Players of soccer are well known throughout the world for their immense physical fitness. This sport demands fortitude, coordination and maneuverability. However, it begs the question what exactly do they do for possessing their perfect physiques? So we researched on the workouts which benefit them the most for improving their performance and fitness. Thus, we present to you the 10 most essential exercises for players of soccer.
Agility Ladders: As far as a good player of soccer is concerned, one thing you must focus is footwork. To handle the ball, you need loads of coordinating with the feet while you move around. You have to be fast with it too; the best exercise for improving this is agility ladders which enables you in increasing body awareness plus coordination besides strengthening your muscles, tendons and joints. It is performed this way – on the ground, you make and place a ladder and run through it in different ways. This workout is good for cardio too.
Barbell Back Squats: This strengthens your lower body improving quads, hip flexibility, calves and hamstrings. It demands a heavy weight on your shoulders which forces your body into the squat requiring power for getting back into standing pose. It raises testosterone plus growth hormones for muscles. It is best for giving a player complete mobility on the lower part of his body.
Single Leg Hurdle Hops: In every sport, power does matter; while playing soccer, we need to blend it with speed as well. This workout begins like this; you set up 4 six-inch obstacles spaced evenly so if you run through, both speed and power are increased. Power is for ensuring you can hop above the obstacle without tripping over it. Speed is for getting through obstacles as fast as possible.
Calf Raises: An extremely frequent injury in soccer matches is shin splints; as a preventive measure, players are recommended to do calf raises. This is how you do it. Place your hands on a wall; elevate your heel so you are on the tip of toes; then hold this position for few seconds. This will prevent injuries allowing you to keep your body in the best condition.
Dumbbell Step Ups: These are great for a complete workout of the lower body as it makes the quads, legs, thighs, hamstrings and glutes exercise. You stand in front of a bench or box with a dumbbell pair on the sides. With a single leg, step up on your bench/box; lift your knees at 90 degrees while lifting your entire body up on the top of bench/box keeping your 2nd leg off the bench/box. It makes your hamstrings stable, strong and flexible on the playing field.
Plyometrics: This exercise is for working on explosive strength plus coordination simultaneously. You make and place plyometric boxes one after the other and then jump on and off differently which require different movements. It is crucial as a research proves that ground time reaction is reduced allowing players to respond much quicker.
Medicine Ball Push Ups: Soccer mainly requires loads of power in the muscles of lower body but we cannot neglect the upper part of body at all. Goalkeepers need to develop swift explosive power for grabbing balls from the air prior to hitting the net or blocking of shots with the chest. For improving these abilities, this is the best method. These not only works the arms and chest but the core and shoulders as well. While doing them, your hands should be resting on the medicine ball requiring you to make your body stable so you do not end up rolling alongwith the ball. This stimulates your shoulders and core keeping you fit to the fullest.
Barbell Rollouts: Players must have a powerful core for playing at their best. For instance, while blocking a straight free kick or shot, you should take the ball to gut. Thus, for having the best possible core, this is a great workout. These are very grueling as they require you to have a barbell, get on your knees, roll it into yourself and then outwards flexing your core. This sounds easy but when you do this for some time, your abs will experience the burn. However, if you persevere and continue doing it, you would develop a very hard stomach which can take blows.
Zigzag Sprint: Soccer obviously requires you to run but you also need to change directions swiftly. If you run across a huge field, speed alone won’t get you across; you need to be as agile as possible. Most pro soccer players are aware of this. Thus, they practice various running workouts for keeping them in shape. However, this one impacts their performance a lot. It combines pace with sharp stops or turns building pace, agility and explosiveness that are the fundamentals of what makes a great player of soccer.
Turkish Get-Ups: Players don’t only make use of their lower bodies but they also require complete body strength for keeping their speed and agility going when they turn their bodies towards multiple directions. This workout grants them the required strength for playing a great match of soccer. A goalkeeper certainly needs to do it for core strength and shoulder mobility. For doing it properly, begin on the floor; your back should be on the ground; the right knee should be bent with the left knee extended out. With right hand, hold the dumbbell; extend the left arm at 90 degrees angle so your palm is on the ground. At this weight, the right arm should be extended parallel to the shoulder. Pushing up your hips, bend your left knee and then bring in your leg from behind. The 2nd leg must be up at 90 degrees in front of yourself. Then, from a lunge position, bring up your body and stand with your weight over the body. This workout is indeed a great method for building the stability required by a high class player of soccer which is much more than just having the best soccer balls.