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How to Train Like a Soccer Player

February 18, 2013 | Alessandro Brazzit

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If you look at most soccer players, you will see lean, strong athletes. Why? Soccer players are constantly on the move, so they have to be strong and light on their feet.

Soccer players don't need to perform max effort lifts that build maximal strength and size. Instead, they should focus on developing full-body strength, improving single-leg stability and improving overall coordination. (See how Abby Wambach trains.)

The exercises below will help prevent lower-body injuries and improve speed and power on the field.

Reverse to Forward Lunge

  • From a standing position, hold kettlebell against chest just under chin; step backward into Reverse Lunge
  • Drive through heel of front foot to rise out of Lunge and immediately bring back leg forward to step into a Forward Lunge
  • Repeat with opposite leg

Dumbbell Step-Up to Knee Drive

  • Stand holding dumbbells at sides with knee-high plyo box in front
  • Step onto box with right leg, straighten leg and simultaneously drive left knee up
  • Step down under control
  • Perform with opposite leg
Check out the Airex pad version of this exercise.

Kettlebell Single-Leg RDL

  • Stand on left leg holding kettlebell in right hand
  • Hinge at hips and lower kettlebell down left leg in line with body
  • Contract glutes to rise out of RDL
  • Perform set with opposite leg
Watch Drew Brees perform this exercise.

Elevated Single-Arm Row to Knee Drive

  • Stand on right leg and grab cable handle with left hand
  • Pull left elbow back to perform row and drive up your left knee; Return to start and repeat
  • Perform set on opposite side

Kettlebell Speed Band Pullover

  • Lie down on bench and hold kettlebell with both hands in front of face with arms extended
  • Have partner stand on resistance band attached to kettlebell
  • Lower kettlebell in an arc overhead
  • Return kettlebell to start position in same arc motion

Dumbbell Kneeling Arm Swings

  • Kneel and hold dumbbells at your sides
  • Swing arms in alternating pattern as if running
  • Keep back straight and core tight

Standing Cable Lift

  • Stand and grab cable handle with both hands at left hip
  • Pull cable up and diagonally across body
  • Return to start position through same motion
  • Repeat on opposite side

Half-Kneeling Cable Chop

  • Assume half-kneeling position and grab cable handle with both hands at 10 o'clock position above shoulder
  • Pull cable down and diagonally across body to opposite hip
  • Return to start position through same motion
  • Repeat on opposite side

Soccer Training Program

Workout 1

  • Reverse to Forward Lunge: 4x3
  • Elevated Single-Arm Row to Knee Drive: 3x8
  • Dumbbell Kneeling Arm Swings: 3x10
  • Standing Cable Lift: 2x6

Workout 2

  • Dumbbell Step-Up to Knee Drive: 4x5
  • Kettlebell Single-Leg RDL: 3x8
  • Kettlebell Speed Band Pullover: 3x10
  • Half-Kneeling Cable Chop: 2x6

View the video below to see how to perform each exercise.

Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
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