Fall sports, including soccer, utilize summer conditioning to help athletes get in shape and prevent athletes from getting injured during their fall season.
Dr. Jonathan Shook, OrthoIndy sports medicine physician, discusses how to prevent overuse injuries and the benefits of summer conditioning.
According to Dr. Shook, training in the off-season has many benefits. “Most athletes aim to increase muscle mass, increase speed and agility and increase skills for their specific sport or sports,” said Dr. Shook. “These gains then translate into better performance when their sport’s season comes along and has the benefit of reducing the number of ‘in-season’ injuries.”
Preseason soccer conditioning plan
Start your conditioning plan at least two months before your first fall game and do two to three workouts per week.
- Speed is the most basic skill that should be worked on and should focus on acceleration, including sprints.
- Agility and balance improve control and footwork.
- Strength training improves balance and prevents injury.
It is important to plan what exercises you will incorporate in your conditioning to improve all of these qualities.
What are good workouts for soccer players?
- Increase running speed. Give sprints the most effort possible and repeat five to 10 times. You can also do interval training by alternating between a sprint and a jog. Start by jogging for five minutes, then sprint the width of the soccer field and return to a jog. Repeat these steps for a half of an hour.
- Strengthen your lower body. Do a back squat five times and then rest for a minute and a half. Repeat five times. Adding a dumbbell or doing squat jumps can increase strength further.
- Strengthen lower legs to avoid shin splints. Do calf raises 10 times, rest for a minute and repeat three times.
- Increase upper body, core and neck strength. Do as many handstand pushups as you can, rest for a minute and repeat five times. Back extensions and seat rotations with a medicine ball help strengthen the core.
- Agility training for control. Exercises include jumping rope, shuffling, crossover steps and drills using an agility ladder.
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