Op-Ed: Why Soccer Players Need Olympic Weightlifting


With the soccer World Cup in full swing, you’ll be able to’t assist however be impressed by the athleticism that the world’s finest soccer gamers possess.

They are the human equal of Formula One race automobiles with an uncanny skill to speed up, decelerate, and alter path straight away, but they’ll additionally show these explosive bursts of exercise over an extended, 90-minute match. It is uncommon for any athlete to own blistering pace and energy together with an aerobic capacity that rivals a distance runner or bike owner, however soccer gamers have found out easy methods to pull it off.

A soccer participant’s endurance is constructed on the sector via follow, small-sided video games, and training repeat dash skill; however their pace, energy, and alter of path skill can’t be optimized and not using a good dose of Olympic Weightlifting within the gymnasium.

Editors’ be aware: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein and within the video are the authors and don’t essentially replicate the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced completely by the creator.

Training Economy

With so many fitness points to develop, a soccer participant have to be extraordinarily economical with their time and power. It shouldn’t be unusual for soccer gamers of all ages and talent ranges to play soccer year-round as part of numerous membership, travel, and Olympic growth packages. With the excessive frequency of soccer play and intensive endurance calls for, there isn’t all the time a number of time or power left to make use of within the weight room. When a soccer participant does make it to the weight room, they have to carry out exercises which are environment friendly and exact for his or her sporting wants.

Olympic weightlifting exercises and their derivatives are the perfect and most time environment friendly actions for a soccer participant to carry out within the gymnasium to optimally enhance their pace and energy traits above and past what might be developed on the sector. Speed, change of path skill, hip and leg energy, and a possible discount in damage danger can all be enhanced by Olympic weightlifting exercises (Hackett et al. 2015; Hoffman et al. 2004; Tricoli et al. 2005, Young 2006).

Since soccer groups might not make it to the gymnasium as regularly as different sports activities like American soccer, an argument is usually made by coaches that Olympic weightlifting exercises are too time intensive to show when gymnasium time is already so restricted. However researchers out of Australia have debunked this argument (Haug et al. 2015). Their examine used a small pattern of elite athletes with no background in Olympic weightlifting and demonstrated that in as little as 4 weeks their athletes considerably improved vertical power manufacturing within the hang power clean which is essential to leaping and pace growth. The group of researchers concluded that these enhancements justify the related time price in instructing Olympic weightlifting.

[Check out a full training program for athletes, designed by the author, here.]

Olympic Weightlifting Improves What Aspects of Soccer Performance?

In the world of exercise, Olympic weightlifting holds the throne on decrease extremity energy manufacturing (Garhammer 1980). While this truth can’t be argued, some might battle to know how any kind of weightlifting can profit a soccer athlete who runs up and down a subject kicking a ball for 90 minutes.

For starters, it have to be accepted that there’s adequate proof that strength and energy training does improve sports activities efficiency in group sports activities (McGuigan et al. 2012). More particularly when the sporting calls for of soccer are extra carefully examined, it’s straightforward to see that many key physical demands of the game are considerably improved via Olympic weightlifting.

A recreation is gained by the group who scores essentially the most objectives, and linear sprinting pace and acceleration has been proven to be essentially the most frequent bodily motion in aim conditions in skilled soccer (Faude et al. 2012). It has lengthy been identified that Olympic weightlifting enhances these traits (Hoffman et al. 2004). The finest soccer gamers additionally show a mastery to vary path on a dime, which requires nice strength and a stellar price of power growth that Olympic weightlifting improves as effectively (Hackett et al. 2015).

GPS monitoring has proven that in video games, skilled soccer gamers can run roughly 6 miles (Andrzejewski et al. 2012). When having to cowl that a lot floor it’s crucial to be as power environment friendly as doable since the perfect performers want to have the ability to handle their fatigue late in a recreation. Running financial system, a measure of the power price of operating at a given tempo, is improved with strength and energy positive factors that may end result from Olympic weightlifting (Ronnestad et. al 2014). The much less power an athlete must expend whereas operating a terrific distance in a recreation, the extra power reserve an athlete must use late in a match.

Improvements in bodily efficiency markers aren’t the one points Olympic weightlifting might enhance. The health standing of an athlete is equally necessary as any efficiency measure, as a result of if an damage sidelines a participant then they’ll’t be on the sector to assist the group win. Lower extremity accidents are the most typical accidents seen in soccer match play (Turner and Stewart 2014). Strengthening muscle tissues that encompass vulnerable joints is without doubt one of the finest safeguards towards damage, and also you’ll be hard-pressed to search out exercises which are as dynamic and efficient at constructing hip and leg energy because the snatch, clean, and jerk (Hedrick 2008).

Olympic Weightlifting vs. Traditional Resistance Training for Soccer Development

Olympic weightlifting clearly has advantages to a soccer participant’s bodily preparation, however absolutely different kinds of resistance training like circuit training for muscular endurance or strength training adopted from powerlifting do too. So why is Olympic weightlifting nonetheless the higher the selection for a soccer participant?

Olympic weightlifting exercises are really total-body and holistic exercises. They concurrently train so many aspects of physical fitness that it makes all different kinds of training non-essential. Being technical lifts, inter and intramuscular coordination, proprioception, and kinesthetic sense is all enhanced by executing the lifts. The working ranges of movement encountered in the entire main joints of the physique through the lifts helps to enhance flexibility (Hedrick 2008). Heavy RDLs, clear pulls, and squatting up large weights from the underside of a deeply caught snatch or clear will construct your strength as a lot as anything you’ll be able to select to do within the gymnasium.

If your conditioning is subpar and also you imagine that you simply want higher muscular endurance, strive doing a barbell advanced comprised of many Olympic weightlifting exercise derivatives just like the Javorek Complex (Clean High Pull x 6, Muscle Snatch x 6, Back Squat to Push Press x 6, Goodmorning x 6, Bent Over Row x 6). It gained’t take many units or a lot weight earlier than you’re smoked.

[See extra: 4 weightlifting complexes to increase technique, performance, and confidence.]

Yes, different kinds of resistance training might be carried out to achieve related bodily enhancements, however why store round and waste time and power when Olympic weightlifting is undoubtedly a one-stop-shop for a lot of of your bodily wants.

Implementation Strategies

Due to their busy schedules and breadth of bodily wants, soccer gamers might by no means be gymnasium rats. However the fantastic thing about strength and energy training utilizing Olympic weightlifting actions is that they don’t must be carried out with a excessive weekly frequency to elicit a profit.

While in-season, a soccer participant can profit from Olympic weightlifting simply as soon as per week. In the low season when the training workload might be greater, a twice per week frequency is greater than adequate. The quantity of labor usually carried out utilizing Olympic weightlifting exercises is low relative to different kinds of training, so training periods don’t must be prolonged in length both.

If you’re an aspiring soccer athlete or are serving as a fitness coach to a soccer group, one of the simplest ways to initially implement the Olympic lifts is to start with pulling variations for the snatch and clear. Performing a snatch or clear pull permits an athlete to develop important pulling method whereas bettering vertical power and energy manufacturing in a much less technical method than executing the total lifts. Using a start place on the mid-thigh or above the knee is well coached and most athletes might be proficient shortly.

[Read extra: 10 things every beginner weightlifter should learn.]

Once proficient, the following steps might be to execute the total lifts from the mid-thigh or above knee place, after which in the end the total lifts from the bottom. No athlete or coach ought to ever really feel rushed to grasp the total lifts, as a result of the constructive advantages of Olympic weightlifting are present with all variations of the lifts (Suchomel et al 2015).

Kick Off

Everyone already is aware of that soccer gamers can run, however now we all know how and why soccer gamers ought to carry. Olympic weightlifting might help soccer gamers add the explosive traits to their recreation resembling enhanced pace and alter of path skill, whereas additionally protecting their typically injured decrease extremities free from damage.

Investing the effort and time to discover ways to carry out Olympic weightlifting exercises pays dividends shortly, and there are not any weight room exercises which have a higher switch to sports activities efficiency (Young 2006).

Featured picture by way of @soccerdotcom on Instagram.


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Haug, William., Drinkwater, Eric J., Chapman, Dale W. (2015) Learning the Hang Power Clean: Kinetic, Kinematic, and Technical Changes in Four Weightlifting Naive Athletes. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 29(7), 1766-1779

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Tricoli, V., Lamas, L., Carnevale, R., & Ugrinowitsch, C. (2005). Short-term results on lower-body useful energy growth: weightlifting vs. vertical soar training packages. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 19(2), 433-437

Young, Warren B. (2006) Transfer of Strength and Power Training to Sports Performance. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 1(2), 74-83



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