Up Your Soccer Game With Queenax Functional Training
Up Your Soccer Game With Queenax Functional Training
By Davide DeRemigis, Precor Master Coach, soccer coach, personal trainer, and CrossFit Level 1 trainer based in Milan, Italy. He is a former soccer player at the regional level in both Italy and Scotland. After playing soccer for 15 years, he has spent the last six years as a coach for universities and regional teams.
Professional soccer team coaches often design sports-specific workouts in an attempt to make team workouts resemble the technical and tactical movements seen in the sport. Though opinions may vary on the value of this training strategy, this “fancy footwork” does not trigger the adaptations in force production that would to boost an athlete’s performance on the soccer pitch. In what I can only assume is a well-intended attempt to obey the training Laws of Specificity, the resulting workout lacks proper intensity. Instead, workout strategies should include specific physical strength training that takes into account soccer specific fitness parameters.
Components of fitness for a soccer player: speed, agility, coordination, power, endurance and stamina
Key Takeaways for Training Soccer Players
- Running speed and power are derivatives of strength.
- Core strength plays a crucial role in transforming strength into power.
- The most powerful joint in our body is the hips. To become stronger, we need to use them and train them!
- Based on these top takeaways, we can assume soccer-specific workouts will be primarily lower-body dominant and core-focused.
Improving Running Speed
Human running is performed by two limbs alternating and pushing off the ground. Each leg has a swing phase and a stance phase, making it an inherently single-leg based movement. As such, athletes should perform single leg strength exercises. On Queenax, we can utilise Superfunctional™ for supported single leg squats. Raise one leg on to the bar, with the other foot firmly planted on the ground. Select dumbbells or kettlebells at a load that you can manage for 8-10 repetitions per side. Note: to increase strength gains, position a barbell on your back rather than utilising dumbbells or kettlebells – the stability of the bar will allow you to manage a heavier load.
Strengthening Your Hips
The Superfunctional Hamstring Curl is an excellent way to activate your glutes synergistically with the hamstrings. Training these muscles together will help to maximize push-off power while running. Once you’ve mastered this exercise, amplify it by performing the Superfunctional Single Leg Hamstring Curl.
Other popular exercises to increase hip strength include deadlifts and clean and jerks. Additionally, kettlebells are an optimal piece of equipment to increase power in the hips.
In general, functional exercises require a medium to high degree of coordination. The above mentioned weightlifting exercises require a high degree of coordination to be performed. As such, they could be a good choice to include in a soccer-specific programme.
Core Exercises to Improve Agility
Our core plays a dominant part in the quick direction changes. Every time we try to suddenly turn right or left while running (hopefully not forgetting the football), shearing forces act upon our body. Neutralizing these forces is what we need to train our core for, before starting agility drills.
During quick directional shifts, our core acts as a buffer to absorb external shearing forces. We must train the hips for rotation and the abdominals and spine stabilisers for anti-rotation. The stronger that our anti-rotation capabilities are, the better we’ll be able to neutralize external shearing forces.
Here are a few ways to train anti-rotation on Queenax:
Set the Superfunctional bar at level 9. Plank with feet on the Superfunctional. Lift one foot at a time for as long as you can. Perform the same exercise lifting one arm a time. As your strength and stability improve, you may be able to lift one arm and one leg simultaneously.
CrossCore®, a product developed by Maddogg Athletics, is the ultimate anti-rotation tool. Experience this by getting into a plank position with your feet in the cradles. The suspension and pulley system will expose muscular imbalances. Modify this movement by performing a standing plank at a shallow training angle.
Here are a few ways to train agility on Queenax:
In soccer, agility applies to quick changes in direction. At present, many top flight soccer teams around Europe train their athletes by having them perform shuffles, runs between cones, short sprints with direction changes and slaloms. To this purpose we can use the Superfunctional straps and have the athletes run in between them. The bigger the Queenax the better!
Another popular exercise is resisted side shulffing with a resistance band. On Queenax, you can use either Stroops or Strong++. Selecting Stroops will allow you greater travel distance, however Strong++ can provide higher resistance if you connect multiple tubes together. If both applications are available, start with Stroops and progress to Strong++. For Stroops you can wear an ankle cuff or waist belt; Strong++ should be connected to an ankle cuff only. Do not travel more than 6 feet from the anchors on Strong++.
Increasing Vertical Power Output
In addition to horizontal power outputs, soccer players must be able to elevate! Power must be transferred vertically; if you want to head that ball higher than Cristiano Ronaldo, you need to start performing plyometric platform jumps on your Queenax. As you improve at this exercise, you can adjust the platform height.