Does strength training help soccer players?

I had a very brief discussion with a couple guys on the club today about strength training. One of those guys, who is currently limited to the type and intensity of resistance training he does, made the comment that he used to do a lot of lifting but when he was forced to stop in his late 20s, he didn’t notice any dropoff in his game. Does this mean that the strength training didn’t have a positive effect in the first place? Hardly.

One of the primary roles of strength training for an athlete is neuromuscular efficiency. Loaded exercise, especially of the lower extremity in movement patterns resembling those observed in sport, teach neuromuscular coordination which produces benefits on movement efficiency and running economy as well as decreases the likelihood for injury. Because many of these adaptations are neurological in nature (rather than dependent on the morphology of the muscle) the benefits are not short lived when there is a cessation of this type of training.  In a nutshell, while there’s certainly a benefit to continuing strength training throughout a players career for other reasons, even a little strength training early on in an athlete’s career can have long standing benefits due to adaptations that positively effect neuromuscular efficiency.

[NB- I haven’t forgotten about the Player Monitoring Series…I just got a little tied up with other things and will be returning to it shortly]
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Mike Young

Director of Performance at Athletic Lab
Mike is the Head Fitness Coach for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina FC. He is also the owner and Director of Performance at Athletic Lab sports performance training center. He previously served as the fitness coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Carolina Railhawks. He has a PhD in Biomechanics, an MS in Coaching Science, and a BSS in Exercise Physiology and has coached Olympic and professional athletes in Skeleton, Track & Field, MLS and NASL Soccer, PGA Golf, NFL Football, MLB Baseball and Olympic Weightlifting. He has lectured around the world and authored 2 books and dozens of research and coaching articles.
Category : Training