Best Leg Exercises for Soccer Players

We all know that soccer, or as everyone but Americans calls it football, requires immense leg strength and endurance. That is why training the lower body is a part of the training program of every professional player from 16 onward. In order for soccer players to be at the peak of their, they have to find the right balance between training for strength and conditioning, as legs that are too bulky aren’t as functional, but legs that lack muscle aren’t as strong as required.

As you can see, striking a balance can be hard, especially when you have to combine work in the gym with on-the-field training and games, which is why most young players need the best knee support for football available to avoid potential injuries.

Having said all of that, let’s not waste more time and go straight to the topic at hand – the best leg exercises for soccer players.

How Do Soccer Players Train the Lower Body?

Instead of discussing the usual squats and deadlifts, which are a standard part of any gym program, we’re going to focus on movements that are specifically designed with soccer in mind.

Box Jumps

Football players need to be explosive, and they need a good jumping ability when fighting to take a ball in the air. Regardless of whether you’re a midfielder, an attacker, or a defender, the ability to jump high in the air is valuable, and box jumps are a great way to combine training that skill and training the leg muscles. The aim when performing the exercise is to be quick on your feet so that you can develop both strength and responsiveness.

Lateral Squats

Pulling a groin muscle is a fairly common injury in soccer, and one way to prevent it is by strengthening that area. The best way to go about doing that is with lateral squats – just take a kettlebell or a heavy dumbbell, take a wide stance with toes facing forward, and squat into one leg while maintaining the opposite one straight. From there, push up through the heel, letting your inner muscles and glutes do the lifting. Once you perform one rep on one side, swiftly shift to the other. Along with building strength, this exercise is also fantastic for stretching the muscles and working on your lower body mobility.

Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

Along with strength, soccer players also need stability as they’re often in situations where they need to keep hold of the ball, so one of the exercises that can help with that is the hamstring curls on a stability ball. To do the movement, you have to get a stability ball, place your heels on it and press up, put your palms down on the floor, and then roll the ball toward your glutes and back to the starting position. This exercise targets your hamstrings, your glutes, and your core, which makes it perfect for aspiring football players.

Bulgarian Split Squats

Most gym go-ers absolutely despise this exercise, but it’s incredible for football players as it helps strengthen each leg individually, thus working on any muscle imbalances, and it challenges your stability at the same time. To perform it, you simply have to place one leg on an elevated surface (knee-level height) and then step out into a lunge, balancing on the front foot. From that point, lower down into a lunge and go back up, and if you want to make it more challenging, you can add extra weight, or you can add a little jump as you drive up.

Single-leg Deadlift

The standard deadlift is one of the most basic and well-known exercises an athlete can do. But, for football players in particular, the single-leg variation can be more beneficial. Not only does it work on fixing any muscle imbalances between the dominant and non-dominant leg, but it also challenges the core as it requires balance and stability to be performed correctly. At the start, you might have to do it with a lighter weight than usual, but that will change as you adapt to the movement and your hamstrings and core strength.

In Conclusion

Football is both an endurance and a strength-related sport in some ways. On the one hand, players need to be able to endure 90+ minutes of constant running up and down the pitch without getting tired, but they also need to be able to sprint explosively, jump high, and shoot the ball with significant power. To develop that kind of complex blend of both cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength and durability, professional soccer players need more than just the training sessions they have on the pitch with the team. There’s also plenty of work to be done in the weight room and hopefully, this article helped you gain insight as to what some of the exercises should look like.

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