Now that soccer season has ended, how would you grade your overall performance? Would you benefit from building more upper-body muscle to throw the ball farther downfield? Greater leg strength for a more powerful kick? Or perhaps improved agility and endurance? (See Strength Training for Soccer with Functional Circuit Workout.)
Get a jump-start on next year's season by addressing these issues; and make sure you're in top shape when soccer resumes with the following exercise combos. This offseason-conditioning program focuses on core, upper- and lower-body strength, vertical leaping ability, endurance and agility—all key components when you're running in multiple directions up and down the field.
The only equipment needed for the combos are a one- or two-foot box or weight bench; a moderately heavy (12- to 15-pound) medicine ball; and six cones for agility movements. Do a dynamic warm-up beforehand and finish with cool-down static upper- and lower-body stretches to promote flexibility.
Box Jumps/Push-ups Combo
Sets/Reps: Perform sequence without resting in five reps, then four, three, two and one. Rest 60 seconds and repeat both movements.
The exercise combination will help your ability to decelerate to a sudden stop on the soccer field, then reaccelerate quickly. This is because it builds endurance while also strengthening the hips, legs, shoulders, arms and chest through an explosive plyometric movement.
- Assume athletic stance facing box approximately one foot away
- Holding med ball overhead, squat and rapidly jump onto box with both feet, pause one second, and jump back off
- Land in starting squat position and immediately jump on box again and back off, this time without pausing
- Repeat three more jumps
- Without rest, go into a push-up position with both hands on medicine ball and perform five Push-Ups
Medicine Ball Throws/Run In Place
- Holding med ball overhead, assume athletic stance facing wall about three feet away
- Bend arms and explosively throw ball against wall
- Catch ball on the rebound and immediately run in place for 15 seconds holding ball overhead
- Drive knees high toward waist while running
- Continue ball throw/catch/run sequence four more times
- Rest 60 seconds for a water break and repeat sequence
Plyometric Push-Ups/Zigzag Sprints/Prone Plank Combo
An effective upper-body and core strengthener. The sprints enhance endurance and multi-directional agility, both critical on the field.
- Arrange six cones in zigzag pattern about five yards apart
- Perform five Plyometric Push-Ups, then sprint around each cone
- Backpedal to start
- Immediately do four Plyo Push-Ups and Zigzag Sprints, return, and end with three Plyo Push-Ups/Sprints
- Without resting, assume elevated prone plank position on box or bench for 45 seconds
- Rest 60 seconds, hydrate, and repeat sequence
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