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Strength and Conditioning for Soccer PDF

strength and conditioning training for soccer players pdf


Soccer is a physically demanding sport that requires a combination of speed, agility, endurance, and strength. To excel on the field, players need to have a strong foundation of physical fitness. This is where strength and conditioning training comes into play.

strength and conditioning training for soccer players pdf
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The Importance of Strength and Conditioning

Strength and conditioning training is essential for soccer players to enhance their physical performance and reduce the risk of injuries. It helps improve speed, power, agility, endurance, and overall strength.

Top Exercises for Soccer Players

1. Squats: Squats are a great exercise to build lower body strength. They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, which are all important muscles for soccer players.

2. Lunges: Lunges help improve balance, stability, and leg strength. They target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, just like squats.

3. Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets multiple muscle groups, including the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. They help improve overall strength and power.

4. Plyometric Exercises: Plyometric exercises, such as box jumps and lateral jumps, are great for improving explosive power and agility. They simulate the quick movements required in soccer.

5. Sprints: Sprinting is an excellent way to improve speed and endurance. It helps develop fast-twitch muscle fibers and improves cardiovascular fitness.

Sample Strength and Conditioning Routine

Here is a sample strength and conditioning routine for soccer players:

  • Warm-up: Start with a dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles for exercise.
  • Squats: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lunges: 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg
  • Deadlifts: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Box Jumps: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Lateral Jumps: 3 sets of 10 reps on each side
  • Sprints: 5 sets of 30 seconds with 1 minute rest in between
  • Cool-down: Finish with a static stretching routine to improve flexibility and prevent muscle soreness.


Soccer has increasingly evolved into a very athletic sport and soccer players are progressively becoming better athletes.

Within a game, players repeatedly perform high-intensity actions in which muscle power is crucial (Stølen et al. 2005).

These bursts of explosive actions, such as accelerating, sprinting, kicking, tackling, turning, changing direction, and jumping may be completed over 500 times during the game (Stølen et al. 2005).

In particular, the decisive phases during the game require the player to perform at high intensity (Bangsbo et al.2006; Rampinini et al. 2009). Speed, explosiveness, and the ability to intermittently repeat these high-intensity actions are fundamental to success in soccer (Cometti et al. 2001; Rampinini et  al. 2009).

Sprinting performance determines the outcome in match-winning actions (Cometti et al. 2001).

A greater acceleration and sprinting ability increase the possibility to get to the ball first, to dribble past an opponent, to create or stop a goal-scoring opportunity.

Straight sprinting is the most frequent action in goal situations in soccer, for both the assisting and the scoring player (Faude et al. 2012; Haugen et al. 2014).

Soccer is a fast-paced game and speed and explosiveness have become increasingly crucial in game situations (Barnes et al. 2014; Haugen et al. 2014).

In the last decade the number of sprints and sprint distance per game increased in the English Premier league by 85 percent and 35 percent respectively (Barnes et al. 2014).

Top-class players perform more high-intensity sprint actions during a game and cover a greater distance at very high speeds (Mohr et al. 2003).

Professional soccer players have also become progressively faster over the last 15 years (Haugen et al. 2012, 2014).

Sprinting speed, agility performance, and repeated-sprint ability can distinguish the elite from the sub-elite players (Cometti et al. 2001; Kaplan et al. 2009; Rampinini et al. 2009; Rebelo et al. 2013).

It is well established that strength and power are essential co-determinants of soccer performance (Haff 2012; Silva et al. 2013).

Higher strength and power levels enable a player to sprint faster, jump higher, stop and change direction more quickly, and kick the ball harder (López-Segovia et al. 2011; Wisløff et al. 2004).

Stronger players are able to better withstand the high forces associated with high-intensity actions.

They are therefore better able to repeat the high-intensity actions with less decrement in performance (Ingebrigtsen and Jeffreys 2012; López-Segovia et al. 2014; Silva et al. 2013).

This enhanced ability to resist fatigue enables stronger players to maintain a higher work rate during the game (Silva et al. 2013).

They perform more high-intensity actions during the match and cover a greater distance while sprinting, especially during the second half (Silva et al. 2013).

Players with greater strength levels also show less post-match fatigue despite the higher game load (Johnston et al. 2014).

Because stronger players are better able to maintain a high level of performance during the game, display less neuromuscular fatigue, and recover faster after a game it should come as no surprise that strength training has been shown to significantly reduce acute and overuse injuries (Askling et al. 2003; Hägglund et al. 2009, 2013; Lauersen et al. 2014; Petersen et al. 2011).

Strength training as a means to enhance soccer fitness and performance is still undervalued, however.

In contrast to other team sports, many soccer teams still do not perform strength training year round and/or do not adhere to a periodized approach to address and develop the different strength qualities.

During the competitive season most of the training time is devoted to tactical and soccer-specific skill development.

The time and volume that can be devoted to soccer conditioning is therefore limited.

A  time-consuming conditioning program will probably be rejected by the coach. Strength is only one aspect of performance.

Dedicating time to develop the different motor abilities separately is time consuming and inefficient.

Strength training needs therefore to be optimized and should ideally integrate multiple essential elements of soccer performance.

The integrated strength training needs to improve the overall athletic performance and assure transference to soccer-specific technical skills.

This book provides guidelines how to develop a strength training routine that serves as a foundation for the integrated development of the different fitness components of soccer performance.

The ultimate goal of strength training is not to increase absolute strength levels but to improve movement efficiency and soccer performance.

Maximal strength forms the basis for the development of power, speed, athletic ability, and repeated-sprint ability. Incorporating exercises that mimic soccer-specific movement patterns will facilitate the transfer to soccer performance.

A nonlinear periodization approach allows the various qualities of soccer to be addressed concurrently, provides greater flexibility to tailor training to the competition schedule, and will keep the players closer to their peak over an extended time period.

How this book is organized 

This book is divided into six different parts. The first part describes how strength training can help create more efficient movement.

The different motor abilities (strength, coordination, endurance, flexibility, and speed) are all integrated into athletic soccer performance.

There is so much crossover and interaction between these abilities.

Developing these different abilities separately will compromise the transfer to soccer performance.

A proper strength training routine can serve as the foundation for the integrated development of all these different bio-motor abilities.

Chapter 1 defines the underlying mechanisms by which strength training improves performance, reduces post-match fatigue, and prevents injuries.

This chapter will clarify why strength training is a key factor to optimize movement efficiency and to develop the dominant bio-motor abilities needed for soccer.

Chapter 2 emphasizes how strength training can improve flexibility and stability.

During soccer, movements are executed through a wide range of motion with great acceleration and production of power.

Good athletic performance also requires the player to stabilize and control the movement.

Chapter 2: In line with the focus on flexibility

Strength training performed over the full range of motion improves flexibility and will help transfer the gained flexibility to athletic performance.

Chapter  3 summarizes the research on the effects of static and dynamic stretching on strength and athletic performance.

This chapter also addresses the warm-up and how the specific warm-up can be tailored in function of the strength training workout.

Chapter 4 is devoted to the interaction between strength and skill training.

Motor control theories and principles that are relevant to strength training are outlined.

Designing a strength program conforming to the laws of motor control will benefit movement mechanics and body control during soccer.

Top Exercises to Improve Physical Performance of Football Players

Strength and conditioning training plays a crucial role in improving the physical performance of soccer players. By incorporating exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, plyometrics, and sprints into their training routine, players can enhance their speed, power, agility, endurance, and overall strength.

Remember to consult with a qualified strength and conditioning coach to design a personalized training program that suits your individual needs and goals.