Soccer fans rejoice! The FIFA Soccer World Cup has completed its four-year transit and is back for a month packed with athletic prowess, goal scoring, fun and, in some cases, a few tears of joy (or dismay, depending on how your team fares). If you’re a keen soccer player yourself or admire the athleticism of Messi or Neymar, then it’s time to add a little variety to your fitness routine and train like the soccer stars with our 8fit World Cup Soccer Player Workout.
Soccer workout warm-up
Regardless of your fitness level, warming up is imperative. Even finely tuned physical specimens like professional footballers need to warm-up in order to engage muscles, improve mobility and, above all, prevent injury. The safest way to set yourself up for a satisfying high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session is to integrate a dynamic warm-up at the beginning of your workout routine.
Dynamic warm-ups can involve anything from walking lunges, bodyweight squats, high knees, butt kicks to arm circles. The idea is to ensure that relevant areas of your body are awake and ready through low impact movements before beginning your workout, practice or game. We would be amiss if we didn’t remind you to put some time aside at the end for stretching and cooling down.
Here are our recommended pre-workout exercises that even the likes of Thomas Müller does on and off the football pitch. Spend a minute doing each of the following activities before moving on to our football fit workout:
1. High knees
2. Bodyweight squats
3. Front lunges
4. Dynamic squats
5. Shoulder rotation front and back
Soccer workout plan
Playing soccer, recreationally or professionally, requires a wide range of fitness aptitudes. You need to harness explosive plyometric power for fast sprints when switching from defense to offense, have good stamina to maintain the full 90-minute match, and have exceptional strength, balance, and agility to maneuver the ball and around your opponent and score.
Here’s how you can train like a professional soccer player:
Drill #1: Single-leg jumps
Defy gravity and reach those rocketing headers with the same power and dexterity as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. This exercise will help you propel your body upwards and land with control, as well as switch between acceleration and deceleration in the blink of an eye.
Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, abs
Sets: 3, Reps: 5 on each leg
- Keep neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
- Keep back straight and abs engaged
- Jump and land as softly (quietly) as possible
- Stand straight with one foot firmly planted on the floor and the other foot raised in front
- Keep foot raised in front as you drop hips back and down
- Drop hips as low as possible and roll onto your back
- Roll forward and drive weight into heel to jump back up to start position
- Complete equal number reps for each leg
Drill #2: Overhead press
Soccer requires more than just legwork. Studies show that core muscle strength and coordination are key in sports performance, and the overhead press is a key core stabilizer. Training your core and upper body strength is a prerequisite when executing a long, high throw-in from the sidelines. If you want to make this more challenging, then you can turn it into a push press by engaging your lower body and pressing upwards in a controlled dynamic movement.
Muscles involved: Shoulders, triceps, chest, core
Sets: 3, Reps: 5
- Keep spine straight and neck in line with spine
- Keep shoulders back and down away from ears
- Raise and lower weight slowly and never use momentum
- For tempo 2 seconds up, hold for 1 second, 2 seconds down
- Stand feet hip-width apart holding dumbbells with palms facing each other resting on shoulders
- Slowly press dumbbells up towards the ceiling
- Squeeze shoulder muscles at the top and hold for a second
- Slowly lower back down to start position
Drill #3: Side jumps
Have you ever gawked in dumbfounded wonder at the skill and reflexes of Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas as he saves goal after goal from the opposing team? Well, clearly Navas has his lateral movement down pat. Side jumps will not only help develop lateral agility but will build plyometric power, speed, and kicks — essential, whatever position you play. Make sure you execute the drill in a controlled manner and land with bent knees is to lessen the impact.
Muscles involved: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves
Sets: 3, Time: Each set is 30 sec to 1 minute long
- Keep your chest up and your core engaged
- Stay light on feet and complete exercise as quietly as possible
- To increase difficulty, tuck knees in towards stomach when jumping
- Stand with feet hip-width apart
- Bend at knees while driving hips back
- Forcefully push off floor, jumping to right side
- Land softly with spring in knees to absorb shock, then jump to left
- Alternate between sides for specified amount of reps/time
Drill #4: Single-leg Romanian deadlifts
This compound exercise is the holy grail for your hamstrings and when it comes to soccer workouts improves agility, quickness, and kick power. Maintaining control and balance when dribbling the ball or scoring powerful goals is key if you want to achieve sensational footwork of Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.
Muscles involved: Hamstrings, glutes, abs, lower back
Sets: 3, Reps: 5 on each side
- Keep shoulders and hips squared at all times
- Keep neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
- Keep core engaged and back straight
- Lift slowly and controlled; 2 seconds down, hold 1 second, 2 seconds up
- Stand feet hip-width apart, hold dumbbellss by your sides
- Ground weight into right foot to create a stable base
- Lead with chest to lower torso and raise left leg behind until body is parallel to the floor
- Drive weight into your heel as you slowly return to start position
Drill #5: Mountain Climbers
If you want to maintain pace, stamina and exquisite ball control like France’s Antoine Griezmann, then you better add mountain climbers to your fitness toolbox. As well as lower body and core strength, soccer players also require arm strength. Mountain climbers work your core, shoulders, and arms as well as streamline your coordination.
Muscles involved: Shoulders, upper & lower back, abs, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings
Sets: 3, Time: Work for 30-60 sec each set
- Place hands on floor directly under shoulders, hips lifted, and extend legs with feet together and toes curled under
- Tense every muscle to keep body in a straight line from head through heels at all times
- Keep left foot straight out behind pulling right knee in towards chest
- Place right foot back down behind and pull left knee in towards chest
Want to focus your fitness this summer? Then upgrade to the 8fit Pro membership and take advantage our targeted strength workouts for core, legs and arms!