Building Leg Power
No matter how frequently you play soccer or run, you won’t build any leg strength and subsequent power without leg weight training. Soccer players need their legs to have muscular endurance and explosiveness in order to maintain kicking strength throughout the rigors of a 90-minute game. Squats, deadlifts, calf raises and lunges are popular weight-training exercises for legs; here are a few overlooked leg workouts to mix into your training routine.
This exercise works all of the major muscle groups of the leg and features several variations to accommodate players of all levels. Place one foot with on a stable platform one to two feet off the ground. This foot will act as your foundation. Your second foot should be on the floor balancing on your toes. Using the strength in your heel on the planted foot lift your second foot up to the platform extending your knee to your chest. Perform three sets of 12 reps on each leg. To add difficulty, hold dumbbell weights at your side.
This dynamic exercise strengthens your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Start in a split leg stance with one leg further behind your body. Holding dumbbell weights at your sides, slowly lower to the floor while keeping a straight back. This exercise is similar to a lunge but you’ll stay in place. Just before your back knee hits the ground raise your body using the strength in your front heel to the starting position. Perform three sets of 12 reps for each leg.
This is one of our favorite ways to build muscular endurance while working on shooting accuracy and consistent striking. Place seven to ten soccer balls in a row wherever you’d like on the pitch as long as they’re within your shooting range. Start a timer and kick each ball into the goal one after another. Without compromising your ball striking, try to break your time from each spot on the pitch. For added difficulty, try wearing ankle weights.
This is an advanced workout and needs to be performed with proper supervision. It’s imperative to build leg strength prior to performing this exercise. Starting in a deadlift position with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly out, keep your back straight with your hips lower than your shoulders and pull the barbell up to your waist. In a continuous motion you’ll extend your hips and knees, “cleaning” the bar up to shoulder height in a standing position. Finally, you’ll release the bar and lower it to the ground. Perform three sets of five reps and gradually use more weight as you grow comfortable.
Semper Soccer is proud to deliver fitness and training tips each week to help you reach your potential on the pitch. Keep checking back with the blog to learn more exercises and techniques to improve your individual strength and fitness.