Strength training is a tool to support the development of athletic players. It should be a complement to skilful training and not a replacement. However, in an effective environment, it can be utilised effectively to improve player performance, reduce injuries, and suppport long-term physical health and wellbeing.
The below highlights strength exercises that can be incorporated into training by NWSF clubs. These exercises specifically target commonly used and high-risk areas of injury from football. They can also be completed without requiring specific equipment.
Core and resilience
Planks, and plank variations, help develop players core strength.
Prop yourself off the ground using your forearms. Hold this neutral position.
Prop yourself off the ground using one forearm, facing the side. Hold this neutral position.
From a plank position, extend your forearms so they are both straight, then return to the starting position. Repeat.
The following exercises develop not only core strength, but also target parts of the body such as the groin & glutes which are used frequently in football.
With the aid of a box or a partner, prop yourself off the ground by resting on one forearm. Bring the other leg close to the supported leg.
Starting with both arms in the air & legs at 90 degrees, extend the opposite arm and leg. Alternate sides.
Lying on the ground, bring one leg close to the body. Extend the other leg and ‘push’ yourself off the ground.
With the aid of a partner holding your ankles, lean forward to the ground while keeping your back straight. Stay in control.
From a seated position, move your body back towards your heels while keeping your back straight.
Set up like a Nordic curl, but hinge at the hips as you lean forward to the ground.
Lower leg strength
The following exercises predominantly develop players lower body strength.
Clubs with access to gym equipment or free weights may progress these exercises to challenge players.
Holding a weight, squat down, keeping a your back straight.
Using a box can assist players with limited range of motion.
Single leg progressions can challlenge players.
Holding a weight, hinge at the hips, keeping your back straight.
Progress to a single leg variation to further develop leg strength.
A trap bar can be used to add more weight as progressions.
Step up onto a box, alternating legs. Progress by holding a weight.
Holding a weight from a standing position, step backwards and bend down with your leg at 90 degrees.
Lower leg strength
The following exercises predominantly develop players upper body strength.
With your arms shoulder width apart, push up off the ground (keeping your back straight). Lower back downn and repeat.
Holding a weight, lift it from a low position to in front, so it ends in front of your face.
Holding a weight, lean against a bench or fence, and pull a weight straight up.
The following exercises develop power, which can help enhance football actions.
Some of the exercises require equipment such as hurdles.
Clubs looking to integrate more comprehensive strength programs and/or information around the delivery of strength can contact NWS Spirit’s Head of High Performance.