise so ask your coac or a friend for a little advice with your technique.
It's important to know the different types of workouts and how they can benefit you for what you're trying to achieve in raising your game.
1. Core Training: The term core refers to the mid section of your body running basically from right below your chest down to your hips. This is the area of your body that everything else rests on and that needs to be in great shape. A strong core will help an athlete improve their balance, explosiveness, and prevent injury. Now many clubs use core training worked into a majority of normal lifts that usually allow the core to rest. We accomplish this by using the Swiss ball and the Air discs. These two pieces of equipment force an athlete to focus on balance and core stability when performing basic lifts.
2. Varied Exercises & Repetitions: The combination of the exercises you will perform and the number of repetitions you will do the exercise will constantly change. The benefit of such changes is that the body never gets used to certain lifts or numbers of repetitions. The changes in good strength programs are they constantly shock the muscles ultimately allowing them to grow and become stronger. The constant changes helps to eliminate or at least limit the repetitiveness or boredom that can accompany many lifting workouts.
3. Explosive Training: Explosiveness is a key element in most athletic activities and weight training for soccer. Performing explosive movements in the weight room helps prepare the body for doing the same on the field. These workouts use a number of different exercises that require the athlete to use their fast twitch muscles and to “explode” through the lift. Most of these lifts involve explosiveness in the legs and especially in the hips. These are the same areas that generate explosiveness when running, jumping, firing off of the line, and tackling.
Easy enough right? Now let's get to work. These concepts are the foundation of any strength or weight training for soccer workout. It will be easy to notice the importance that they carry as you work your way through them. But understand that you must focus on using proper weight and using correct form to get the benefits from these foundations and maximizing the importance of weight training for soccer.
1. Increases Muscle Power and Speed - Strengthening your glutes, calves and legs will increase your leg and foot speed to the point where you're no longer that slow player with good feet but that speedy player with good feet.
2. Increases Core Strength to Hold Off Defenders and Protect the Ball - Every position on the field needs to be strong in 1v1 duels protecting the ball and weight training for soccer players increases your leg strength and core to hold off defenders while trying to keep possession.
3. Increases Muscle Stability To Prevent Injury - Increasing your ability to be proactive and prevent injuries before they come is crucial and weight training will help you do that. If you're coming back from a serious injury your priority should be to strengthen the muscles around that injury to protect it, weight training will help you accomplish that and more.
1. Squats - The classic single or double legged squat is a go to exercise for any serious soccer player. Leg, back, core and joint stability are a few of the many benefits of being able to execute a proper squat for any position on the pitch. Squats can be a tricky technique for some so start with just the bar and no weight until you feel comfortable with the movements involved.
2. Lunges - Single or double leg every soccer player who is looking for lower body strength needs a good lunge routine in their weekly workouts. The beauty of lunges is they can be done anywhere with and without weight to really feel the benefits. Leg strength, mobility and increased balance are a few of the benefits of including lunges in your workouts.
3. Pull Ups - You know we have to buff up the arms a little too right? Pull Ups are a great exercise to help with upper body strength while stretching out the spine and back as well. You should be able to do 7-10 with ease!
4. Hamstring Curls - One of the most common injuries in soccer is a strained or pulled hamstring, this doesn't come as a surprise from all the sprints and shots that use the hamstring and the neglect of hamstring exercises in our workouts. Whether it's with or without weights include hamstring strengthening exercises is vital to keep the hamstrings strong all season long.
5. Leg Press - A simple leg press can really speed up the process of building up muscle as fast as possible in the quads and glutes. Including leg press into your workout is a must for any serious player.
If you're looking for a complete workout feel free to read this page to help you get started, The Soccer Weight Training Plan.
Listen to Your Body - Much like fitness workouts weight training and strength and conditioning is about listening to your body. Sometimes it needs to be pushed, and other times if you've had a hard week it needs sufficient rest. Don't hesitate to take an extra day or two break when you feel an injury coming on. Sometimes the best way to stay injury free is to listen to the signals your body is giving you.
Pace Yourself - There's a difference between getting physically stronger and being a fridge. Take your time and and go though the necessary progression of the workouts. You're not gonna go from zero to hero over night.
Don't Neglect Your Body - Strength and conditioning is about total body strength. Don't look to get a jacked upper body then injure your lower body and wonder why. Developing your body strength is about having an even well geared machine, not a monster truck with flat tires.
It's All in Your Head- Like any par of the game most of it is in your head. Weight training for soccer and the workouts involved from my experience are no different. It's about digging deep and looking for grit in places you had never looked for before. You will have to fight to go that extra rep or series and the only one stopping you from getting from good enough to great is yourself.
Whenever I do a workout, whether its strength and conditioning or fitness or technical skills I always do one more then the guy who's doing the most, or one more rep then the paper says. That way I know i'm separating myself from the pack.
Easy Arnold! These techniques are not simply trying to develop strength during your time in the weight room. It's about building power, explosiveness, balance, and endurance in addition to getting stronger. An athletic lifting program should also facilitate the athlete becoming faster and more agile. Oh and getting abs chizzled enough to wash your clothes on of course. Enough jokes, weight training for soccer can elevate a part of your game you never knew existed.