Strength and Conditioning for Soccer

A Programme Template for Pre-Season Soccer Conditioning

Fitness Anywhere

Strength and conditioning for soccer is something that is not often mentioned. Soccer is a sport of skill and at the same time endurance. Many amateur soccer players don’t even consider that strength and power training could benefit their game. Professionals on the other hand have begun incorporating effective strength and conditioning for soccer.

Ok lets look at this from the point of view of an exercise scientist and analyse what soccer players actually need.

Soccer is an extremely high energy sport with a lot of movement. Players require sprinting ability, agility, power, endurance, anaerobic capacity and several other components. The sport is dominated by short sprints interspersed with light jogs from one play to another. Power is required to shoot for goal or make a long pass. Goal keepers need to be able to jump high as well as laterally. Direction changes are constant during a game of soccer, so agility is essential.

Taking all of the above into account we have all the information we need for a strength and conditioning for soccer programme. Here we will look at each of the skills involved in soccer in terms of physiological capacity. This means we will not focus on actual specific soccer drills, but instead we will focus on strength and conditioning for soccer in the purely physical sense. It is assumed here that ball work will be incorporated by the coach and not into their overall fitness programme.

The following programme is designed for pre-season and early season conditioning. Also important to note is that the programme undertaken by the goal keeper will vary from that of field players. As usual we will not include comprehensive per iodisation here. This programme is a guide and a starting point, or a template to base a full strength and conditioning programme.

The programme will run for eight weeks and will be completed in two phases. Each phase will include four workouts per seven day cycle.

Phase One

Phase one of our strength and conditioning for soccer programme will be a build up phase. The goal is to increase general physical preparedness or what I like to call foundational conditioning in preparation for later, more specific conditioning.

Workout One

Agility slalom: Mark out a 50 metre length with two parallel lines of markers/cones. Each cone should be about two metres apart. Then have players run through the cones in a slalom fashion while timing each run up an back. This helps build basic agility while running at high speeds. Repeat the course a total of five times for each player.

Plyometrics: Lay out a rope or something else to mark a line of about 15 metres. Have players stand on one side of the rope and jump as high and far as possible diagonally over the rope. Complete five sets of six jumps.

Workout Two

Squats for 5-5-5 reps

Bent over row for 5-5-5 reps

Weighted push-ups for 5-5-5 reps

Overhead press for 5-5-5 reps

Workout Three

Power cleans for 5-4-3-1 reps

Thrusters for 5-4-3-1 reps

Power snatch for 5-3-1 reps

Workout Four

Sprints: 10 x 20 metres, 3 x 50 metres, 2 x 100 metres, 1 x 400 metres

Middle distance run: One mile run at a competitive pace.

Complete the programme in a two days on one day off pattern for four weeks then move onto phase two.

Phase Two

Phase two will work in some more specific drills and incorporate some skill work into the agility and power sessions.

Workout One

Agility: Stagger some markers/cones along half a soccer field. Label each marker with a number. Have players dribble a ball as fast as possible through each of the cones in sequential order. After three runs each have players run the course in a different order to confuse the nervous system.

Plyometrics: Double leg hurdles 3 x 5, single leg bounds 3 x 5 each leg.

Ladder drill: Lay out a ladder or similar shape. Tyres also work well. Have players step in the first square then out to the left then centre again then to the right before moving onto the next square in the ladder. Have them do this is in quick-step fashion and time each run. Complete a total of three rounds each.

Workout Two

Deadlift for 5-3-1 reps

Twist lunge for 6-4-2 reps

Pull-ups or weighted pull-ups for 3 x max reps

Single arm push-ups for 5-5-5 reps

Workout Three

Hang clean for 5-5-5 reps

Clean and jerk for 5-5-5 reps

Lunge thrusters (thrusters done in a lunge stance) for 5-5 reps

Single leg squat jumps for 5-5-5 reps each leg

Workout Four

8 x 50 metre max sprints

4 x 100 metre max sprints

2 x 400 metre max sprints

1 x 800 metre max sprint

10 metre shuttle sprints x 10 for three rounds with 45 seconds rest between each round.

This strength and conditioning for soccer programme is simple in nature but includes all domains of fitness used in soccer. The object of this programme is to provide a template for comprehensive periodised programme design to be utilised by coaches.

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