If you had to choose one exercise to develop all around fitness for your soccer players, what would it be?
If I had to chose one exercise, it would be the six count burpee. The burpee develops full body strength and very quickly gets the heart rate up like nothing else.
It’s great for soccer because it takes the kids to the ground for the push-up and then makes them get up quickly which they have to do in a game. If you add a jump to it, it develops explosive power, needed for speed, agility and kicking.
Here is an video of someone doing them: Burpees for soccer players.
There are also lots of variations that can be done to keep them interested as well as develop soccer skills.
One way to vary it is to change the type of exercise on the ground. They could do staggered arm push-ups or clap push-ups. They could do five dips and then a jump.
The jump could be straight up as in the video. It could also be with a split kick or a turn.
Or you can add an exercise between the burpees…
For instance, have them work with partners. One partner performs a burpee and jumps. Upon landing, the other partner tosses a ball which has to be volleyed back. They perform five in a row and then switch.
Another variation is to have them run between burpees. They do a burpee, then run 20 yards and repeat. The running could be for running form, it could also be a ball control drill such as dribbling.
Burpees are tough. Like most exercises it is easy to overdue. The most I’ve ever had a high school group do is three sets of 20. It took us six weeks to build up to that many and not all the kids could do it.
Of course, burpees like push-ups or running should never be done as punishment. Make them a part of your weekly fitness plan. Or encourage your team do to them at home as part of conditioning homework.
To get your team more fit, faster, and to be better athletes really doesn’t take too much. It doesn’t have to take any time away from any portion of your workout. It’s easy to intermix soccer conditioning and fitness with strategy, skills and tactics. All it takes is a little knowledge and planning.
Want to learn more on how to condition your team for soccer or other youth sports? Go to www.athleticskillsforsoccer.com or click the link here for soccer fitness and conditioning.