The main manifestations of strength in a football player are maximum strength, explosive strength and endurance. These manifestations are present in almost every moment of the game and they are manifesting alternately in different proportions according to the actions and necessities of the game.
To the global of these three forces we denominate of specific force in the soccer. These three types of force may be the work of a more isolated force or in a more global form.
The ages at which we can initiate pure or more specific strength training (targeting a modality) are not consensual, but it is estimated that we can divide 3 main phases into the training of this conditional ability. So, we have an initial phase from 12 to 14 years (preparatory phase of training with low load), an intermediate phase from 14 to 17 years (to start work of explosive force, but never of maximum force) and a final phase from 18 years in which we can do an integral work of strength training (be it resistance force, explosive force or maximum force).
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The techniques and methodologies for working force are very varied and will always depend on the age and goals of the subject. There are also a set of instruments that work this capacity that can range from bodybuilding machines, body weight, hydraulic machines, TRX, elastic, unstable and stable platforms, bars, dumbbells, among others.
In order to perform an efficient strength training, we have to do "pure" force work inside the gym (academy) and transfer strength training on the ground (field). Here are some examples of the most used and most effective exercises in both contexts.
In the context of the gym the exercises most used to strengthen the lower limbs are: the squat, leg press, knee extension and the lunges.
Squats mainly strengthen quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They are very important muscles to run, jump and reduce the risk of injury.
Fig. I - Squat
In the Leg press the muscles involved are the buttocks, the semimembranosus, the semitendinosus, the crural biceps, the external vastus, internal vastus and the rectus femoris.
Fig. II - Leg Press
In knee extension, the main muscle involved is the quadriceps, namely the internal vastus, external vastus and rectus-anterior.
Fig. III - Knee extension
In lunges we work essentially the buttocks, but also the hamstrings and quadriceps.
Fig.IV - Lunges
In the field tests we also have some exercises to improve the strength of the athletes:
In training with an external resistance we can improve our strength, the speed of the race and the step and consequently the power of the lower limbs.
Fig.V - Training with an external resistance
In plyometric training of multi-jumps (jumps with feet together) we also managed to increase exponentially the levels of strength of the lower limbs.
Fig.VI - Plyometric training of multi-jumps
The alternate unilateral skippings (right / left) also allow an increase of strength in the athletes conciliating a very beneficial coordinating work allied to the strength and speed of the athlete.
Fig.VII - Alternate unilateral skippings
By Hugo Ferreira, Personal Trainer at Bodylab Academy