Staying fit in the soccer off-season is absolutely paramount. Whether you are a coach or an athlete, finding tried and true ways to keep your muscles toned and your body strong is absolutely essential to entering into a healthy, injury-free season.
COVID-19 has thrown many of us for a loop. Our typical group exercise methods may not be an option for the foreseeable future. What are we to do? At-home strengthening exercises, of course!
Your legs are a key area for soccer, so keeping them strong and flexible will be key. Here are a few exercises to incorporate into your day.
- Plié squats are great for strengthening the thigh muscles.
- Pistol squats are single-leg squats ideal for developing balance and individual leg strength.
- Overhead squats require you to hold a weight or ball above your head as you squat all the way to the ground, keeping your bottom level with your knees. This form of squat is excellent for improving flexibility, mobility and total body strength.
- Downward Facing Dog stretches the hamstrings and calf muscles to keep you limber.
- The Half Front Splits pose is great for easing tension that is easily gathered around the hamstrings.
- The Pigeon pose is amazing for opening up the hip rotators and the quadriceps.
- There is a simple, core-enhancing ball press exercise outlined here.
Keeping cardio exercises in your weekly routine are absolutely essential so you do not end up winded when it’s time to be back on the field.
- Distance/Cross Country running is not only a beautiful way to tour your hometown, it is also a proven method for keeping your endurance up throughout the off-season.
- Sprints are an essential component for developing your endurance as well. On the field, you’ll need to run at quick bursts with short rests in between. Running sprints and running them often will help prepare your heart and lungs for the unpredictability of life on the field.
- Interval training is the most effective way to use cardio based exercises. Whether you are doing stair-steppers, ellipticals, or running along the beach, varying between low intensity and high intensity exercises will give your body the needed versatility for when you are back in season.
Finally, one of the most important aspects of the off-season is to ensure that while you are steadily building your strength, that you give your body ample time to rest and recuperate from a difficult season.
Calibrate your caloric intake so that it is proportionate with the amount of exercise you are doing. Give your body needed days and hours off—particularly when you are rebuilding after a powerful leg-day.
Lastly, get plenty of sleep and water as you pace yourself through your exercises. Remember, your body is preparing for an on-again, off-again, season, which means that you need to be in tip-top shape from beginning to end.