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How To Build Muscle While Playing Soccer?

How To Build Muscle While Playing Soccer?

Playing soccer is a difficult task. Every soccer player must train and practice continuously for prolonged amounts of time to improve their skills. Not only would the focus be on the skill alone, but they also have to focus on improving their physical aspect.

Unlike other sports, every soccer player must be mindful of their body as it immediately affects their ability to play soccer.

For a soccer player, if you do not work on being at the peak of your body’s physical condition, even with your knowledge and plethora of skills, you would not be able to perform your best since your body would be unable to keep up with the demands of soccer.

This is not only for soccer but for other sports such as wrestling, hockey, football, gymnastics, and basketball.

For this reason, soccer players are enjoined to get a rudimentary understanding of their bodies. In addition, you should pay attention to weight loss and gains, exercises, nutrition, and other elements that would help in building muscles.

A soccer player having big thigh muscle is shooting

The U.S. National Library of Medicine, in a study in 2015, stated that strength training is an essential factor that helps soccer players improve their running-based actions, including changing direction, speed, sprinting, and jump actions.

Muscles for a soccer player are crucial because they can help you perform at your peak form each week and overcome your opponents. Muscles can be built by training your strengths.

However, what is essential is knowing the right muscles that should be built and also how you can effectively build the muscles through training.

How to build muscle while playing soccer?

Every soccer player wants to be like Cristiano Ronaldo with strong muscles in the right places, which would help them reduce injuries, become more powerful, and also look all buffed up.

Most top soccer players can jump high, cut quickly, and run very fast. Previously, most endurance sport athletes stayed away from strength training that buffed them up since there was a misconception that strength training hindered skill.

However, it is widely known that gaining mass and strength training are not mutually exclusive.

Power training and strength training usually builds up power and strength, which are necessary if you wish to keep up with speed in soccer, which is vital since soccer is a fast-paced game.

To be fast in soccer, you have to be powerful, and to be powerful; you have to train your body.

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Since the aim is not to gain mass or size, training your strength is then the focus. You can use some strength training tools like bodyweight and plyometric training, which mimics match day situations, taking heavyweight while performing fast reps to build up power.

Performing all these would increase your agility and your speed and also help you build up your muscles. Also, stability training and training your legs at a time to gain muscles also helps to reduce games injury.

Some experts have stated that machine training should not be used for gaining muscles or even for sports in general. Though machines improve the strength of a player, they do not provide a player with the stability needed.

Using machines for training locks the player into a specific plane of motion, usually eliminating the critical part of functional sports-specific training.

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Muscles are supposed to be trained in the way you would use them on the pitch. Therefore though a hamstring curl machine can make your hamstring stronger, when you play soccer, you would use your hamstring to extend your leg and not to be curled into your butt.

It can therefore be seen that it does not help increase performance much. But, on the other hand, you can get a very lean soccer body like Cristiano Ronaldo, exercising while on a good diet would allow you to get there.

While practicing to lean down and gain the right muscles, you also have to add some full-body strength training to ensure that your muscles are toned and complete without the extra bulk.

To build up muscles while playing soccer, you need a combination of Training Exercises and Nutrition diets.

Below, you will be shown how you can use training and nutrition to build up muscles while playing soccer.

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By Exercising

You can build up muscles while playing soccer through some specific exercises that you can perform that would help you. Such training methods or activities focus on the posterior chain, a group of muscles including the hamstrings, glutes, and gluteus maximus.

The posterior chain is what ensures that a soccer player has power and speed. Therefore, you have to develop the posterior chain.

The following are some of the training methods or exercises that can help you in building up muscles while playing soccer.

The Bent Leg Deadlift Exercise 

Deadlifts are weight lifting compound exercises used to work on various large muscles, including your core, glutes, back, and hamstrings. Deadlifts are usually performed with barbells and are good for soccer players, though care has to be taken on how it’s done. 

When starting off with the deadlift exercise, it is essential that you practice your form. It would ensure that you learn the correct movement. Light body bars are also a good option as they give you the feeling of lifting them without much weight.

After learning how to perform a deadlift, you could try to use resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells, and even kettlebells.


Deadlift exercises are good for building up strength in the back, glutes, core, and hamstrings. Alongside chest presses and squats, deadlifts are among the powerlifting exercises. This means that deadlifts are a good option when you want to lift weights.

You can perform the bent leg deadlift by placing your feet spread width apart, with your toes placed under the loaded barbell. Your back should be kept straight, with your hips bent and your knees lowered to grasp the bar.

After getting into the starting position, you should simultaneously push your heels and extend them through your waist and your knees. Again, ensure that your back is kept straight throughout the exercise.

Your hips should be extended through your knees and the hips while moving your hips forward to the bar. After a brief pause, lower the barbell slowly back to the ground while ensuring that your back is straight and bent at the knees and the hips.

Next, you should rest your weight on the ground. This would remove the elastic energy that is between reps. Ensure that your movements are explosive but controlled.

A man is taking The Bent Leg Deadlift Exercise

You can get more information on how deadlifts are beneficial for soccer players from here.

High-Intensity Interval Trainings 

When training to build muscles for soccer, apart from running or sprinting, you can also perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

High-intensity interval training is a significant and excellent way of combining strength training and conditioning. When you do not have the option of running, you can perform high-intensity interval training.

High-intensity interval training can be performed at your convenience, your home. There are a lot of workouts on the net that you can watch and other apps that can give you direction on performing high-intensity interval training.

If you want to develop good muscles, then you have to exercise for 4 to 6 days every week.

High-intensity interval training is not meant to be performed every day and for long (about 10 to 20 minutes each time); therefore, you can perform this exercise when you are pressed for time.

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The Bulgarian Split Squat Exercise 

To begin the Bulgarian Split Squat exercise, you start with your left foot placed directly in front of your right foot and in front of the bench.

Your right foot should be placed back and placed on top of the bench. Next, place your left foot directly underneath your right hip a few inches in front.

Next, chest up and keep your weight on your front heel, lower into a Squat to flex your hips and the knee. Ensure that your knees are placed at a 90-degree angle.

You can then return to your starting position by moving from the extended heel through the hip and knee. Again, you can make use of barbells and dumbbells for extra resistance.

The girl is taking the Bulgarian Split Squat Exercise

The Box Jump Exercise 

To perform the box jump exercise, you should stand facing a box. The box should be placed about 5 inches from you. Of course, the higher you set the box, the more complex the drill would be.

Now bend your knees while you lower your butt towards the floor. Next, swing your arms behind you, then jump or spring up using your legs while you swing your arms to gather momentum for jumping on the box.

Ensure that you land with both feet with your knees bent on the box to absorb the impact. You have to make sure that you make little noise while landing.

Next, you stand up to see the full range of motions in your legs with your arms lowered by your side. Next, you can step down from the box and repeat the exercise.

A man is taking The Box Jump Exercise

The BOSU Lunge 

To perform the BOSU lunge, you are to stand facing the BOSU with your feet placed together. Ensure that you stand 3 feet away from the BOSU. Place your left foot forward, then land on the BOSU center.

After catching your balance, you then flex both of your knees then lower into a lunge. Now you push off the body then bring your left foot back to your right foot.

Repeat this on the other side. You can increase the intensity of the BOSU exercise by using the backside of the BOSU.

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Eating Proteins and Calories 

Another way to build up muscles while playing soccer is to increase your protein intake. Foods that are huge in protein should form your diet while exercising.

A single gram of proteins should be taken for every bodyweight pound. Therefore, if your weight is 160 pounds, you should ensure that you eat 160 grams of protein every day.

However, it is vital that you space your protein servings over the course of each day because eating anything more than 40 grams of protein at a single time can make you feel sluggish. Therefore, it is essential that you eat a lot of smaller meals that are rich in protein throughout the day.

It is essential to note that not every source of protein is gold for intake. Your focus should be on lean, low-fat sources. Examples include tuna, shrimp, chicken, tilapia, turkey, top loin steaks, lean red meats, white eggs, etc.

Also, carbohydrates are used primarily for lifting weights; therefore, when you eat calories from grains, vegetables, and fruits, it would help in supporting your muscle training program.

Lifting hand weights can burn your muscle glycogen by about 40%. Since glycogen depletion keeps you fatigued, therefore you have to take carbohydrates to increase your training capacity.

For training your muscles, you should consume about 2 – 3 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight. That is about 4 to 7 grams of carbohydrates for every kg taken per day. If you add weight to your training, you should increase the number of carbohydrates taken.

Therefore, it means that when a soccer player weighing 150 pounds lifts weights for muscle training, you should eat at least 450 grams of carbohydrates every day. This would support your lifting.


Strength Training

Another way to build up muscles while playing soccer is to perform strength training. Soccer players usually have powerful legs and are very lean.

However, they do not ignore their upper body. As a soccer player, you should lift weights at least twice every week in addition to sprinting, running, or other sport-specific exercises.

Weightlifting routines for sports players should not make you look like a bodybuilder where some muscle groups are isolated. Instead, your aim is to build up well-rounded muscles around your body.

Though agility and speed are essential in soccer, your muscle strength must not lack behind. You can perform regular muscular exercises such as calisthenics like lunges, air squats, pull-ups, and push-ups. You could also perform weight lifting if you have access to gyms.

Also, perform resistance exercises to build up muscles. You can perform bodyweight exercises anytime and anywhere, meaning there’s no need to depend on specialized equipment.

Ensure that the intensity of the weight you lift is low, and also, the repetitions should be kept low to build up muscle strength.

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Sprinting and Running 

Playing soccer also helps to build up muscles, but if you cannot engage in playing soccer all the time, sprinting and running would also help you build up your muscles. 

Running helps to build up cardio and also strengthens your legs. You might not necessarily need to play soccer to attain a good physique.

You can place your focus on Sprinting and running long-endurance distances a couple of times a week. For example, you can perform Sprinting for about 100 to 300 meters, or you could complete high-intensity interval training a couple of days a week.

Endurance running also helps you build up your cardiovascular condition and stamina, while on the other hand, sprinting would develop your explosion and power in your legs.

To get muscled up like elite players, you would need to perform both exercises.

a soccer player is running with the ball in a match

Train in Short Sessions 

To develop muscles as a soccer player, you have to train in short sessions. It would help if you didn’t overwork yourself to exhaustion because you need to develop muscles. Regular training sessions should not go beyond 60 minutes each day.

One of the reasons for this is that after an hour of training, the hormones that build up muscles such as testosterone and growth hormones would start decreasing.

Not only would your hormone level decrease, but also every carbohydrate that you have stored in your body would run out, and you would feel like you are running on empty.

Training past this point would be a waste of time. Your body needs the necessary hormones and energy, and without them, you won’t be able to build up your muscles. You would just be exhausting yourself needlessly.

Not only fatiguing you, but you might also even cause damage to your body. When you train longer than an hour, you will not be able to recover from workouts quickly.

This is often referred to as overtraining and might lead to strength and muscle loss.

Your body has to be given some time to recover from intense training exercises. While recovering, your muscles would grow faster.

Therefore, if you do not have the time to rest from training or pulling weights, you would be putting your body through enormous stress without time to heal and grow.

This is an extensive training mistake and often leads to strength weakening.


Improve Core Body Strength 

Synergistic movements and abdominal muscles needed by the core are very vital for soccer. The core muscles include the transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, often called the six-pack, internal and external obliques, lower back muscles, and the multifidus.

When your core is strengthened, your running stride, the distance you throw, and your kicks will all be improved. Some exercises that you can use to improve your core muscles include bridges, sit-ups, crunches, side planks, and planks.

It would be best if you don’t forget about working on your upper body strength while you work on your core. Strong shoulders, triceps, and biceps are needed for you to have the sheer power required for playing soccer.

To keep your balance and your posture while shielding or collecting the ball, you need a solid upper body. In addition, it would be best if you also had strong head muscles to head the ball. These muscles can be strengthened when you perform tricep extensions, push-ups, bicep curls, and push-ups.

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Training the Hip Muscles and Glutes

Another way to improve your muscles while playing soccer is to train your hip muscles and glutes. 

The glute and hip muscles are vital for soccer players since they give soccer players the explosive strengths needed to beat opponents to the ball and improve the power of their shots.

Having strong hip muscles and glutes increases your foot speed, which helps you kick the ball longer and harder.

The hips and glute muscles can be developed by performing weight leg deadlifts, step-ups, side lunges, and forward cone jumps.

Irrespective of your position, you need muscle strength to play soccer effectively. Therefore, you ought to know the correct muscles to work on and how you can work on them effectively and quickly.

The perfect physique can be built when working on building your muscles correctly.

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Not everyone has the ability to have trainers and nutritionists at their disposal, but you can build up that perfect muscle even when you do not have one.

Building muscles ensures that you are lean from strength training, having good diets, and running to get that toned muscle.

The upper body should not be neglected while building up muscles since being balanced is essential. Ensure that you perform various muscular endurance workouts with the rep range of 15-25.

Note that the aim is not to look like a bodybuilder but to be balanced.