Now that we are starting to settle into the season it’s time to get back to discussing some of the things that we are doing with the players to prepare them for the rigors and demands that the long season brings our way. To get things started let’s take a look at a couple of exercises that are a staple to our lifting program and help us build a solid foundation of strength and stability for our players.
The first exercise is the Trap Bar Dead Lift.
What I have found in my years working with soccer players in particular is that they usually don’t have very good squatting mechanics, specifically poor hip and ankle mobility in addition to being quad or knee dominant. The last thing I want to do if guys have bad mechanics is to reinforce that bad movement or load that movement in a way that makes it tough for the players to succeed or perform efficiently. That said, I like the Trap Bar Dead Lift better then a standard front or back squat because I think it helps address issues of hip mobility and squatting mechanics and allows the players to strengthen their glutes and lower body to give them the foundational strength they need on the pitch to run, jump, cut, and change direction. I also like it because it is an exercise that all players will benefit from regardless of how often or how much they are used to being in the gym and working out.
The other exercise that I always include is the Half-Kneeling Stability Chop.
With the dead lift we are focusing on our strength. With the Stability Chop we are working on our core strength and, as the name indicates, our stability.
One of the biggest issues that I find with soccer players is that they all lack core strength and stability. Before we get into very explosive movements, lifts, and soccer demands, I want to make sure that we are addressing this core stability issue, strengthening this area and learning how to stabilize and control the hips, core and torso - also known as our “pillar.” The Half-Kneeling Stability Chop allows us to put players in certain movement patterns and then challenge their core by forcing them to resist rotation and movement of their pillar as they perform the chopping exercise.
These two exercises are great for all levels regardless of whether you are a seasoned vet to the gym or have never stepped into one in your life. Putting these two exercises into your lifting and soccer programs are going to allow you to gain the necessary strength and stability to be a stronger, faster and more stable soccer player.
Next week we are going to introduce my favorite piece of training equipment, the TRX, and show why it is such a beneficial tool for all soccer players.