Cardio is vital to you as a soccer player, but to put the oomph in your kicks you need powerful thighs, core muscles and hips. Though the lower body muscles are what you primarily use, you need your entire body to be strong. Excellent soccer players thrive on endurance, and the best routine will combine anaerobic and aerobic exercises that target your primary on-field actions.
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Burpee into Star Squat
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing will be found in your ability to jump for the ball. Not only will the burpee into star squat strengthen your core and upper body, but it will also help improve your jumping and strengthen your quads. Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Drop to the ground by squatting and leaning forward. When your hands touch the ground, kick back both of your feet so that you are in a pushup position. Draw your feet back under your body and roll your weight to your heels. Jump up, extending both arms and legs out and to the sides, making the shape of a star. Bring your legs back together and land, rolling your weight back to your heels and repeating for the desired repetitions. Keep your core tight and do not arch your back. Add ankle weights to make your jumps stronger and your core more powerful.
Plie Squat Jump
Aside from adding more power to your thighs, the plie squat jump also works the hip adductors, which are the muscles you need when passing the ball with the inside of your foot. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart and your arms together in front of your chest. Squat down, keeping the weight in your heels and your core tight. Jump into the air and tap your heels together beneath your body before bringing them back out to slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Land and roll your weight into your heels to repeat for desired repetitions. For added difficulty add ankle weights.
Hanging Leg Lift Plus Kicks
Kicking is the most-used action in soccer. Bringing your legs up and forward is controled by your hip flexors, and the hanging leg lift plus kicks exercise strengthens them along with your upper body. Hold onto a pull-up bar with a shoulder-width grip, placing some tension in your biceps and back. Keeping them bent, raise both legs to the height of your belly button. Extend both legs and hold for two seconds before returning to the bent position. Lower legs and repeat for the desired repetitions. For added difficulty, hold your body at the top part of a pullup throughout this exercise.
Medicine Ball Throws
The ability to throw the ball with power and accuracy is often overlooked in soccer training. Working your back and shoulders will develop your throwing arms, and the medicine ball throws mimic a soccer throw perfectly. Grab a partner or find a soft surface to catch your throws. Stand with one leg back and one leg forward, keeping your weight on the front leg. Holding a medicine ball with both hands, bring it back behind your head. Throw the ball forward as hard as you can using your core and upper body. Retrieve the ball and repeat for desired reps. Since this is meant to mimic your on-field throw, you can make variations to this to accommodate your throwing styles.
Weighted Jumping Jacks
Strong calves are necessary for effective sprinting and running, so keeping them strong is vital to everything you do on the field. To target your calves while performing weighted jumping jacks, stay on your toes the whole time instead of letting your heels touch the ground. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward. Jump and move your legs out as you raise your hands, controlling the weight throughout the upward arch. Land on the balls of your feet before jumping again, bringing your arms down and bringing your legs back together. Repeat for 30 to 60 seconds. The added weight makes your body a bit heavier, but it also works on your shoulders.
Tips and Consideration
Strength training is important, but cardio is what you will rely on the most consistently throughout your soccer games. Don't skimp on performing cardio exercises such as running, swimming and cycling. Warm up before starting your workout and stretch after your warmup. Stay hydrated and stop working out if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.