Exercise program benefits soccer players | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Exercise program benefits soccer players

Rhonda Beckham

Lake Tahoe Unified School District will celebrate the opening of the new track and soccer field on Sept 20. David won’t be there, but another Beckham will attend in his place.

Last week I wrote about how sports have such a positive impact on children, and the new Community Youth Sports Complex is exactly what our town needs to get excited about.

Conditioning for soccer is a key component to soccer success. There are many aspects of soccer training such as strength, strength endurance, speed, agility, aerobic capacity and flexibility. Let’s focus on strength training as it is often underdeveloped in soccer players, but can make the difference in peak performance. Strength training also helps diminish muscle imbalances, which cause alterations in some movements that may eventually lead to injury.

Youth strength training is modified from adult training because bones and musculature are still developing. Generally, youths will reduce the amount of resistance (weight) and number of sets and repetitions. Younger trainees have a tendency to make violent or quick movements. It’s important to concentrate on controlling or localizing your motion so that you are moving the weight smoothly and isolating the particular muscle being worked.

In soccer, lower body strength is required for kicking, jumping, tackling, twisting and turning, and also forms the foundation for explosive speed. Upper body strength is required for shielding the ball, holding off opponents, throw-ins and also contributes to overall power and explosiveness.

The following program can be followed by anyone interested in increasing muscle tone and strength.

All sessions should begin with:

5 minutes light jog

5 minutes stretching

5 minutes fast jog/easy run

Perform 8-10 repetitions for 2-3 sets each (youth)

Perform 8-16 repetitions for 3-4 sets each (adult)

The amount of weight used will depend on your fitness level and training phase. For a more personalized training program, contact a certified fitness professional at your club.

Barbell bench press. Works: chest (pectoral) and rear arm (triceps) muscles, with help from the shoulder (anterior deltoid) muscles. Technique: Lie face up on a bench, feet flat on the floor, with your head, shoulders, and buttocks pressed down firmly. Use an overhand grip (palms facing away from your head) about shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Push the bar above chest to arm’s length, pause momentarily, then lower slowly and repeat.

Barbell overhead military press. Works: shoulder (deltoid) and triceps muscles. Technique: Sit erect with your back flat. An upright bench can be used to support your back. Grasp the bar in front of your neck with an overhand grip; your hands shoulder width apart, and your elbows out to the sides. Place your feet flat on the floor, press the bar to arm’s length above your head, pause, slowly lower and repeat.

Row machine. Works: large upper-back muscles (latissimus dorsi, or “lats”). Technique: Sit erect, with your chest against the chest pad (adjusted for complete arm extension). Roll your shoulders forward and grasp the handles with a thumbs-up grip. Straighten your shoulders and raise the weights into the starting position. Concentrate on pulling with your upper-back muscles rather than your biceps, which will assist a bit. Lower slowly and repeat.

Biceps curl machine. Works: front arm muscles (biceps). Technique: Sit erect with your chest against the pad. Your arms should rest on the top of the bench, with your arms completely extended and elbows lower than your shoulders. Grasp the bar with your palms up, hands slightly less than shoulder width apart. Curl the bar up to your chin, pause, lower slowly, and repeat. Keep your biceps tensed when the arms are extending to reduce elbow stress, and don’t “lock” your elbows.

Leg press. Works: large thigh (quadriceps) muscles and hip extensors (gluteus maximus and hamstrings). Technique: Adjust the chair to allow your legs to extend completely. Sit back at a 45-degree angle with your buttocks and lower back firmly against the bench. Start with your knees bent 90 degrees and your feet as wide as hips. Push the platform until your knees are straight but not locked. Pause, tensing the muscles, then lower slowly and repeat.

Dumbbell Calf Raise. I like to perform this one standing as it also challenges your core which increases balance. Hold a 5-10 pound weight in each hand, tighten abdominals and raise your heels of the ground then slowly lower. You can further challenge your balance by performing these on one leg.

Don’t forget to add your abdominal workout, which will be the focus of next week’s “All about Core” column.

Even fit, professional players need rest and recovery after matches and training sessions. Ignoring strains, tiredness and stiffness can lead to over-training and injuries. And as always, remember to drink plenty of water.

Who knows, maybe if David Beckham had followed this routine he wouldn’t be sitting on the bench right now.

– Rhonda Beckham is a nationally certified personal trainer, with teaching certificates in Pilates and kickboxing. She is owner of Help Me Rhonda and Perfect Pilates, a Pilates instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College and Sierra Athletic Club, as well as a personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and the Tahoe Keys Marina Dance Studio. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, http://www.tahoetrainer.com and rhonda@tahoetrainer.com.

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