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How to Get Fit for Soccer

Soccer is a sport that involves a lot of endurance, due to the amount of running that occurs. You must be able to keep up your running pace, or be left in the dust by your competition. Also in soccer, balance, flexibility and single-leg strength make a difference. These areas are often overlooked, and if you add them to your training, you can become a more complete soccer player.

Cardio Training

Every Soccer player will do cardiovascular training for soccer; however, to become one of the best you need to advance your cardiovascular training to give you the edge. Do this by adding interchanging speeds. Soccer is not a game of just one speed. There are moments where you run at full speed, as well as moments when you jog. You need to train your legs for everything they will face during a game. When you are running, train with a ball to mimic game situations. To train for the interchanging speed, follow the lines on the field. Change speed on each new line you face, alternating from a fast run to a jog to a slow pace. This will train your body for the different paces of soccer.

Balance Training

Balance is important when you lift your leg to kick or to jump in the air you where you will be on one leg. The ability to control your body and your core will elevate your game. You can train your body to become more balanced by adding movements into your exercise program like the single-leg deadlift. This is a movement where you hold weight in your hands, with your palms facing your hips as you hinge at your hips, keeping your back straight. The weights in the front will counterbalance against your one leg to create balance training in your core. Add in three sets of 10 reps twice a week to your leg training.

Flexibility Training

Being flexible in soccer is very important. Without flexibility, you may not be able to move your leg to catch certain passes or hit volleys. Without flexibility, you become more prone to injury. Before a game, perform dynamic stretches such as leg swings, butt kicks and high knees. After the game, perform static stretches such as the 90/90 stretch. Lie on your back with one leg extended straight out. With the other leg, bend at your hip and knee to a 90-degree angle. Extend your leg straight into the air and twist to the opposite side of your body. Perform three reps on each side for 30 to 60 seconds.

Single-Leg Strength

This area is usually overlooked by most athletes. Most of the time in soccer when you jump, you run and kick the ball. You will usually have only one leg on the ground. This is why you need to train for the single-leg strength. It will allow for your body to build muscle memory and strength in each leg separately, therefore improving your game. Movements such as the pistol squat can vastly improve your soccer ability. This is similar to a basic squat, except you have one leg straight in front of you as you try to squat with the other. This move is difficult, so do two sets of 10 if you are a beginner; add in a box or bench to squat until you have your sense of balance and strength to complete the movement without assistance.

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About the Author

Joe Pepe is a NCSF-certified health and fitness expert from Philadelphia.

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