To reach the top of their game soccer players must be in peak physical condition so that they can be the best that they can be on the pitch. Being the best requires players to put in work off the pitch too. Soccer players should be looking to incorporate workouts around their soccer schedule if they are passionate about succeeding. This post goes over the best soccer workouts for soccer players.
These are the best workouts for soccer players
Soccer players will benefit from a variety of different exercises that will help increase their performance on the pitch.
To be successful soccer players will need to incorporate a mix of exercises that work the aerobic system and the anaerobic system.
The focus of aerobic exercises is to improve an athlete’s endurance, while anaerobic exercises will improve an athlete’s strength and power.
The best workouts for soccer players should include, sprint intervals, Plyometrics, resistance training, and yoga exercises.
To quickly summarise, these are the best exercises and workouts for soccer players.
- Hill sprints
- Treadmill sprints
- Field sprints
- Bicycle sprints
- Box jumps
- Depth jumps
- Lateral hops
- Walking lunges
- Bench press
- Downward facing dog
- Warrior pose I
- Triangle pose
- Bridge pose
The rest of the post will detail the best exercises and workouts for soccer players and how each exercise will specifically help the player.
Make sure to speak with qualified professionals who can give you advice on whether or not these exercises will benefit you.
Each player has their own set of goals and circumstances so these exercises may not benefit everyone.
Sprint interval exercises
If you are a soccer player you need to make sure that you include sprint interval exercises in your soccer workout.
Sprint intervals can assist soccer players to increase their maximal speed, acceleration, and agility.
This can be particularly helpful for players who need to move quickly in order to evade defenders, pursue loose balls, or make a recovery run back into position.
When you start including sprinter intervals in your soccer workouts you may notice an increase in your overall endurance.
Having high levels of endurance is necessary for maintaining high-intensity efforts throughout the game and practice.
This will help players build mental focus and dedication as well as help them understand what it means to push themselves to their limits.
These are 4 different sprint interval exercises you can include in your soccer workout.
Hill sprints are a fantastic exercise to use for a sprint interval exercise.
This is how you can set up a basic hill sprint exercise:
- You must locate a hill or incline with a slope of at least 15-20 degrees if you want to perform a hill sprint.
- Beginning at the bottom of the hill, run as quickly as you can to the top while concentrating on pushing your knees and pumping your arms.
- Turn around and jog or walk back down to the bottom once you’ve reached the peak to rest. For a specific number of times or for a specific period of time, repeat this operation.
This video gives a great outline for the perfect hill sprinting technique
Treadmill sprints are another great method to use for interval sprints.
They offer a variety of different options to make your sprints more or less intense, as well as incorporating slower speeds for recovery sections of the workout.
This is how you can perform a basic treadmill sprint:
- Set the treadmill to your desired speed and incline
- Start by warming up with a few minutes of easy jogging or walking.
- Increase the speed and incline to a level that is challenging but manageable for you.
- Sprint on the treadmill for 30 seconds to 1 minute, focusing on driving your knees and pumping your arms.
- After the sprint, reduce the speed and incline and recover by jogging or walking for a minute or two.
- Repeat this process for a set number of repetitions or for a set amount of time.
A field sprint is performed on any flat surface, this could include a running track, grass field, or even a beach.
Field sprints, along with hill sprints are incredibly easy and accessible exercises to perform.
This is how you can perform a basic field sprint exercise:
- Start by gently jogging or walking for a few minutes to warm up. Then,
- start sprinting for 30 to 1 minute on the field or track while concentrating on pushing your knees and pumping your arms.
- Spend a minute or two running or walking to recuperate after the sprint.
- Repeat a specific number of times or for a specific period of time depending on your goals and fitness levels.
Bicycle sprints are perfect for players who still want the benefits of sprint training that puts less pressure on your joints such as the knees and ankles.
They can be performed outside if you have a bike and also indoors on a bike machine.
There are also products that can even turn your outdoor bike into an indoor bike!
This is how you can perform a basic bicycle sprint:
- Start off with some easy riding for a few minutes, to warm the muscles up.
- Raise the bike’s resistance and cycle as quickly as you can for 30 to 60 seconds.
- After the sprint, rest by cycling slowly for a few minutes.
- Repeat to meet your desired goals and fitness levels
Plyometrics is another form of exercise that players will need to include in their soccer workouts.
Plyometric workouts, which feature quick, forceful motions, can assist soccer players to gain more strength and explosiveness.
This is especially helpful when looking to gain the edge in a footrace with an opposition defender, or when a quick change of direction is needed.
Plyometric workouts demand exact timing and coordination.
As well as assisting soccer players to enhance the above abilities, it is great for general athleticism that can be transferred into a variety of different sports.
When performing plyometric exercises it is the quality of the movement that counts, not the quantity!
These are 4 of the best plyometric exercises for soccer players:
The box jump involves leaping onto and off of a box or platform.
It is an explosive, high-intensity activity that can aid with coordination, speed, and power.
When performing the box jump it is vital that you use a platform that is suited to your level of fitness (the higher the platform, the harder the jump).
This is how you can perform a box jump:
You will need a box or platform that is the right height for your level of fitness in order to perform a box jump.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides
- Take a stance in front of the box, with your knees bent.
- Using your arms will assist in propelling you onto the box as you leap off the ground with your knees slightly bent.
- Step down from the other side after carefully setting both feet down on the box.
- Be sure you slightly bend your knees and softly land with both feet on the box
- Avoid jumping off the box with one leg at a time or landing on your toes.
As you begin to gain more strength and power you should look to increase the height of the platform to make the jumps more challenging.
Make sure you are using the correct jumping technique too, the video above goes into to the technique required to safely perform box jumps.
The depth jump is similar to a box jump but with a slight variation.
Instead of starting on the floor jumping onto the box, you will step off the box onto the floor and into a jump.
It is an explosive, high-intensity activity that can significantly improve a player’s speed and power.
For the depth jump, you do not want to step off a platform that is too high, as this can put an unnecessary amount of impact on your joints when stepping off.
This is how you can perform a box jump:
You will require a raised platform that is the right height for your level of fitness in order to do a depth jump.
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides
- Lead with 1 foot and step down from the platform with both feet making contact with the ground at the same time.
- Gently bend your knees and delicately touch the ground with both of your feet
- As soon as you touch down, leap as high as you can.
To help prevent injuries avoid jumping from the platform with one leg at a time or landing on your toes.
Bounding is a plyometric exercise that involves an individual making lengthy, strong leaps or strides.
By frequently practicing bounding, soccer players can increase their stride length and frequency.
As a result, the players’ speed, power, and coordination will increase.
When performing boundings you need to ensure that you have a level and wide surface with lots of room.
An open field or track would be a perfect environment.
This is how you can perform boundings:
- Focus on pushing your knees and pumping your arms, while making big powerful leaps
- Push off again as soon as you touch the ground for the following bound
- Make sure you slightly bend your knees and softly land on the balls of your feet
- Repeat this for a set period of time or repetitions
Before performing the exercise, make sure you prepare yourself with a light jog and some dynamic stretches.
As your fitness levels increase, gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise.
The lateral hop is a plyometric exercise that involves jumping from side to side over a gap or obstacle.
It is a high-intensity activity that can aid with agility, explosiveness, and quickness.
As well as hoping laterally (side-to-side), you can also hop forward and backward too.
This is how you perform lateral hops:
- Make sure you have an obstacle that is an appropriate height and distance for you to jump over
- Your starting position should be shoulder-width away from the obstacle you are jumping over.
- Slightly bend your knees and leap off the ground
- Use your arms to help you go over the obstruction as well.
- When you land on the other side make sure to bend your knees to help your body soften the impact.
- Quickly jump back over again to your starting position
You can make this more challenging by increasing the size of the object you are jumping over, prolonging the time you jumping for, or increasing the number of repetitions of the jumps.
Resistance training exercises
Resistance training is a great approach for players looking to improve their overall physical performance and strength and power.
It usually involves a player moving a resistance, such as weights or workout bands to build and promote muscle growth.
Resistance training will help soccer players develop stronger muscles, which will improve their strength on the ball as well as their kicking power.
Muscular endurance is another huge benefit to resistance training, helping players maintain a high level of intensity throughout matches and practices.
Another reason to include resistance training in your soccer workouts is that is it a fantastic way to prevent injuries.
These are 5 of the best resistance exercises players to include in their soccer workout:
The squat is a powerful compound movement that will considerably increase the strength of your lower body.
The squat movement targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
Any soccer player looking to develop their speed and power should definitely be including this in their soccer workouts.
This is how you perform a squat:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides
- Keep your shoulders back, chest high, and your core engaged.
- Keep your weight on your heels while bending your knees and lowering your body as if you were sitting back in a chair.
- Push through your heels to raise yourself back up after lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Keep your back straight throughout the movement
There are different varieties of squats, such as body weight, barbell, and dumbbell squats.
If you are new to the squat movement it is recommended that you perfect your technique using body weight squats and then progress onto weight squats with more resistance.
The video above shows you what a good squatting technique should look like.
Walking lunges are a resistance exercise that involves stepping forward with one leg and lowering your body until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
This resistance exercise is a must for soccer players’ workouts.
As well as promoting strength in the major muscles in the legs it also focuses on a player’s ability to stabilize and balance while performing a complex movement, engaging the core.
This is how to perform walking lunges:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides
- Keep your shoulders back, chest high, and your core engaged
- With one leg, take a big stride forward, then squat down until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Avoid rounding your back or letting your knees cave inward as you lunge
To make this exercise harder you can increase the distance you are walking for, increase the duration you are performing the lunges, or by adding weight.
One of the easiest ways to add weight to the walking lunge is to hold onto dumbbells or kettlebells while you perform the exercise.
The deadlift, along with the squat is one of the most beneficial lifts to improve the overall lower body strength and core strength of a soccer player.
There are several advantages to including the deadlift in your soccer workout including better posture, greater core stability, explosiveness, and injury prevention.
This, however, is mechanically one of the harder lifts to perform and your technique should be close to perfect before increasing the weight.
This is how you perform the deadlift exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Hold the weight with an overhand grip in front of your thighs.
- Hinge at the hips while maintaining a straight back to lessen the weight.
- To stand back up, tighten your glutes and push through your heels.
- Keep your chest up, and engage your core.
When performing the deadlift it is essential that you focus on lifting the weight with your lower body instead of your back.
Lifting with your back will cause your back to curve and significantly increase the chance of a back injury.
The deadlift is most commonly performed with a barbell but you can also perform this lift with dumbbells too.
For soccer players looking to build upper body strength, there is no better exercise than the bench press.
The bench press focuses on strengthening the chest, shoulders, and triceps.
As well as helping improve the strength in the upper body it can help the player with better posture, and stability, which can help them perform better on the pitch.
It involves the player lying on their back and using their arms to push the weight up and away from their body.
This is how you perform the bench press exercise:
- Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head, shoulders, and buttocks in contact with the bench to do a bench press.
- Take an overhand hold on the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Lift the bar off the rack while keeping it straight across your chest and your arms extended by engaging your core.
- Press the bar back up to the starting position after lowering it to your chest.
- As you raise the weight, be careful to maintain your feet level on the floor, contract your abs, and drive through your heels
- Avoid flaring the elbows outwards, as this can put more pressure on the shoulder and increase the risk of injuring yourself
The bench press doesn’t always have to be done with a barbell, it can also be performed with dumbbells or on a chest press machine.
If you do not have access to the facilities, the push-up is a great alternative.
Pulls ups are on par with the bench press for building upper body strength.
However, the pull-ups will mainly focus on growing the back, shoulder, and arm muscles.
There are a variety of different pull-ups a player can perform, and they are really easy to make harder.
The most commonly used pull-up technique is the wide grip, this is where a person will use an overhand grip and hold onto the bar just over shoulder width apart.
Every soccer player should be looking to include a pull-up variation in their soccer workout.
This is how you can perform the pull-up resistance exercise:
- Use an overhand hold on a bar a little wider than shoulder-width apart to do a pull-up.
- Pull your body up towards the bar by engaging your core until your chin is level with the bar.
- Ensure that your body is upright and that your core is active
- Use your back and shoulder muscles to raise your body toward the bar
- Avoid kipping and swinging
If you cannot do a pull-up yet most gyms will have a pull-up assistance machine to help you.
You are also able to use a resistance band tied to the top of the bar to help raise your chin up to the bar.
If a band is not available you can start on the bar in a pull-up position and gradually lower yourself down to the starting position.
Yoga isn’t the most appealing exercise for soccer players but carries some incredible benefits, it should definitely be part of a balanced soccer workout.
One of the main benefits of yoga is that is a really low-impact exercise, which is great for injury prevention and recovery from soccer practices and games.
Some of the benefits of yoga include an increased range of motion, improved strength and balance, greater focus, and better stress management.
These are 5 of the best yoga exercises for soccer players to include in their works
Downward facing dog
The downward dog is a yoga movement where you stand on your hands and feet while lifting your back and hips.
This position will help strengthen and stretch the arms, legs, and back muscles.
The muscles that will particularly benefit from this pose are the hamstrings and calves.
This is how to perform the downward dog yoga stance:
- Begin by getting down on all fours, your knees apart, and your hands shoulder-width apart.
- Straighten your legs while tucking your toes under and lifting your hips up and back.
- Keep your arms straight and firmly plant your hands on the ground
- Form an inverted V with your body by engaging your core and lifting your hips up and back.
- Allow your neck and head to unwind while allowing your heels to sag.
- Maintain the stance for a few breaths and then move back to your original position
The warrior I pose will help promote hip, chest, and shoulder mobility, this will give the soccer player a greater range of motions which can improve their kicking and sprinting.
This yoga exercise will also help the player with general balance, coordination, and core strength which in turn can help improve the agility and quickness of a player.
This is how to perform the Warrior I yoga exercise:
- Start in the mountain pose by standing tall, spreading your feet hip-width apart, and keeping your arms at your sides.
- Step your left foot back a few steps, then turn it out so that it is parallel to your right foot.
- Make a 90-degree bend in your right knee so that your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Extend your arms upwards while maintaining a relaxed posture with your shoulders back and away from your ears.
- Stay in this pose for roughly a minute before switching sides
The triangle pose is aimed at improving balance and coordination in soccer players, particularly in the hips and legs.
The core is also engaged throughout this exercise.
This is also a fantastic exercise that can help address an imbalanced posture, which can be quite common in soccer players.
A better posture can help improve a player’s form while running.
This is how to perform the triangle pose exercise:
- Place your hands at your sides and stand with your feet together.
- After taking a deep breath, raise your arms upwards and out to the sides until your palms touch.
- Keeping your legs straight, exhale as you step your right foot back three to four feet.
- Extend your right foot and point your toes in that direction.
- Take a deep breath in and extend your right arm above your head while maintaining your left arm straight and pointing down.
- As you exhale, bend your right elbow and lower it to the floor.
- Ensure that your chest is up and that your right shoulder and right knee are in line with each other.
The bridge pose will help relieve tension and improve flexibility in the spine of soccer players.
This will help players perform better by decreasing stress, increasing their range of motion in the hips, and strengthening the core.
This yoga exercise should definitely be part of a soccer workout.
This is how you perform the bridge pose exercise:
- Lie down on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the ground.
- Place your arms next to your body, with the palms facing down.
- Lift your hips up off the ground while keeping your feet firmly positioned on the ground
- Your feet should be kept hip-width apart
- Keep your knees in line with your hips
- Maintain this position for 5–10 breaths.
Best soccer exercises | Conclusion
For players to be the best they can be they must put in the work off the pitch as well as on it.
To reach their potential, soccer players must incorporate a variety of sprints, plyometrics, resistance training, and yoga workouts alongside their soccer training schedule.
These exercises and workouts will help improve the player’s general strength, endurance, speed, agility, and power.
These best workouts for soccer players can really take your game up to the next level!
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