Top 10 Fitness Exercises for Football/ Soccer Players

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Soccer players are known for being one of the most physically fit people in the world of sports for their endurance, maneuverability, and coordination. But what exactly are they doing to get this physique? At HFR, we found what workouts that benefit soccer players the most to improve their performance. Here are the ten most important exercises for soccer players.

    • Agility Ladders: When it comes to being a good soccer player, one of the main things you have to focus on is your footwork. Handling the ball requires a lot of coordination with your feet as you move and being quick with it as well and the best workout to help improve that is doing agility ladders. Agility Ladders allow you to increase your body awareness and coordination while also strengthening your joints tendons and muscles. This workout is done by setting up a ladder on the ground and running through it in various ways.  Doing agility ladders is a good cardio workout as well! Soccer players will always be doing this workout so that way they can maneuver with the ball as best as they can.              
    • Barbell Back Squats: Squats are such a trend nowadays and they are also a big part of a soccer player’s workout routine. This type of squat strengthens the lower body and helps with better hip flexibility, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Unlike a normal squat, the barbell back squat requires a heavy weight over the shoulders that overloads the body into the squat and having to power up back into a standing position. It also increases testosterone and growth hormone for the muscles. This workout is best to give a soccer player full mobility on his lower body.
    • Single Leg Hurdle Hops: Power is important in any sport, and when playing soccer you also need to accompany power with speed. Single leg hurdle hops are probably the best of both worlds when working on both power and speed. This workout starts by setting up four six-inch hurdles that are spaced out evenly so when one runs through, both power and speed increase. Power to make sure you can hop over the hurdle and not trip over it, and speed when it comes to getting through the hurdles as quickly as possible. This workout demonstrates how soccer players need to have grace when it comes to power to be the most efficient they can be on the field.  
    • Calf Raises: A minor but essential workout when it comes to a soccer player’s wellbeing. As it is with any sports injuries are highly prevalent in soccer and can happen for multiple reasons. One of the most common injuries that occur in soccer is shin splints and as a preventative, soccer players are advised to calf raises. Calf raises are one of many workouts that can help prevent shin splints and it is also easy to do. Simply rest your hands on a wall and to raise your heel so that you’re on the tip of your toes and then hold that position for a couple of seconds. Merely doing this workout will help prevent injuries and allow soccer players to keep their bodies in good condition.          
    • Dumbbell Step Ups: The lower body is crucial to conditioning when there’s a big game coming up and it’s important to be in top shape. Dumbbell step ups are fantastic for a full lower body workout as it exercises the legs, quads, hamstrings, thighs, and glutes. It works by standing in front of a box or bench while having a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Then with one leg, step up on the bench or box and lift your knee at a 90-degree angle lifting your whole body up on top of the bench and keep your other leg off of the bench. It targets well on the hamstrings especially, making them strong, stable, and well stretched out on the field.
    • Plyometrics: Agility is heavily emphasized as key to being a great soccer player. As we said before, power is essential in all sports, but soccer players have to combine that power with many other things such as speed and agility. Plyometrics is an exercise that is aimed at working on both explosive strength and coordination at the same time. This workout starts by setting up plyometric boxes in a row and then jumping on and off of them in different ways that require different types of movement. Plyometric training is crucial to soccer players because not only does it help with explosiveness and agility, but a study shows that ground time reactions are decreased which allows soccer players to react to plays faster.   
    • Medicine Ball Push Ups: Although soccer is mainly a sport that requires a lot of power and strength in lower body muscles, the upper body should not be neglected as it also plays an important role in soccer. Goalkeepers must have quick, explosive power when it comes to grabbing balls out of the air before they hit the net as well as blocking shots with their chest. The best way to work on these skills is doing medicine ball push-ups. These medicine ball push-ups work not only the chest and arms but also the shoulders and core. When doing these push up your hands are resting on a medicine ball which requires you to stabilize your body, so you don’t roll with the ball. This activates your core and shoulders to keep you in place.
    • Barbell Rollouts: Soccer players need to have a strong core in order to play at their peak. Not only is good overall for the body but in certain situations, you need to use your core. For example, when blocking a shot or a direct free kick you will need to be able to take a ball to gut at some point. So, in order to have the best core possible for soccer, one of the best workouts you can do is barbell rollouts. Barbell Rollouts are a very grueling workout requiring a person to get a barbell, get on their knees, roll the barbell into them and then roll it out while flexing their core. This may sound simple but after doing this for a couple of minutes your abs will start to feel the burn, but if you persist and keep doing it you will have a rock solid stomach that can take a blow.
    • Zigzag Sprint: In soccer, you must be able to run, there is no denying that. However, you also have to be able to do run and change directions quickly. If you’re running across a big field, it’s going to take more than just speed for you to get across as fast as you can you have to have agility. Many professional soccer players know this, so they practice multiple different running workouts to keep them in shape, but one workout is very crucial to their performance on the field. Out of all the running exercises, the zigzag sprints are one of the most important. Combining speed with sharp stops and turns builds speed, explosiveness, and agility which are he foundations of making a great soccer player.             
    • Turkish Get-Ups: Soccer players use more than just their lower body for playing, they need full body strength to keep their agility and speed going while turning their bodies in many directions. This exercise provides them the necessary power for them to play a great game. A goalie would definitely need to do this exercise for good shoulder mobility and core strength. To do it properly, start on the floor with your back on the ground with your right knee bent and the left extended out. Hold the dumbbell with your right hand and your left arm extended at a diagonal angle with your palm on the ground. With the weight, extend your right arm straight up parallel to your shoulder. Push your hips up, bend the left knee, and bring the leg in from behind. Your other leg should be up at a 90 degree angle in front of you. Then your going to bring your body up from a lunge position and stand up with the weight over your body. This full body workout is a great way to go to build the stability of a quality soccer player.

So when thinking about how some of your favorite players are able to accomplish some of those amazing plays you see on TV,  just remember it’s not just about talent. It’s also hard work and dedication to fitness to be at their best physically.

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