Our TOP 10 recommended STRENGTH exercises for footballers

19 June 2017 Ben Cartwright No Tags

We have previously discussed the importance of a player’s strength. The strength of a player can determine their likelihood of injury as well as the player’s potential to produce speed and power.


This blog is to discuss our TOP 10 Strength Exercises for Footballers



Box Squat

The box squat is a great way of teaching players the correct mechanics of a squat regardless of their training age/history. The position of the box forces players to load through the heels and utilise hip drive on the upward phase of the lift. It can be loaded on the back or front rack position and also in a goblet position with either kettlebells or dumbbells.

Chin OR Pull Up

Pull up variations are a great test of relative strength for players. Performing both supinated or pronated they challenge a players pulling strength. There is also an argument that due to their links with relative strength they can be a good determinant of an athlete’s speed.


Bulgarian Split Squat

Single leg strength is essential for players due to the time spent on one leg when completing the majority of football actions (kicking, running, sprinting etc). The Bulgarian Split Squat is an exercise that can increase a player’s single leg strength. There are added flexibility/mobility benefits of the exercise too. A player must have sufficient ankle dorsi flexion to load through the front leg correctly as well as sufficient hip mobility to extend the hips. Hip flexor or quad tightness will be highlighted in this morning if it’s apparent and may need to be corrected prior to loading.


Heavy Prowler Push

The position players take up during a prowler push is similar to that of the position during acceleration. It teaches players to work on knee drive of the front leg and triple extension of the back. Heavy loads can be used on this exercise due to the lack of loading through the spine.


Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

It is important for players to learn how to hip hinge properly. Its common for players to overcompensate with certain muscles during this movement due to faults in technique. If players perform this movement correctly it’s a great way of building back, glute and hamstring strength. We tend to use dumbbells to load this movement as players are able to engage the intended musculature easier.


Dumbbell Bent Over Rows


We encourage players to perform more pulling exercises than pushing exercises to maintain muscular balance. The bent over row is a great way to engage the posterior chain and the pulling muscles of the back. Holding the hip hinge also gives length to the hamstrings, which are typically tight amongst players. Players with a history of back pain should change this exercise for a prone row or TRX/Ring row to avoid loading on the lower back.



Banded Pallof Press

The pallof press requires players to resist rotational forces from the band. Players must brace to remain in position (as they would in many situations on the pitch). The pallof press can be performed bilaterally or in a ½ kneel or split squat position.



Single Arm Carry’s

Carry’s are a great test of grip strength as well as an athlete’s ability to resist lateral flexion. Players soon become aware of their postural position during the single arm carry. It can be carried out to a total time or distance depending on the phase of training.



Nordic Hamstring Curls

Nordic curls seem to have been the fashionable hamstring exercise of late. They are a great way of building the eccentric strength of the hamstrings and can play a key part in running speed and the prevention of hamstring injuries. We program players to aim for a 3-5second lowering phase during the Nordic curl.



Heavy Sled Pull

The Prowler Pull teaches players to get strong in a deceleration position. The pull challenges the posture of the player as they pull against the resistance of the sled. The Sled Pull is a good exercise to load on due to the lack of load going through the spine and low eccentric load meaning muscle soreness will generally be low.


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