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Guide to Strength Training for Female Soccer Players

Due to the rise in popularity of women’s soccer, it has been shown that more women are taking up the sport and becoming successful. It is vital that soccer players’ have a strong posterior chain to create balance between the front and the back of the body. This balance will not only help lead to improved performance on the field but can also play a major role in helping reduce the likelihood of injury either during a practice or while on the field. This is why we feel it’s useful to understand the importance of strength training for female soccer players.

The best soccer players need a combination of speed, agility, and stamina to outlast their opponents on the pitch. It is an absolute must to focus on strength and power while working out so that your body remains strong and powerful.  

 

Benefits of Strength Training For Female Soccer Players

Muscle Mass Maintenance: Endurance and strength training for soccer players builds and maintains muscle mass which in turn signals your muscles to adapt and grow bigger or stronger depending on which muscles you train.

Low Impact Cardio: Strength Training Is one of the best forms of Low-Impact Cardio as it focuses on compound movement. These movements involve more than one joint and muscle group and it is recommended that rest between exercises should be minimal.

Weight Management: Strength Training is one of the major benefits of strength training for women as it supports weight loss and management and protects bone health. 

Strength Training Tips

  • Lunges are a great lower body workout for soccer players because they keep your upper legs strongand build muscle fast.

  • Wall sits strengthen your thighs and quads and they protect the knees from injuries.

  • Pushup are great because they increase upper body strength  

  • Planking strengthens the core and the muscles on the back

  • Sit-upsare great to keep the core strong and engaged

 

Best Exercises For Soccer Players 

The workouts listed below focus on three key areas for soccer players: speed, endurance, and agility, which are three of the most demanding parts of the game.. (i)

Speed

These drills will help you accelerate more quickly so you can go past the defenders and reach those deep crosses for a spectacular finish. 

Single leg squats 
Squats are excellent for strengthening essential leg muscular groups like the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Single-leg squats are a simple collection of leg workouts for soccer players at home that assist improve the power to launch yourself forward while sprinting.
Dumbbell bench step-ups 
Dumbbell bench step-ups, according to Tony Strudwick, Manchester United's head of health and conditioning, help strengthen the same muscle area that will be used while transitioning from a sprint to a jump for those wonderful set-piece headers. (ii)
Weighted Sled Drags 
The sled drag puts a lot of strain on your calves, glutes, core, back, and shoulders, which you employ to drive yourself forward. When it comes to acceleration, working these muscles hard has a large payoff because it boosts your power production and ground response forces.

Endurance

These exercises will help you develop the stamina you'll need to play in long contests. They will also assist you in avoiding the consequences of tiredness before the game is finished.

Running
Running is beneficial because it forces your body to push itself and strengthens your legs. When your legs are performing the majority of the effort, it also widens your airways, allowing you to breathe in more oxygen, boosting blood flow and providing an extra pump of blood to your legs, not to mention enhancing general circulation while you run. 
Burpee Pull-Ups 
Burpee pull-ups challenge your body by exercising a variety of muscular groups, including your arms, chest, quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. Burpee pull-ups are an excellent way to increase your endurance and fitness. They target a range of muscle groups and are suitable for people of all fitness levels.
Lateral Band Walks  
Exercises like band walks assist stimulate the glutes, which can help prevent injury and muscle fatigue. They can be done both before and after a game.

Agility

Great footwork, balance, and the ability to change directions rapidly do not happen by accident: they are the consequence of some focused gym time. Here are some drills to help you improve your technique.

Medicine Ball Push-Ups 
While push-ups may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking of agility, they are essential for strengthening your core. This helps your balance, allowing you to make those quick spins without falling flat on your face in the mud. 
Lateral Hurdle Sprints 
This drill can help you improve your footwork and avoid injury while jumping. It's also useful for preventing falls.
Forward - Backward Sprints  
Sprinting backwards and forwards helps you prepare for sudden changes in direction by training your body to move swiftly in any direction. Backward sprints, in particular, aid in the development of muscle memory for when you can't take your gaze away from an oncoming striker.

Recovery In Soccer & The Importance of It

Sprinting, jumping, shooting, tackling, and physical contact are all part of the game of soccer. Due to the exertion of these tasks, it may cause weariness. Our bodies can repair and prepare for the next training load during recovery. It facilitates our bodies to perform at their optimum. Soccer recovery stretches and an overall recovery period are critical for a player's physical and psychological well-being.

Scientific evidence is growing to support the advantages of recuperation following strength exercise, which include (iii):

  • Assists in the clearance of waste products from the muscles, such as lactic acid

  • Returns the body to near resting levels

  • Gets the body ready for the next round of exercise

  • Allows you to continue to operate at high levels

  • May help minimize your injury rate

  • Reduces muscle soreness

Click here to learn more about what causes muscle soreness during an exercise and how to relieve muscular ache afterward.  

Recovery strategies

  • Mobility work

  • Cool Down

  • Active Recovery

With all the above in mind, we can certainly see that strength training is important when playing the game of Soccer. It is also doubly important that recovery be performed and done right as well in order to condition the body to play the sport at a very high level in terms of fitness and skill. Everything aligned and recovery exercises for soccer players in place, you can be sure of your body performing at its best in the game and you feeling great after every game played!

Click here to learn more about Active Recovery and how Muscle Recovery Tools Aren't Just For Athletes. 

 

References:  

  1. https://www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/inside-track/fitness/the-best-gym-workouts-for-footballers/ 

  2. https://www.fitnessfirst.co.uk/inside-track/fitness/the-best-gym-workouts-for-footballers/

  3. https://fit4football.co.nz/physical-conditioning/recovery/

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