Updated: Feb 1
We want a good combo between weight training and cardio. Cardio allows players to be in top shape and play a 90 minute match at the highest level. Weight training will build more muscle. Explosive strength can certainly give players an advantage on the pitch. Plus more lean muscle mass means higher metabolism which in turns helps athletes to stay in shape. As a disclaimer young players do not need to be lifting weights. Lifting is for high school aged athletes and up generally speaking.
Overload Principle- The Overload Principle is a basic sports fitness training concept. It means that in order to improve, athletes must continually work harder as they their bodies adjust to existing workouts.
Hypertrophy (muscle growth) will result from tearing apart the muscle through exercise. The muscle grows back bigger and stronger.
Eccentric (negative motion) is really good for hypertrophy. Can do negative sets where you take the weight down on a slow 5 count.
Nervous system will adjust to allow for increased hypertrophy.
To be more specific you should really be going till failure at the end of your workout. Some days you will go heavier and some days will go for more reps. But either day at the end you should be very taxed. Even within the workout a lot of sets should be going till you can’t get any more reps. You will want to be in the 10-30 reps zone for the most part (where you are having a very difficult time getting your last rep). Sometimes you may go for more strength doing only 5 reps. And sometimes you may go for a hard burnout hitting 30 reps where your muscle is on fire at the end.
Ideally it is best to limit the real heavy weight where less than 5 reps are being done. Doing lower reps is harder on your bones, ligaments, and tendons. When you do more reps in the 15-30 range you will recruit more muscle fibers and have increased hypertrophy. If you look at what bodybuilders do, they do more reps. Also when you aren’t going for a 1 rep max you decrease the chance of injury greatly. It is important to watch your form and have good mechanics to protect yourself from injury. A key phrase in building muscle is “time under tension.” This refers to how long you are doing an exercise. Obviously if you are doing 3 reps that is a low time under tension. But if you are doing 20 reps it will be higher. A key thing to remember is most of these sets should be going to failure. So if you are doing 20 reps you should have a tough time getting the last rep. Not everything has to be done to failure but it should be a good workout. When you feel that burn you are recruiting muscle fibers. A good idea is to pyramid an exercise which simply means start with a lower weight and more reps and then pyramid up to a higher weight with lower reps and then back down. Doing circuit work is a great idea too. A circuit is where you have 3 or 4 or 5 exercises you are doing and you are going around in a circuit doing them. This way you can get a good workout at each one and not get completely burnt out.
Here are some good exercises for various muscle groups
Squats- drive through your heels. Don’t let your knees go over your toes. When you take the weight down it should be like you are sitting back into a chair.
Quad extension machines
Hamstring curl machines
Glute kickback machines
Stairstepper is a great combo of strength and cardio (especially banded stair stepper)
Chest, triceps, and shoulders (upper body push movements)
Incline and decline bench and dumbbell press
Shoulder press with dumbbells
Chest and shoulder machines
Tricep rope pulldowns
Dips and dip machines
Close grip bench for tri’s
Back and biceps (upper body pull movements)
Pullups (assisted pull ups) neutral grip, chip up grip- more bi’s, wide pullups grip- more back/ lats
T- bar row
Bent over rows with bar
Bicep bar curls
Back machines like rows
Lateral and front raises - will hit shoulders too
Battle ropes- good mix of cardio and muscle hypertrophy
Leg lifts and weighted leg lifts
Sit Ups on decline bench with weight on chest
Running is great for abs
Things like squats and pullups you will utilize your abs as support
Here is an idea for a leg workout.
Run a mile to warm up
You will do a circuit between leg press, goblet squats, and lunges.
Pyramid the leg press but not the other 2 exercises.
Leg press set 1
Increase weight- leg press set 2
Increase weight leg press set 3. Now will stay at this weight for a while
3.Lower weight on leg press to setting 2
Lower weight on leg press to setting 1
Stair Master to finish for 10 mins
That can be a very intense workout. So if necessary you can either cut one of the sets out in the beginning or lower the weight so you can complete it.
This is a good workout because it does not put a lot of stress on the lower back like squats and deadlifts can. Squats and deadlifts are good exercises when done with proper form and appropriate weight.
Running is very important to a soccer player’s success. Running outside is better than a treadmill as on a treadmill the ground is moving under you so you don’t have to push off as much. But please do not run in the freezing cold! Treadmill can also be nice because it makes you stay consistent with your pace.
Doing different running workouts is a good idea. Some days can be longer distances at a slower pace, and some days short distances at a faster pace. Doing track workouts is always great. Sprint workouts will help to increase speed.
Here is an idea for a track workout:
-Run an 800 or a mile to warm up
Now you will do a ladder
100 sprint- then finish the remaining lap back to the beginning on a slow jog
200 sprint- then finish with jog
300 sprint- FWJ
300 sprint -FWJ
200 sprint- FWJ
100 sprint- FWJ
Other workouts like sled sprints can be very beneficial too.