You can send the ball a long way with powerful leg muscles.
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Not every soccer player is automatically blessed with the boom-boom feature called a вЂњbig leg.вЂќ Some are: They have big, blocky calves, or glorious mechanics, and a free kick that sends the ball looping into the next county. If your kicks are merely graceful or so-so or verging on weak, you can certainly do something about it.1.
Establish a baseline for your starting point for leg power and areas you need to address. Measure your vertical jump by tapping a point against a wall with a piece of chalk or tapping the vanes of a jump-measuring device. This provides a solid gauge of your leg strength. Perform a bodyweight, single-leg squat, one leg at a time, and have a teammate measure how low you can go. Also have your teammate note whether you can steadily hold the squat without having your forward leg touch the floor. This provides a good indicator of potential weakness in your nondominant leg. Track your results on a workout log monthly.2.
Perform a lower-body circuit workout to increase your leg strength in combination with endurance training, advises strength coach Greg Gatz in вЂњComplete Conditioning for Soccer.вЂќ Warm up first with light cardio, such as cariocas or jogs. Do dumbbell or kettlebell squats to calf raises, stationary bike sprints or 100-meter sprints; dumbbell side lunges, exercise ball supine leg curls and an additional bike or track sprint -- all back to back. Repeat the circuit for three or four sets with a minute of rest between sets, Gatz advises.3.
Focus on functional strength and balance, as well as explosiveness, with simple bodyweight exercises, on a different workout day. Include squats to heel raises, forward lunges, step-ups and squat jumps. Or work on lateral strength with bodyweight, wide-stance squats, side lunges and side step-ups. For either circuit, Gatz advises two or three sets with a minute of rest between each.4.
Add exercises specific to goalies suggested by exercise physiologist Donad T. Kirkendall in вЂњSoccer Anatomy.вЂќ Perform a variation of step-ups holding a soccer ball directly overhead, onto a low bench, fully bringing your lead knee up to your chest. Reverse your motion back to the ground and repeat on the other side. Field players can also perform this exercise without a ball to improve their leaping ability. You can also perform step-ups pressing dumbbells or kettlebells as you climb stadium steps, pressing the weight on the arm opposite the stepping leg, Kirkendall suggests.
- Jump measuring device
- Measuring tape
- Step-up box