In-season Training Without a Weightroom for Soccer Players

Here is a quick article I wrote for Success in Soccer magazine that I never submitted. I never thought I would ever have the dilemma I had several times at Wet Point and at Denison. There were several teams I worked with that would not allow their athletes to come to the weightroom because of "lack of time". We eventually got these teams to come around, but there were some transitional periods that I need to trek as much equipment as I could to the field or on the court. Sometimes this was once a week and sometime it was for all training sessions. Regardless, I changed my attitude about it. My thoughts: "At least they are training." Anyway, this was specific to soccer in theory, but the circuits were general.

Staying Strong In-Season
Optimizing In-Season Strength Training with Limited Time and Resources

Strength Training is one of the most important aspects of overall conditioning for soccer players. Two of the main goals for implementing a strength training program for soccer is to enhance the athletic performance of the athlete and reduce the injury potential for those athletes.

Strength training is vitally important for success on the soccer field. Soccer is a unique sport in the fact it requires several different and almost contradictory fitness qualities to be successful. Speed, Agility, Anaerobic and Aerobic conditioning are some (but not all) of the most important qualities of a successful soccer player.

In reference to agility in particular; the ability to stop and explosively accelerate in a minimal amount of time is directly related to change of direction mechanics and relative bodyweight strength. When a player is changing direction, the force on one leg can be up to 4-6 times the player’s bodyweight. For this reason, it is naive to assume that strength is not an important quality for a successful soccer player.

In-Season strength training is often neglected due to a lack of time and resources. More accurately, coaches often make this decision based on time and logistical constraints. Coaches often will not want to sacrifice valuable practice time to incorporate strength training. Secondly

There are some obstacles that arise when attempting to employ strength training exercises during the season. If a team does not have access to a strength training facility, it is important to know that strength training does not have to equate to resistance training. There are a variety of exercises with bodyweight only resistance

Bodyweight and Manual Resistance Training are excellent methods to increase relative strength, correct muscular imbalances, and increase general work capacity. Bodyweight and Manual Resistance exercises are extremely easy to include into an In-Season training program due to the minimal amount of equipment and time needed to make the training work.

One problem with bodyweight training is the difficulty or utilizing progressive overload with the training. It is vitally important that athletes progress throughout the training plan. Unfortunately, some coaches and trainers associate progressive overload with increasing the resistance load. This is not the only way to increase the difficulty of an exercise and is not an option with bodyweight only training.

Unilateral Quad Dominant Movement
The basic squat is probably the most functional and valuable exercise and athlete can perform. It requires a tremendous amount of functional flexibility, balance, and relative strength.

Upper Body Exercises for Soccer
Anytime a coach or athlete argues about the importance of upper body training in a sport you can;t use your arms; ask them to run, kick a ball, and play defense without their arms. Being "knocked off the ball" consistently is one of the easiest ways to start sitting the bench.

Equipment Needed – Bench and Towels

Torso Exercises
Flexion - Ab Rockers
Anti-Extension - Fall-outs on bench
Anti-Rotation - Manual Pallof
Stabilization – Abdominal Plank

Lower Body Exercises
Single Leg Push
Level 1 – Bulgarian Split Squat
Level 2 – Prisoner Side Step-up
Level 3 – Single Leg Box Squat
Level 4 – Pistol Squat

Single Leg Pull
Level 1 – Bird Dog
Level 2 – Single Leg RDL
Level 3 – Double Leg Glute-Bridge
Level 4 – Single Leg Glute-Ham Bridge

Upper Body Exercise
Horizontal Push
Level 1 – Push-Up with Hands on Bench
Level 2 – Push-Up on Ground
Level 3 – Push-Up with Feet on Bench
Level 4 – Plyometric Push-Up with Hands on Bench
Level 5 – Plyometric Push-Up on Ground
Level 6 – Plyometric Push-Up with Feet on Bench

Horizontal Pull (w/ Towel)
Level 1 – Partner Standing Rows
Level 2 – Partner Kneeling Straight Arm Pull-Downs with Standing Upright Rows
Level 3 – Partner Standing Face Pulls

Upper Arm/ Shoulder
Partner Lateral Raise
Partner Tricep Push-Down/ Curls

Complex Training Circuit

So, I am a big fan of complex training. namely because it saves time and increases exercise density.

There has been some recent articles about French contrast training which has some more specific protocols. I first heard about these from Cal Dietz which he got from Gilles Cometti. Thus the word "French" contrast training. It's like saying American Football to describe the NFL.

Anyway it is post-activation potentiation. If you are interested, check out Cal's interview here:

Of Kevin Argauer's interview here:

Bottom line is performing explosive type movements after a heavy movement can increase power. So here's what I did. Keep in mind there was nothing explosvie about any of this.

3 circuits, no rest b/t exercises; 3 min b/t circuits
Fat Bar Paused Bench Press
225 x3

Lightened Plyo Push-Ups w/ Bands
Heavy at waist level x3

Neutal Grip Pull-Ups
Grip 1 x3

Med Ball Floor Slams
15lbs x3

Hand Stand Push-Ups

Barbell Hang Snatch
105lbs x3

BTN Push Press
105 x3

buld-ups 10s x2
30s x 2

Dumbbell Circuit
lateral raises x15
Standing curls x15
lying tricep ext x15

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