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Strength & Power > Introduction

Players require strength and power to accelerate, turn, make a big tackle, and jump to head a ball. Research has shown that maximal strength in half squats determines sprint performance and jumping height in high level soccer players. Br J Sports Med 2004;38:285-288.

Improving leg strength often improves overall performance.

Strength for Football
Strength is the ability of the body, or a part of the body, to apply or withstand force. The development of strength relies on resistance training and involves exercising at various loads, modes, speeds, angles and frequencies. The combination of these variables dictates the outcome of the resistance programme.

Strength is required for power production, stabilising a joint, supporting arms and legs (core stability), avoiding injury, and coping with contact. The resistance used during strength training can be your bodyweight, bodyweight plus a weighted vest, barbells and dumbells with light, medium or heavy loads, medicine balls or an unstable surface such as a wobble board or swiss ball. The unstable surface creates resistance for the body to work against.

Resistance training uses Repetition Maximum as a scale of resistance. For example, the weight that a player can lift for only 1 repetition during a bench press is classified as a 1 RM. Similarly, a weight that can only be lifted for 10 repetitions during a squat is termed a 10 RM resistance. Repetition maximums, or percentages of RM's are used as guidelines during Strength and Power Programmes.

Power
It is the application of speed that translates strength into power. Whatever the level of resistance, the aim is to move quickly with control and correct technique

It is essential that players develop strength and core stability before progressing to power drills. Strength alone will enhance speed and jumping ability even before starting specific power training options. Power training options include sprinting while wearing a weighted vest or pulling a sled, plyometrics, and Olympic lifts. Consider all the training principles before starting a strength or power programme.


 
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FACT FILE
Improved strength is probably the single best way to improve a player's speed
FITFILES
Visit the Football Fitfiles for Strength & Power drills
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FACT FILE
During a game 'professional soccer players perform about 50 turns, comprising sustained forceful contractions to maintain balance and control of the ball against defensive pressure. Hence strength and power share importance with endurance in top level soccer play. Power is, in turn, heavily dependent on maximal strength.' Br J Sports Med 2004;38:285-288
TOP TIP
The squat is the 'King' of strength training - it improves leg strength that transfers to improved running speed and power.