6 soccer drills for every athlete

Imagine if it was the Super Bowl every Saturday. In England, the weekly soccer (aka football) matches feel just that way, according to Jamie Moore, fitness manager at Equinox Kensington in London. “Football is on every Saturday so it’s like a big event that brings everyone to the pub or the field,” he says. Moore plays for a semi-professional team in London called Enfield in addition to training clients with a sports performance-based approach. “You can do biceps curls in the gym and it makes you look good but what can it do from a performance POV?” he asks. The exercises in this workout, created by Moore, not only help your performance on the field if you happen to play soccer, they’ll also help you to be a stronger runner and athlete in general.

Some of the benefits of this routine: stability in your joints, anaerobic endurance, and explosive power. Also, there’s enough rest built in to let you recover just enough before revving your heart rate again. “The explosive quick-shot movements interspersed with rest definitely enhances your fat burn,” says Moore. Finally, it’s a great workout for the brain as well. “From a psychological perspective, these movements fully focus your mind on the task at hand, like keeping your balance,” says Moore.

The Workout:

If you’re on your own, complete four to five sets of each exercise. Do all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next, taking no more than one minute rest in between sets. If you have a partner or group of up to 12 (such as a club soccer team), you can set up each drill in the gym, a studio space, or outside. Put two people in each station and work through the drills as a circuit.

Push-Up with Soccer Ball

Start in plank position with arms straight, feet together, and one hand on ball. Drop your body down, bending elbows to engage chest muscles. Drive back up to starting position, switch hands on ball, and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps. Complete 3 rounds with 60 seconds rest between rounds.

Dynamic Lunge with Knee Drive

Start in a lunge position with your right knee on the ground behind you and your left finger tips grazing the top of a soccer ball at your side. Drive up explosively through your left leg. Land in a stable lunge position with finger tips on the ball again. Do 10 to 12 reps on each side. Complete 3 rounds with 60 seconds rest between rounds.

Soccer Ball Toe Touches

Start with left foot on the soccer ball. Quickly switch feet, driving opposite arm and engaging core. Stay light on your feet making explosive movements with quick toe touches. Do 20 reps. Complete 3 rounds with 60 seconds rest between rounds. 

Forward/Back Cone Shuffles

Set up two cones about 2 meters apart. Start kneeling with one knee and the same side hand on the ground next to one of the cones. Drive up and accelerate towards the second cone in front of you with quick feet. Jog around cone and then backwards to the starting point. Focus on staying light on your feet. Complete 5 rounds of 30 seconds, with 30 to 60 seconds rest between rounds. 

Single Leg Lateral Jump

Keep the same cone set-up and stand in front of one cone. Execute jump sideways to the second cone, landing on your jumping leg and maintaining balance and stability. Then, jump back to the other side. Do 10 to 12 reps on each side. Complete 3 rounds of 10 to 12 reps with 60 seconds rest between rounds.

*If you have a partner, have him or her throw a tennis ball to you as you land each time, catching it with outside hand while on one foot.

Agility Ladder Run

Now, stand facing the ladder at one end with feet hip-width apart. Moving forward, place right foot outside ladder while your left foot steps inside ladder cell. Then, step left foot outside of the next rung and your right food inside the cell. Continue the movement all the way to the end of the ladder, driving your arms and engaging your core. When your reach the end, walk back to the starting point, breathing deeply for recovery. Complete 5 rounds with 30 to 60 seconds rest between rounds.