Strength Training for Soccer
Soccer players must be able to react quickly and explosively to block, steal, or pass the ball. Athletes often sprint for short distances while needing good foot-eye coordination to place the ball with precision. They also need to be able to repeat these motions many times with little rest between efforts throughout the match. Maximal strength, power, muscle and cardiovascular endurance, and neuromuscular control are needed to perform well and avoid injury throughout the season. Limiting factors for most athletes are reactive power and strength endurance. Since power is largely dependent upon strength, maximal strength, power, and muscle endurance should be the focus of your training program. Cardiovascular conditioning should address all of the energy systems; alactic anaerobic, lactic anaerobic, and aerobic. Incorporating neuromuscular training exercises into your program may also help prevent injuries such as ACL tears. You are only as strong as your weakest link!
Common Muscle Imbalances
Although every individual is different, there are common muscle imbalances seen in soccer players. Muscles that are commonly tight and need to be stretched include: hip flexors, quads, pectorals and anterior shoulder girdle, gastoc/soleus, and lats. Muscles that are commonly weak and need to be strengthened include: trunk stabilizers such as spinal erectors and abdominals, posterior shoulder girdle and scapular stabilizers, rotator cuff, glutes, hamstrings, and hip abductors. Intrinsic muscles of the feet and ankles can also be weak if the athlete uses ankle braces. Imbalances may need to be addressed not only to improve soccer performance, but to prevent injury.
Components of a properly designed soccer program include flexibility, core stability, maximal strength, plyometrics, musculoskeletal endurance, neuromuscular control, agility, and cardiovascular fitness. It is preferable to do most training in a standing position through all planes of motion. Upper body strength is often overlooked, but is also important!
Common Soccer Injuries
Many common soccer injuries occur because of faulty mechanics when rapidly decelerating to change direction, especially when the athlete is fatigued. Ankle inversion sprains are the most common injury in sports. Females suffer a disproportionate number of knee sprains, particularly to the ACL. Poor posture or muscle imbalances that force an athlete to rely on compensatory movement patterns repetitively throughout the game can lead to overuse injuries, particularly to the knees or ankles. Most common injuries are sprains and strains of the ankle and knee.
Training Program Options
Option 1.The most effective option is to work one on one with a professional Strength and Conditioning Coach to ensure that you are doing the most efficient exercises correctly. You will first have an assessment to determine your current cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, and muscle strengths and weaknesses prior to beginning a training program. K’s Body Shop will then utilize that information to design a customized program that determines appropriate exercises and intensities so that you can maximize your performance and minimize the chance for injury. Since there are no contracts, you can work with your trainer as often or as little as you please. Contact K’s Body Shop to schedule your appointment or get more information.
Option 2. If you have a group of soccer players in the Twin Cities area who are interested in having a professional Strength and Conditioning Coach oversee your small group strength training workouts, contact K’s Body Shop. This is a great option for training partners to contain costs while still getting some professional instruction. Prices vary depending on number of athletes and location of sessions.
Option 3. If you are comfortable with technology and relatively healthy, Online Coaching can be a cost-effective alternative to face to face training. Check out our free trial to see how the software works!
Contact the Coach if you need help deciding which option is most appropriate for you.