Conditioning for Women's Soccer

March 4, 2013 | Allison Skufca


To really develop and maintain your fitness level as a female soccer player requires a combination of anaerobic and aerobic training. (See The Truth About Aerobic and Anaerobic Training.) Think about it: you need the power to jump for a header or sprint 10 yards to a ball and recover quickly—and to last the full 90 minutes of a regulation game. That's why combining anaerobic activities like jumping, sprinting and short agility drills with aerobic activities like continuous running with few recovery breaks is essential in a soccer conditioning program.

Pre-Season Training

The pre-season is when soccer players develop their fitness level. Optimally, a player will spend six weeks devoting two days per week to anaerobic fitness and another two to aerobic fitness. The following training schedule (comprising Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) is a sample of how you should be preparing to be at your best next season. (See also How to Start an Off-Season Soccer Training Program, Part 1.)

Monday: Anaerobic Training


Plyometrics. To perform plyometrics with proper form, keep your heels on the ground at the start of the jump and in line with your feet when landing. Always keep your hips back and do not land on your toes.

Sets/Reps: 4x6 with 90 seconds rest

  • Squat Jumps
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Single Leg Lateral Jumps

Sprint Drills

  • 10-yard sprints - 5x60 seconds rest
  • 20-yard sprints - 5x60 seconds rest
  • 30-yard sprints - 4x60 seconds rest
  • 40-yard sprints - 4x60 seconds rest

Tuesday: Aerobic Training with Interval Drills

Beep Test. The beep test is to determine your fitness level.

  • Start off at a slow pace and run 25 yards before the beep sounds
  • As the levels get higher, the pace gets faster
  • When you are unable to finish before the beep, you're done and the level is recorded
  • Run this one time

Soccer Interval Test. This test is done with and without the ball.

  • Start by running 10 yards down and back twice
  • Run 25 yards down and back once
  • You should finish in 30 seconds with a 30-second rest
  • Run 25 yards down and back once
  • You should finish is 29 seconds with a 30-second rest
  • Each run, the time gets lower until you are unable to finish and the level is recorded

The following video demonstrates the Soccer Interval Test:

300-Yard Shuttle Run (25-yard intervals). This test is run six times down and back at 80% max speed.

  • Run 2 times with a 5-minute rest.

Wednesday: Anaerobic Training with Agility Drills

Here is a video demonstrating each of the following agility drills:

Pro Agility (5-10-5)

  • 3 runs starting to the right
  • 3 runs starting to the left
  • Each with a 45-second rest

L-Drill

  • 4 runs with 30-second rest

T-Drill

  • 4 runs with 30-second rest

Thursday: Aerobic training with Footwork and Sprint Drills

Footwork Drills (2 sets of each x 30 seconds with 30-second rest)

  • Toe Taps
  • Scissors
  • Step Overs
  • Foundation
  • Inside-outside right and left foot
  • Inside-outside both feet

J.P. Shuttle (60-yard shuttle; run five sets with 30-second rest)

Gassers (100-yard shuttle; run 5 times with 30-second rest)

Bomb Drill (20-yard by 20-yard box; run one time)

  • Start by jogging three sides of the field and sprinting the last
  • Jog two sides and sprint two
  • Jog one side and sprint three
  • Sprint all four sides
  • Progress back down with jogging all four sides as last run

In-Season Training

Since you will be practicing with your team two to four times a week, your conditioning schedule should scale down to only twice a week, one for anaerobic training and the other for aerobic training. (See In-Season Soccer Training Program.)

Anaerobic Day: Plyometrics and Sprint Drills

  • Box Hops - 2x8 with 60 seconds rest between sets
  • 10-yard sprints - 4 runs with 60 seconds rest
  • 20-yard sprints - 3 runs with 60 seconds rest
  • 30-yard sprints - 2 runs with 60 seconds rest
  • 40-yard sprints - 1 run

Aerobic Day: Timed Runs in 30-Yard Intervals

Perform at a 70 to 75% max pace with jogs at 50% max pace.

  • 90-second runs with 60-second jog - 3x4-minute rest
  • 60-second runs with 45-second jog - 4x4-minute rest
  • 45-second runs with 45-second jog - 5x5-minute rest
  • 30-second runs with 30-second jog - 6x5-minute rest
  • 20-second runs with 30-second jog - 7x5-minute rest
  • Finish

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