Strength Training for Prospective Student-Athletes

What is strength training?
Strength training is physical exercise that uses resistance. This mainly involves pushing or pulling free weights or resistance machines.

Why is strength training important?
There is a common myth that soccer players shouldn’t lift because they just need to play. People often say that “Lifting is for football, hockey or baseball”. IT’S NOT! Strength training is important in all sports to stay strong and healthy. Soccer is a contact sport therefore strength, particularly core strength, is important for all players at all ages. As a player, you want to be able to hold off opposing players, not be pushed over every time you try to run past an opponent. Likewise, strength training makes you faster and more explosive. Soccer players are beginning to improve physically each year as more and more professionals work on strength training to improve their explosiveness and speed.

More importantly though, strength training keeps muscles and joints strong to prevent injuries. Many soccer teams play on turf fields which place extraordinary amount of pressure on your joints. Many players get to college and the intensity of playing every day wears them down and they get injured. Appropriate strength training is therefore vital to keep your body healthy as you play.

What should I be doing when I go to the gym?
When you go to the gym you should be working on major muscle groups. Great exercises that should be a part of your daily routine are squats or lunges. These are great for quad strength that improves your speed and knee stability. Other exercises such as glute bridges or Romanian Deadlifts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtWtjViRsKo). These are important for posterior strength that is very important for hip stability and is often forgotten by many people. Moving to the upper body, dumbbell bench press and pull-ups should be the two area of focus. Do not fall into the trap of just doing upper body or just working your arms. Having strong biceps provides no physical benefit for soccer players!

What is strength training like in college?
In college, you will lift frequently all year round. In season, you will lift roughly 1 to 2 times per week. In the off-season, you will lift 4 times per week. The lifts will be primarily compromised of the major muscle groups as described above. Therefore, if you can begin to work on strengthening these areas now, you will have an advantage coming into college.