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4 Soccer Workouts You Can Do in the Gym to Improve Your Speed, Strength, and Power

The Houston Dynamo's director of sports performance explains how any gym-going guy can get faster, stronger, and fitter on the field.

Soccer players need all-around fitness to be successful on the field—and all of that starts in the gym.

Any good soccer workout focuses on core and leg strength, power, and speed—but it’s no easy task to accomplish all those at once, especially if, like most guys, you don't have 24/7 access to a soccer field. The solution? Hone these aspects of your game when you go to the gym.

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"The stronger you are, the faster you'll be—core strength is a big part of that," says Paul Caffrey, fitness coach and director of sports performance for Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo. Caffrey sees the core as a major component when looking to improve balance, posture, power, and overall functionality, along with agility, endurance, and speed. “I think sometimes it’s an area that's overlooked because it almost seems quite mundane and boring in today's day and age,” Caffrey says. “Everyone's looking for fancy new exercises, but the core is extremely important. If you don't have a solid core to begin with, then trying to build something on a bed of straw is not going to work.”

Another essential: leg strength. "We spend a lot of time on single leg balance, because essentially for our sport, as much as you need to build bilateral strength, we do spend the entire game on one leg or the other," he says.

Ready to step up your game? Try these four workouts at the gym:

1. Core

Front and Side Pillars: Do this workout three times per week.

What to do:
Front Pillar - Lay down on the floor, stomach facing down. Prop yourself up into a plank position—elbows on the ground, forearms ahead of you. Your head and torso should be aligned, meaning your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle should all be in a straight line. Your glutes should be squeezed tight for maximum effect.

Side Pillar - Lay on your side with your right/or left elbow down on the ground. Keep body in straight line from head to feet while resting on the forearm with the elbow directly under your shoulder.

Front Pillar - 3 sets x 30 seconds
Set 1: Hold position for 30 seconds.
Set 2: Lift one leg up for 2 seconds, lower down, and alternate each leg for the duration of the set.
Set 3: Hold position for 30 seconds.
Rest: 30 seconds-1 minute in between each set.

Side Pillar - 3 sets x 20 seconds per side
Set 1: Hold position for 20 seconds on right side. Repeat with left side.
Set 2: From starting position, raise right leg for 20 seconds and hold. Repeat with left leg.
Set 3: Hold position for 20 seconds on right side. Repeat with left side.
Rest: 30 seconds-1 minute in between each set.

Tip: If 30/20 seconds is too much on the first day, start with 20/10 seconds for the front and side, then increase to 30/20 on the second or third day of the workout.

Jump to the next page to see the next three workouts for power, speed, and leg strength >>>



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