During the summer, soccer players need to strike a balance between building strength and making sure their bodies are prepared for the upcoming season. This training plan helps you improve your strength and build muscle through the use of Tempo exercises, in which you perform the second half of a rep slowly, working your muscles for a longer duration and increasing time under tension, a key for building muscle tissue. Bonus: performing reps in this manner helps you develop the strength you need to decelerate (i.e., slow down and change direction quickly) and reduce your risk of suffering a knee or ankle injury—two common trouble spots for soccer players.
- Start each session with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up. Finish with a 10-minute cooldown.
- Move through a full range of motion on every exercise. You're better off using less weight and doing the moves correctly.
- For exercises that include the word "Tempo," perform the lowering portion of each rep over five seconds. For example, on the Tempo Chin-Up, take five seconds to lower your body from the bar until your arms are fully extended at the bottom. Have a partner time you so you can focus on performing the rep rather than counting seconds.
- Take recovery time only when specified. The sequence is designed to improve your conditioning as well as increasing your strength.
Slow tempo reps can make you feel sore later. To counteract that soreness, Boldt recommends performing a post-workout bike routine and/or taking a contrast shower.
- Bike Routine—Pedal for 10 to 15 minutes at a moderate pace (at which you can still hold a conversation).
- Contrast Shower—Take a shower right after you finish your workout. Alternate between hot and cold water every two minutes for a total of 16 minutes.
Terminal Knee Extension
Benefits: Increases quad strength, helping to reduce the risk of ACL injury.
How to: Assume a slightly staggered stance. Place a resistance band around the back of your thigh just above the knee of your forward leg. Bend your knee slightly
Half-Kneeling, Single-Arm Landmine Press
Benefits: Increases shoulder strength without putting too much stress on your shoulder joints.
How to: Assume a half kneeling position with your right knee on the ground. Hold the end of a barbell with your right hand in front of your shoulder. Keeping your core tight, press the barbell up and in front. Slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.
Benefits: Improves ab strength by teaching them to prevent extension of the spine.
How to: Kneel behind a physioball and place your forearms on the ball. Keeping your back flat and your arms straight, roll the ball forward as far as your core strength allows. Pull the ball back toward your body to return to the starting position.