It is one of the most popular and most practiced sports. But you need a good physical preparation to be able to perform well on the field and to last for a whole 90 minutes game.
In order to reduce the risk of injury and to finish a game, or simply to keep fit in the off-season, a program is essential. Generally, a good physical preparation before the soccer season involves sessions over at least 5 weeks.
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Importance of physical preparation for soccer
What does a specific physical preparation for soccer consist of and how to succeed? It consists in following a training program, a set of exercises aimed at developing the player's athletic performance.
At home, the primary objective is not to do ball exercises, but rather to be ready at the muscular, respiratory and cardiac levels before the resumption date on the field.
A successful physical preparation will allow the athlete to be in a better condition to :
- Avoiding the risk of injury, through the exercises of muscle building and sheathing
- Develop the right technical skills to be more effective on the field
- Work on your explosiveness to have the maximum physical capacity necessary for more endurance in matches
It is true that the ultimate goal of the preparation at the beginning of the season is to develop the physical and technical abilities of the player. It is also what allows him to keep good performances throughout the season. But, it is also very important on the psychological level, to increase self-confidence during the games.
Successful physical preparation for soccer
To ensure better results over the course of a full season, players need to do some physical work beforehand. A variety of physical exercises, integrated into a training program designed to improve their skills with or without the ball, can prepare them for this.
Working on strength
Strength is the physical quality that allows you to acquire more speed, resistance, power and especially to improve your VMA (maximum aerobic speed) is the speed at which your oxygen consumption is at its maximum. In other words, the greater the muscle strength, the more speed you can generate.
The stronger the muscles, the more resistant they are to fatigue. Working on strength, especially in the legs and core, is therefore essential in both amateur and professional soccer. It improves performance during kicks and reduces the risk of injury in the event of unavoidable contact on the field.
In soccer, having explosive strength allows a player to gain power and speed. Every player who improves his explosiveness will have an advantage over his opponent because he gains power during counter-attacks. Moreover, it allows him to win his duels and especially to be reactive in the game.
In order to be better on the field, developing explosive strength is therefore essential for a soccer player. Of course, having speed and agility are essential, but developing explosive power and improving alertness on the field are factors that will allow you to be more dynamic during games. It is a quality that also contributes to improving endurance.
To develop explosiveness, functional training is necessary. They are designed to increase whole-body muscular strength. As you develop it, you also improve your balance, core strength and mobility.
8 exercises for a good soccer physical preparation
In this section, you will discover some movements that will help you prepare for the season. They have the advantage of being easy to do at home, while promoting toning, endurance and cardiovascular capacity through changes in rhythm.
Jumping jack is an effective way to stimulate all the muscles of the body and to activate the cardiovascular system. It is a complete exercise, especially used in cardio sessions and warm-up because it accelerates the heart rate as well as the breathing and burns a lot of calories.
For its execution :
- Stand with your legs together, arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly and jump into the air.
- Jump with your legs about shoulder-width apart, raising your arms to your sides above your head
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat at a steady pace
Do 3 sets of one minute each.
The squat is a movement that helps strengthen and tone the lower body. This functional exercise can be performed virtually anywhere without equipment and does not require a large space.
It is a basic movement that strengthens the legs and knee tendons like no other. It also improves hip mobility and increases heart rate while burning fat.
- Place feet shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs, head in line with your spine and keep your eyes forward
- Slowly bend your knees and let your hips drop to lower your body. Push your buttocks back as if you were trying to sit in a chair a little far away. This shifts the load to the heels, which remain stuck to the floor.
- Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower if your ankles are flexible enough.
- Stay in the down position for 1 second and then push hard on the legs to the starting position.
Do 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 reps. If you have elastic bands or dumbbells, you can increase the resistance.
Lunges are one of the best ways to work the entire lower body. It is a very effective exercise for developing the gluteal muscles, hips, legs and improving balance.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then take a large step forward with your right foot.
- Put your hands on your hips for stability, contract your abs and keep your back straight.
- Lower the back knee to a 90 degree angle so that both knees are bent.
- Shift your weight forward, allowing your back heel to rise.
- Press down on your front heel as you push off to return to the starting position.
After 10-20 reps, switch legs and do 3 sets for each leg.
Push-ups are practical and easy to perform exercises that aim to build muscle and strengthen the upper body. The classic push-ups or its various variants mobilize several muscle groups for their execution.
They particularly target the pectorals, triceps and anterior deltoids (the outer part of the shoulders). They are complete exercises that do not require any additional equipment. That's why push-ups are one of the main exercises to include in your physical preparation program.
Execution of classic pumps :
- Get into the plank position
- Place palms on the floor, shoulder width apart or slightly wider
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your body aligned from the top of your head to your feet.
- Lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor, elbows form a 45° V angle with the chest and shoulders should stay down. The head and neck should not go into the shoulders. You're not a turtle, though 😂
- Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat by breathing in during the descent and breathing out during the ascent
For this exercise, do 3 sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Here is a video of Ken with 8 variations of push-ups:
This movement specifically targets your core muscles, i.e. the rectus, obliques and lower back (quadratus lumborum). It is a body weight exercise that can be done anywhere and helps stabilize the torso. Crunches strengthen the abdominal muscles to improve performance during acceleration and running.
- Lie on your back. Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the floor, keeping a hip-width apart. Place your arms on your chest or on either side of your neck (without pulling on them). Contract your abs as you exhale.
- Exhale and lift your upper body, keeping your head and neck relaxed.
- Breathe in and return to the starting position.
Do 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions
Watch how Sandja does 3 types of crunches:
It is a fantastic all-around exercise for the thighs and abdominal muscles while improving cardiovascular capabilities. Plus, it burns tons of calories. The shoulders, arms and chest also work to stabilize the upper body while the core stabilizes the entire body.
- Get into a plank position with your arms outstretched
- Bend your right knee forward, keeping your head and neck in line with your back as straight as possible
- Extend the leg to return to the starting position
- Alternate with the left knee, keeping a steady rhythm
For this exercise, perform 3 sets of one minute or more.
The double crunch is a great way to target multiple core muscles with one exercise. It combines the standard crunch with the reverse crunch and requires little to no equipment. It is an exercise that works the abdominal muscles and helps strengthen the entire musculature.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hands placed at your side (alternatively, you can cross your arms over your chest)
- Slowly raise your knees until your thighs are just past 90 degrees with the floor while lifting your head and shoulders off the floor to bring your chest toward your knees.
- Return to the starting position
Do 3 sets of 20 to 25 repetitions
The Superman exercise is an exercise for all fitness levels. It targets the lumbar muscles, glutes, hamstrings and also the abdominals. It should definitely be a part of your workouts to reduce lower back pain and limit the risk of lower back injuries during a game.
- Lie on your stomach, legs straight with toes on the floor and arms straight out in front of you. Keep a shoulder width apart.
- Lift your arms and legs at the same time, as if you were becoming a rocking chair 😅
- Hold this position for 30 seconds (imagine you are flying at this point, it will help the time pass), before returning to the starting position. You should feel the lower back, buttocks and back of the thighs working in the hold position.
- Do this at least 3 times.
Alternatively, you can also do sets of 10 reps where you hold the position for only 5-10 seconds.
Strength training program with elastics in videos
Of course, it is always good to have a coach available to accompany you during your sessions. It's even better if you can visualize each movement and find extra motivation.
If this is important to you, I recommend the athletic muscle gain program FitHomeCoach - 2 in 1 of Ken Coaching. All the sessions are recorded on video and Ken really explains everything so that you can progress in the best conditions. In addition, he gives you free advice via video conference every week.
You can use this very complete program for at least 6 to 12 months because it includes a lot of full-body and half-body sessions. My advice if you are a beginner, is to start with the full-body cycles, then follow the half-body cycles using stronger resistances.
What I particularly like is that he doesn't give unnecessary spiel, but walks you through the session with you. A real coach like we like them 😉
Soccer physical preparation program - Conclusion
Of course, if you have a physical trainer, as in professional clubs, he will be able to establish a specific physical preparation program. But not everyone is so lucky...
In any case, to perform well for a full season and be effective in all games, it is not enough to have talent. It's also important to have a physical preparation program, and it's not something you do randomly. If you don't, you'll regret it later in the season. And it may be too late to fix it...
The 8 exercises presented to you will help you improve your speed, rhythm and explosiveness over the long term. Implement this cardiovascular and muscular workout with 5 weeks to go.