List of the best Leg Exercises for Football Players
Football is an incredibly physically demanding sport - you need to be able to run quickly, move with a ton of agility and also stay on your feet, even when another person is trying their best to push you over. And so, in order to be any good at it, you not only have to be in great overall physical shape, but you also need to have strongly developed leg muscles.
Unfortunately, that cannot happen only by doing your typical on-the-field training. You also need to put in those extra hours in the gym. Having said that, we have to mention that not all exercises are made equal, and some are better suited for football players than others. And in this article, we will be introducing you only to the most effective ones.
And now, without further ado, let’s see the best leg exercises for football players.
6 Best Exercises for Football Players
Many football players, especially young ones, go to the gym and only do cardio-related work. That’s typically running on the treadmill, cycling, or using the climbing machines as a way to get their sweat on. And even though those are great options for improving your endurance and athleticism, they’re not the best choice for developing leg muscles and strength. Here are the ones we would suggest instead.
The squat jump is a variation of the standard squat that’s incredibly useful for those athletes that want to build power and explosiveness in their lower body. It can be done without any additional weight or with a weighted vest and even a barbell (once you’re at the needed physical level). Squat jumps are a terrific plyometric exercise as they allow you to not only strengthen your legs but also make them more agile and explosive.
The split squat is a great exercise to build strength in both legs and to work on any imbalances. More often than not, one of our legs is slightly stronger than the other - either because we use it more or because we’ve worked on it more. And so, the split squat allows you to even things out, as it works each leg separately.
The Romanian deadlift is a terrific exercise for isolating the muscles of the hamstring and the glutes and working on developing strength in them. It can be done with both legs firmly placed on the ground or individually with each leg. The first variation is more suitable for building strength and power, while the second one works on balance and can also help improve muscle imbalances.
The squat is the most well-known and probably most effective leg exercise out there. It builds strength and engages all the leg muscles, and there are so many variations of it, so you can never be bored. For beginners, it’s best to start squatting with kettlebells and dumbbells before moving to the squat rack and using a barbell.
The reverse lunge is another single-leg movement that’s great for athletes. It’s an exercise that targets the glutes and hamstrings more and can help fight asymmetries in those muscles. A good thing about the reverse lunge is that it takes some of the stress from the knees and is generally easier for athletes to maintain an upright torso while performing it, as opposed to doing the regular lunges. You can do them with dumbbells or with a barbell, depending on which one feels better.
Olympic lifts are incredible for building explosiveness and power. And one of the best ones for football players is the clean pull. It’s an easier variation of the classic full clean. Basically, you have the same starting position, but the catch is removed. Instead, you only need to drive up and get a full extension through the hips, ankles, and knees while you keep the arms straight. It’s a compound move that uses the muscles of your entire lower body to generate power, and thus it helps build explosiveness, which is key for faster sprints and better jumping ability.
Building leg muscles only through playing football or with various cardio activities is very difficult. At one point, you will hit a plateau, and you won’t be able to gain more power, strength, or explosiveness. That’s when you need to start dedicating more of your free time to lifting weights and performing plyometric exercises that will help you strengthen your lower body even more and continue progressing. In this article, we’ve shared our top six best movements for building leg strength for football players, but we’d like to know if we’ve missed any. And so, if you have a favorite exercise that didn’t make the cut, please share it with us below in the comment section.
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