Train Like a Pro: MLS Soccer Strength Program

Soccer players: Build strength for the pitch with a strength program used by MLS stars Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall and Eriq Zavaleta.

Soccer players: Build strength for the pitch with this program created by Mike Robertson, president of Robertson Training Systems and co-owner of I-Fast (Indianpolis). The program is performed by MLS stars like Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall and Eriq Zavaleta.

The program is designed to build a foundation of strength for soccer players. Although soccer isn't necessarily considered a strength sport, strength plays an important role in gameplay. "Too many young soccer players think strength is only important in the gym," says Robertson. "Who's going to run faster, someone who can Squat 100 pounds or 300 pounds?"

Robertson admits that soccer players don't need to lift like football players; but, he says, "very minimal strength training and learning how to use your body more efficiently are going to make you faster, more powerful and more explosive on the pitch."

The strength program consists of three workouts per week focused on lower-body and core development, specifically the abs and hamstrings. However, it also includes upper-body moves that create balanced strength. Each workout ends with a finisher that trains the slow-twitch muscles you need to stay on the field for an entire match.

Upon completion of this program, your increased strength, power and speed with improve your play on the pitch.

MLS Soccer Strength Program Notes

  • This is a snapshot of one week in the overall plan.
  • Start each workout with a dynamic warm-up and finish with a cooldown.
  • Start off lighter than you expect and make sure you perform every exercise with perfect form.
  • Adjust the sets, reps and weight as needed to maintain a challenge. As a general guideline, if you can perform two additional reps on your final set, it's time to add weight.
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Danny O'Rourke Soccer Strength Workout

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