The game of soccer is tasking as requires players to develop skills and keep fit to be able to scale through the rigorous activities of the game.
Aside from keeping fit and developing needed skills, soccer players are also concerned about building their core strength which will complement their body fitness and skillset.
To successfully scale through games without any difficulties, soccer players require a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises due to the intensive nature of soccer.
Aerobic workouts mostly focus on the level of oxygen used while anaerobic workouts focus on the power, skills, and strength of players. Both workouts are important and effective when practiced adequately.
You might be amazed when you get to realize the kind of workouts that soccer players engage in daily. They often carry out tough exercises which help them build and improve their strength and one of these exercises is weight lifting. We talked more about this here.
Soccer players engage in weight lifting to enable them to train their upper and lower bodies simultaneously which in turn increases their strength and improves their general performance on the pitch.
Weight lifting comes with numerous benefits but if not properly done might cause some adverse effects on soccer players. To perform optimally on the pitch, players are advised to balance weight lifting with soccer.
In this article, we have outlined and discussed the different methods players can adopt in properly balancing weight lifting and soccer.
How to balance weight lifting and soccer?
Players who only focus on field training alone often have little or no time for the gym. They often experience strength issues, while those that train in the field and also dedicate a good amount of time in the gym do not experience such issues.
Combining both field training and gym workouts is very important because it helps soccer players in developing skills progressively. It won’t make sense if a player can perform back squats with ease but can’t accurately make a successful sprint or a jump.
If players focus on just one type of training, they will be deficient in other aspects which will lead to low performance on the field. You can find some of the importance of deadlifts to soccer players here.
Weightlifting comes in different variations and can be used to strengthen the muscles on different parts of the body. Likewise, it has lots of benefits including;
- Helps prevent injuries
- Improves player’s balance
- Generates player’s explosive power
- Improves player’s kick distance and increases ball velocity
- Enhances player’s flexibility
- Improves player’s, endurance
- Helps soccer players recover quickly
- Improves player’s confidence
All these benefits help in increasing the chances of a player becoming outstanding above their peers.
Nevertheless, weight lifting has some disadvantages despite its numerous enticing benefits. It becomes destructive when players do rigorous weight lifts without properly balancing it with other drills.
Below are some of the challenges soccer players can face if they don’t balance their weight lifting drills properly.
- Overindulging in weight lifting can lead to a muscle tear
- The upper body ratio becomes uneven to the lower body part lowering stamina
- Fatigue during matches
- Can lead to a bad body posture which makes the player unattractive for most brand endorsements
To avoid these and other side effects, players are advised to balance weight lifting and soccer. It is important to mention here that the weight lifting routine for soccer players should not be as intense as that of boxers and wrestlers.
The use of different sizes of dumbbells and pull-ups can go a long way. Always start from the bottom of the ladder and walk your way up.
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Below are the methods soccer players can adopt at different instances to adequately balance weight lifting with soccer.
Off-season weight lifting
Soccer players don’t just keep fit and develop strength during season peaks alone. Pro soccer players know the importance of training and keeping fit all year round.
During off-seasons, players take out time to train more both on the field and in the gym so they can catch up from where they stopped in the previous season while also getting ready for the coming season.
During this period which can last up to 17 weeks, players often focus on improving endurance and power. For the first 1-4 weeks, players carry out endurance training by performing the following exercises.
- Barbell bench press
- Hammer curls
- Wide-Grip pull-Ups
- Barbell military press
For the next 5-8 weeks, players carry out power training exercises by performing the following exercises.
- Jump squats
- Box legs
- Calf raises
For the next 9-12 weeks, players switch back to endurance training by repeating the exercises listed above.
For the next 13-16 weeks, players adjust back to the power training by repeating as instructed above. Players are mandated to rest on the 17th week.
Pre-season weight lifting
In the pre-season period, players focus on building their strength, power, and endurance as they prepare for the season’s kick-off, the exercise routine may last for 5 weeks.
In these 5 weeks of intensive training, they are to interchange the power and endurance training daily. This means that if they carried out the endurance exercise on day 1, they are expected to do the power exercise on day 2 and vice versa.
Players must take at least 2 days rest in between each week. This will help them cope better with training and also prevent fatigue which is bound to occur after a while.
In-season weight lifting
During seasons, players try to maintain fitness as they factor out their games and travel plans. Players are advised not to do rigorous weight lifting exercises. Instead, they are required to maintain what they built during the off-season and pre-season.
They must focus on maintaining muscle mass and strength. This will aid in avoiding uneven upper body and lower body ratios, injuries, and fatigue during matches.
Players can also use heavy weight lifting for their initial training sessions to help maintain their muscle mass. They can also exercise for total-body flexibility after a short round of weight lifting.
How often should soccer players lift weights?
The number of times players are expected to lift weights is dependent on the soccer season. During the off-season, players can lift weight for 3-4 sessions a week with each session lasting about 40-50 minutes.
However, during the in-seasons, players can lift weight for 2 sessions a week for about 30-40 minutes per session. Players are mandated to perform 50 to 75% maximum lifts which should not be repeated more than 10 times.
Weight lifting is necessary for all soccer players because it helps them build strength and endurance. Players are advised not to focus solely on field exercises alone as it can make them deficient in strength and power.
As a soccer player, you don’t want the opposition players outmuscling you in every duel for the ball. This will lower your scoring chances as a striker or create a weak defensive spot that the opposition can capitalize on to score goals.
Soccer players should constantly perform both field and gym exercises to help balance their skills. Nevertheless, it is always important to carry out weightlifting under close supervision from the team’s medical crew to avoid overdoing it.
If you ever feel drained or experience excessive pains that don’t go away after 24 hours in different parts of your body after weightlifting, it is time to pause. You are overdoing it!
Hi there, I’m Jay.
The Pitch is Ours is a new beginning for me and a stepping stone to prepare before retiring from the professional soccer team. Soccer is everything in my life! My friends and I have created this blog with all our enthusiasm, passion, and understanding after years of playing pro soccer. Hope you will enjoy it!