Soccer strength training is vital for soccer players to remain both competitive and capable of remaining active for the entire duration of a soccer game. Soccer players must be complete, well-rounded athletes, capable of performing a variety of athletic activities. This includes speed, agility, endurance and muscular strength. Of special importance is strength in the quadriceps, which are highly involved in many soccer skills, including goal-scoring. Here are a number of soccer strength training exercises that are designed to develop strength, muscle endurance and soccer skills.
Plyometric Power Jumps
Plyometrics is a form of exercise that uses quick movements to develop muscular power and strength. It improves a soccer player's speed, agility, balance and coordination. One common exercise that soccer players regularly partake in is vertical power jumps. The key to this exercise is using full force in your jumps, while executing them as quickly as possible.
Begin by standing upright, then slowly lower your body into a semi-squat position. With as much force as possible, jump as high as you can, as quickly as you can. While you are jumping, propel your bent knees into your chest for added resistance and effort. Once you descend back to the ground, initiate your next jump without rest. Your jumps should be done continuously. Performing about 10 to 30 power jumps will greatly improve a soccer player's leg strength, which is directly linked to speed, agility and stamina. All these qualities come in quite handy when trying to defend the ball against opponents and scoring goals.
Soccer Ball Leaps
This exercise is another variation of a plyometric movement that involves quick, powerful jumps over a soccer ball. To perform this exercise, stand beside a soccer ball. Jump from one side of the soccer to the other, and continue to go back and forth about 20 to 30 times. Each jump should be done with as much force as possible, making every effort to jump as high as you can. Each time you jump over the soccer ball, drive your knees toward your chest just as you would while performing the vertical power jumps. This exercise will develop strength in the legs that is required of soccer players.
These sprints are done in a zig-zag - or slalom - fashion while dribbling a soccer ball around a set of cones. This develops leg strength while promoting ball handling skills. There should be two lines of cones set up parallel to each other, with each line containing between five to ten cones. The cones should be spaced about five feet apart from each other within the same line, with each line of cones spaced about 10 feet apart.
Beginning at one end of the cone lines, dribble the soccer ball as fast as you can around each cone. Move in a zig-zag pattern, alternating from one line to the next. Once you reach the other end of the cones, dribble the ball back to the start.
Circuit training involves a combination of intense exercises and resistance training to build muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. One complete circuit is done when all the prescribed exercises are completed. The circuit is initiated at the beginning when one circuit is complete. The cycle continues for a certain period of time to achieve desired strength training benefits.
Circuit training for soccer players incorporates soccer-related activities to improve an athlete's strength and skills. A sample circuit for soccer players can involve all the above activities in succession. For example, you could begin with power jumps, followed by soccer ball leaps, and so forth. You can add a few more exercises in the circuit to make the routine more varied and enjoyable. These strength training exercises are goal-oriented for the game of soccer.