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Soccer Series: Functional Strength Training

Jul 01, 2019

AUTHOR: Laura A. Sapper, ATC, SCAT

Dear Soccer players!

Club soccer season is upon us. We hope that you have utilized some of the tools we gave you last month with our Dynamic Stretching and Warm-up techniques. These are essential for reducing risk of injury and optimal performance. If you missed it, check it out here. We are back this month to talk to you about another way to seriously reduce the risk of injury. Here at Made 2 Move, we love rehab and getting athletes back and better than ever after an injury, but keeping athletes on the field injury-free while becoming stronger, faster and more agile is our ultimate goal!.

Today, we want to dig into our second tool – Functional Strength Training!

These simple exercises are going to help make you stronger and more resilient against injuries by strengthening the muscles that protect your joints and increase your power on the field. We recommend adding these to your routine 3-4 times per week. These sport specific functional exercises incorporate the active movements that are specific to soccer and athletic performance. It is important to use dynamic movements in order to help reduce the risk of injury and perform at the highest level. Here are our top 6 exercises you can start incorporating into your training routine.

1. Deadlifts

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Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps

In our opinion, the deadlift if the most beneficial lift to add to your routine. With one exercise, and done correctly, you can target every major muscle group and increase your strength and power. Stand with your knees shoulder-width apart. Lower your hips down and grab the barbell, keeping your head and chest up with shoulders back and down. Stand up with the weight and use your heels to push up. As you rise, push your hips forward as you reach the top of your movement, then lower down to start position and repeat. You can also try this with a trap bar if you have access to one which is an easier lift to master.

2. Box Squats

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Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps

This multi joint exercise will target your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Squats build lower body strength and can increase hip mobility when done properly. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and rest the squat bar on your shoulders. Keep your chest and head up, bend at the knees keeping your hips back and squat down until you just feel your thighs hit the box and then power yourself back up to the starting position.

3. Banded Lateral Lunge

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Perform 3 sets of 15 reps each side

Lateral lunges can help increase your leg strength mobility and flexibility which are vital to soccer players. This exercise is also great for your obliques, low back as an overall proprioceptive exercise. Start with a resistance band positioned above your knees, standing with your legs shoulder-width apart. Lunge to one side, keeping your butt back as if reaching for a seat behind you. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, push hard off the same leg and back to the starting position. You can try adding a dumbbell in each hand if they become too easy.

4. Include Dumbbell Press

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Start with 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Soccer players often neglect upper body strength. This exercise is a great way to add some upper body work to your routine which will increase your power on and off the playing field. Position yourself on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height and width with palms facing away from you. With core engaged and back flat on the bench, push the dumbells away from your chest and lock out your elbows at the top of the motion for approx. 1 second before lowering the weight while maintaining control all the way down. Repeat.

5. Medicine Ball Squat/Slam

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Start with 3 sets of 15 reps.

This exercise is as useful as it is fun! Its an explosive total-body exercise that focuses a lot on core strength. These are a great way to balance out your squats and deadlifts. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and a medicine ball overhead. Keeping your core engaged through the motion, throw the ball down to the ground in front of your feet as you squat with as much force as possible, pick up the ball or catch it at the bottom and repeat. *Tip: Make sure you have a non-bounce medicine ball so it doesn’t hit you in the face.

6. Soccer Ball/Med Ball Plank

5. Medicine Ball Squat/Slam

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Start with 30 seconds and progress to 3 minutes.

The plank is a perfect and simple complete core exercise. Make it even better by adding a soccer ball.

Put your feet on the soccer ball and shoulders directly over your hands or elbows. Make sure your low back is parallel to the floor. Brace your core and hold the position. Think about being able to hold a glass of water on your hips without the glass tipping over.

 


WORKS CITED

Turner, Anthony N. MSc, CSCS*D1; Stewart, Perry F. MSc, CSCS1,2, “Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players”, Strength and Conditioning Journal: August 2014 – Volume 36 – Issue 4 – p 1–13

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