Soccer players are among the quickest and fastest athletes. And they must be able to perform at top speed for entire matches—that is, unless they are subbed out.
So it makes perfect sense that the MLS’s Montreal Impact would focus their workouts on getting quicker and faster.
STACK was on hand to watch the entire Impact team go through its in-season workout at the Michael Johnson Performance in McKinney, Texas.
The players performed a 60-minute workout that included a variety of speed, conditioning and endurance drills. But, they also hit the weights—hard.
Did they lift hundreds and hundreds of pounds like football players? No. Soccer is primarily a speed and endurance sport, and big, hulking muscles are not as advantageous. Since this was an in-season workout, the goal was to maintain strength, not build it.
Instructions: Do this workout once or twice per week during your season. Perform grouped exercises in superset fashion.
Montreal Impact Workout
Benefits: Builds explosive hip strength, needed when accelerating to the ball from a standstill.
- Adjust the bar to mid-shin height.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart with the bar close to your shins.
- Bend your hips and knees to grasp the bar with an overhand, shoulder-width grip.
- Pull your shoulders back and down, fully extend your elbows, stick your chest out and tuck your chin.
- Keeping your back straight, extend your hips and knees to stand up.
- Repeat the sequence in reverse to lower the bar to the ground.
Lateral Hops With Taps
Benefits: Improves footwork and lateral quickness, essential for soccer players, who need to move quickly from side-to-side.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart next to a 6- to 12-inch hurdle.
- Hop over the hurdle and land softly.
- Immediately chop both feet twice.
- Repeat the sequence back and forth over the hurdle.
Sets/Reps: 2×3-4 each direction
Benefits: Builds a foundation of lower-body strength.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell on your upper back.
- Keeping your back straight, sink your hips back and lower into a Squat until your thighs are at a 45-degree angle with the ground.
- Extend your hips and knees to drive up out of the Squat.
Box Toe Touches
Benefits: Teaches your feet to spend less time on the ground, which is critical for making small footwork adjustments while dribbling.
- Stand 6 inches in front of 6- to 8-inch box.
- Bring your right foot onto the box.
- Drive your left knee up and lightly touch your toe to the box, while simultaneously touching your right foot to the ground.
- Continue in an alternating fashion.
Sets/Reps: 2×6-8 each leg
Benefits: Soccer players need full-body strength to battle with opponents in close quarters. This exercise builds that.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Position a barbell across the front of your shoulders and grasp it with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip.
- Lower into a quarter squat. Explosively extend your hips, knees and ankles to jump up and drive the bar overhead.
- Fully extend your arms to finish the rep.
- Lower the bar to the starting position.
Med Ball Slams
Benefits: Increases explosive core strength needed for powerful kicks and helps you make longer inbound throws from the sideline.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a med ball at chest height with your arms extended.
- Rise up onto your toes, lift the med ball overhead and slam it straight down, generating power through your hips and core.
- Catch the ball off the bounce and set up for your next rep.
Keiser Hip Drives
Benefits: Takes the foundational strength developed with the Squat and turns it into power you can use on the field when kicking and passing.
If you don’t have access to Keiser equipment, try Dumbbell Squat Jumps.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold light dumbbells at your sides.
- Keeping your chest up, lower into a quarter squat.
- Extend your hips, knees and ankles to explode up for maximum height.
- Land softly with your knees slightly bent, and immediately repeat.
Keiser Power Runner
Benefits: Develops single-leg strength and power so you can move quickly in every direction on the field.
If you don’t have access to Keiser equipment, try Dumbbell Step-Ups
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart about 6 inches away from a knee-high box or bench.
- Hold dumbbells at your sides. Step onto the box with your right foot and contract your quads and glute to drive your body up.
- Drive your left knee up until your thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Lower to the ground and perform leading with your left foot.
Sets/Reps: 2×5 each leg
Speed and Conditioning
Benefits: Improves acceleration and top speed by increasing stride power.
- Stand in your starting position with a harness around your waist.
- Have a partner stand behind you holding a strap attached to your harness.
- Sprint for the specified distance while your partner resists your forward momentum.
Sets/Distance: 2×10 yards
Benefits: Gives you the endurance you need to play at your best for a full match.
- Set up one cone at the starting line and another cone 40 yards away.
- Sprint to the far cone, slow down and touch it as you change directions.
- Sprint to the starting cone, slow down and touch the cone as you change directions.
- Repeat this sequence.
- When you return to the starting cone on your last sprint, change directions and sprint for another 5 yards to finish the drill.