Do you play soccer and avoid working out your legs at the gym? If so, think again.
Many soccer players and friends I know avoid working out their legs and hitting the gym at all costs. A lot of excuses I hear are, “I don’t want my legs to be sore, playing soccer is my leg workout, and I don’t want to get injured.”
Working out your legs is vital if you want to play at a higher level. Players that don’t work out their legs are skipping and missing out on some major benefits.
Soccer, futbol, or the beautiful game is one of the most popular sports in the world and millions play it every day. Many players play for fun, some play competitively, and a few players play to pay the bills and make a living.
I imagine you fit in one of those three groups! As a reference, I am an elite college soccer player and I would probably fit in the middle or upper part of the competitive group.
If you look at each group, there are some major differences between the daily routines and habits of each group.
Looking at the habits of professional soccer players and the routines of players in the upper part of the competitive group, you can often see that they do a lot of extra work outside of soccer.
Many top players:
- Have a diet
- Stretch and foam roll
- Train extra (with a ball) outside of their team’s practice
- Go to the gym
If you need any advice on soccer, diets, stretching and foam rolling, training extra, or going to the gym, check out Matt Sheldon’s YouTube channel, Become Elite! He is a professional soccer player for Tulsa Fc and makes excellent videos about all of the things a professional soccer player does! He is one of my favorite YouTubers!
A lot of top athletes do all of these activities, some do one or two, and very few do none of them.
The last item on the list, going to the gym, is vital to have in your routine if you want to become the best player you can be.
Benefits of Working Out Your Legs for Soccer Players
Become Faster and More Agile
Players at the topflight of futbol or soccer often explode with single leg movements, cut hard, sprint, and constantly accelerate and decelerate.
The best soccer players have a combination of speed, agility and stamina that help them play and be at their best.
Consistently going to the gym will help you become faster, stronger, more powerful, and allow you to do all the essential movements you need in a game faster.
Doing resisted movements will get your body used to working with bigger and heavier loads than your body weight and will eventually allow you to be a lot more explosive.
Jordan Webb, a strength and conditioning coach for Chicago Fire, says, “Strength is a quality that underpins everything…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.” (1)
Lower your Chances of Picking up Injuries
Going to the gym and working out will not only help you become faster, stronger, and more explosive, it will help you prevent injuries.
I’ve been injured more than I’d like to admit, and I (or any player that has been injured for that matter) can tell you that being injured sucks.
You can’t play, you usually can’t run, sometimes surgery is required, and it is always rough and scary coming back from an injury.
When injured players can be on the sidelines for a day, a weekend, a month, or even a year sometimes. Being able to avoid injury or having a greater chance of not being injured is worth a million bucks.
Luckily you don’t have to pay a million bucks for this advice, but again going to the gym will help you prevent injuries.
Research has found that resistance training promotes growth and/or increases in the strength of ligaments, tendons, tendon to bone and ligament to bone junction strength, joint cartilage and the connective tissue sheaths within muscle. Studies involving humans and animal models also demonstrate resistance training can cause increased bone mineral content and therefore may aid in prevention of skeletal injuries. (2)
It will also correct any imbalances you may have in your muscles and help you become a better athlete!
So get to the gym and workout your body to help avoid injuries in the future!
Some of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil Van Dijk, and Lionel Messi just to name a few, all have two things in common.
Massive legs and impressive physiques.
The best players in the world aren’t born with huge legs and impressive physiques, they all spend time in the gym and workout their legs and body consistently.
Their gigantic legs and bodies help them to do amazing things on the field that some players could only dream of doing. Going to the gym and working out their legs and bodies has helped them gain godly physiques. Most of them have a six pack and muscles that look like they are about to break through their skin. Their bodies are desired by any man, whether they play soccer or not, envies and desires.
Having a nice body won’t hurt and could help you out with the ladies too!
The Best Leg Exercises for Soccer Players
There are thousands of leg exercises that will work out your legs, but it is far more efficient and better to be doing the best leg exercises for soccer players.
I mean who doesn’t want the best?
The best leg exercises for soccer players are leg workouts that are functional and will end up helping you perform on the field.
I’ve put together a list of the best exercises and links to instructions on how to do them. These leg exercises will help you become bigger, faster, stronger, more powerful, and a better player overall.
Quads Exercises for Soccer Players
Hamstrings Exercises for Soccer Players
Other Leg Exercises
Give all these exercises a try and add them into your own leg day routine!
Leg Work Out for Soccer Players
Here is a sample leg work out for soccer players that you can do to help increase strength, power, and explosiveness! Give this work out a try!
I also challenge you to create and personalize your own leg work out! Choose 2 or 3 exercises from each category and BOOM you have yourself a killer leg day!
Remember to always warmup properly, use good form, and to listen to your body. Always consult with your doctor, primary care physician, or a professional before beginning a new exercise routine. I am not responsible for any injuries or mishaps that occur from the use of this program.
This workout is split into two days. An explosive day and a power day. The explosive day can be done out at the field, and the power day is done in the gym. Take a day of rest or two between leg workouts.
Power Day (build muscle and strength)
- Barbell Squat / 8 reps / 4 sets / 2 min rest
- Deadlift / 8 reps / 4 sets / 2 min rest
- Calf Raises / 12 reps / 3 sets / 1 min rest
- Leg Extensions / 10 reps / 3 sets / 1 min rest
- Bridge to Hamstring Slide / 15 reps / 2 sets / 2 min rest
- Hip Flexor Band Exercise / 20 reps each leg / 3 sets / 1 min rest
- Copenhagen’s / Hold 30 seconds each side / 3 sets / 2 min rest
- Plank / Hold 1 min / 3 sets / 1 min rest
Explosive Day (plyometrics, Sprints, ect.)
- 15 jump squats / rest 30 seconds / 3 sets
- 10 (each leg) Alternating Lunge Jumps / 1 min rest / 3 sets
- 6 40-yard field sprints / 2 min rest
- 1 min plank / 1 min rest / 3 sets
- 30 yard lateral bounds / 1 min rest / 6 sets
There are millions of soccer players around the world and they all play because they love the game. One of the differences between the top players and average players is the work they put in outside of training and off the field.
The best soccer players consistently work out their bodies. They also make sure to never skip out on leg day. Working out helps them to be faster, stronger, and more powerful than the competition.
Soccer players that workout their legs will become faster, stronger, more powerful, avoid injuries, and build a great physique!
I can say personally that working out in the gym and working out my legs has helped me to keep playing and push for higher levels. It has done the same for many of my friends and it will do the same for you too!
So, get in the gym and workout those legs!
- Jussim, Matthew. “Soccer Strength: 9 Exercises That Will Help Add Power to Your Game.” Men’s Journal, 20 Oct. 2019, mensjournal.com/health-fitness/soccer-strength-9-exercises-will-help-add-power-your-game/.
- Fleck, S J, and J E Falkel. “Value of Resistance Training for the Reduction of Sports Injuries.” Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1986, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3633121.