Circuit training offers benefit upon benefit for a soccer player. When you fly through your strength exercises one after the other, only resting between each round, you build your endurance. You also save time in the weight room -- valuable especially once the competitive season starts, notes strength coach Greg Gatz in “Complete Conditioning for Soccer.”
Warm-Up and Scheduling
You have your options on how to warm up before starting your circuit. You can jog or ride your bike to the strength room to arrive ready to go. Or walk on a treadmill once you’re there or lift weights lightly. Other options include dribbling a soccer ball, performing the grapevine step or doing walking knee lifts. Anything that raises your body temperature and gets you to sweat lightly should work. Then complete one of your circuits. Aim to do three a week on nonconsecutive days, rotating through a different one each time.
Lower-Body or Upper-Body Circuits
To focus on your lower body, Gatz suggests a circuit consisting of dumbbell squats to calf raises, 100-meter sprints, dumbbell side lunges, exercise ball leg curls and a one-minute sprint on the stationary bike. For an upper-body circuit, try the dumbbell curl and press, the incline body row, the upper-body step-up, the seated cable pull-down and the incline pushup. For each circuit, complete three or four sets, resting one minute between sets.
Get ready to become best friends with your dumbbells; kettlebells could also work well for this circuit. With no rest between each exercise, perform five reps of hang cleans, squats to overhead presses, forward lunges and curls, split jerks and squat jumps. Rest one minute after each set and complete five sets.
You can perform circuits if you lack access to free weights. A well-designed program at Yankton High School in South Dakota calls for doing back-to-back sets of 10 burpees, dips and reverse crunches with hip lifts. Rest for 30 seconds, and perform squats, pushups and supermans. After another rest, perform split-squat jumps, calf raises and wide pushups. An additional circuit can include mountain climbers, flutter kicks, wide pushups, and jumps with knees to chest.