4 Great Single Leg Exercises for Soccer Players

single leg exercises for athletes

Why does it matter?

Soccer is a sport that comprises of a lot of single leg movement, far too often players omit training balance and single leg strength.

Soccer players pass, jump, shoot, change directions and change pace very quicly. These movements need players to be balanced and able to create force off of one leg.

  • To be able to juke, push past a defender / or for a defender to keep up with an attacker changing direction their agility needs to be sharp. This comes from producing power off of one leg.
  • Being able to absorb force on one leg can help players decrease the risk of injury and rolling an ankle.
  • When it comes to shooting players need to be able to properly plant and balance on one leg.
  • To sprint effectively players need to create force from the ground one leg at a time.

The benefits of single leg training for soccer players are clear, but what should they do?

Check out these 4 great single leg exercises!

1. Goblet Lateral Lunge

Players have to move in all directions including side to side. Goalies also have to be explosive laterally to dive and keep the ball out of the net. If a player can’t effectively move laterally this can increase their risk of injury.

The Goblet Lateral Lunge develops quads, glutes and adductors. These muscles are involved in your lateral movements.

2. Forward Skater Jumps

This movement builds off the last exercises as now we are incorporating a plyometric movement which will optimize force development.

3. Split Squat

This is a great exercise as it it still builds your quads like a back squat but translates better for athletes as it ads in a higher degree of balance and stability. While emphasizing one leg at a time.

You can do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps on each side for hypertrophy. To build strength, try 3-4 sets of 3-6 reps and using heavier weight.

4. Single-Leg Deadlift

This is a great way to develop hamstring strength. Hamstrings are involved in shooting, sprinting, jumping and changing directions. Additionally being able to absorb force from quickly decelerating or changing direction can help with injury prevention. Sportmedbc says hamstring tears are common in soccer players and sprinters as the muscles work hard to slow down the leg. And when the foot is on the ground the hamstrings are used to straighten the hip backwards; allowing the other leg to move forwards. Being able to control your hamstrings through an eccentric motion like in the single leg deadlift may be beneficial.

Try 3-4 sets 8-12 reps for hypertrophy. For strength, try 3-4 sets of 3-8 reps.

Let’s put your new tools to good use!