The Basic Soccer Conditioning Program

Not every player has the time (or the facilities) to follow a complete soccer conditioning program...

But that doesn't mean you can't significantly improve your soccer-specific fitness.

This 3-days a week (which includes a match) soccer training plan will improve your endurance, strength and agility for the game. Not only that...

It doesn't require any expensive equipment... other than a pair of light dumb-bells.

Here's a 7-day view - I've numbered days rather than using days of the week. Change the sessions to fit your own routine. Ideally, avoid training the day before a game and leave at least 24 hours between sessions.

Basic Soccer Conditioning Program
Day 1 20min strength circuit, 20-30min fartlek running, 10min stretching
Day 2 Rest
Day 3 Rest
Day 4 20min strength circuit, 20-30min minute speed running, 10min stretching
Day 5 Rest
Day 6 Match
Day 7 Rest


Soccer Conditioning Strength Circuit

Start by warming up - 5mins of jogging on the spot, high knees, heel flicks, jumping jacks etc. Do 5mins of stretching to all major muscle groups.

Repetitions: 30sec per station
# of circuits: 2
Rest between stations: 20sec
Rest between circuits: 2min

  • Press ups

  • Squat thrusts

  • Lateral raises (using dumbbells/resistance bands)

  • Sit to stand (with dumbbells)

  • Crunches

  • Jumping jacks

  • Dips

  • Burpees


Soccer player running

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Fartlek Running

Rather than running at a continuous pace, why not make it much more soccer specific. Soccer conditioning should involve running, jogging and sprinting in no set order.

Run for 20-30 minutes at varying paces. The idea is to keep it as random as possible. For example start by jogging lightly for 5 minutes (to recover from your circuit)...

Then sprint for 20yards...
Then slow jog for 100yards...
Cruise for 200yards...
Run backwards for 20 yards...
Turn and sprint for 30yards...
Walk for 50yards...
Jog for 300yards...
And so on.

Use level of fatigue to determine when to sprint or when you need to jog or walk or whatever. So, on a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being a walk in the park, 10 being and all-out, gut-wrenching slog) keep your session at about a level 7 throughout.If you need to jog most of the way that's fine. Build up over a period of weeks to more intense sessions as you become fitter.


Speed Running

Again rather than just running at a set pace, here you jog, cruise, jog, sprint, jog, walk and then rpeat the cycle... jog, cruise sprint, walk.

This session is not designed to be as intense as the Fartlek run earlier in the week. Instead focus on running form - an upright posture, keeping your elbows and arms in a straight line.

Each jog, cruise, walk or sprint should be no more than 20 yards. Really focus on maximum speed in the sprint and maximum form in the cruise (about 75% top speed). The jog should be very slow to allow you to get your breath back. If you need to, walk and jog further distances to fully recover before sprinting again.


Stretching Sessions

At the end of your sessions (and at the end of a match if you can), stretch the hamstrings, groins, quads, calves and lower back. Hold each stretch longer than you do in the warm up - 20-30 seconds. Do 2 stretches per muscle group.

Click here for more information on soccer stretching

And that's it...

A basic 3-day a week soccer conditioning program that any player, at any level can follow. As a side note...

6 weeks before the season starts why not throw in an extra session on the day you would usually play a match? Three routines like those above will do far more for your games than simply running continuously for half and hour.



Soccer player running

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See my complete guide to soccer conditioning >>