5 Exercises to Help Soccer Players Develop Strength, Speed and Power

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, played globally at many different levels, with an accompanying growing zealous fan base. Despite the fact, however, training programs for soccer players, expect at the pro level, are antiquated, primarily focusing on endurance and skill develop.

Though important elements of the sport, today’s game allows more physical contact than ever before. Therefore, it’s a great benefit to soccer players to participate in a well-rounded, sound fitness program – including weightlifting/resistance training – to help them even the pitch.

Here is a list of five exercises to help address the need for strength, speed and explosive power.

Chest (Pushups and Dumbbell Chest Presses)

Pushup (view demonstration)

The basic pushup is a great way to start your chest workout.


  • Keep your feet, hips and legs in a straight line with your shoulders.
  • Place your hands at your sides, parallel to your chest.
  • Slowly lower yourself down, and push yourself back up to the point in which your elbows are locked or soft-locked.

If a regular pushup is too difficult to complete, try modifying it by doing it on your knees. This will help you build up to a regular pushup.

Frequency: Perform 3-5 sets of 10-15 reps, 2-3 times per week. Work your way up to multiple reps of 20-25 and higher as you get stronger.

Dumbbell Chest Press

For the chest, many weightlifters rely on the bench press in order to get stronger. But it’s a good idea to add various dumbbell movements in order to help increase the development of your pectorals.

I recommend dumbbell presses, because dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion (ROM), igniting a larger recruitment of muscle cells with each rep, thus forcing more muscle growth over time.

It’s important to note, while dumbbells do allow you to move through a wider range of motion, it’s vital to adhere to a strict form in order to maximize the exercise, and avoid injury. So slow and steady, with a weight that will challenge you without sacrificing form.


  • Grab a pair of dumbbells, and proceed to lie down on a bench.
  • Start with the weights at chest level (don’t drop the weight beyond that).
  • Gradually raise the dumbbells up while bringing them together to the mid-chest area (don’t forget to exhale on the lift).
  • Slowly lower the weight to the starting position while inhaling.

Frequency: 3 sets of 6-8 reps, 2-3 times per week.

Shoulders (Deltoids)

Shoulder Dumbbell Presses (using a military bench for back support) – View Demonstration

Just like chest dumbbell presses, I like the dumbbell shoulder presses for the same reason: a greater ROM. Plus, it hits all the major deltoid muscles.


  • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, sit on a military bench press for back support.
  • Start with the weights resting on your legs.
  • Use your knees to kick the weight up into the starting position to a 90-degree angle.
  • Make sure your elbows are aligned with your hips, and wrists are straight.
  • Now gradually raise the dumbbells up while exhaling, with your feet firmly planted on the ground, and your back and head against the pad (if you’re arching your back too much, you’re performing the exercises wrong).
  • Bring the weights together, to the middle, at the top of the movement.
  • Slowly lower the weight to the starting point, but make sure the emphasis is placed on the deltoids, not the rotator cuff.

Jump squats (View Demonstration) Technique:

  • This exercise is a plyometric staple, helping to build explosive quadricep power needed for burst of speed at a moment’s notice. Plus, jumping for headers.
  • Frequency: 3 sets of 6-8 reps, 2-3 times per week.  
  • Use something along the lines of an aerobic step or another high, flat surface.
  • Start out with one or two, depending upon how high each measures.
  • Go down as low as possible into a deep knee bend, and jump as high as you can onto that area.
  • As your leaping ability, and explosive strength, increases, challenge yourself with higher planes.

Frequency: Perform as many repetitions as possible, even to complete exhaustion, if you can. Twice a week should suffice.


While there’s an enormous amount of running associated with the sport, it varies in intensity and duration. Many of the times, a soccer player will need to rely on quick surges of speed in order to bypass a defender or catchup to the offense.

When to Execute:

After completed a full soccer practice or a fitness workout, partake in seven to 10 sprints of 40-50-yard dashes twice a week to train the body to perform while its spent. This will help give you the more efficient ability of tapping into your gas reserves when you need it most.


Written by Jerry Del Priore for Bodono.

Jerry Del Priore has worked as a certified personal trainer, and received his degree in Physical Education from Brooklyn College in 1991. Jerry is also a veteran print and digital Sports Writer-Reporter-Author experienced in writing in-depth profile stories on a variety of high school, college and professional athletes and teams.

Additionally, Jerry has developed a presentation based on his book, Running Through Roadblocks, which encourages children to overcome obstacles and never give up…no matter what!

Specialties: Baseball, football, hockey and basketball writing. Jerry also has covered lacrosse, soccer, golf and track and field, with ample experience cover women’s sports. Jerry is also a Food Writer/Blogger experienced in venue write-ups and reviews.

In addition, Jerry has ample experience working with medically fragile children, children with behavioral challenges and children with cognitively impairments.

Read Jerry Del Prior’s book: Running Through Roadblocks and view his blog at