Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players

With England reaching a major Final in 55 years. here’s a paper on Football and S&C from 2014


Anthony N. Turner, MSc, CSCS and Perry F. Stewart, MSc, CSCS


Soccer is characterized as a high-intensity, intermittent, contact team sport that requires a number of proficient physical and physiological capabilities to perform successfully. Apart from the necessary technical and tactical skills required, soccer players must also develop and retain a high level of aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, speed, agility, strength, and power.

These are best developed through high-intensity interval training, small-sided games, repeated sprints, coached speed and agility sessions and strength and power-based gym sessions. Soccer coaches and strength and conditioning coaches must work cohesively to ensure a structured and effective program is adhered to.

Click on the link for the full paper : Strength and Conditioning for Soccer Players




Too often, a “new” training or exercise method will emerge, and everyone will get in the cart and quickly incorporate exercise or change into the training method. This in my experience has been found to be prevalent at Grassroots and Amateur sport.

The attitude is, if this and the other is what the world record holder does, it must be good and therefore I will copy it. This is known as monkey sees, monkey do

The use of chains in weight training, using Ladders to improve agility are two examples that comes to mind. They are viable tools if they fit in. Before we incorporate something, we need to see how it is inscribed in the context of what is already being done and we need to carefully evaluate the context in which it was successful.

However, we must always keep an open mind and incorporate sensible innovations where appropriate.

Context is a key element of an S&C system. The context establishes the nature of the relationship of the various components of training within the system. What we do today in training must fit with what we did yesterday and should flow into what we are going to do tomorrow. Bringing something alien that is not proven or shown to be effective undermines the system.

The same is true for training components particularly in contact sports. Perhaps the biggest violation of the context principle is taking one of the components, for example, speed or strength training it to the exclusion of all other physical qualities. This is flawed. It is possible to design a program where a component is emphasized during one phase, but they must be taken into proportion to the other components and placed in the context of the total training plan.

If the context principle is not observed, then the training components will be disproportionate, and adaptation will not occur at the intended level. The best way to keep everything in context is to plan well and stick to the plan, explain to the athletes how does it work so they can buy into the Planning.


How important is planning? Not planning is planning failure. So obviously I think it is important, but I have some questions about the concept of periodization that acquires popular acceptance. Where does it come from that focus on planning should be, long-term or short-term? I have concluded that the focus should be on short-term detailed planning, the real micro cycle, and the training session. I have found in recent years that the Meso Cycle plan demands constant adjustment particularly at levels other than elite.

Personally I used to put too many details into the plan and in the long run had to cut back or changing it anyway. The other aspect of planning that should require attention is planning the interaction between all components of the training. Is everything in context or is there something unexpected?

Ironically, some of the most productive training sessions I have had as a coach have come when I threw away the plan and followed my instincts because of unexpected variables. There are no secret programs or shortcuts to athletic excellence. Great training programs focus on fundamentals and build on the basics

Periodization is an art, moving forward and making more meaningful planning will require a major paradigm shift. Periodization in S & C follows in its current format follows linear reductionism (it’s the science that involves breaking things down into their smallest possible parts.), which has brought us to this point, but which prevents us from moving forward into the future.

Adaptive approach

Advances in Sports Science and coaching methodologies in the last 25 years has come in leaps and bounds, logically, this led us to an Adaptive approach to training planning (i.e., best optimal performance) The adaptive approach focuses on relationships and connections.

This framework integrates performance indicators such as training load measures, physiological constraints, and behaviour-change features like goal setting and self-monitoring. It provides a training plan, being adopted by the athlete, and its goal adapts to the athlete’s behaviour.  The framework for this adaptive approach is to have it personalized for athletes.

Adaptive Approach is to take advantage of these constantly changing connections and relationships. The one thing to avoid is overtraining, staleness, failure to develop transferable skills, psychological (e.g., decreased enjoyment, sense of failure) and social (e.g., limited social opportunities) particularly in young athletes or people just wanting to enjoy the sport.

(In terms of unpaid athletes, unplanned conditions such as overtime jobs, family issues and illness may intervene in the athlete’s plan. Reorganization of the training plan may be needed to cover these unpredictable issues to maintain or raise athlete’s performance as much as possible in the remaining time until competition day.)

The use of this training approach literally becomes a dance of discovery. It requires the coach to participate more actively in the follow-up of all aspects of the training. This is a significant deviation from focusing on the training parts (components) and goal setting also it assumes that the training parts will meet in a kind of reasonable useful set to work with.

The plan should constantly seek critical relationships that will allow the body to adapt to the stress of training. The body is a fully integrated system, to optimize the performance of this system you must have an approach to the planning and execution of training.


The Gambetta Method (2nd edition): Common Sense Training for Athletic Performance – Authors                James Radcliffe and Vern Gambetta

Science Articles:

A Conceptual Framework for the Generation of Adaptive Training Plans in Sports Coaching | SpringerLink

Planning a sports training program using Adaptive Particle Swarm Optimization with emphasis on physiological constraints | BMC Research Notes | Full Text (

Nutrients : journal of human nutrition

The Effects of Physical Activity and Diet Interventions on Body Mass Index in Latin American Children and Adolescents:  A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Authors: Andrés Godoy-Cumillaf , Paola Fuentes-Merino, Armando Díaz-González , Judith Jiménez-Díaz , Vicente Martínez-Vizcaíno , Celia Álvarez-Bueno and Iván Cavero-Redondo

I don’t usually read this journal but this study published on the 20th of May addresses physical activity and nutrition and caught my attention. This paper did a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the effect of physical activity only with that of physical activity plus diet interventions on body mass index (BMI) in Latin American children and adolescents.

The Study discusses results on the effect of physical activity plus diet agree with previous meta-analyses that have analysed non-Latin American populations, highlighting that physical activity is one of  the central elements of weight loss. However, when combined with diet intervention, the reduction ranged from 3.2% to 20% more, underscoring that the best results are achieved when calories are restricted. All this confirms the necessity of designing interventions which combine physical activity with a nutritional component. physical activity plus diet programs proved to be more efficient in decreasing BMI values in children and adolescents.

To summarise it is necessary to implement more physical activity plus diet interventions in Latin America, in order to help in reducing the high levels of overweight and obesity that are found in this region.

To read the full Article click on the link : Nutrients

ORIGINAL RESEARCH: Factors Related to Average Concentric Velocity of Four Barbell Exercises at Various Loads

1 Department of Exercise Science, Lindenwood University Belleville, Belleville, Illinois; and
2 Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri


The resistance exercise load is the primarily determinant of the average concentric velocity (ACV) during a repetition. It is unknown whether individual factors such as training experience or
anthropometrics also influence the ACV. It also explains how age, frequency, limb length, height, and relative strength relate to concentric barbell velocities at varying loads.

These results suggest that the load-velocity profile is unique for each of these exercises, and that velocity ranges used for exercise prescription should be specific to the exercise. A trainee’s relative strength and height may be a primary influence on the ACV.

Click on the link: Factors Related to Average Concentric Velocity

Early Strength and Conditioning techniques at the turn of the 20th Century

They had the right idea for punishment or training? You decide

Infographic – optomising motor-unit recruitment

How weight gains have also damaged N.F.L. retirees

In the past few decades, the National Football League’s emphasis on the passing game and quarterback protection has led teams to stock their offensive and defensive lines with ever-larger men, many of them weighing well over 300 pounds (136.7 Kg). But their great girth, which coaches encouraged, and which helped turn some players into multimillion-dollar commodities, leaves many of them prone to obesity problems.

In retirement, these huge men are often unable to lose the weight they needed to do their jobs after leave the professional leagues.

According to the report, many linesmen say they were encouraged by their high school and college coaches to gain weight to win scholarships and to be drafted by the N.F.L., where a lot of players were required to become even bigger. In some cases, players were converted from tight ends to down linemen, and needed extra weight to play the new position. Coaches often leave it up to the players to decide how to gain weight. Which begs the question where’s the scientific evidence to encourage this behaviour where’s are the coaches getting this information?

A study published in December by The American Journal of Medicine found that for every 10 pounds football players gained from high school to college, or from college to the professional level, the risk of heart disease rose 14 percent compared with players whose weight changed little during the same period.

Read the article for it’s conclusions and make your own conclusion: Weight Gain and Health Affliction

For myself my own conclusions are:

Very Ironic the US President feeding the Clemson Tigers football team hamburgers, fries and pizza, and praising the food as “good american food”.

The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is excess weight and obesity

Players need to lose weight by diet not just exercise, and by diet, I mean healthy eating.

The NCAA should/must enforce rules that prohibit excessive fat to body weight and reduce hypertrophy that leads to health deterioration. Strength Coaches should work on delivery better programs and not muscle building.

NFL must look at options that bigger doesn’t mean always stronger or healthier.


Published in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research


1 Department of Kinesiology, The Sport Science Center at Texas Christian University, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas 2 Center for Sports Performance, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 3 Division of Health and Human Performance, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia 4 Department of Exercise Science, Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri


The authors looked at 2 groups of subjects (male & female) who all had experience with weight training. Body composition testing was performed followed by determination of back squat 1 repetition maximum (1RM). After at least 72 hours of recovery, subjects returned to the laboratory and completed 2 repetitions at each of 7 separate loads (30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90% 1RM) in a random order. During each repetition, peak and average velocity and power were measured.

Men produced higher absolute peak and average power and velocity at all loads. When power output was normalized for body mass, significant differences remained. However, when normalizing for strength, no significant differences were observed between sexes. Furthermore, when subjects were subdivided into strong and weak groups, those above the median 1RM produced higher peak power, but only at loads greater than 60% 1RM.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS These data suggest that differences in power production are strongly related to maximal strength, irrespective of sex. Therefore, weaker men and women may benefit more from maximal strength training than stronger men and women, who are likely closer to their maximal strength level. Furthermore, the finding that strength is an important determinant of power production may offer utility for strength and conditioning practitioners. Given that power production is highly associated with athletic success (division of play and starting status), weaker individuals may benefit most from training to increase overall strength to augment power-production capabilities.

Keep reading and let me know what you think ARTICLE

The Effects of Myofascial Release With Foam Rolling on Performance

Healey, Kellie C.; Hatfield, Disa L.; Blanpied, Peter; More
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 28(1):61-68, January 2014.
This study on Foam Rollers studies it’s efficiency, according to the paper self-myofascial release has become an increasingly common modality to supplement traditional methods of massage, so a masseuse is not necessary.
However, there are limited clinical data demonstrating the efficacy or mechanism of this treatment on athletic performance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of myofascial rollers before athletic tests can enhance performance.
The study design was a randomised crossover design in which subject performed a series of planking exercises or foam rolling exercises and then performed a series of athletic performance tests (vertical jump height and power, isometric force, and agility).
Please continue reading for the results and outcomes

Upper Body program for Wheelchair Rugby (Murder ball) – Opinion Piece

Recently I listened a radio broadcast of an amazing athlete who while playing able body Rugby was badly injured and now is in a wheelchair, but it has not dampened his enthusiasm and I decided to research about Strength and Conditioning Programs for Murder Ball and I found that the wheelchair version of the sport is all about the upper body power, strength, endurance and stamina.

Wheelchair players need power in the scrum (reading the rules 3 players from each team, in a single file line go head to head with the ball placed between the two front opposition chairs in order to contest possession), strength to drive through tackles, endurance to sustain that strength output throughout the game and stamina to last the full 80 minutes of fast paced, crashing action!

The aim is to develop the strength and power in the major muscle groups involved in the pushing action of the chair, including the deltoids, pectorals, trapezius and latissimus dorsi. Then train and build on the endurance of the assisting muscles like the biceps and triceps.

Most importantly if possible it is creating a strong and resilient core will be key to gaining an edge to score that all important try!.

For any readers feel free to try out the following upper body workout

Warm up

Hand cycle bike on a medium resistance to start for 3 minutes then turn up to high resistance for 3 minutes.

Follow this up by completing 20 reps of curl and press with a light pair of dumbbells to fully warm up the working muscles.

Once warmed up start with the major muscle groups first so to not tire out the assisting biceps and triceps muscles.

Complete 4 sets of the following exercises with 8-12 reps in each set, ensuring you use the appropriate weight to fulfil the rep count: Each Sets should last no longer than 30secs 50-60secs rest between sets, 2 mins rest between each exercise. Each rep should be explosive with control, the way we want to play our Rugby.

  • Shoulder press
  • Lat pull down
  • Bench press

Rear row cable machine

Follow this up with a circuit of assisting muscle group exercises completing 4 sets of 12-15 reps for each exercise:

  • Dumbbell triceps extensions
  • Dumbbell Bicep curls
  • Dumbbell Front and lateral raises

Finish off by having a round on the rower by positioning the chair in a stable position to allow for the upper body movement and row for a 10 Minutes or the equivalent distance, maintaining a steady pace to work on your stamina and fitness levels approximately 1 minute for every  250 Metres.

Starting a Medium speed every 2 minutes then at 8:30 minutes up ½ level then at 9 minutes ½ level then every 10 seconds  up by ½  level until 9:50 take it down to medium speed and cool down for 2 minutes.