Core training for soccer players is an underrated aspect of training.
Most athletes are worried about touches, conditioning, and showcases when they need to prioritize their training.
Good core stability helps soccer players achieve the following:
- Faster running speed
- Better running technique
- Improved quickness
- Ability to handle contact
- More power kicking the ball
Thats a pretty solid list of desirable qualities for soccer.
Good core training is about resisting movement. The core is not responsible for producing it. This makes situps and crunches obsolete and outdated.
Instead, we should focus on resisting extension, flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion.
The following exercises are good choices to resist movement and help soccer players perform at a high level.
1. Mini Band Deadbug
The mini band deadbug is one of my favorites for athletes. It is an anti-extension exercise that is really specific to running.
This drill requires the core to be activated while one hip is flexed and the other is fully extended. This is running technique.
Mastering this drill will help with sprinting stability.
2. Wall Press Leg Lower
I like the leg lower because it helps improve hip range of motion. Sometimes athletes will display tight hamstrings because they have a weak core. This is a good exercise to combat that.
Do not bounce the foot off of the ground and keep the low back in the same position throughout.
3. Wall Press Double Leg Lower
The benefits of the double leg lower are different than its single leg counterpart. This is a big time anti extension drill. It is very difficult to lower the legs without arching the back on the way down.
No hands under the hips on this one. If that hurts then choose an easier, single leg variation.
4. KB Pullover
This pullover has the same benefits as the double leg lower but in a different package. The arms need to move as opposed to the legs.
Just like the above anti extension exercises, this core control is important to run fast. Athletes that run with an arched back lose power and hip range of motion.
5. Pallof Press
The Pallof press is one of the best anti rotation movement. Soccer players that rotate their upper body when they run are losing energy and speed. Building a resistance to rotation will help with that stability.
6. Wide Stance AR Chop
The wide stance anti rotation chop takes the Pallof press one step further. It puts a very hard demand on controlling rotation.
7. Overhead Pallof
The overhead Pallof starts the anti lateral flexion. Resisting side bend is important for change of direction and quickness. Lateral control helps make athletes make a good deceleration and change of direction.
8. Thread the Needle
Thread the needle is a good anti lateral flexion exercise. It requires the athlete to support their body weight without dipping down. It is a good way to progress a side plank.
9. Plank with Reach
The plank with a reach is a progression of the plank. It involves resisting rotation and extension together.
The rollout is one of the harder core exercises. A lot of eccentric stress is put on the muscles and the results are a lot of soreness.