Soccer Fitness – Leg Extensions and Hamstring Curls Are Poor Choices For Building Leg Strength

With any type of strength training for soccer players, it’s essential to build a solid foundation from the start. Exercises that involve a player sitting on a seat and extending their legs or lying on their stomach and flexing their hamstrings are both functional and without preventive value.

Unfortunately there are still misinformed coaches out there giving the wrong information about soccer fitness and foot strength. Leg extension exercises are given specifically to improve kicking strength.

Here are three reasons why leg extensions and hamstring curls are poor choices for building leg strength.

1) The game of soccer is mostly played on one foot while both feet are in contact with the ground. Neither leg extensions or hamstring exercises provide this opportunity. When in a game a football player lies down on the ground and brings his buttocks to the ground or straightens his leg while sitting on the turf? These exercises isolate the quadriceps muscle group or hamstring muscle group and place undue stress on the hip.

2) Sitting or lying on any of these machines avoids the integration of the deep core muscles of the abdomen as well as the buttock muscles. As you know a strong “core” and strong buttocks bring power and strength to the lower body.

3) The ligaments that support the knee either become inappropriately stressed (too much stress on the ACL) or not at all. Remember that these exercises were designed for bodybuilders to isolate these muscles. These boys and girls pose a lot and they don’t have to stop, start and change direction.

Here are three exercises to build leg strength to run faster and kick harder:

1) any form of single leg squat, This exercise can be done in many different ways. You can squat with the air leg in front of you or behind you.

2) Kicking action with resistance. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place a band above or below the knee of the kicking leg. Make sure the band is positioned behind you. Now take a step forward with the plant leg and then follow in a kicking motion with the other leg. This exercise emphasizes both the kicking leg for resistance and single leg strength and the plant leg for balance.

This type of exercise is closely related to the kicking action in a football game.

3) Stability Ball Curl. Lie on your back and place your heels on a stability ball. Lift your hips in the air and then roll the ball toward and away from you. Keep your buttocks tight. It engages your hamstring muscles along with your abdominal core muscles and gluteal muscles.

A few things to keep in mind about these exercises;
a) These include the muscles of both the abdomen and buttocks.
b) These actions are closely related to the actions that take place in the game of football.
C) They protect the knee joint.

So there you have it. Be well informed before you start building leg strength for your soccer fitness.

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