The best soccer players need a combination of speed, agility, and stamina to outlast their opponents on the pitch. But if you don’t focus on adding strength and power to your workouts too, you might find yourself on the sidelines instead of scoring the winning goal for your pickup team.
Finding a balance in your workouts is the best way to turn yourself into an all-around player—and strength training is the foundation of that process.
“Strength is a quality that underpins everything,” says Jordan Webb, M.S., C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coach for Major League Soccer's Chicago Fire. “It underpins endurance, agility, speed—it underpins power production, everything you need to be an athlete. I think that body strength is probably the quality that is most important for any soccer player, no matter the position.”
Webb, who has worked for the Seattle Sounders, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Cleveland Browns in the past, says that upper- and lower-body strength are areas that soccer players sometimes overlook—to their own detriment.
“Some players have a tendency to put [strength training] off to the side,” says Webb, who uses different exercises and techniques with his players, including lower body pushing, squats, deadlift variations, bench pressing, dumbbell rows, TRX variations, and vertical pushing with pull-downs. "Look at Real Madrid, the team that won the Champions League in 2016, and look at Ronaldo—that guy is an absolute athletic specimen. There's a certain level of strength and fitness that you need, and the most important thing is getting an adequate level of strength.”
Doing strength workouts will help keep your body strong and powerful, and in turn can help boost your speed, agility, and stamina—all while adding some extra oomph to your shot too.
Here's a look at some of the best moves to add strength and power to your game.